Mikaela Shiffrin finished third in the giant slalom at the HomeLight Killington Cup Saturday. (Steven Earl - U.S. Ski & Snowboard.)
US Ski & Snowboard On a sunny and blistering cold day in Killington in front of 19,500 screaming fans, Mikaela Shiffrin fought her way to a third-place finish in Saturday’s tight giant slalom. Italy's Marta Bassino won her first World Cup race by .26 over countrywoman Federica Brignone, with Mikaela rounding out the podium, trailing Federica by a mere .03 hundredths for third.
A big screaming contingent cheered on Shiffrin as she came down the Superstar course. Shiffrin is a graduate of Burke Mountain Academy and her family is from New Hampshire.
Due to high winds, the race organizers were forced to move the start down to the reserve start prior to the first run, therefore making it more of a sprint. After Mother Nature poured rain on Killington on Thanksgiving, the surface was prepared amazingly by Tom Johnston and his team, once again. Unlike in past years when it was a vertical ice rink, this year the snow was a bit grippier, so coupled with the shortened course, it can create a scenario that didn’t allow for much spread in the field.
“I guess I thought that the surface would be a little bit harder,” Mikaela said, “it was surprisingly easy to track the edges in the snow and I think I was pushing a little bit too hard in the wrong way, so I was a little bit harsh on the skis. Second run I was trying to still be really aggressive but a little bit softer on my edges and I felt much smoother and more flowy. I felt pretty good with my skiing in both runs, so I’m pretty happy with the day.”
With her performance today, Mikaela joins cross country teammate Sadie Bjornsen in leader bib land, solidifying the two women’s shared place in history as the only two American women to ever share the honor of wearing the leader bib in the combination of cross country and alpine at the same time.
“It’s really awesome to see Sadie and the cross country girls continue to have such strong results on the World Cup,” Mikaela said after her race in Killington, “I’m psyched we’re both starting the season with strong skiing and even more psyched we both have the leader bib! Sadie is such an awesome person and she deserves it!”
Mikaela was joined in the points by teammate Nina O’Brien, who ended up 28th, making her two for two in scoring points at World Cup giant slalom races this season. “I had a solid race in Soelden (Austria), and it gave me the confidence that I had the speed, so I feel like there’s not as much anxiety about how you’re going to stack up against others. Today, I was honestly trying to not overthink the moment, and be comfortable and go for it. The crowd didn’t psych me out at all. I love hearing them cheer loud. I had some good turns out there, and I’m actually skiing really well - I’m starting to show that in the race, but I’m still struggling to get a full run down while being aggressive and going for it. Overall, I think it’s going in a good direction.”
After having an extremely fast top split, AJ Hurt finished just outside of the top-30 first run, while Keely Cashman and Storm Klomhaus did not finish. Paula Moltzan did not start, making the decision to focus her energy on Sunday’s slalom. Mikaela will lead the women in Sunday’s slalom, as she goes for a 4-peat on Killington snow. Paula Moltzan, Nina O’Brien, Katie Hensien, Keely Cashman, and Foreste Peterson will start for the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team.
Women’s giant slalom
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Sunday, Dec. 1
9:40 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 1, Killington, Vt. - Olympic Channel & Olympic Channel.com
12:30 p.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 1, Killington, Vt. - NBC
2:00 p.m. - Men’s super-G, Lake Louise, Alberta - NBC
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app
Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.