Shiffrin, who turned 20 earlier this month, has become the queen of the slalom. She is the reigning Olympic, World Cup and World Championship title holder in the event. 

The Vail, Colo., native burst onto the scene in 2012 and hasn’t slowed down. Shiffrin is fresh off her third consecutive slalom Crystal Globe, awarded to the World Cup season champion. In the process, Shiffrin became the first woman to win the discipline’s world title and the overall crown in successive seasons. She defended her World Championship crown at Beaver Creek, Colo., in February. 

“It felt like I started ahead of the game and (my parents) were both ski racers and both really great athletes, so I kind of just grew up learning to be an athlete and learning to be a skier,” Shiffrin said. “It worked out really well. I had some great coaches along the way, but the mentality I had ever since I was a little girl was always, basically, if you’re going to do something, do it to the very best of your ability or find something else you’re good at.” 

Shiffrin said her mom, Eileen, is in attendance at all of her events. Eileen Shiffrin ski raced in high school in northwestern Massachusetts in the Berkshires. Shiffrin’s father, Jeff, raced at Dartmouth. 

Shiffrin returns to her home country this week to compete in the U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf, looking to extend her dominance on American soil. This will be her first trip to Sugarloaf. 

She won her first national slalom title in 2011 at Winter Park, Colo., when she was 16, becoming the youngest American skier to win a national alpine crown. 


She defended her title the following year at the same venue and took third in the giant slalom. Shiffrin did not finish her slalom run in 2013 and was disqualified in 2014, so she turned her attention to the grand slalom instead when the national event moved west to Squaw Valley, Calif. She finished runner-up in 2013 before taking the title the following year. 

“I really like going to the U.S. nationals,” Shiffrin said. “When there’s time at the end of the season it seems like such a nice way to finish the season off. Getting to race with people more my age with more of my friends who race at college, it’s like reuniting with my roots and it’s just a huge bonus that there are a lot of younger racers there who seem to be inspired by my skiing and Lindsey (Vonn)’s skiing and Ted (Ligety)’s skiing. When we’re able to make it, if even it’s only for a day, it goes along way in ski racing.” 

Her performance on the slopes hasn’t gone unnoticed. Shiffrin has been nominated for the Laurers World Breakthrough of the Year Award along with Daniel Ricciardo, James Rodriguez, Mario Gotze, Marin Cilic and the Swiss Davis Cup team. Past winners of the award include Andy Murray, Rory McIlroy, Rafael Nadal, Michelle Wie and Yao Ming. 

“It’s a huge honor,” Shiffrin said. “Just the people I’m up against this year — soccer players, Formula 1 drivers, Swiss Davis Cup team — it’s incredible to even be considered among such high-profile athletes like them and knowing people are watching skiing and skiing is a pretty big sport even though maybe there’s not so much notoriety in the U.S., but it’s well-known. People watch it and people are watching me and it’s a really great honor to be nominated.” 

Shiffrin said she could have gone to Shanghai for the award ceremonies, but won’t be able to because it is right in the middle of one of her training camps.

Shiffrin never used her youth or inexperience as an excuse when she first joined the U.S. Alpine A squad alongside decorated skiers Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller. Instead, she won. And she’s kept on winning. 


Shiffrin won her first World Cup race in December 2012 at 17 in Are, Sweden, becoming the second-youngest American to win an alpine World Cup event behind only Judy Nagel. 

Her success on the World Cup stage has been consistent. Shiffrin won four slalom events in 2013, five in 2014 and six more this season. Along with her 15 career victories, Shiffrin has finished on the podium 24 times. 

Less than two years after winning her first World Cup race, Shiffrin became the youngest slalom champion in Olympic alpine skiing history at 18 years, 345 days, when she took gold at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Shiffrin defeated Austria’s Marlies Schild by 0.53 seconds to claim the top spot on the podium. 

“Winning an Olympic medal, it’s the dream of any athlete,” Shiffrin said. “If you want to be a professional athlete, you’re thinking Olympic medal even if you’re sport isn’t in the Olympics, you’re crossing your fingers that you get to compete in the Olympics someday. I was lucky I got that opportunity and at such a young age and to capitalize on it was quite special.” 

Before embarking on her trip from France to Maine, Shiffrin will close out her World Cup season Sunday in the giant slalom, an event in which she currently sits third in the standings.

She’ll compete in the slalom at Sugarloaf on Saturday before enjoying a little rest and relaxation, including a weeklong trip to her grandmother’s house in western Massachusetts, before gearing up for the 2015-16 season. 

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