US skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin won the second of two giant slalom races in Slovenia’s Kranjska Gora on 8 January for her 82nd World Cup career victory, matching the women’s record held by her compatriot Lindsey Vonn.
Shiffrin finished only 6th in the first of Golden Fox Cup giant slalom race the day before after chalking up five straight wins, which was why she was a bit nervous heading into the race.
“It’s been quite stressful because I feel I ski really well, but I wasn’t so good yesterday,” she told Radio Slovenija after the feat.
The 27-year-old from Colorado opened the race with a nearly flawless first run to come in first, 0.24 seconds ahead of Italian Federica Brignone.
Still, she said she was “pretty sure” she was “going to mess up” and she skied really aggressive in the second run.
She was so nervous she developed a face rash heading into the second run. “I don’t know why, maybe a little bit was because of 82,” she said as quoted by the rtvslo.si news portal.
“I really wanted to ski it well, and I did. Can’t believe it,” she added.
Brignone finished second, 77 hundredths of a second behind Shiffrin, and Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland placed third (+0.97).
Valerie Grenier won the first giant slalom in Kranjska Gora for her first World Cup podium. She is the first Canadian woman to win a World Cup giant slalom race in 49 years, after Kathy Kreiner in 1974.
Italian Marta Bassino placed second and Slovak Petra Vlhova third in that event.
Slovenia’s Ana Bucik placed 8th in the first of the two Golden Fox events for her career best in the discipline. She finished the second race 10th.
Shiffrin’s first opportunity to break the women’s World Cup career wins record in skiing will be next week in a night slalom in Flachau, Austria.
She told Radio Slovenija she was looking forward to the race. She had some challenges on that hill in the past but she has also won four times at the venue. She hopes she can “bring out the fire” for a record win.
The only Alpine skier with more World Cup wins than Shiffrin or Vonn is Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who racked up 86 in the 1970s and 1980s.
Shiffrin has won seven World Cup races in Slovenia. The most recent before the last one was in February 2019 when she won both giant slalom and slalom events in Maribor, the original Golden Fox Cup venue.
The last time she reigned victorious in Kranjska Gora was on 7 January 2018 when she took the slalom event.
This was the fourth time in a row that the event has been relocated to Slovenia’s top Alpine resort due to lack of snow in Maribor.