Frida Hansdotter has a record number of second-place finishes, 15 to be exact. But on Tuesday night under the lights in Flachau, Austria, the Swede took the fourth World Cup win of her career, wearing bib six. She finished with a combined time of 1:51.40.
Hansdotter was dominant, in part, thanks to her first run, where she led by 0.95 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener. The course, which was set by U.S. Ski Team coach Jeff Lackie, was particularly turny.
“I’m better when it’s a little bit straighter because I get more speed in, but I for sure saw it in inspection that you really need to work it every gate, so that was my only goal, so maybe that’s the secret,” the slalom star said after her first run.
After skiing the first-run course set by her coach, Mikaela Shiffrin found herself in fifth position, 1.38 seconds off of the Swede’s pace. The American was able to regain some time with a ripping second run, coming down with a combined time of 1:52.18. She ended the day in third place, 0.78 seconds behind Hansdotter’s winning pace and tied with Holdener.
“It felt a lot better the second run,” Shiffrin said. “For sure, I was disappointed with my first run, but to be honest, I try to learn from it. I really, really enjoyed watching Frida ski today. It was incredible, and it looked like she had fun and I’m really happy for her.”
Hansdotter, who has been on the podium in the last six slalom races in Flachau, loves the night slalom ambiance.
“It’s the night atmosphere,” she shared. “I think night slalom is so fun, and the crowd, you can see it from the start. It’s so much fun for racing.”
It didn’t hurt that she was wearing her lucky number, one that has stuck with her since played soccer as a kid and the same number she was wearing when she won at the venue in 2015.
Between the Swede and the American was Norwegian tech skier Nina Loeseth, earning her sixth career World Cup podium and her first since she earned second place in the giant slalom at Killington earlier this season.
“I kind of thought, ‘It’s all or nothing. It’s kill or be killed here,’ because it was a pretty easy course, and I felt pretty strong,” said the Attacking Viking. “It was pretty intimidating, the strong girls that were starting behind me or before me in the second run, so that’s why I probably was super excited when I saw that green light.”
Holdener, who tied with Shiffrin for third place, has been a regular on the slalom podium this season, earning either second or third place in all, but one slalom when she DNFed.
“It’s really exciting because a lot of girls can stand on the podium, and it makes it hard for us because you have to push and go to see the green light in the finish,” she said.
The Swiss skier continued to say that she knows still has her best skiing to show fans and competitors and hopes to show it off in the coming weeks.
Aside from Shiffrin, Resi Stiegler was the only other American to qualify for a second run, ending the night in 15th place. Lila Lapanja and Megan McJames did not qualify for a second run while Keely Cashman, who made her World Cup debut, did not finish first run.
In the overall standings, Shiffrin has surpassed the 1,000 point threshold, currently boasting 1008 points. Switzerland’s Lara Gut, who did not finish the first run of the slalom, has 643 points and sits in second place. The American also continues to lead in the slalom standings with 560 points with Slovakian Veronika Velez Zuzulova 125 points behind her.
1. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
2. Nina Loeseth (NOR) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
3. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
3. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
5. Veronika Velez Zuzulova (SVK) – Salomon / Salomon / Salomon
6. Katharina Truppe (AUT) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
7. Bernadette Schild (AUT) – Head / Head / Head
8. Christina Geiger (GER) – Rossignol / Rossignol / Rossignol
9. Emelie Wikstroem (SWE) – Voelkl / Marker / Dalbello
10. Sarka Strachova (CZE) – Fischer / Fischer / Fischer
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|5||5||705287||VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK||58.06||55.13||1:53.19||+1.79||11.57||45.00|
|26||50||425921||HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten||1992||NOR||1:00.71||55.17||1:55.88||+4.48||28.96||5.00|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|75||35079||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|71||35089||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|25||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA|