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Mikaela Shiffrin to Make World Cup Super G Debut in Lake Louise Dec. 6

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 



It will be interesting to see how this goes. I think she wanted to race speed last year, but I remember she had what she would consider a disappointing finish in a FIS SG race at Copper early last year, and that was about the time her slalom was not up to her usual standards. I'd love to see her compete for the overall, but it seems hard to be as dominant in SL as she has been while spending time training in other disciplines. I think SL is becoming ever more specialized.


What do you guys think? Will she crush the world and walk away with the overall? Or will she struggle with speed events and see her slalom results suffer? My money's on the former.

post #2 of 11

Here's my take. I believe that MS has had very minimal training, and close to zero SG experience since she arrived on the WC at 16. Before that she was a very competent SG skier, even in her one NorAm season. I would disregard ANY of her recent past results, etc., though.  It's pretty obvious that she will not win an overall globe without skiing SG, and Super Combined {which she might dominate}. Same with Vonn. Assuming she's 100% healthy, LV needs to score in GS, all of the combined, and maybe even in SL. {She was a great SL skier in her younger years}. So, yes, it makes sense to see this development. 


We might well be seeing the positive effects of her recent coaching change. The USST and Team Schiffrin evidently brokered the deal to bring Brandon Dyksterhouse in from SSCV as her coach in January, and she has been at the top of her game ever since. My impression is that he knows how to coach her head, how to make it fun, how to make her consistently fast, and he knows a ton about the equipment side of things. Nobody at Atomic is going to be BS'ing him about things like "her boots are fine." She won't be racing SG unless it's on skis that they know are one of the fastest pairs on the WC. The guy is also as technically good as it gets, and knows how to coach. Dykster not conventional, and that seems to be working in terms of her conditioning, and everything else…all of it. My hunch is that the approach they are taking is very different than the norm, though, and working for her. 


Back to her SG. Social media has been flooded with video snippets of her training since the season ended. To me, a lot of it looked like it was helping to build a base for SG. A lot of terrain, compressions, rollers, getting comfortable in the air, hands up, elbows in, etc. It also "looked" like fun. Again, just a hunch, but a lot of what I saw on video would seem to be geared at working with her feel, and touch. She's without question a tremendous technician, and has been doing drills all of her ski life….but at least what we saw on video seemed different. I might be off base there. 


So, my hunch is that we'll see her dominate in SL, and we'll see more podiums and wins in GS. Add to it a significantly better debut in SG than some may expect, and some SC wins. The women's field is not that strong this season. Retirements, Maze's hiatus, injuries. I think she can score decent SG points right off the bat, Lake Louise is an easy hill. She knows Raptor. 


Another factor is her fitness. I think it's always been good, despite her youth. She ALWAYS wins the bottom split, as an indicator. I think with her new team, she may be more fit than ever. That will be a big advantage in SG. 


I don't see her SL slipping. The training issue of the three disciplines is a non issue, IMO, as they can structure things any way they want. Very special "program." I think they'll blow off some SG's based on the travel logistics, and whether she's healthy all winter….no colds, etc. The 3 or SG's paired with the big classic DH's might in some cases be skipped. The SC events should be huge for her. I guess it depends on how the season unfolds. 


Will be interesting to watch, IMO. Vonn, if healthy, should podium every speed race, and win many. I think Lara Gut could have a great season, on her new set-up. If Head has provided her with the right skis, it could be very interesting. Both of them can ski GS. 


I haven't checked the calendar, in terms of the actual number of races in each discipline. There's a science to figuring this out, and managing the season. 


Best of luck to MS and LV for great seasons {and to Mr. Ligety!}. 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you @muleski! This is the kind of in depth knowledge and thoughtful analysis I would expect from top-notch American sports journalists. That is if top notch American sports journalists knew that World Cup racing existed.
post #4 of 11

That's WAY too much credit. Just a fan of the sport.


I first saw MS as a young girl skiing at the Dartmouth Skiway: some friends had pointed her out. Then I saw her when she was bit older, when we were at Burke watching an Eastern FIS race {she was not racing, way too young}. She just stood out….like perfect technique in a tiny package. I was watching her skiing with whom I presume was her mom. I happened to be at Sunday River for the day during her J3 Junior Olympics, when she won the SL by some ginormous margin…..11 seconds plus, I think. That was a jaw dropping eye opener, as she was beating girls who are still moving very far in the sport. She was on another planet, having been masterfully coached and brought along at BMA. As I recall, she had very, very few US race starts that year. What was to be gained by them? She did win both the GS and SL at Toppolino, though. Kind of unique. Obviously a once a generation talent, even then. Parents who think that their U14's should race every possible race start might learn something there. 


And on the coaching side, any Eastern race fan who's been around for a decade plus knows of Dykster. Absolutely phenominal athlete at UVM, and as many say the best male US skier not to be named to the USST. When our son was first moving up the Eastern FIS ranks, Dykster was both still competing, and coaching at GMVS. He's a real talent, and my hunch is that things really click between him, MS, his assistants, her family, etc. The whole package. The guy coached a lot of the younger guys now on the Canadian team when he was the BC provincial coach. I'm guessing that he, MS and her family met and starting working together he he was at Vail. Some people stick out in the sport, and he's one. I think he's doing it his way, and that it's working. Strong hunch. No more. 


This is going to be an interesting year to watch. A lot of familiar faces will not be on the hill. MS is still really young, but it might be her year to contest for the overall….and maybe grab it. I'm looking forward to watching it.


I'm also interested to watch LV, who seems to have worked like a dog all summer.


Hopefully all of the ladies {and the guys} stay healthy and have a great season.  

post #5 of 11
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

Here's my take. I believe that MS has had very minimal training, and close to zero SG experience since she arrived on the WC at 16. Before that she was a very competent SG skier, even in her one NorAm season. I would disregard ANY of her recent past results, etc., though.  It's pretty obvious that she will not win an overall globe without skiing SG, and Super Combined {which she might dominate}. Same with Vonn. Assuming she's 100% healthy, LV needs to score in GS, all of the combined, and maybe even in SL. {She was a great SL skier in her younger years}. So, yes, it makes sense to see this development.

Honestly... I disagree about Vonn here. If it would be normal year, then yes absolutely, but this season, I don't really see anyone doing more then discipline, maybe 2, and certainly not 3 or more. So with this, I'm pretty sure Lindsey, if she's going to be ok and in her sort of normal shape, she can easily do it just with DH and SG. Shiffrin will win few SL races (there's still at least 2 Swedes who will make her life hard, so no chance she will be winning one by another just for fun), she might win GS or two, and rest place in top 10. And that's it. With Vonn, again, if she will be in sort of normal shape, she will pretty much win 80% of DH and SG races. Realistically, there can be maybe sometimes Gut and Weirather who could take win or two away from Lindsey, but that's pretty much it.

With Maze finishing her career (yeah yeah it's just a year break... if you believe :) ), and Fenninger injured and out for season, I really don't see anyone else who could actually compete for overall title. So it's between Shiffrin and Vonn, and Lindsey will be dominating DH/SG more then Mikaela SL and GS. So in my mind, Lindsey doesn't need to even bother clipping SL or GS skis on, and even less producing some top results in those two disciplines.

But it's just starting so I might be completely off :)

post #6 of 11

primoz,  I agree that with Maze and Fenniger out, Vonn can win the overall with just speed. If she dominates. And Shiffrin  has a chance to challenge as well. A good dark horse pick might be be Tina Weirather. She should move up in speed with the aforementioned vacancies of Maze and Fenniger. She can also grab points in GS.

post #7 of 11

I agree with both Primoz, and Chip. I do think this will likely be Vonn's to lose. If she stays reasonably healthy, and is at say 85% of her best version, she should just pile up points in the speed disciplines. A lot of wins, and if not, podiums. Being out of the top five would be rare. So we know that will be her program. Whether they chose to manage it in such a way that she adds to the points with more GS starts, and some combined races likely depends on how the season unfolds. If others aren't piling up points…..aka MS, then maybe she can win this thing with something like 1300 points. MS can't get to that threshold, or higher without some other opportunities, IMO. And if she finds them, and scores, I think we might see some interesting athlete management with respect to both of their race starts. 


It has all the makings of being a very unusual season, as the field is going to be very different. I can't gauge what kind of SL season MS will have, and I agree that she'll have a handful of people pushing her. As absurd as it sounds, though, I wouldn't rule how her being even better.  But that would be insane to plan on. The same goes for her GS. In what I've seen, and heard, I might expect, and would not rule out, a very strong GS season. The changes in the field help her. We'll see how the SG plays into her plans, and management of her year. My thinking is that it's going to be a big part of things. They've been working on it. Unlike Vonn, I just don't think MS can win the overall without searching for more points, as Primoz is right. LV can dominate the speed world this season. It's, IMO, impossible to expect the same of MS on the tech side. With this years field, we'll know fairly soon if the SG training and focus will convert to results and points for MS. Who knows? 


If you look at the field from last year's WC, it's very different. Is Elizabeth Gorgl still racing? She's close to 35. I think that Frida Hansdotter can contest in SL and GS for sure. Tina Weirather is a solid skier, but I think she's had fewer than 5 WC wins. If Vonn's healthy, I would not think she'd have a great chance. I like Lara Gut, and how she skis when she's on. I think she has more than 10 WC wins. I guess we'll know soon enough how she's skiing on her new Head set-up. She's always skied well at BC and Lake Louise. But I think both of them chase Vonn, and may divide a lot of points in speed after that. I would not be surprised to seem them both in or close to the top 5. 


Like I said, in some years, the calendar, weather, cancellations all factor in. So does the health of the athletes. Even a bad lingering cold in the middle of the season can change the landscape a bit. With the women on last year's 10 ten overall list missing from this year, it's really going to be interesting.


How about the men? I hear that Jansrud is skiing incredibly well. And Hirscher is just phenomenal. Does it come down to the two of them?  

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yep, ok I think it's safe to say any concerns about her SL suffering from her dabbling in speed are put to bed.
post #9 of 11

It's a bit early to say anything, as North American races are normally pretty specific (speed even more then tech), but it's true that it looked unreal... not really that she would be skiing that great, but everyone else were... well not second league but fifth league. I didn't follow much, but from that what I have seen I was wondering if terrain was really really bad, setting was really really bad or everyone else just suck like hell this year (watching GS and first SL in Aspen), as most of racers looked like they hardly know how to ski. And Shiffrin's times were... simply amazing. 10sec for place 28 on first Aspen SL is... nah I'm not going to say that :)

post #10 of 11

Aw, go ahead...




After all, the root does mean slow, so in this case it would be ... apropos.

post #11 of 11

I was prepared for this to be a weak women's field this year. The fall has presented some training challenges for some teams. Skiing at the CO elevation, and on the  early season snow surface there {even if injected} is different. We'll know more after Lake Louise, and we'll see what happens when the Swedish tech women are at home in Are, and then when things move to Europe. 


Having said that, I do think that MS has moved further ahead with her skiing {technique and tactics} as well as with her strength, fitness, and I think with her setup. She's on a very different planet in SL right now. She's not going to keep up 3 second margins {or I assume she won't}, but she's literally going to have to falter to lose. I hear that she's mentally getting tougher, and tougher. She's being doing this a while, and is about to turn 21. Her GS is far ahead of where it was a year ago, and it sure looks like she's found an extra gear, and that her training has yielded results, and that her set-up is dialed in {it was absolutely not last season}. I'm now expecting a bunch of great results there. This weekend's SG debut will be interesting. Lake Louise is an "easy" hill, but also a glider's hill. If MS does reasonably well, then when things get more technical, she could do even better. I'm guessing that they have some great skis to put under her feet. It should be interesting. 


Going to also be interesting to see how LV skis. I'm assuming that she'll just kill it. And if she stays healthy, she should kill it in SG and DH all season long. I had mentioned Lara Gut a while ago. She looked good in the Aspen GS. It will be interesting to watch her this week as well. My hunch is that she's on a much better set-up than in the past, an that it may be giving her a big lift in many ways. So we could see her rack up a lot of points in three disciplines, but I would assume a lot fewer than LV, in total. 


They three of them, if healthy, should be in the hunt for the overall. But, yes, it was a VERY weak field in Aspen. Some of the skiing was really poor for a WC. And the time gaps, as Primoz noted were unlike anything that I can recall. But MS looked "that good."  I wasn't there, but have spoken to a number of friends who were on the hill. 


Would be fun to have two americans go 1, 2 in the overall……and even possibly will all of the smaller globes. GS will be a real stretch, but we'll see how MS's season develops. No Fenninger this year. 


Fun to watch, despite the field. 

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