Mikaela Shiffrin continued her run of historic dominance, winning her 12th straight slalom race in the World Cup discipline season opener on Saturday. She also won a reindeer.
Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion, prevailed by .67 of a second after two runs over Swiss Wendy Holdener in Levi, Finland. Slovakia’s Petra Vhlova was third. Full results are here.
“I’m not unbeatable, I can tell you that,” 21-year-old Shiffrin said. “I think that a lot of these girls know that, and they’re shooting to be the first to beat me. Every race I have to be faster. It’s certainly not a comfortable position.”
Shiffrin has won 12 straight slaloms dating to 2015, including her last nine World Cup slaloms, the longest streak since four-time Olympic champion Janica Kostelic won 10 straight from 1999 through 2001.
However, Shiffrin missed five slaloms in the middle of last season due to a right knee injury.
“I don’t feel like [the full streak] counts because I missed half the season last year,” said Shiffrin, who won her 20th career World Cup slalom Saturday. “There were other winners. I think my streak starts after I came back from injury.”
The traditional winner’s prize in Levi is a reindeer. When Shiffrin won here in 2013, she named hers “Rudolph.” This year, she named it Sven, after the “Frozen” character.
“It would be nice to get Rudolph a buddy!” Shiffrin said earlier this week, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “No reindeer likes to be alone.”
Levi marked the second of a scheduled 37 women’s World Cup races this season. Shiffrin, who finished second to defending champion Lara Gut in the season-opening giant slalom three weeks ago, moved to the top of the World Cup overall standings on Saturday.
Shiffrin and Gut appear to be the favorites for this year’s overall title, given previous overall champions Lindsey Vonn and Anna Veith are out with injuries.
Shiffrin said she spent about half as much time as usual training slalom in the offseason, focusing an increasing amount on giant slalom and the speed events.
The men race in Levi on Sunday (4 a.m. and 7 a.m. ET, NBC Sports app; 2 p.m. ET, UniHD).
The women next race in Killington, Vt., in two weeks with a giant slalom and slalom.Follow @nzaccardi