Mikaela Shiffrin grabbed her 21st Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom victory in Killington, Vermont. (Agence Zoom/Getty Images-Alexis Boichard)
KILLINGTON, VT (Nov. 27, 2016) – In front of a huge hometown crowd and her entire family, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) shone under pressure to win the Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom at Vermont’s Killington Mountain. Shiffrin’s win capped off a successful weekend in the east coast that will impact ski racing for decades to come.
Coming in as the odds-on favorite, Shiffrin had a couple of small bobbles in her second run, but put aside all the pre-race pressure to extend her first run lead and win by .73 seconds ahead of Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia to take her 21st World Cup win. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was third.
“It’s been incredible,” said Shiffrin. “I knew it was going to be a big one and special, and I was so excited. It’s the east coast - I know this place and I know these people love to watch ski racing. I’m so proud that they all came out and really cheered that loud!”
Shiffrin soaks up the victory in Killington. (Agence Zoom/Getty Images-Alexis Boichard)
But Shiffrin admitted that she was nervous and feeling down prior to the race. “I put a lot of pressure on myself,” she said. “I went through a moment where I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t do this. I was so worked up and nervous and worried about the wrong things.”
However, Shiffrin’s day ended on a high note on Killington’s Superstar Trail, as she came through the finish and uncharacteristically celebrated when she saw the number 1 next to her name. Her whole family was there to watch, while she was particularly excited about skiing in front of her grandmother for the first time ever. “The fact that my nana was able to watch this race is amazing,” said Shiffrin. “I can’t put that into words. The proudest I’ve ever been is winning this race in front of my nana.”
Shiffrin celebrates the win with her nana at Killington (USSA-Reese Brown)
Sunday’s crowd was equal to Saturday’s 16,000 fans, bringing the total to more than 30,000 fans in total to attend the Killington World Cup—the first World Cup in the east coast in 25 years. Every kid was smiling, as they waved flags and asked for autographs from their favorite skiers. “It was incredible,” said Shiffrin. “Today you could peak over the break in the hill and see everybody. I could hear them chanting USA before my run. In these kinds of races, the crowd totally carries me down the hill.”
Shiffrin, Veronika Velez Zuzulova (left) of Slovakia and Wendy Holdener of Switzerland on the podium in Killington, Vermont. (Agence Zoom/Getty Images-Alexis Boichard)
U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Tiger Shaw was also present at the race. “This event at Killington will have a lasting impact on this sport for a decade or more to come,” said Shaw. “The excitement and the motivation that this will generate for kids in New England in insurmountable and will help grow the profile of alpine skiing in the country.”
Next up, the women head to Lake Louise for a speed series Dec. 2-4.
Mikaela Shiffrin won the Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom at Killington Mountain by .73 seconds.
Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY) finished 17th. Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, NV) and Megan McJames (Park City, UT) did not qualify for a second run. Nina O’Brien (Edwards, CO) and Patricia Mangan (Derby, NY)—who were racing their first slalom World Cup—did not finish first run.
More than 30,000 people attended both races at Killington Mountain.
Next, the women’s team heads to Lake Louise, Canada for a speed series Dec. 2-4.
QUOTE Mikaela Shiffrin It’s been incredible. Racing in front of the east coast has been an emotional high for me. Then there’s been the pressure side of things—I put a lot of pressure on myself. I’ve been performing so well in slalom and I knew I had a great chance of winning the slalom here. I woke up this morning, though, and I had a bad feeling about today. I went through a moment where I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t do this. I was so worked up and nervous and worried about the wrong thing. It wasn’t very enjoyable until the second run—the fight I put into the course and staying in the course even after making some bobbles here and there. I hope I looked like I wanted to ski fast because that was what my goal was. I’m still looking to put my best training skiing into a race.
I think that role of being an inspiration for younger girls is growing. As more people tell me that I inspire them, I start to inspire myself more as well. I’m not the most confident person—I tend to have a lot of self-doubt, but I’m generally a really happy person. Sometimes these races get to me. I feel like I have to be something special or different or get someone else’s approval—the crowd, the media. Today, I tried to make the choice that I don’t need approval. That’s the message to these young girls that’s more important than my skiing. I ski for myself, not for anybody else.
I work my tail off. Everybody does. All these girls are trying to beat me. But I’m not even close to my best skiing. I’m doing my thing and I’m a happy person. It’s great to be back here and get a breath of that freshness.
A lot of my family was watching at World Champs at Vail/Beaver Creek, but my nana didn’t come to those. My entire family lives in the east coast. We had a big group of people here. I got to see them for Thanksgiving, which was incredible. They all say they had a good time—to be honest the fact that my nana was able to watch this race is amazing. I can’t put that into words. The proudest I’ve ever been is winning a race in front of my nana. The best part about it is that she doesn’t care whether I win or lose. She might not even remember! She doesn’t care—she loves me. Thanks nana for your unconditional love and your incredible pies.
It was incredible. I heard there were 16,000 people up there yesterday. Especially in slalom, you can see the crowd from the start. Today you could peek over the break in the hill and see everybody. I could hear them in the start chanting "USA!" before my run. I love that. In these kinds of races, the crowd totally carries me down the hill.
I knew it was going to be a big crowd. The tickets sold out in 24 hours back in the springtime. So people were so excited to watch us race. I knew it was going to be a big one, and special, and I was so excited. It’s the east coast, I know this place, I know these people love to watch ski racing. I’m so proud that they all came out and really cheered that loud!