Mikaela Shiffrin, Petra Vlhova, and Frida Hansdotter complete the podium of the Slalom 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup finals in Aspen, CO. PHOTO: U.S. Ski Team.
History was made under blazing sun at day four of the Aspen World Cup Finals, which brought racing fans out in droves to watch two rounds of the men's GS and women's Slalom from the grandstands under Aspen's A1 lift.
It was a dramatic finish in both the men's and women's races at the Aspen World Cup finals, as the final racers in both events continued to take the lead one skier on top of the next.
Austrian Marcel Hirscher, winner of the men's overall champion title, clenched the win over Frenchmen Mathieu Faivre, in second, and Alexis Pinturault.
Mikaela Shiffrin finished second in the finals, unseated by 21-year-old Slovakian Petra Vlhova. Still, the 22-year-old American is taking home the Crystal Globe as the women's overall champion, the fifth American to win the overall title, and the youngest since 2003.
“Sometimes your best is better some days than other days. It's the whole point of ski racing, to put your best skiing out there. I wanted to finish out the season strong,” said Shiffrin. “I was disappointed with some of my skiing today, and happy with some of my skiing. Second place is never bad.”
After the first of two races through the 58 gates, Shiffrin was in third place behind Frida Hansdotter (SWE) and Vlhova. At the finish her demeanor was calm and collected, perhaps from knowing that despite the results of today's race she was far enough ahead to win the overall.
"I don't think I'll ever process this--it's a dream I've had since I was five years old," Shiffrin said at the finish. "This definitely motivates me for tomorrow's race. I want to leave everything on the course. It’s odd to say I won something in ski racing when I wasn't actually out on the hill. It feels more real today, and more real tomorrow when I'm actually holding it.”
Vlhova, who raced last going into the final run, took the lead from Shiffrin in a dramatic finish culminating in an animated celebration at the bottom of the course. Hansdotter joined them on the podium with a third place finish.
“This victory I needed because after Squaw Valley,” said Vlhova. “I was upset then because I know I am fast, but sometimes I have a mistake and if you want to win, you have to ski fast and without mistake. Today I did both and it was an amazing day for me and my team.”