Mikaela Shiffrin will go into the World Championships as the second-best slalom skier this season.
Swede Frida Hansdotter won the final World Cup slalom before Worlds in Flachau, Austria, on Tuesday night, increasing her season standings lead over Shiffrin to 41 points after six of nine scheduled races.
On Tuesday, Hansdotter prevailed by .61 of a second over World Cup overall leader Tina Maze.
Shiffrin, the reigning Olympic, World and World Cup slalom champion, placed third in Flachau, .63 behind. Shiffrin improved from eighth place after the first of two runs.
“I wish I charged a little more in the first run,” Shiffrin told media in Flachau, one night after she Googled “how to drive a dirt bike” and then drove one at the public starting bib draw (it stalled twice before she got it going). “I can’t take my foot off the gas and expect to win.”
Hansdotter, who at 29 is 10 years older than Shiffrin, won her first World Cup race this season. Shiffrin won the previous two World Cup slaloms, but Hansdotter has been more consistent this season, finishing no lower than fourth in the six slaloms.
Hansdotter placed fifth in the Sochi Olympic slalom and third at the 2013 World Championships, both won by Shiffrin.
The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with speed races in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, this weekend, featuring Lindsey Vonn‘s continued pursuit of the record for women’s World Cup wins.
The World Championships are the first two weeks of February in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colo.
“I think I have a shot at two medals [at Worlds],” Shiffrin said, referring to the slalom and the giant slalom. “Being at home is kind of liberating for me.”
Bode Miller concerned, hopeful for season debut this week