In stark contrast to Wednesday’s giant slalom, the slalom on Thursday evening in Semmering, Austria, took place under clear skies as American Mikaela Shiffrin won her third race in a row with a combined time of 1:40.06 seconds, 0.64 seconds clear of Slovakian Veronika Velez Zuzulova in second and 1.54 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener in third.

First run action took place in the late afternoon as daylight waned across the mountains. The aggressive surface combined with the tight course set proved a formidable challenge for the field as 24 of the 69 starters failed to finish the opening run. Velez Zuzulova challenged the usually unshakeable Shiffrin in the first run as Shiffrin’s lead was only a slim 0.09 seconds heading into the second run under the lights.

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SEMMERING, AUSTRIA - DECEMBER 29: Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia takes 2nd place, Mikaela Shiffrin of USA takes 1st place, Wendy Holdener of Switzerland takes 3rd place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on December 29, 2016 in Semmering, Austria (Photo by Laurent Salino/Agence Zoom)
Photo by Laurent Salino/Agence Zoom

As the lights fully illuminated the slope, second run action delivered the excitement as fast skiing and shake-ups in the standings were on tap as the top 30 took to the course. Although the top three finishers after the first run maintained their positions, Velez Zuzulova looked to have finally unseated Shiffrin from the top of the podium as the American faltered in the first two intervals, losing time and forcing her to fight her way back into contention. With a brilliant bottom section that saw Shiffrin go from being 0.33 seconds down to finishing with a 0.64 second winning margin, the American cemented her claim as Queen of Semmering, taking her third victory at the venue in as many days. The last woman to win three tech races in a three day span was Swiss great Vreni Schneider in 1989.

“I felt like I was fighting, so I’m proud of that,” Shiffrin explained in the finish. “I didn’t even know that was a record, I was just trying to ski fast and have some fun. I’m still searching to have a perfect run and a really fast run, but sometimes it’s better to fight  so I did that today and I’m happy. I was trying to think about how Marcel Hirscher or maybe Henrik (Kristoffersen) would ski it. I don’t think I came close to that, but I was trying to channel that energy.”

Velez Zuzulova was understandably disappointed to lose out on a victory so close to the finish, but has faith that her skiing is there and is just waiting for the right time to shine and challenge Shiffrin’s slalom dominance.

“It’s hard,” she admitted. “For sure it’s hard because I try every race but I feel better and better and I hope it will go on the right way and it will come at the right time.”

Echoing The Slovakian, Holdener also feels like she has the speed to beat Shiffrin. The Swiss is planning on a couple of solid training days in Austria before her next chance at a win in Zagreb next week.

“The first run was tougher than the second because it was turnier,” Holdener said. “Yesterday I had the same problems. I had to fight a lot so I was used to it today. At the moment, I need some training days, but when I ski like I can, I can win.”

Apart from Shiffrin’s performance, the rest of the American contingent had a rough day as Resi Stiegler straddled a gate in the first run, Lila Lapanja ran into difficulty early and failed to qualify, and Megan McJames also failed to finish the first run.

Thursday’s race was the last before the New Year as racing action picks back up again in Zagreb, Croatia, for the annual Snow Queen Trophy slalom on Jan. 3.


 Top 10

  1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  2. Veronika Velez Zuzulova (SVK) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  3. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
  4. Nina Loeseth (NOR) – Rossignol/Lange/Look
  5. Bernadette Schild (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
  6. Sarka Strachova (CZE) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  7. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  8. Chiara Costazza (ITA) – Dynastar/Lange/Look
  9. Erin Mielzynski (CAN) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
  10. Maren Skjoeld (NOR) – Voelkl/Dalbello/Marker

Official Results

RankBibFIS CodeNameYearNationRun 1Run 2Total TimeDiff.FIS Points
 1 7 6535237SHIFFRIN Mikaela1995USA 50.74 49.32 1:40.06 0.00
 2 5 705287VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika1984SVK 50.83 49.87 1:40.70 +0.64 4.61
 3 6 516280HOLDENER Wendy1993SUI 51.33 50.27 1:41.60 +1.54 11.08
 4 1 425771LOESETH Nina1989NOR 51.76 50.29 1:42.05 +1.99 14.32
 5 12 56032SCHILD Bernadette1990AUT 52.14 49.93 1:42.07 +2.01 14.46
 6 4 155415STRACHOVA Sarka1985CZE 51.42 50.70 1:42.12 +2.06 14.82
 7 2 505679HANSDOTTER Frida1985SWE 51.33 50.87 1:42.20 +2.14 15.40
 8 26 296354COSTAZZA Chiara1984ITA 51.92 50.48 1:42.40 +2.34 16.84
 9 17 106961MIELZYNSKI Erin1990CAN 52.36 50.22 1:42.58 +2.52 18.13
 10 20 425981SKJOELD Maren1993NOR 52.45 50.42 1:42.87 +2.81 20.22
 11 10 296509CURTONI Irene1985ITA 51.77 51.18 1:42.95 +2.89 20.80
 12 9 516284GISIN Michelle1993SUI 52.09 50.92 1:43.01 +2.95 21.23
 13 40 197319BAUD MUGNIER Adeline1992FRA 53.25 50.10 1:43.35 +3.29 23.67
 14 8 196726BARTHET Anne-Sophie1988FRA 53.13 50.23 1:43.36 +3.30 23.75
 15 25 516528MEILLARD Melanie1998SUI 52.89 50.73 1:43.62 +3.56 25.62
 16 41 56174HAASER Ricarda1993AUT 53.63 50.08 1:43.71 +3.65 26.26
 17 38 206487WIESLER Maren1993GER 53.16 50.59 1:43.75 +3.69 26.55
 18 50 155728DUBOVSKA Martina1992CZE 53.34 50.82 1:44.16 +4.10 29.50
 19 32 206701WILLIBALD Elisabeth1996GER 54.42 49.84 1:44.26 +4.20 30.22
 20 44 56217BRUNNER Stephanie1994AUT 53.75 50.57 1:44.32 +4.26 30.65
 21 22 206279GEIGER Christina1990GER 53.66 50.73 1:44.39 +4.33 31.16
 22 52 56388LIENSBERGER Katharina1997AUT 54.29 50.17 1:44.46 +4.40 31.66
 23 28 565320FERK Marusa1988SLO 54.25 50.31 1:44.56 +4.50 32.38
 24 23 565401BUCIK Ana1993SLO 53.47 51.32 1:44.79 +4.73 34.04
 25 16 206355DUERR Lena1991GER 54.17 50.69 1:44.86 +4.80 34.54
 26 56 25096GUTIERREZ Mireia1988AND 54.14 50.81 1:44.95 +4.89 35.19
 27 27 515997FEIERABEND Denise1989SUI 54.18 51.16 1:45.34 +5.28 37.99
 28 63 565471HROVAT Meta1998SLO 54.28 51.30 1:45.58 +5.52 39.72
Disqualified 1st run
 49 196803MOUGEL Laurie1988FRA
Did not start 1st run
 53 307255ISHIKAWA Haruna1994JPN
 30 56367GALLHUBER Katharina1997AUT
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 69 299276BASSINO Marta1996ITA
 62 107613GRENIER Valerie1996CAN
 59 206408WEINBUCHNER Susanne1991GER
 58 516344KOPP Rahel1994SUI
 57 555018GASUNA Lelde1990LAT
 54 516562RAST Camille1999SUI
 47 516334CHABLE Charlotte1994SUI
 42 307493ANDO Asa1996JPN
 37 539927LAPANJA Lila1994USA
 35 485637ALOPINA Ksenia1992RUS
 34 306249HASEGAWA Emi1986JPN
 3 705423VLHOVA Petra1995SVK
Did not finish 2nd run
 19 506341WIKSTROEM Emelie1992SWE
 13 105269GAGNON Marie-Michele1989CAN
Did not finish 1st run
 68 197616ALPHAND Estelle1995FRA
 67 565403LIVK Klara1994SLO
 66 405138JELINKOVA Adriana1995NED
 65 665009SHKANOVA Maria1989BLR
 64 538284MCJAMES Megan1987USA
 61 425879RIIS-JOHANNESSEN Kristina1991NOR
 60 155699PAULATHOVA Katerina1993CZE
 55 225518GUEST Charlotte1993GBR
 51 355061HILZINGER Jessica1997GER
 48 56333MAIR Chiara1996AUT
 46 56253HUBER Katharina1995AUT
 45 425921HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten1992NOR
 43 315187IGNJATOVIC Nevena1990SRB
 39 206532SCHMOTZ Marlene1994GER
 36 225525TILLEY Alexandra1993GBR
 33 485802TKACHENKO Ekaterina1995RUS
 31 297601BRIGNONE Federica1990ITA
 29 56143GRUENWALD Julia1991AUT
 24 296259MOELGG Manuela1983ITA
 21 506146SWENN-LARSSON Anna1991SWE
 18 56315TRUPPE Katharina1996AUT
 15 55759KIRCHGASSER Michaela1985AUT
 14 196806NOENS Nastasia1988FRA
 11 537772STIEGLER Resi1985USA

 

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