In the age of Mikaela Shiffrin, it’s no small task for other women to win a slalom World Cup. Winning back-to-back slaloms is almost unheard of unless you’re Slovakian. On Saturday, Petra Vlhova won the first slalom race of the season in Levi, Finland, after closing out the 2016-17 season with a win in Aspen, Colo., back in March.

She is the first woman, other than Shiffrin, to win back-to-back World Cup slalom races since her fellow countrywoman Veronika Velez-Zuzulova did so in January 2016 at Flachau, Austria, when the American was off the slopes while recovering from a knee injury. Vlhova not only takes home the satisfaction of knowing she’ll wear the red bib at Killington, but also has a new reindeer friend to call her own.

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“It’s amazing,” she said breathlessly after the race. “Like I tell Mikaela, she’s really strong, fast, so for me, it’s best day today.”

Shiffrin, Vlhova and Holdener on the podium at the 2017 Levi World Cup. Image Credit: GEPA / Christian Walgram

The early season victory not only bodes well for an exciting rivalry between Vlhova and Shiffrin in slalom, but also for the Olympic Winter Games. In the last three Olympic seasons, the winner of the first slalom World Cup went on to win Olympic slalom gold – in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Of course, Shiffrin hopes to put a stop to that trend and defend her 2014 Olympic gold in PyeongChang, South Korea, this February.

The American joined Vlhova on the podium in second place after losing her 0.21-second lead from the first run.

“First, I want to say I’m always grateful to be on the podium, but it’s definitely tough especially when it’s so close,” said Shiffrin, “One-tenth is not much time, and I know exactly the places where I lost that time and it’s always a bit disappointing to look back on the run and say, ‘I wish that here I would have done this, or here I would have done that.’”

Despite the fact that the American has been so dominant in the discipline, she was not surprised that Vlhova walked away with the victory.

“I was training with Petra a little bit in the last few days before this race, and I knew that she’s been fast, so I expected that she would be strong and fast today,” Shiffrin shared. “She’s also really mentally tough. Everybody knows that from her performances last year as well, so I expect that it’s going to be a really cool fight with her this year and that’s exciting.”

Swiss skier Wendy Holdener, known affectionately on tour as “Sendy Wendy,” rounded out the podium in third place, 1.35 seconds off the winning pace. Did that podium give fans a little deja vu? It’s because the top three graced the podium last year in a slightly different order.

Off the podium, it was a big day for four ladies who attacked from the back to earn top-30 finishes. Austria’s Stephanie Brunner made a massive jump from bib 53 to an impressive eighth-place result. It marked her first top-10 finish in the discipline just a couple weeks after her fourth-place result in the GS at Soelden.

Brunner skis to a top 10 finish. Image Credit: GEPA / Christian Walgram

Brunner’s teammate Katharina Huber also made waves with a 12th-place result, moving up from bib 42. Mina Fuerst Holtmann of Norway was hot on her heels in 13th place, coming up from bib 51. The Attacking Viking is returning after two years away from racing due to back and knee injuries, and she is clearly in attack mode. Laurence St. Germain of Canada also logged a career-best result moving up 30 spots to a 17th-place result.

World Cup veterans Resi Stiegler and Megan McJames were the only other Americans on the start list. Stiegler kicked off the season with a 21st-place result while McJames did not qualify for the second run.

The ladies will leave the Arctic Circle and head to the U.S. for the next World Cup races at Killington, Vt. World Cup racing action continues on Sunday with the first men’s slalom of the season.


Top 10

  1. Petra Vlhova (SVK) –  Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  2. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) –  Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
  3. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
  4. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) –  Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  5. Melanie Meillard (SUI) –  Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  6. Lena Duerr (GER) – Voelkl / Marker / Dalbello
  7. Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
  8. Stephanie Brunner (AUT) – Head / Head / Head
  9. Ana Bucik (SLO) – Stoeckli / Salomon / Head
  10. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol

Official Results

RankBibFIS CodeNameYearNationRun 1Run 2Total TimeDiff.FIS PointsWC Points
 1 7 705423VLHOVA Petra1995SVK 55.87 54.11 1:49.98 0.00 100.00
 2 3 6535237SHIFFRIN Mikaela1995USA 55.66 54.42 1:50.08 +0.10 0.65 80.00
 3 4 516280HOLDENER Wendy1993SUI 56.86 54.47 1:51.33 +1.35 8.84 60.00
 4 1 505679HANSDOTTER Frida1985SWE 56.39 55.76 1:52.15 +2.17 14.21 50.00
 5 14 516528MEILLARD Melanie1998SUI 57.61 54.95 1:52.56 +2.58 16.89 45.00
 6 16 206355DUERR Lena1991GER 57.23 55.53 1:52.76 +2.78 18.20 40.00
 7 34 506146SWENN-LARSSON Anna1991SWE 57.48 55.68 1:53.16 +3.18 20.82 36.00
 8 53 56217BRUNNER Stephanie1994AUT 58.38 54.80 1:53.18 +3.20 20.95 32.00
 9 13 565401BUCIK Ana1993SLO 57.46 55.78 1:53.24 +3.26 21.34 29.00
 10 17 105269GAGNON Marie-Michele1989CAN 57.41 56.05 1:53.46 +3.48 22.78 26.00
 11 19 55759KIRCHGASSER Michaela1985AUT 58.09 55.41 1:53.50 +3.52 23.04 24.00
 12 42 56253HUBER Katharina1995AUT 58.02 55.53 1:53.55 +3.57 23.37 22.00
 13 51 426100HOLTMANN Mina Fuerst1995NOR 58.68 55.05 1:53.73 +3.75 24.55 20.00
 14 5 506341WIKSTROEM Emelie1992SWE 57.32 56.44 1:53.76 +3.78 24.75 18.00
 15 15 516284GISIN Michelle1993SUI 58.36 55.57 1:53.93 +3.95 25.86 16.00
 16 21 515997FEIERABEND Denise1989SUI 58.86 55.08 1:53.94 +3.96 25.92 15.00
 17 47 107427ST-GERMAIN Laurence1994CAN 58.31 55.65 1:53.96 +3.98 26.06 14.00
 17 25 565320FERK Marusa1988SLO 57.89 56.07 1:53.96 +3.98 26.06 14.00
 17 12 425981SKJOELD Maren1993NOR 58.25 55.71 1:53.96 +3.98 26.06 14.00
 20 27 206487WIESLER Maren1993GER 57.94 56.03 1:53.97 +3.99 26.12 11.00
 21 11 537772STIEGLER Resi1985USA 58.67 55.46 1:54.13 +4.15 27.17 10.00
 22 23 296259MOELGG Manuela1983ITA 58.72 55.49 1:54.21 +4.23 27.69 9.00
 23 28 56367GALLHUBER Katharina1997AUT 58.57 55.68 1:54.25 +4.27 27.95 8.00
 24 18 55977THALMANN Carmen1989AUT 58.50 55.87 1:54.37 +4.39 28.74 7.00
 25 36 197616ALPHAND Estelle1995SWE 58.31 56.08 1:54.39 +4.41 28.87 6.00
 26 30 196806NOENS Nastasia1988FRA 58.41 56.06 1:54.47 +4.49 29.39 5.00
 27 22 106961MIELZYNSKI Erin1990CAN 58.45 56.06 1:54.51 +4.53 29.66 4.00
 28 9 296354COSTAZZA Chiara1984ITA 58.41 56.12 1:54.53 +4.55 29.79 3.00
 29 37 155728DUBOVSKA Martina1992CZE 58.15 56.46 1:54.61 +4.63 30.31 2.00
Did not finish 2nd run
 2 425771HAVER-LOESETH Nina1989NOR 57.03
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 70 555035BONDARE Liene1996LAT 1:04.11
 68 298723MIDALI Roberta1994ITA 1:01.22
 66 65117VANREUSEL Kim1998BEL 1:00.39
 65 538284MCJAMES Megan1987USA 1:00.38
 63 225518GUEST Charlie1993GBR 1:00.48
 60 185430HONKANEN Riikka1998FIN 59.36
 58 405138JELINKOVA Adriana1995NED 1:00.55
 57 298767SOSIO Federica1994ITA 1:00.15
 56 305944KIYOSAWA Emiko1983JPN 1:01.30
 55 516437BISSIG Carole1996SUI 59.97
 54 506350EKLUND Nathalie1992SWE 59.75
 52 665009SHKANOVA Maria1989BLR 1:00.36
 50 155727CAPOVA Gabriela1993CZE 1:00.39
 49 565403LIVK Klara1994SLO 59.64
 48 307493ANDO Asa1996JPN 1:00.50
 46 506664FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena1995SWE 1:00.06
 45 25096GUTIERREZ Mireia1988AND 59.53
 41 56388LIENSBERGER Katharina1997AUT 58.89
 40 516426STOFFEL Elena1996SUI 59.23
 39 355061HILZINGER Jessica1997GER 59.86
 35 485802TKACHENKO Ekaterina1995RUS 59.73
 33 306249HASEGAWA Emi1986JPN 1:00.30
 32 506348STAALNACKE Ylva1992SWE 58.98
 29 56174HAASER Ricarda1993AUT 59.07
 26 196726BARTHET Anne-Sophie1988FRA 59.64
 24 56143GRUENWALD Julia1991AUT 59.25
Did not finish 1st run
 71 185435HAKALA Kia-Emilia1998FIN
 69 185437HANNOLA Hilla1998FIN
 67 197808BOEUF Johanna1997FRA
 64 555018GASUNA Lelde1990LAT
 62 197540FORNI Josephine1994FRA
 61 426187LYSDAHL Kristin1996NOR
 59 565471HROVAT Meta1998SLO
 44 225525TILLEY Alex1993GBR
 43 506399HECTOR Sara1992SWE
 38 485637ALOPINA Ksenia1992RUS
 31 315187IGNJATOVIC Nevena1990SRB
 20 206536WALLNER Marina1994GER
 8 56315TRUPPE Katharina1996AUT
 6 56032SCHILD Bernadette1990AUT
Did not start 1st run
 10 296509CURTONI Irene1985ITA