Intense competition went down at the Squaw Valley Olympic slope for the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championship under the California sun and spring temperatures with an incredible amount of spectator support. With World Champion and ski sensation Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom race, competitors aimed to top her performance. Almost locking in her third straight Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championship, Shiffrin had a misfortunate encounter with a gate on the middle section which hindered her 1.22 second lead and inevitable win.
Anna Goodman rides to the top of the podium| Photo: Mark Epstein/U.S. Ski Team
Mikaela Shiffrin commented on her performance, “I just caught a little bit of a weird groove and pressured on the wrong spot and my ski went on the other side. It happens. I thought the conditions held up great, especially for how warm it is and the sun is hitting the hill basically all day. It was really good. Everybody’s going for it out there and there’s some really good skiing. It’s a great competition and a great way to end the season.”
As 18-year-old Shiffrin straddled out, Canadian and Westminster College student Anna Goodman took the lead. Not only did Goodman finish with the the fastest second run time, but she grabbed the U.S. slalom title along with her recently accomplished 2013 NorAm slalom title. Not only is Goodman an Olympian and a student, but also a coach and co-founder of The Ski Racing Sisterhood. Along with Co-Founder Shona Rubens, Goodman provides the opportunity at the ski camp for girls ages 13-16 to progress their slalom and giant slalom skills as well as embrace friendship and healthy lifestyles.
Confident of her success, Goodman spoke of the race, “Second run I just tried to really go for it, especially at the bottom because on the first run I felt like that’s where I lost a lot of time. So I just went as hard as I could and survived basically,” Goodman continued, “I knew that I should be top three. I was hoping Mikaela would finish so that we could have a race just against each other but maybe next year.”
Despite the loss at Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championship, young Mikaela Shiffrin has accomplished more than a majority of adults accomplish in a lifetime. As the season-long title holder of Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season with four slalom victories, and the World Champion of slalom, Shiffrin is one of the youngest in history to win the globe and claim the World title.
World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin signs autographs for little fans | Photo: Mark Epstein/USSA
Shiffrin remains optimistic and spoke of the next generation of sking, “I think it’s most important that I just try to connect with the younger kids here. Most of them say they watch the World Cup races so I think they’ve seen the skiing and it’s probably cool to see it live. But I think the most important thing is that I get to have some time face-to-face with them and show them I’m not actually that different and that I’m a goofball. We can have conversations and they can get to this point.”