For the first time in nearly four years, a woman other than Mikaela Shiffrin and Petra Vlhova won a World Cup slalom.
It was Swiss Michelle Gisin, the 2018 Olympic combined champion who earned her first World Cup victory in her 144th career start — eight years to the day since her World Cup debut at the same venue of Semmering, Austria.
Gisin, 27, erased Shiffrin’s lead of .02 from the first run and won by .11 over Austrian Katharina Liensberger.
Shiffrin ended up third, .57 behind, finishing a calendar year without a World Cup slalom victory for the first time since she was 16 in 2011. The Slovakian Vlhova, winner of the last five slaloms dating to last season, was fourth. Full results are here.
Shiffrin and Vlhova combined to win the previous 28 World Cup slaloms dating to January 2017.
“I broke the incredible run of two giants,” said Gisin, who got her first win with her 10th career podium and skied on a second-run course set by her coach. “It was the perfect day.”
Shiffrin last won a slalom exactly one year ago, which was also the last time she led a slalom after the opening run.
“Not sour. It was not a bad day,” said Shiffrin, who notched her 99th World Cup podium (67 of which are victories). “I know I have faster or more stable skiing, but it’s a process, and I’m going step by step.”
Shiffrin completed the most difficult year of her career. In the last six weeks, she returned to racing for the first time in 300 days — since the death of her father, Jeff, on Feb. 2 — and, in five races, finished first, second, third, fourth and fifth.
The emotional win came Dec. 14 in a giant slalom in Courchevel, France.
“I think a lot of people feel like, I won in Courchevel, so that means like I’m totally back and things are really back to normal, which, I don’t see it that way,” she said last week. “I mean, I feel like, maybe normal doesn’t exist. I didn’t like ‘come back’ in Courchevel. It’s always a process. My entire career has been a really long process, and it hasn’t changed just because I won a race again.”
The women next race in Zagreb, Croatia, for another slalom on Sunday (9:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel and Peacock Premium).
“I’m trying to remember how these things feel,” Shiffrin said, noting she was fighting for her life trying to bring intensity in her second run. “It’s coming. I think it’s moving in a really good direction.”
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