Mikaela Shiffrin seals slalom season with 5th World Cup win
Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon finishes 10th, and 6th overall in standings
Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States completed her exceptional slalom season with a fifth World Cup race win on Saturday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
The Olympic champion was 1.44 seconds faster than any rival in one of the longest women's slaloms in World Cup history.
"I did a pretty good job the first run I guess so I felt more comfortable the second run, and just trying to hold on to it," Shiffrin said.
Shiffrin had a two-run combined time of two minutes 4.54 seconds. Frida Hansdotter of Sweden was second and Austria's Marlies Schild was third, trailing 1.66 behind Shiffrin.
Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon raced to 10th place to finish the season ranked sixth overall in the event — the highest placing of her career.
"I'm moving up the world in slalom," Gagnon said. "Top seven is a huge step. It's good to have a year where you are solid and in there, but there's a next step. I'm solid racing at 90 per cent but I need to find that extra five per cent now. I have more speed and I want to try to use it."
Gagnon, from Lac-Etchemin, Que., had a tough first run, finishing 14th, but roared back with the second-fastest second run to move into the top 10.
"I have very little energy right now," Gagnon said. "The first run was horrible but I just didn't have that fire. Second run was better, even with some mistakes.
"All the girls who do all the events are feeling it — especially in an Olympic year. It's super draining, which is why I trained so hard in the summer. Sometimes you reach the bottom of the tank and find something extra, which is what happened today."
Shiffrin already clinched her second straight World Cup discipline title one week ago when winning a race at Are, Sweden.
"I am very proud. One of my goals this year was to hold on to the slalom globe," she said.
Shiffrin led the standings from start to finish after winning the season-opening race in November at Levi, Finland.
Her ninth career World Cup victory came two days after her 19th birthday.
Shiffrin will also race the season-ending giant slalom on Sunday.
Only four racers were within two seconds of Shiffrin on a tiring end-of-season course Saturday.
"You have to try to just be as efficient as you can and not waste any energy," Shiffrin said after the first run. "Try to just stay close to the gates as you can, make sure you are moving quick in between and let your skis do the rest of the work."
Tina Maze of Slovenia, whom Shiffrin edged for the slalom title in a thrilling race here last season, was 5.65 seconds back in the morning and did not start the second leg.
Shiffrin was due to collect her crystal globe trophy after the subsequent second run of a men's giant slalom.