It was a historic night for the Audi FIS Ladies’ World Cup as it staged its first-ever parallel slalom event under the lights in Courchevel (FRA) and in the end 22-year old American Mikaela Shiffrin was the one to put her name in the books as the inaugural parallel slalom winner.
Despite several early round upsets, the final match-up came down to the top two slalom skiers as #1 Shiffrin faced-off against #2 Petra Vlhova. The final race lived up to all expectations as the duo matched each other turn for turn crossing the line in a near photo-finish. In the end it was 0.04 seconds that separated the two.
The American was her steely self throughout the early rounds and cruised past all of her competitors with relative ease. But many of the top names didn’t fare was well as there were several twists and turns early on. The surprises started already in the 1/8 final round with Bernadette Schild being the first big name to make an exit. The stars continued to fall in Sweet 16 round as Frida Hansdotter was ousted, followed by Wendy Holdener’s loss in the ensuing elite eight.
Third place went to Italian Irene Curtoni, who crossed the finish line alone after Norwegian Maren Skjoeld did not finish the small final heat. That was the fate of many racers, who were challenged by the course as several racers missed gates at the bottom, or struggled with the jump near the top of the course.
The day started with a qualification in the afternoon which whittled the field down from 71 to 32 racers for the knock-out, head-to-head format in the evening with the qualified racers seeded against each other according to their World Cup Startling List slalom position.
The Audi FIS World Cup Tour now takes a short Holiday break before getting back into action in Lienz (AUT) for a giant slalom and slalom on December 28-29.