ASPEN, Colo. (AP) – Mikaela Shiffrin won back-to-back World Cup slalom races in Aspen, overcoming an early mistake in her final run Sunday to still win by a large margin.
The 20-year-old American finished in 1 minute, 40.18 seconds, beating Frida Hansdotter of Sweden by 2.65 seconds. Sarka Strachova of Czech Republic was third and 2.90 back. Those were the only two competitors within three seconds of the reigning Olympic and world slalom champion.
Shiffrin got a little wild and was off balance early in her last run or the gap may have been even more. She won the slalom Saturday by 3.07 seconds, the largest margin of victory in World Cup history for the women’s discipline. It was a mark that had stood since 1968.
“I thought it would be better to attack and make a mistake, to have that mindset, than try to ski safe,” Shiffrin said after the race.
This was Shiffrin’s fifth straight World Cup slalom win dating to last season. It’s the longest streak in slalom by a female skier since Marlies Schild of Austria took five in a row in 2011-12.
Her performance Sunday capped off quite a weekend of racing for Shiffrin after a rough start. She crashed near the finish in the giant slalom Friday, but bounced back for an impressive victory.
“Three great races, really,” Shiffrin said. “The GS was disappointing, but still a great race. Today was awesome. Yesterday was awesome. So I’m walking away from the U.S. part of the World Cup tour very happy this year.”
These days, she’s simply on a different level.
“It’s just really difficult to catch her,” said Strachova, who won slalom races on this course in 2008 and ’09. “She’s in another class.”
But don’t hand Shiffrin her fourth straight World Cup slalom title just yet. There are lots of races left to close the gap.
“I think we will try to catch her, for sure,” said Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova, who finished second Saturday but wiped out in her first run Sunday. “It’s just the beginning of the season. We’ll see. We will find a way to catch her.”
Like watching video of Shiffrin’s races. That’s what Hansdotter plans to do, just to see if she can spot something.
“I really love how she makes it (look) so easy to ski,” Hansdotter said. She’s skiing so economic. Like, real easy.”
Part of her dominance this weekend may have been she’s skiing on such familiar snow. At least, Hansdotter is hoping that’s the case.
“I hope it will not be like this in the future,” said Hansdotter, who has finished second in 13 World Cup slalom races in her career. “But for sure it’s really impressive.”
Next up for Shiffrin is speed. She will head to Lake Louise, Alberta, next weekend and compete in a super-G. That’s Lindsey Vonn’s territory.
“I’ll be going for it,” Shiffrin said. “I just don’t know where that will put me.”
– By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)