Mikaela Shiffrin’s run as “Snow Queen” has come to a halt, as has her seven-race slalom winning streak.
Shiffrin raced to a second-place finish in Saturday’s night slalom event in Zagreb, Croatia, that’s known as the Snow Queen Trophy. Shiffrin was the two-time defending Snow Queen and had won the race all four times she’d finished.
That was not to be on Saturday. The three-time Olympic medalist had a small mistake in her first run to finish 1.16 seconds behind Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova, a massive gap to make up in a sport often decided by hundredths of a second.
“Anything is possible,” Shiffrin said between races. “I don’t think I can make up that much time on her, but I’ll just treat the second run like a new race and try to make up time.”
Skiing second to last, Shiffrin again put up the second fastest time in the second run, but again Vlhova set the pace. Vlhova won with a combined time of 1 minutes, 57.98 seconds, with Shiffrin 1.31 seconds back. Katharina Liensberger of Austria was third, 3.49 seconds behind Vlhova.
Shiffrin became the youngest competitor ever to record a victory in Zagreb when she won the Snow Queen title for the first time in 2013 at age 17. The oft-icy slopes of Medvednica Sljeme, reminiscent of Shiffrin’s beloved Killington, Vermont, are not necessarily fit for a queen, but Shiffrin adores the conditions. Her four victories tie her with her childhood idol Marlies Schild for the most wins there. Only Marcel Hirscher has more with five.
Shiffrin and Vlhova have dominated the women’s slalom competition since 2017, with one or the other having won each of the last 24 world cup slalom races. Shiffrin has now finished top two in each of the last 15 world cup slaloms, and 23 of the past 24, a streak dating back to Jan. 10, 2017. The one outlier was a January 2018 race in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, when she did not finish.
Including the world championships, Shiffrin had won her last seven slalom races coming into Zagreb, a streak dating back to Jan. 8, 2019, when she was second to Vlhova in Flachau, Austria.
Shiffrin maintains a 120-point lead over Vlhova in the slalom standings and a 313-point lead in the overall standings.