Jessica Lindell-Vikarby won a World Cup giant slalom Sunday in Beaver Creek, Colo., holding off the 18-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin with a fluid final run.
The Swede finished the two runs on a demanding Raptor course in 2 minutes, 17.92 seconds, with Shiffrin 0.09 seconds behind. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein took third.
Marie Pier-Prefontaine of Saint-Sauveur, Que. was the top Canadian, finishing in a tie for ninth with a time of 2:19.33.
Prefontaine matched a career high with the ninth place showing.
“That was sweet. In my second run I finally skied like I can,” Prefontaine said in an Alpine Canada press release. “I’ve been working so hard on finding a way to ski like I do in training."
Marie-Michelle Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que. was 13th, while Erin Mielzynski of Guelph, Ont., was 16th.
“In my whole time with the team, we’ve never had three girls in the second run of the giant slalom," Prefontaine said. "One of the coaches said it was the first time since 2006.”
Gut's run comes to an end
Mielzynski, who has twice finished on the World Cup podium in slalom, achieved by far her best career showing in giant slalom.
"I came into today without any expectations. My goal was to figure out a good mental approach to racing,” said Mielzynski, who'd never cracked top 30 in GS before. “This will help with my confidence in both events."
Gagnon, meanwhile, has cracked the top 20 in three of her four World Cup races so far this season.
Shiffrin was spurred on by a frenzied home crowd, but all the noise down low didn't appear to rattle Lindell-Vikarby, who won a World Cup race for the first time since 2009.
There was not a trace of disappointment from Shiffrin, though. She was quite pleased with her first top-three finish in the event.
After winning the World Cup overall slalom title last season, Shiffrin decided to branch out over the off-season and work on her GS.
"I followed through with my plan. I really just wanted to go out and ski as well as I could today," Shiffrin said. "I'm really happy with how today went."
Lara Gut of Switzerland struggled, failing to finish the first run. Gut won the downhill and super-G the last two days.
"Of course, I'm a bit angry after today," Gut said. "But it's even better than I could've imagined."
The next World Cup race is Saturday in Lake Louise, Alta. Gagnon and Prefontaine are both scheduled to compete in that super-G race.