In Ofterschwang, Germany, which is in the Bavarian Alps and one of the lowest elevated stops on the World Cup tour, the weather conditions and temperatures creates a slushy spring race. Organizers fought back with salt and hard work to solidify the track, creating an exciting race.

American Mikaela Shiffrin won the slalom with her trademark grace and clinched the fifth World Cup slalom globe of her young career. Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener and Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter shared the podium with her in second and third, respectively.

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“I think they did a really good job for the course; for sure it’s warm and a little bit on the softer side; I am better on the ice,” said Hansdotter. “But I am satisfied with my skiing and it was a fun day.”

The first run was set by Shiffrin’s coach Mike Day, and she took advantage to take the early lead.

“This hill suits Mikaela. It’s not overly steep out of the start giving her the opportunity to establish a good feeling. I expect to see her building momentum across the middle of the course before charging down the final pitch,” said Jeff Lackie, one of Shiffrin’s coaches, before the race.

Shiffrin did her job well and led after the first run, but it turned out to be a tight race. Shiffrin did not separate herself as clearly as she had in many other races this season. Katharina Gallhuber and Bernadette Schild from Austria sat in second and third after first run, just 0.30 and 0.39 seconds off the pace, respectively.

“It was not easy to go into the second run and think, ‘Oh yeah, I am fine. I can just ski,” said Shiffrin.

The wild crowd and announcers could be heard from the start before her second run.

“I felt I really had to fight for the second run and I also knew Wendy had a great run because I could hear it from the announcer,” recalled the American.

The pressure was turned up for second run with a globe on the line. Shiffrin made it look easy. She skied with full confidence and executed the fundamentals, which especially important on a track like Saturday’s – softer and slushier including some bumps.

Nevertheless, Shiffrin charged to her 31st slalom win, and 42nd in total. She now owns the record for most World Cup wins before the age of 23, just three days before her birthday.

“My biggest challenge this year has not been the Olympics, or the (World Cup) overall or any of that,” admitted Shiffrin after a long Olympic season. “But getting motivated for these last races has been.”

For some athletes, these weren’t just the last races of the the season, but that last of their careers. Two big names waved goodbye to life on the women’s World Cup circuit in Ofterschwang: Michaela Kirchgasser from Austria and Veronika Velez Zuzulova from Slovakia. Both have had storied careers and also know the painful experiences of injuries.

Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia takes her final World Cup run. // Image credit: GEPA / Florian Ertl

Velez Zuzulova, who was on the World Cup tour for nearly two decades, and Kirchgasser, who made her World Cup debut in 2001, dressed up in costume and skied down the first run freely. They both stopped on the way down repetitively at their coaches’ positions to hug and thank them. Kirchgasser was stormed by her team mates in the finish area and champagne was sprayed all over.

Both athletes were well-respected by their competitors and will be missed on the White Circus.

“Well, it is sad to lose them both. They have been cool athletes and great personalities,” said Holdener about Velez-Zuzulova and Kirchgasser.

Shiffrin echoed Holdener.

“It was a funny day, but also really sad,” said Shiffrin. “I have been very inspired by them; I watched them when I grew up and I also had great fights with them over the past years; in particular with Veronika [Velez-Zuzulova].”

Now that the women’s regular season is over, qualified athletes are headed to World Cup Finals in Are, Sweden.


Top 10

  1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  2. Wendy Holdener (SUI) –  Head / Head / Head
  3. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) –  Rossignol Look / Rossignol
  4. Petra Vlhova (SVK) –  Rossignol Look / Rossignol
  5. Katharina Gallhuber (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  6. Bernadette Schild (AUT) –  Head / Head / Head
  7. Erin Mielzynski (CAN) – Rossignol Look / Rossignol
  8. Anna Swenn Larsson (SWE) – Head / Head / Head
  9. Michelle Gisin (SUI) –  Rossignol Look / Rossignol
  10. Katharina Liensberger (AUT) – Rossignol Look / Rossignol

Official Results

RankBibFIS CodeNameYearNationRun 1Run 2Total TimeDiff.FIS PointsWC Points
 1 4 6535237SHIFFRIN Mikaela1995USA 54.25 54.85 1:49.10 0.00 100
 2 3 516280HOLDENER Wendy1993SUI 54.71 54.48 1:49.19 +0.09 0.59 80
 3 6 505679HANSDOTTER Frida1985SWE 54.69 55.13 1:49.82 +0.72 4.75 60
 4 7 705423VLHOVA Petra1995SVK 54.90 55.07 1:49.97 +0.87 5.74 50
 5 1 56367GALLHUBER Katharina1997AUT 54.55 55.50 1:50.05 +0.95 6.27 45
 6 5 56032SCHILD Bernadette1990AUT 54.64 55.61 1:50.25 +1.15 7.59 40
 7 10 106961MIELZYNSKI Erin1990CAN 55.40 55.32 1:50.72 +1.62 10.69 36
 7 8 506146SWENN LARSSON Anna1991SWE 55.53 55.19 1:50.72 +1.62 10.69 36
 9 14 516284GISIN Michelle1993SUI 55.56 55.26 1:50.82 +1.72 11.35 29
 10 15 56388LIENSBERGER Katharina1997AUT 55.88 55.04 1:50.92 +1.82 12.01 26
 11 24 55977THALMANN Carmen1989AUT 56.26 54.99 1:51.25 +2.15 14.19 24
 11 9 515997FEIERABEND Denise1989SUI 55.75 55.50 1:51.25 +2.15 14.19 24
 13 11 56315TRUPPE Katharina1996AUT 55.99 55.31 1:51.30 +2.20 14.52 20
 14 2 425771HAVER-LOESETH Nina1989NOR 55.11 56.32 1:51.43 +2.33 15.38 18
 15 13 296354COSTAZZA Chiara1984ITA 56.38 55.19 1:51.57 +2.47 16.30 16
 16 33 506583SAEFVENBERG Charlotta1994SWE 56.44 55.27 1:51.71 +2.61 17.22 15
 17 26 196806NOENS Nastasia1988FRA 57.23 54.51 1:51.74 +2.64 17.42 14
 18 17 206536WALLNER Marina1994GER 56.68 55.16 1:51.84 +2.74 18.08 13
 19 31 297601BRIGNONE Federica1990ITA 57.01 55.08 1:52.09 +2.99 19.73 12
 20 50 426187LYSDAHL Kristin1996NOR 57.40 54.99 1:52.39 +3.29 21.71 11
 20 41 56253HUBER Katharina1995AUT 57.27 55.12 1:52.39 +3.29 21.71 11
 22 21 565401BUCIK Ana1993SLO 56.90 55.91 1:52.81 +3.71 24.48 9
 23 29 197319BAUD MUGNIER Adeline1992FRA 57.19 55.65 1:52.84 +3.74 24.68 8
 24 18 506341WIKSTROEM Emelie1992SWE 57.08 55.91 1:52.99 +3.89 25.67 7
 25 40 565471HROVAT Meta1998SLO 57.52 55.66 1:53.18 +4.08 26.93 6
 26 42 506399HECTOR Sara1992SWE 57.92 55.56 1:53.48 +4.38 28.91 5
 27 22 425981SKJOELD Maren1993NOR 58.00 55.52 1:53.52 +4.42 29.17 4
 28 27 107427ST-GERMAIN Laurence1994CAN 56.86 57.78 1:54.64 +5.54 36.56 3
Did not finish 2nd run
 25 56217BRUNNER Stephanie1994AUT 57.26 0
 20 197616ALPHAND Estelle1995SWE 57.00 0
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 54 35089SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena1984ARG 1:02.09 0
 53 507018RASK Sara2000SWE 58.90 0
 51 405138JELINKOVA Adriana1995NED 59.25 0
 48 516437BISSIG Carole1996SUI 59.06 0
 47 297851AZZOLA Michela1991ITA 59.00 0
 46 155727CAPOVA Gabriela1993CZE 58.60 0
 45 565403LIVK Klara1994SLO 58.25 0
 43 25096GUTIERREZ Mireia1988AND 58.56 0
 39 516426STOFFEL Elena1996SUI 58.43 0
 37 485637ALOPINA Ksenia1992RUS 58.96 0
 35 155728DUBOVSKA Martina1992CZE 58.29 0
 34 485802TKACHENKO Ekaterina1995RUS 58.60 0
 32 315187IGNJATOVIC Nevena1990SRB 58.31 0
 23 565320FERK Marusa1988SLO 58.07 0
Did not finish 1st run
 52 197724ESPOSITO Ninon1996FRA 0
 49 665009SHKANOVA Maria1989BLR 0
 38 516504DANIOTH Aline1998SUI 0
 36 206487WIESLER Maren1993GER 0
 30 56143GRUENWALD Julia1991AUT 0
 28 55759KIRCHGASSER Michaela1985AUT 0
 19 705287VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika1984SVK 0
 16 206355DUERR Lena1991GER 0
 12 296509CURTONI Irene1985ITA 0
Disqualified 1st run
 44 298723MIDALI Roberta1994ITA 0