American skiing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin may be the finest Slalom skier in history and won again on one of her favorite tracks, in Zagreb (CRO), to win her seventh World Cup Slalom in a row and her fourth “Snow Queen Trophy” presented annually at the Zagreb race.
“It’s the perfect track to be aggressive,” said Shiffrin. “I just tried to do my best, and the surface was perfect, so it’s easier to be really aggressive.”
She had a brilliant first run, posting a 59.70 time that was an astonishing 1.15 seconds faster than second-place Wendy Holdener (SUI). In the second run, he had a bobble, but had the second-fastest run to win easily.
Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who had finished second to Shiffrin in a Slalom five times this season, did so again. She moved up from third after the first run by winning the second run while Holdener fell back slightly to finished third overall.
Said Shiffrin, “I had a scary moment in the middle there, but actually the second run was really cool because I was aggressive. I was really pushing. I had this mistake, but after that, I was fighting back again. I wasn’t skiing to protect something today.”
The Snow Queen Trophy dates back to 2005 and Shiffrin has now won it four times, including two in a row and four of the last five. She tied Austria’s Marlies Schild – whom she just past for the most career World Cup Slalom wins – for the most Snow Queen Trophy wins. Between the two of them, they own eight of the 13 Snow Queen Trophy race wins!
Shiffrin also continued her astonishing performance in the 2018-19 season: she’s won nine of the 17 races contested, and has a 466-point lead over Vlhova, 1,214-748 after 17 of 38 races.
In the men’s race, it was Austria’s Marcel Hirscher – of course – who claimed the win and became the “Snow King” of Zagreb for the fifth time in his career. He had to come from behind, as first-run leader Marco Schwarz (AUT) had the lead, but Hirscher had the fastest run in the second race. Schwarz failed to finish his second run and the runner-up spot was taken by France’s Alexis Pinturault, with the bronze to Manuel Feller (AUT).
Hirscher, the best Slalom skier in the world, not only has a 756-421 lead over Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) for the overall World Cup after 18 of 41 races, but has five more Slalom or Giant Slalom races coming in January. That means he could salt away his eighth consecutive World Cup overall title before the World Championships start on 5 February. Amazing.
Summaries from Zagreb:
FIS Alpine World Cup
Zagreb (SLO) ~ 5-6 January 2019
(Full results here)
Men’s Slalom: 1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT), 1:48.64; 2. Alexis Pinturault (FRA), 1:49.24; 3. Manuel Feller (AUT), 1:49.26; 4. Clement Noel (FRA), 1:49.84; 5. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR), 1:49.99.
Women’s Slalom: 1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA), 2:01.09; 2. Petra Vlhova (SVK), 2:02.34; 3. Wendy Holdener (SUI), 2:02.84; 4. Frida Hansdotter (SWE), 2:04.06; 5. Christina Geiger (GER), 2:04.60.