American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin led a women’s World Cup slalom after the first run Sunday, positioning herself for a record fifth victory of the calendar year.
Article continues below ...
In an increasingly heavy rain, Shiffrin was slowed by a mistake as she almost skied out four gates from the finish but recovered to finish in 56.16 seconds, 0.22 faster than Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden. Kathrin Zettel of Austria came 0.25 back in third.
"I felt really good and the snow was awesome, so all good," Shiffrin said, adding she would aim to go "maybe a little bit faster" in the second run.
At 18 years and 291 days old, the American can become the youngest female skier to win five World Cup slaloms in one calendar year, beating the record set by Janica Kostelic. The Croatian standout was 67 days older when she won five slaloms in 2000.
Shiffrin has been dominating slalom racing in 2013, winning the world title and the World Cup discipline title.
Two years ago, Shiffrin earned her first career podium finish in Lienz. On Saturday, she came third in the GS.
"I feel happy from yesterday," Shiffrin said. "I had a good night of sleep and some good food."
Four-time World Cup slalom champion Marlies Schild, who won the previous event in Courchevel, France, trailed Shiffrin by 0.69 in sixth. The Austrian is chasing her 35th slalom victory — more than any other female skier.
"I struggled a bit," said Schild, who missed most of last season because of a knee injury. "I didn’t let the skis go. That’s because I haven’t done a lot of races recently."
Defending overall World Cup champion Tina Maze of Slovenia avoided obvious mistakes but finished 1.58 off the lead in 14th, and Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany came fourth after a strong finish with 0.54 to make up in the second run.