Shiffrin dominant in Levi slalom opener


Shiffrin for the win in Levi (credit: GEPA/Christopher Kelemen)

Shiffrin for the win in Levi (GEPA/Christopher Kelemen)

The 2013-14 World Cup slalom season got rolling in Levi, Finland Saturday with a serious case of déjà vu.

It began much like the last ended, with Mikaela Shiffrin, Tina Maze and Maria Hoefl-Riesch battling it out for top honors. The outcome was the same, but the margin was quite a bit more lopsided, as Shiffrin was visibly in a league of her own, winning both runs with authority.

The 18-year-old world slalom champion skied something short of two perfect runs, making a major recovery on the steep in her first lap and nearly missing the third-to-last gate of the second. But at no point was there even an inkling of an appearance that she might not win this race.

“Maybe I was a little bit lucky in the first run, I can’t even really remember it,” said Shiffrin. “But I just wanted to take the second run like its own race and really hammer it. I was in the gate and like, ‘No mercy, charge down this course’ and I think I did.

“There’s definitely some relief there… one of my goals is to keep my slalom standings, and it’s nice to know I’m not that far off.”

The first run was characterized by unusually tight results, purportedly due to wind, which enabled several ladies from the back of the pack to make flip. The 30th fastest racer, Manuela Moelgg, posted a first-run time just 1.69 seconds behind that of Shiffrin.

“There was super strong wind, crazy uphill wind. Some people really didn’t have a chance,” said Canadian coach Hugues Ansermoz. “In the second run we started with the sun and then it went away and they were half in light, half in the dark.”

Last season’s overall champ Tina Maze slipped back from second to third position from the first run to the second, losing time gradually on then-leader Hoefl-Riesch. But Maze was all smiles in the finish area, just three weeks removed from an extremely disappointing GS opener in Soelden.

Last season’s winner in Levi, Hoefl-Riesch, led an impressive German squad, which qualified six ladies for the flip. In her second dive, the Olympic slalom champ was sluggish at the first split, but made up time in the midsection, then charged hard to the finish to set the time to beat. The result came just moments after the Austrian 18-year-old sporting bib 54, Christina Ager, tore the course apart with a blistering pace, which ultimately landed her in fourth on the day.

“It’s really cool to see a new group of girls coming up that’s like the next generation of girls from everywhere,” said Shiffrin. “It’s cool to see where they’re from, what they’re doing, how old they are and it makes me feel good to have a group of younger girls around me. I know if I was in their position it would be awesome to see a young girl winning and would think, if she can do it, why can’t I? And that’s my goal here, to inspire younger racers to get there and they did today.”

Canada’s Marie-Michele Gagnon had a bobble over a rollover at the top of her second pass but made a strong recovery to produce two solid runs and finish fifth, her first single-digit result in four starts at Levi.

“I’m stoked – just super happy that this race brought me fifth place and so, so happy for Elli. She was awesome today,” said Gagnon. “It was a weird race – it was a bit of a free-for-all. I knew I wasn’t far out after the first run. I skied just like I do in training – it was just like a normal run.”

Her teammate Elli Terwiel skied to a surprising finish on the first run and ultimately finished 11th for a career-best result. Terwiel has now fulfilled half of the Canadian team’s Olympic qualifying criteria which requires two top-12 World Cup results for a spot in Sochi.

“When I came down at the end of the first run I was fourth and I did a little bit of an open-jawed spin-around in the finish. It was a little too good to be true,” said the 24-year-old Terwiel. “A lot of things can go sideways so I tried to just focus on my skiing and the things I’ve been working on in training this summer.”

Americans Resi Stiegler and Paula Moltzan also started, but did not make the top-30 final. Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso did not compete in favor of additional training in Colorado.

With the win, Shiffrin picks up an early 100 points in the slalom standings. She also received a reindeer, which she promptly named “Rudolf.”

View our gallery of photos from today’s race here.

 

The Scoop

By Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup slalom, Levi, Finland, Nov. 16, 2013

Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Shiffrin Atomic Atomic Atomic

2 Hoefl-Riesch Head Lange Head

3 Maze Stoeckli Lange Atomic

4 Ager Atomic Atomic Atomic

5 Gagnon Rossignol Rossignol Rossignol

6 Geiger Rossignol Rossignol Rossignol

7 Loeseth Voelkl Tecnica Marker

8 Hansdotter Rossignol Rossignol Rossignol

9 Swenn-Larsson Head Head Head

10 Feierabend Head Head Head

Women’s World Cup Slalom, Levi, Finland, Nov. 16, 2013.… It is the second of 32 races on the women’s 2013-14 World Cup tour. … The first of eight women’s slaloms.… It is the 15th Cup race – all of them slaloms – hosted by Levi, the first of a two race set that includes a men’s slalom Nov. 17.

Windy… snow is blowing around on course.

After first run Shiffrin lead is .52… 30th place(Anne-Sophie Barthet) is 1.7… 11 first run DNF’s include Marlies Schild, Michaela Kirchgasser and Wendy Holdener.

It is the fifth World Cup win for Mikaela Shiffrin, all in slalom.… It is her second score at Levi having placed third last season.… It is the 263rd US Cup win.… Five slalom wins ties her with Bode Miller for fifth all time among US skiers.… Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney each have nine wins, Steve Mahre owns eight and Kristina Koznick six. She matches Christin Cooper and Kiki Cutter for 11th all-time on the US World Cup victory list.

It is the 73rd career World Cup podium result for Maria Hoefl-Riesch… her 24th in slalom.… It is the seventh podium scored at Levi including victories 11/2012, 11/2009 and 2/2004.

It is the 63rd career World Cup podium result for Tina Maze… her 15th in slalom.… It is the first podium at Levi for Maze in four scoring finishes.

It is the sixth World Cup top five for Marie-Michele Gagnon… her fourth in slalom. Her previous best at Levi had been 10th last season.…It is a career-best World Cup result for Elli Terwiel and just her fifth scoring result.

The race represents first scoring results for Martina Dubovska, Marlene Schmotz, Maren Wiesler, Charlotta Saefvenberg, and Christina Ager.

Shiffrin takes over the lead of the women’s overall World Cup standings 140-100 over Soelden winner Lara Gut (did not complete).… Kathrin Zettel (15th in race) is third overall with 96 total points.

Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 424-343 over France.… Germany is third at 276 and the US fourth with 267pts…. Canada sits eighth with 95pts.

 

Results — Levi Women’s World Cup Slalom

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  4  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  57.23  57.84  1:55.07  0.00
 2  14  206001 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria 1984 GER  57.92  58.21  1:56.13  5.71
 3  6  565243 MAZE Tina 1983 SLO  57.75  58.93  1:56.68  8.67
 4  53  56258 AGER Christina 1995 AUT  57.93  58.80  1:56.73  8.94
 5  16  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  58.28  58.52  1:56.80  9.32
 6  20  206279 GEIGER Christina 1990 GER  58.18  58.68  1:56.86  9.64
 7  19  425771 LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  58.85  58.10  1:56.95  10.13
 8  5  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  58.45  58.52  1:56.97  10.24
 9  17  506146 SWENN-LARSSON Anna 1991 SWE  58.54  58.60  1:57.14  11.15
 10  45  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI  57.96  59.26  1:57.22  11.58
 11  32  106183 TERWIEL Elli 1989 CAN  58.09  59.21  1:57.30  12.02
 12  43  205239 WIRTH Barbara 1989 GER  58.60  58.83  1:57.43  12.72
 13  15  55690 HOSP Nicole 1983 AUT  58.68  58.78  1:57.46  12.88
 14  35  506583 SAEFVENBERG Charlotta 1994 SWE  58.73  58.74  1:57.47  12.93
 15  2  55838 ZETTEL Kathrin 1986 AUT  58.42  59.18  1:57.60  13.63
 16  63  206536 WALLNER Marina 1994 GER  57.92  59.79  1:57.71  14.22
 17  8  506350 EKLUND Nathalie 1992 SWE  58.79  58.93  1:57.72  14.28
 18  48  196793 MARMOTTAN Anemone 1988 FRA  58.58  59.15  1:57.73  14.33
 19  23  55807 DAUM Alexandra 1986 AUT  58.59  59.35  1:57.94  15.46
 20  7  505760 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria 1986 SWE  58.82  59.39  1:58.21  16.92
 21  28  506341 WIKSTROEM Emelie 1992 SWE  58.77  59.55  1:58.32  17.51
 22  71  196725 BARIOZ Taina 1988 FRA  58.68  59.78  1:58.46  18.27
 23  66  206487 WIESLER Maren 1993 GER  58.38  1:00.09  1:58.47  18.32
 23  58  206532 SCHMOTZ Marlene 1994 GER  58.39  1:00.08  1:58.47  18.32
 25  24  196806 NOENS Nastasia 1988 FRA  58.33  1:00.30  1:58.63  19.18
 26  67  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA  58.92  59.91  1:58.83  20.26
 27  22  296354 COSTAZZA Chiara 1984 ITA  58.75  1:00.15  1:58.90  20.64
 28  64  155728 DUBOVSKA Martina 1992 CZE  58.82  1:00.81  1:59.63  24.57
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 76  185337 HOLM Sandra 1992 FIN
 75  185282 HAPPONEN Emma 1990 FIN
 74  297171 FANCHINI Sabrina 1988 ITA
 69  385041 NOVOSELIC Sofija 1990 CRO
 68  25096 GUTIERREZ Mireia 1988 AND
 65  565331 LAVTAR Katarina 1988 SLO
 62  196179 BERTRAND Marion 1984 FRA
 60  705349 GANTNEROVA Jana 1989 SVK
 59  435189 KLUS Aleksandra 1986 POL
 56  56174 HAASER Ricarda 1993 AUT
 55  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB
 54  65038 PERSYN Karen 1983 BEL
 52  185317 SOPPELA Merle 1991 FIN
 51  206497 FILSER Andrea 1993 GER
 50  305962 HANAOKA Moe 1984 JPN
 49  306249 HASEGAWA Emi 1986 JPN
 47  297591 BENZONI Marta 1990 ITA
 46  539909 MOLTZAN Paula 1994 USA
 44  297233 PARDELLER Sarah 1988 ITA
 42  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO
 41  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK
 40  106633 GOODMAN Anna 1986 CAN
 39  297851 AZZOLA Michela 1991 ITA
 38  506664 FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena 1995 SWE
 37  306096 HOSHI Mizue 1985 JPN
 34  305944 KIYOSAWA Emiko 1983 JPN
 33  196928 WORLEY Tessa 1989 FRA
 31  195972 AUBERT Sandrine 1982 FRA
 30  206160 RIESCH Susanne 1987 GER
 27  537772 STIEGLER Resi 1985 USA
 26  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie 1988 FRA
 25  107068 PHELAN Brittany 1991 CAN
 21  55977 THALMANN Carmen 1989 AUT
 18  206355 DUERR Lena 1991 GER
 12  56032 SCHILD Bernadette 1990 AUT
 11  106961 MIELZYNSKI Erin 1990 CAN
 9  155415 STRACHOVA Sarka 1985 CZE
Did not finish 2nd run
 29  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI
 1  185140 POUTIAINEN Tanja 1980 FIN
Did not finish 1st run
 78  395015 TOBI Triin 1995 EST
 77  555018 GASUNA Lelde 1990 LAT
 73  485563 PROSTEVA Elena 1990 RUS
 72  225525 TILLEY Alexandra 1993 GBR
 70  516344 KOPP Rahel 1994 SUI
 61  506348 STAALNACKE Ylva 1992 SWE
 57  506555 BLOMQVIST Lisa 1994 SWE
 36  425887 LOESETH Mona 1991 NOR
 13  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT
 10  55590 SCHILD Marlies 1981 AUT
 3  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI

 

This article was corrected on Nov. 16 to properly reflect Ager’s nationality as Austrian.

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