Shiffrin finishes fourth in the first World Cup slalom of the season after a training crash

Slovakian skier Petra Vlhova dominated the first Women’s World Cup Slalom of the season on Saturday, clearly winning both runs, while Mikaela Shiffrin finished fourth.

The American, who raced with a bruised left knee after a training crash was 0.42 seconds behind Vlhova after the opening run last week, but ultimately finished 1.70 behind.

Germany’s Lena Duerr was 1.41 behind in second place and former world slalom champion Katharina Liensberger was third for the Austrian’s first podium result in 15 slaloms since January 2022.

Vlhova, an Olympic champion in the discipline, became the sixth skier in Women’s World Cup history to win 20 World Cup slaloms.

Shiffrin said the training accident did not affect her during the race.

“It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t stop me from skiing strong,” she said. “Last week we tried very hard to start some kind of training in the gym, trying different things, different loads. On Thursday I was able to do a full intensity training.”

In a Instagram post The day before the race, Shiffrin said she was feeling “pretty good now” after taking “a pretty good blow through my left knee” while straddling a fence and crashing during slalom practice.

Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States reacts in the finish area after her second run on Saturday in Finland. Photo: Kimmo Brandt/EPA

“I’m fortunate (and so grateful) that I suffered a bone bruise, but no other major damage,” said Shiffrin, who won both slaloms here last year on his way to winning the discipline title for the seventh time.

No skier other than the American or Vlhova has won the traditional seasonal slalom in Finnish Lapland since then-overall champion Tina Maze of Slovenia triumphed in 2014.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect such a gap between me and Lena and Katharina. But I feel good. I enjoy skiing and I feel confident,” said Vlhova, who now tops the overall standings after starting the season by finishing third in a giant slalom in Austria two weeks ago in a race where Shiffrin finished sixth.

Laurence St-Germain, who beat Shiffrin to the world slalom title last February, was 3.57 seconds behind in the first run and the Canadian skier failed to qualify for the second run.

Katharina Gallhuber, the 2018 Olympic bronze medalist, finished 13th in the Austrian’s first race in more than 600 days after a knee injury.

Another slalom on the same hill is scheduled for Sunday.