Mikaela Shiffrin's Gold Rush Begins With a Bang

Shiffrin also indicated on Thursday that she was formulation to competition in a fourth eventuality subsequent week, a women’s downhill. Although Eileen Shiffrin, Mikaela’s mom and one of her coaches, pronounced her daughter would not enter a fifth event, a women’s super-G on Saturday.

Shiffrin’s hulk slalom feat completes a apportionment of a four-year tour to renovate herself into an chosen racer in each Alpine event. But a initial of a events she had to conquer was a hulk slalom, a speedier and some-more fanciful competition than a slalom.

As Shiffrin pronounced Thursday: “I’ve always had a love-hate attribute with hulk slalom. It’s been a quarrel sometimes.”

Only months after a 2014 Sochi Games, Shiffrin began a dedicated training module to urge in a event.

As a high schooler then, she had once been among a best youth skiers in a universe during hulk slalom. But as she became a professional, she found some-more success in slalom and spent some-more time on it. Her hulk slalom results, not surprisingly, lagged.

Still, in a summer of 2014, Shiffrin began to investigate videotape of her best hulk slalom runs, going all a approach behind to her days as an amateur. Alone in a dim room, an Olympic champion was holding a surprising step of scrutinizing her technique as a immature teen.


A combination picture of Shiffrin creation turns during her initial run in a hulk slalom.

Composite picture by Doug Mills and Jeremy White/The New York Times

“The clues to alleviation aren’t always in a places we expect,” Shiffrin pronounced in an talk final year, recalling a summer of 2014.


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Shiffrin had another plan to make a jump from being only a rival World Cup hulk slalom skier to one of a world’s best. She motionless to spend hours quizzing Ligety, a American skier and fortifying Olympic hulk slalom champion who had single-handedly revolutionized hulk slalom technique between 2012 and 2013.

In a decrease of 2014, Shiffrin lerned with Ligety in Colorado, not distant from her home outward Vail. Afterward, they would watch videotape of that day’s training for an hour to 90 minutes.

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“I remember that Mikaela would ask me about 20 questions in each 15-minute span,” Ligety pronounced late final year. “When we’d be done, I’d say, ‘What else do we wish to know?’”

“And she’d answer: ‘Everything else.’”

In Oct that year, Shiffrin won her initial World Cup hulk slalom. Two months later, she had a initial of 6 true tip 10 finishes in a eventuality and by a winter of 2016-17, she was frequency out of a tip 5 in any hulk slalom. This season, she has won dual hulk slalom races and been second in another.

But final month, she fell in her final hulk slalom competition and many in a ski racing village wondered if Shiffrin’s fervour to bend out to other events had left her distracted. Instead, she was assured she indispensable to go behind and work on a some-more simple techniques that she had complicated and schooled in a years given 2014.

In a dual weeks given her decrease in her final hulk slalom final month, she sequestered with her group of coaches and her mother. She complacent some days and lerned by herself in others.

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