LIENZ, Austria — World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin returned to the site of her first Alpine World Cup slalom podium to further her status as a giant slalom threat after finishing third Saturday in Lienz, Austria.
Fourth after the opening run, the 18-year-old Shiffrin stormed within .01 of second place on the icy slope for just the second World Cup giant slalom podium of her young career. Her first came Dec. 1 in Beaver Creek, Colo., site of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
“I’m normally pretty comfortable within half a second on a first run. It’s always better to come down and feel like you separated yourself from everybody, but I’m not quite there in GS,” Shiffrin said. “As long as I am in this position where I can really attack I’m psyched with that.”
Austrian Anna Fenninger won for her second straight giant slalom victory in Lienz, while Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley finished 29th and will return home for a planned break. Mancuso will return to action for the speed series Jan. 11-12 in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria.
“You learn the most when things don’t go as planned,” Mancuso, who has only one top-15 finish this season, posted to her Facebook page Monday. “Sports are exciting and the reward of being at the top is an unbelievable feeling of fulfillment. But what is even more fulfilling, is the choice to feel good when things seem ‘bad.’
“Perspective is everything. I’m taking a short break at home to change my perspective, hit the recharge button, explore some equipment issues with my intuition, and most of all have fun with my friends and family. I encourage everyone to always remember there is a bright side to every situation! The universe wants us to smile.”
On Sunday, Shiffrin led the U.S. team with her 12th top-three finish of her young career with a second-place finish in the Lienz slalom.
Leading after the first run despite light rain, Shiffrin couldn’t hold her lead in the foggy and rutted final as Austrian Marlies Schild earned the historic 35th slalom win of her career to break the record of Swiss racer Vreni Schneider set in 1995.
“Two podiums in two days was really exciting for me,” Shiffrin said. “I’m having a lot of fun skiing slalom and giant slalom. Both days were good. Lienz is a great stop for me. I made my first podium here two years ago.”
Resi Stiegler from Jackson Hole, Wyo., was 21st after the first run and finished 16th for her best result of the 2014 Olympic season.