American skier Mikaela Shiffrin won a women’s World Cup slalom Sunday in Levi, Finland, after first-run leader Petra Vlhova looked set for a clear victory until straddling a gate and not finishing her final run.
Vlhova extended her big lead of 0.76 seconds over Shiffrin from the opening leg to more than a second when the Slovakian failed to clear a gate in the steep section midway down the Levi Black course.
Shiffrin finished 0.18 ahead of Leona Popovic of Croatia, who earned her second career podium result, and 0.30 ahead of third-placed Lena Duerr of Germany.
“Petra and her team, they earned this victory today. Actually, that was really bad luck for her,” Shiffrin said. “It’s a little bittersweet. I’m really happy with the victory, but I have to give her the credit. She earned it, probably a second and a half by the bottom, at least.”
Canadians Ali Nullmeyer (+1.24) and Laurence St-Germain (+1.32) finished in sixth and seventh positions respectively.
Shiffrin’s win followed a week in which the American had to reduce her time on snow after bruising a bone in her left knee in a training crash.
The result marked the first top-three result of the season for Shiffrin and her record-extending 89th career World Cup win.
The American won 14 races last season and her fifth overall title. Shiffrin started the new campaign with a sixth place in a giant slalom in Austria two weeks ago.
Shiffrin finished fourth in Saturday’s race on the same hill, when Vlhova posted the fastest time in both runs to win by a big margin of 1.41 seconds over Duerr.
“It was amazing to watch her ski these two days,” Shiffrin said of Vlhova.
It was Shiffrin’s record seventh win in Levi, where no skier other than her or Vlhova has won the traditional season-opening slalom in Finnish Lapland since 2016.