'This is amazing': Mikaela Shiffrin earns 48th slalom win at season-opening World Cup

World Cup champion champion Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States claimed the season-opening women's World Cup race on Saturday for her 48th slalom victory. No other skier has won more titles in a single competition.

Beats Sweden's Anna Swenn in foggy Finland; Ali Nullmeyer top Canadian in 14th

American Mikaela Shiffrin moved to the top of the women's slalom podium in one minute 51.25 seconds with the fastest second run (56.22) on Saturday after placing third in the opening run in foggy conditions in Levi, Finland. (Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

A smiling Mikaela Shiffrin said it's hard to explain what her 75 World Cup victories mean to her because "it's a pretty big number, actually."

The American was clear about her most recent one, though.

"I'm really happy with the feeling today," she said Saturday after claiming the season-opening women's World Cup race in Levi, Finland. "I've been racing for so many years now and every single race that I won had a special meaning."

Saturday's was her 48th slalom victory. No other skier has won more titles in a single competition than the 27-year-old Colorado native.

She reached her 67th slalom podium, also a record in women's single competition, one more than compatriot Lindsey Vonn in downhill races.

Shiffrin moved to the top in one minute 51.25 seconds with the fastest second run (56.22) after placing third in the opening run in foggy conditions in Finnish Lapland to beat Anna Swenn Larsson (1:51.41) of Sweden by 16-100ths of a second.

"Yeah, this is amazing," Shiffrin said. "Really strong skiing, really good final in that last bit of the pitch. Yeah, super cool."

Ali Nullmeyer of Toronto covered the women's slalom course in a two-run time of one minute 53.71 seconds to finish 14th on Saturday. (Alessandro Trovati/Associated Press)

With 75 World Cup wins, the four-time overall champion is only behind Swedish skiing great Ingemar Stenmark (86) and Vonn (82) have more.

Slalom Olympic champion and last season's World Cup slalom winner Petra Vlhova of Slovakia was third in 1:51.45, another four hundredths of a second back.

Toronto's Ali Nullmeyer topped the Canadian contingent in 14th (1:53.71) while Amelia Smart of Invermere, B.C., was 27th of 28 finishers (1:55.76).

Dominant duo

Vlhova took a lead after the first sections of the second run but made a mistake in the steep middle part, while Shiffrin accelerated toward the end for the win.

Vlhova and Shiffrin have dominated the field in this Finnish resort in recent years. Both skiers have won five slalom events, meaning the two rivals now have an equal herd of five reindeer — a traditional prize the winner receives in Levi.

No skier other than Vlhova or Shiffrin has won the traditional season-opening slalom since then-overall champion Tina Maze triumphed in 2014.

Shiffrin also won in 2013, '16, '18 and '19.

She said her battles with the Slovak rival remain wide open.

"When we both push our very very best skiing, you actually don't know who's going to win, it's what makes it so exciting," she said.

Germany's Lena Durr led after the opening run but dropped to fourth, .75 of a second behind Shiffrin, with Switzerland's Wendy Holdener fifth another four hundredths of a second behind.

Unusually warm weather had prompted all four previously scheduled women's World Cup races to be cancelled.

Only a giant slalom that was slated to open the season in Solden, Austria, on Oct. 22, was rescheduled for Semmering, Austria, in late December.

Another slalom in Levi is scheduled for Sunday.

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