Mikaela Shiffrin, the 17-year-old US Ski Team sensation from Vail, Colo., via Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy, placed third in a slalom race in Moscow on Tuesday. After three wins, and other strong finishes, Shiffrin now holds a 33-point lead over Slovenia’s Tina Maze in the World Cup slalom standings.
The event had a dual-course format, meaning two skiers raced beside each other through gates down a man-made, 200-foot tall structure surrounded by stadium seating.
It was the last World Cup event before a two-week break for the Alpine World Championships, to be held in Schladming, Austria.
The race, Shiffrin’s fourth podium of the season, was somewhat distracting.
“It was tough because you’re aware of someone right next to you, and you’re wondering if you’re ahead of them or behind them,” Shiffrin told Ski Racing magazine. “I wasn’t really thinking about the slalom chase, and was just here to have fun. But the points are nice.”
Shiffrin will be among the youngest skiers for the Worlds. Among the other US competitors are veterans Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Resi Stiegler, and Stacey Cook.
Veteran Ted Ligety leads a US men’s team that includes Steve Nyman, Dartmouth College’s David Chodounsky, and Robby Kelley of Starksboro, Vt.
Opening ceremonies will be Monday night, the men’s and women’s downhill Feb. 9-10, and the closing race, the men’s slalom, will be Feb. 17. The races will be broadcast on Universal Sports Network.
What’s the best day to go skiing? Traditionally, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day have been times to find open slopes and small crowds. But another “national holiday” has become the best day to ski: Super Bowl Sunday.
According to the lift ticket broker Liftopia, this Sunday promises not only small crowds on the slopes, but deeply discounted prices, from 20 to 85 percent.
In an e-mail to the Huffington Post, Liftopia’s CEO and co-founder, Ron Schneiderman, said, “Super Bowl Sunday has become one of the best days to get out on the slopes while everyone stays inside.”
Even though the game is played long after the lifts close, social engagements and party planning tend to occupy the day for many.
Jeremy Bloom, the ski racer who also was drafted by the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 2006, will be formally inducted into the US Ski and Snowboard Hall Of Fame in April. Bloom is a three-time world freestyle champion, had 11 World Cup wins, and competed in two Olympics.