Resi Stiegler skis to seventh place at the Zagreb night slalom. (Getty Images-Stringer)
ZAGREB, Croatia (Jan. 3, 2017) – Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY) put down two solid runs to grab seventh place at the Zagreb night slalom—her first Audi FIS Ski World Cup top 10 of the season. Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) straddled first run and did not finish.
After crashing in Semmering, Stiegler was on a mission for a strong finish in Zagreb. After finishing eighth first run, she pulled out all the stops for second run and even with a slight mistake, skied into seventh. “I was a little nervous coming into this race and I wanted to have a good one,” said Stiegler. “I’ve been trying to get back in the top 10! I love this [Zagreb].”
Stiegler poses with Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon (who finished sixth) in the finish.
Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia, who has finished in second behind Shiffrin in the last three slaloms, took the win and the esteemed Snow Queen Trophy. Her teammate Petra Vlhova was second and Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic was third.
Shiffrin was going for her eighth straight slalom victory in a row, which would have tied the record for most consecutive slalom victories. However, a first run straddle deterred her quest. Shiffrin blamed the mistake on nerves. “A lot of times I feel like straddling happens almost before you even get on the hill,” said Shiffrin. “It’s a mental thing. And it’s because of nerves, and going out of the gate not totally feeling exactly the way I would like to.”
Mikaela Shiffrin poses with Janica Kostelic of Croatia, who still holds the record for eight straight slalom wins, along with Vreni Schneider of Switzerland.
While disappointed, Shiffrin acknowledged that she wasn’t unhappy the record run was over. “I was never thinking about the streak in the beginning until people started talking about it,” said Shiffrin. “So to be honest, it’s a bit of a relief because nobody is going to be talking about it anymore…I’m doing this for myself and to try to find peace in my own heart. So I’m on my way there.”
Megan McJames (Park City, UT) skied to 20th—her career-first slalom points. “I’m super excited!” said McJames. “I’ve been watching Zagreb on TV for the last 10 years and I always wanted to race it and it’s never been possible. This year I decided I was going and I’m super excited that this is my first slalom points. The clouds clear right when you need it.”
Megan McJames took her career-first slalom points. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Christophe Pallot)
Next up, the men race the Zagreb night slalom on Thursday, while the women head to Maribor for a tech series over the weekend.
Resi Stiegler was the top American, finishing in seventh place.
Stiegler’s previous best finish in Zagreb was fifth, in 2007.
After winning the last seven consecutive slaloms, Mikaela Shiffrin straddled first run.
Shiffrin had won the last two races at Zagreb in 2013 and 2015.
Megan McJames took her first Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom points, finishing 20th.
Lila Lapanja (Alpine Village, NV) did not finish first run.
Road to Aspen: Even after DNFing, Shiffrin retains her lead in the overall standings with 798 points over Swiss Lara Gut's 583 points.
Resi Stiegler I’m really happy. I had a DNF in Semmering and I was a little nervous coming into this race and I wanted to have a good one. I’ve been trying to get back in the top 10 so I’m pretty happy with this. I love this [Zagreb]. I’ve been here since the beginning—the first World Cup here. It’s a good show.
Megan McJames I’m super excited. I’ve been watching Zagreb on TV for the last 10 years and I always wanted to race and it’s never been possible. This year I decided I was going and I’m super excited that this is my first slalom points. The clouds clear right when you need it.
Mikaela Shiffrin It was a little bit of a bumpy surface and I didn’t give my feet enough room and my ski went on the wrong side of the gate. I knew it right away and that’s a terrible feeling for me.
A lot of times I feel like straddling happens almost before you even get on the hill. It’s a mental thing. And it’s because of nerves, and going out of the gate not totally feeling exactly the way I would like to. If I just take my foot off the gas for even a single gate, then I’m at the risk of one ski going on the wrong side of it. It’s almost less about the course set and the conditions and just about how I skied it. I don’t straddle very often, and I’ve skied in millions of different kinds of conditions. So it’s just one of those things that sometimes you don’t feel exactly the right way, and it’s just not the right day.
It is what it is sometimes. Sometimes you don’t ski exactly the way you want too. I was trying to go for it, but I got a bit tentative in some sections and yeah, straddled – so bummer.
I was never thinking about the streak in the beginning until people started talking about it. So to be honest, it’s a bit of a relief because nobody is going to be talking about it anymore. And that’s a bummer … it’s huge for U.S. ski racing to have somebody who has a big streak going on because people gain interest, but for me, I’m not doing this for those records. I’m doing this for myself and to try to find peace in my own heart. So I’m on my way there.