December 5, 2018 / 7:49 PM / 8 months ago

Alpine skiing: Shiffrin eyes record but says Schild is greatest

(Reuters) - Mikaela Shiffrin will probably become the most prolific World Cup women’s slalom winner in the coming weeks, but she said on Wednesday she would never consider herself the equal of the current record holder.

FILE PHOTO: Dec 2, 2018; Lake Louise, Alberta, CAN; Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States celebrates on the podium in the ladies Super G race in the 2018 FIS alpine skiing world cup at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Shiffrin has two slalom wins this season, taking her career tally to 34, one behind technically brilliant Austrian Marlies Schild.

Their careers briefly overlapped before Schild retired in 2014, shortly after the young upstart from the United States had started to exert increasing dominance in the discipline.

“All signs point to I’ll probably break the slalom record

this season,” Shiffrin said on a U.S. Ski and Snowboard

conference from St. Moritz, where she is preparing for this weekend’s World Cup races at the Swiss resort.

“If that does happen for me, on paper I’ll hold the record, great, but to me she (Schild) will always be the greatest slalom skier because she pioneered a new style of slalom skiing.”

Shiffrin is not scheduled to race the event again until Dec. 22 in Courchevel, France.

She will compete this weekend in Super G and parallel slalom, a relatively new event where competitors go head-to-head, racing simultaneously on parallel courses.

In traditional slalom, skiers compete one at a time, racing against the clock.

Although Schild was a slalom specialist, Shiffrin’s all-around excellence extends to every discipline, from the adrenaline-rush speed of the downhill to the technically-demanding but less exhilarating slalom.

The only event missing from her victory resume was the Super G, but she took care of that by winning at Lake Louise on Sunday.

“I’m not sure the Super G in Lake Louise was a true depiction of how the season is going to go,” said the 23-year-old from Colorado.

“Conditions promoted an aggressive line and I was the only one to ski that line.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve ever perfected the timing of the Super G. Sunday’s the closest I came to nailing (it).

“I think everybody’s going to come into this next race in St Moritz and take it up a notch.”

But Shiffrin is still delighted to know she is a threat every time she puts on her skis, no matter what the event.

She said the speed and slalom events were not only different technically, but also mentally.

“When you’re actually skiing the course it feels like you’re meditating,” she said of the downhill, where speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour are not uncommon.

“It’s a really fine line between that incredible mediation feeling and getting rattled off the course and (thinking) you’re going to die.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond

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