Shiffrin Makes History In Schladming Night Slalom, Beats Stenmark. Vlhova Takes SL Title

With a blazing second run, Mikaela Shiffrin came back from a 0.42-second deficit behind Petra Vlhova to claim her 47th slalom win under the lights in the iconic venue at Schladming, Austria. The FIS Ski World Cup win is Shiffrin's first slalom win since the HomeLight Killington Cup and officially pushed her past the legendary Swede Ingemar Stenmark's record of most individual wins in a single World Cup discipline. Her victory also keeps her on top of the overall World Cup point standings, 55 points ahead of Vlhova. 

With her second-place finish tonight, Vlhova—with an impressive five victories, two-second place finishes, and 660 points—has clinched the World Cup slalom title. As Petra Vlhova crossed the finish line behind her in second place, she burst into tears.The Slovakian champion was able to rejoice even though she could not achieve her sixth victory of the season because she won the slalom cup two races early. That's five victories, two-second places and almost absolute domination in the discipline this season.

Schladming is a special place for Shiffrin for a multitude of reasons. Not only is the venue a historic stop on the men's World Cup slalom circuit, but it also marks the first time the women's circuit has ever had the opportunity to cut their teeth under the lights. What's more, Schladming is the site of Shiffrin's first-ever World Championships in 2013. It was there that Shiffrin won her first-ever World Championship title (at the age of 17) fittingly in the slalom, albeit on a different track. 

"I think aside from Killington for obvious reasons, it's probably going to be the most memorable race of my career," said Shiffrin. "It's really quite a privilege for us [women] to be able to race on this slope. This morning I was totally geeking out over it because it's Schladming! This is what we live for! After the last few weeks, I wasn't feeling prepared to race this race, but this is the opportunity we have, and we have it now. I'm not going to have this opportunity tomorrow, or in two weeks, or four weeks when I feel ready, I have this opportunity now, tonight, and that's it. The second run, I think my skiing was more deserving of this hill and this opportunity, and I'm really proud of that. I don't take for granted the opportunity to race here and be in a position where I can actually win."

After the first run, Shiffrin sat in fifth overall behind Vlhova in first, Lena Duerr in second, and Wendy Holdener and Ali Nullmeyer tied in third. A win didn't seem likely for Shiffrin behind four strong performances, especially given the consistent tempo of Vlhova's slalom throughout the season. But if anyone can make up over a half a second in her second run, it's Shiffrin. At the end of the night, she found enough speed to claim the win, 0.15 seconds over Vlhova, making for a nerve-racking and emotional second run show. In fact, Shiffrin made up a half of a second at the last interval. With Vlhova in second, Germany's Lena Duerr rounded out the podium in third.

"She's skiing strong; she's making no mistakes," commented Shiffrin on Vlhova's slalom season. "She's skiing slalom the way it's meant to be skied, and it's impressive and special to watch that. It's very rare that somebody is going to be able to come out ahead of her. Tonight it was my night, and I'm thankful for that but I didn't expect that [my second run] was going to be enough."

Overall, the U.S. women's slalom team had a solid day of skiing. Paula Moltzan had a brilliant first run, only 0.47 seconds behind Vlhova and five-hundredths behind Shiffrin. Moltzan charged in her second run in hopes of securing a top-five finish. Unfortunately, she straddled mid-way down the course and ended the day with a DNF. 

Nina O'Brien snagged a top 20 finish in 19th, her best slalom World Cup finish of the season. AJ Hurt and Katie Hensien did not qualify for a second run.

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