Tessa Worley

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World Cup Alpine season opener gets green light

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After checking the snow on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, FIS officials announced Thursday that the traditional World Cup season opener is set to go ahead as planned Oct. 26-27 with men’s and women’s giant slalom races.

Current conditions at Soelden show a solid 30 inches of snow at the summit. The race finishes at an altitude of 2,670 meters (8,760 feet), far above the currently snowless village.

The first races of the season are never guaranteed to have enough snow, though last year’s men’s race at Soelden had the opposite problem, being canceled when a storm blew through with heavy snowfall and high winds. 

France’s Tessa Worley won the women’s race last year ahead of Italy’s Frederica Brignone and U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who would go on to dominate the rest of the World Cup season.

The Soelden weekend is followed by three dormant weeks until the season resumes Nov. 23-24 in Levi, Finland. The World Cup circuits then switch to North America. The men will run speed events Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Lake Louise, Alberta, then head to Beaver Creek, Colo., for more speed events and a giant slalom Dec. 6-8. The women run slalom and giant slalom Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Killington, Vt., and head to Lake Louise the next weekend.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins Kronplatz giant slalom for her 10th win of the season

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Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s giant slalom at the World Cup stop in Kronplatz, Italy, on Tuesday, marking her 10th victory of the 2018-19 season and 53rd World Cup win of her career. Shiffrin, the 2018 Olympic giant slalom gold medalist, led France’s Tessa Worley by 1.39 seconds after the first run. Although Worley outpaced Shiffrin in the second run, Shiffrin’s massive first-run margin allowed her to win the two-run event by 1.21 seconds. Italy’s Marta Bassino placed third. Full results are here. 

Shiffrin entered Kronplatz ranked third in the World Cup giant slalom standings, but moves into first place with the win. The 23-year-old also leads the overall World Cup leader board, as well as the slalom and super-G discipline standings. Shiffrin has won seven World Cup globes in her career (two overall, five slalom).

Shiffrin has already broken multiple records this season, including becoming the youngest skier to win 50 World Cup races, and there are still more records within striking distance. Shiffrin could break the record for most World Cup wins in a single seasons; the current record (14) was set by Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider in 1988-89.

The next stop for the women’s World Cup is this weekend in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, with two downhills scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and a super-G slated for Sunday. Shiffrin plans to skip the downhills, but enter the super-G. Lindsey Vonn, who missed the start of the season with a knee injury, is expected to make her return to competition in Friday’s downhill.

Mikaela Shiffrin misses podium as Olympic golds quest gets tougher

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Plenty of talk about Mikaela Shiffrin possibly winning three gold medals in PyeongChang, but the last two days showed just how tough that task will be.

France’s Tessa Worley notched her first international giant slalom win on Saturday since claiming the world championships and World Cup titles in the event last season.

German Viktoria Rebensburg, the 2010 Olympic GS champ, was second on Saturday, extending her lead in this season’s World Cup GS standings.

Shiffrin was seventh, four days after crashing out of the previous giant slalom. Before this week, Shiffrin placed in the top six of the last 15 giant slaloms since the start of the 2016-17 season.

Full Saturday results are here.

Lenzerheide marked the final World Cup giant slalom before the Olympics.

Shiffrin was the strongest GS racer around the new year, but Rebensburg has unquestionably been the top woman in the event over the whole season. The German has three wins and two runners-up in seven World Cup GS races.

Couple that with Swiss Wendy Holdener routing Friday’s super combined by 1.55 seconds. Holdener won the 2017 world title in the combined, though Shiffrin wasn’t in that field or in Friday’s race. Holdener also recorded both victories on home snow in Switzerland.

Shiffrin has been billed as the Olympic favorite in slalom, GS and the combined — Sports Illustrated picked her to win all three — but it wouldn’t shock anyone if Worley, Rebensburg or Holdener keeps the world’s best all-around skier from the record-tying triple.

Toni SailerJean-Claude Killy and Janica Kostelic share the mark of three Alpine titles at a single Games.

Shiffrin headlines her trademark event, a slalom, in Lenzerheide on Sunday, streaming on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app with the second run also airing on NBCSN.

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