Mikaela Shiffrin dominates World Cup slalom in return from injury
CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland — Mikaela Shiffrin returned from injury to dominate Monday’s World Cup slalom race in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. The win marked her 18th World Cup victory.
“That was a pretty incredible race,” said Shiffrin, who suffered a knee injury warming up for a race in December. “I’m glad it’s over, but I enjoyed skiing that last run; it was really rough and a challenge at every single gate. It was just bumpy and a wild ride — tough, but a good fight, and that’s the way it should be.”
Resi Stiegler recorded her best slalom result of the season in eighth, while Incline Village native Lila Lapanja did not finish. Lapanja showed significant promise as she started 43rd in the first run and skied to a 17th-place finish. However, she got caught in a rut on the top section of the course during her second run, straddled and failed to finish.
“I didn’t want to ski to finish for just points,” Lapanja said. “I just wanted to go, and go and go. I went a little too direct tactically where I needed to give a little bit. So, it didn’t work out, but the mental approach is getting pretty strong and I definitely can’t wait until Jasna (Slovakia, March 5-6).”
Shiffrin, starting as the final racer in the second run, watched as racer after racer battled deteriorating course conditions and visibility issues as clouds shrouded the upper portion of the course. In dominating fashion though, she extended her first-run advantage through the rutted course and cruised to victory by 0.45 over France’s Nastasia Noens. Marie-Michele Gagnon of Canada finished third.
“There were some scrappy turns … none of the girls skied their best, and I didn’t ski my best,” Shiffrin said of the challenging course conditions. “It was just one of those things where you had to be really mentally tough, and I’m glad my mental side is there, because that component is tough to get back.”
Up next, the women’s tour moves to La Thuile, Italy, for two downhill races — including a make-up from Crans-Montana, which was canceled due to unsafe powder conditions — and a super G race Feb. 20-21. The women then head to Soldeu-El Tarter, Andorra, for super G and alpine combined events Feb. 27-28. Jasna, Slovakia, will host giant slalom and slalom events March 5-6.