ASPEN, CO (Nov. 28, 2015)—It was a historic day at the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational, as Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) dominated her competitors by over three seconds to take the first American women's win at Aspen since 1981.
It had been a high and dry 34 years, with no American standing on top of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup podium at Aspen since Tamara McKinney won in 1981. And Shiffrin didn’t just break the record; she annihilated it, winning the race by 3.07 seconds. That margin broke yet another record—it was the largest women’s slalom win margin since 1968.
“It’s a special day. I was a little bit nervous, but I handled it well,” said Shiffrin. “My skis were great. Everything set up perfectly. I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again.”
Shiffrin finished ahead of Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia and Frida Hansdotter of Sweden. “I really charged! I fought hard in the second run,” said Shiffrin, who crashed two gates from the finish in yesterday’s GS. “[Yesterday] was a big disappointment, so I had some anger. I took that into today.
Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY) was the only other American to make the flip, taking 15th place. It was her first race back after her knee injury. “I was really nervous today. It was my first World Cup back and I did some intense coming back this time! I wasn’t really sure where I was standing,” said Stiegler. “I just went for it and tried to learn a lot since luckily we have two World Cups. We can really take something from today into tomorrow.”
Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, NV)—who was racing her first World Cup—and Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN) did not finish first run.
Shiffrin and her teammates will race slalom again on Sunday before she heads to Lake Louise for the super G. The race will air live in NBC at 3 p.m. ET.
My teammate Resi Stiegler gave a pretty epic course report. She said ‘this thing is a ripper.’ When you get through that flush and come over the breakover to the last pitch, she said, ‘that’s your section!’
It’s a special day. I was a little bit nervous, but I handled it well and I definitely had a lot of support—my coaches, my parents and everybody were like, you know what, you know how to ski slalom. Forget about the nerves and just do your thing. They all said the right stuff. My skis were great. Everything set up perfectly. I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again.
I’m really excited to get back on this hill tomorrow. We don’t ever get a chance to do two slaloms in a row and I often feel after a slalom race, I want to ski another race the next day. Hopefully, I can get back to my room, get a little nap in, get some rest time and come out tomorrow and attack again.
It’s just incredible, it’s hard to explain, the comebacks. I can come back from anything, obviously, but you never know if you’re going to get hurt on your way to the course or if you’re going to get hurt for some stupid thing—like walking on ice. When you get back in the gate, that’s your only time to shine. That’s the moment where I try to push myself as hard as I can. When I have a good moment or feel good, it’s the most unbelievable feeling in the world.