By Dan Egan EBS Contributor
Over the last three months, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing and filming Mikaela Shiffrin training at Copper Mountain in Colorado, as well as racing on the World Cup at Killington and at Lake Louise in Canada.
It’s hard to put her accomplishments into context. She is outpacing all pervious ski racers, male or female, in overall career victories for her age, surpassing major milestones without blinking an eye and perfecting her craft to a level we may never witness again.
In Lake Louise, Shiffrin won her first ever super-G race and hadn’t trained in this discipline the previous four months. “Today it just felt like I could do anything on my skis,” she explained at the finish line. “They were an extension of my body, the grip, the glide and line all just fell into place.”
The victory made her the first ski racer ever to win in all six ski disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill, combined and parallel slalom, and it was her 46th career World Cup victory moving her into fourth place on the women’s all-time victory list.
Just a week prior, she had been standing on the podium in Killington, Vermont where she won the slalom for the third year in a row at the Killington Cup in front of more than 15,000 fans. It was her 18th win in the past 23 World Cup slaloms.
Immediately following the awards ceremony in Lake Louise, Shiffrin boarded a helicopter, flew to Calgary and embarked on a plane for St. Moritz, Switzerland, where she swept the following weekend with two more victories, one in super-G and one in parallel slalom.
Currently, Shiffrin leads the overall FIS Standings with 689 points, 393 points ahead of Michelle Gisin of Switzerland.
Shiffrin’s skiing is a family affair. Her mother coaches her, her father runs logistics and her entourage consists of a full-time physical trainer, two U.S. Ski Team coaches, and an Atomic ski technician. It’s a tight, well-oiled machine looking after a thousand small details that add up to FIS World Cup victories.
Watching Shiffrin ski, you see grace, grit and rhythm working as one. She has another gear when the pressure is on. Winning four out of six ski races three weeks in a row in three countries and two continents and in three different time zones requires a heightened sense of self and tremendous focus.
If you’ve never seen Shiffrin ski, stop what you are doing and watch. She is a shooting star, a once in a lifetime spectacle and her performances are groundbreaking and to watch. She is that good.
Time will tell but as the results show, few have reached her heights and the few that have can only wonder how far higher this phenom will climb.
Extreme skiing pioneer Dan Egan has appeared in 12 Warren Miller Ski films and countless others. He was inducted into the U.S Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2016. Today he teaches clinics and guides trips at locations around the world including Big Sky, where he’ll be teaching this season (contact Big Sky Mountain Sports for availability). Find more information on Dan Egan camps and clinics go to skiclinics.com.