Not since 1981 has an American woman won in Aspen during the annual World Cup races. The legendary US Ski Team racer Tamara McKinney won giant slalom on Aspen’s slopes in ’81, carving GS turns that earned her four World Cup season titles—the overall World Cup globe in 1983, giant slalom in 1981 and 1983, and slalom in 1984.
This year, Mikaela Shiffrin stood atop the podium in Aspen—twice. According to the US Ski Team, it took 34 years, eight months, and 20 days for an American winner to earn World Cup gold. But, it was worth the wait. Mikaela Shiffrin left little doubt at the 2015 Winternational, winning two slalom globes by 3.07 seconds and 2.65 seconds, respectively.
Shiffrin’s three-plus second win in the first slalom race of Winternational was the largest margin of victory in a women’s slalom race since 1968. Her dominant performance left her fellow competitors inspired and in awe.
“It’s a special day. I was a little bit nervous, but I handled it well,” Shiffrin said to US Ski Team. “My skis were great. Everything set up perfectly. I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again.”
Shiffrin put her disappointing GS finish—in which she crashed two gates before the finish line—in the rearview mirror by winning Saturday’s slalom in historic fashion. Then, because of the rescheduled FIS Audi World Cup slalom races in Levi, Finland, Aspen got to host a second slalom race.
True to form, Shiffrin won that one going away, too. Earning the top spot on the podium in consecutive days, Shiffrin took a firm grasp of the World Cup slalom standings and made statement in Aspen.
“It was really exciting. I had three great races [in Aspen], really,” said Shiffrin. “And today was awesome; yesterday was awesome. I’m walking away from my U.S. part of the World Cup tour very happy this year.”
With a rich ski racing history, Aspen Mountain was a-buzz during the 2015 Winternational. Now, our town’s ski racing focus falls squarely on the World Cup Finals in Aspen in 2017!