MARIBOR, Slovenia (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin defied the pouring rain to comfortably earn her 12th career slalom victory Sunday, taking sole possession of the women’s World Cup record for most wins in the discipline by a teenager.
The American, who turns 20 next month, had previously shared the record with France’s Perrine Pelen, who set it in the 1980s.
“I don’t try to think about too many records as they might get in my way,” Shiffrin said. “But it’s motivation. It’s not always about breaking records but about doing a good job.”
A week after retaining her world title in Beaver Creek, Shiffrin certainly did a good job again Sunday. She held on to a big first-run lead to finish in a total time of 1 minute, 39.12 seconds for a convincing win, 1.03 ahead of Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia. Czech skier Sarka Strachova was another 0.02 back in third.
“I like skiing in the rain so that’s OK,” Shiffrin said as the drizzle during the first run turned into heavy rain. “For that, it were really good conditions.”
Organizers added salt to the snow to keep the top layer hard despite the rain, which followed days of mild and sunny weather.
Shiffrin built a 0.68-second lead in a flawless opening leg, and needed only the 12th-fastest time in the final run to wrap up the win.
“I don’t think you can have a perfect run but it felt like my fastest skiing. I felt very loose and I was charging the whole way,” she said about her first run. “As long as I feel good on my feet and I feel confident, it shouldn’t matter what the conditions are.”
Including one GS victory, this was Shiffrin’s 13rd career win, which ranks her third on the list of the most successful, still active athletes on the women’s World Cup, trailing only fellow American Lindsey Vonn (64) and Slovenia’s Tina Maze (26).
It was the American’s third slalom win of the World Cup season. None of her rivals has won more than once.
Shiffrin is eager to win the crystal globe for the season’s best slalom skier for a third time in a row. With the victory, she overtook Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter, who finished ninth, atop the discipline standings. With two races remaining, Shiffrin has 479 points, 30 clear of Hansdotter and 105 ahead of Maze.
The Slovenian straddled a gate in her final run and, after skiing out early in Saturday’s giant slalom, failed to score World Cup points this weekend in front of her rousing home crowd.
Chasing her second overall title since 2013, Maze remained 81 points ahead of defending champion Anna Fenninger, who won the GS Saturday.
“It’s clear that Anna has a good chance now. It’s going to be close,” Maze said.
There are 11 races left, including two slaloms that Fenninger usually skips. However, the Austrian might compete at next month’s season-ending World Cup slalom in Meribel, France, if that race were to decide the overall championship.
The women’s World Cup remains in Eastern Europe for a super-G and a combined event in Bansko, Bulgaria, next weekend.