Shiffrin edged by Vlhova in slalom finale

Jérôme RASETTI
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Petra Vlhova of Slovokia competes in the first run of the Audi FIS World Cup Ladies' Slalom on March 11, 2017 in Squaw Valley, California

Not even settling for a runner-up showing in Saturday's final World Cup slalom race of the campaign could dim American Mikaela Shiffrin's excitement at taking the overall women's season crown.

Slovakia's Petra Vlhova surged at the finish to win in 1:32.00, edging Shiffrin by .24 of a second with Sweden's Frida Hansdotter third in 1:32.35.

"Second place is never bad," Shiffrin said. "I was disappointed with some of my skiing. I was also happy with some of my skiing."

But Shiffrin, who had already sealed a fourth World Cup slalom crown in five years, was overjoyed at having clinched the overall crown Friday after the only rival who could overtake her, Slovenia's Ilka Stuhec, said she would skip the slalom race, ending her slim hopes.

"It's an amazing feeling to win the overall," Shiffrin said. "It means a lot to me. It was a dream of mine since I was so young."

It was also shocking to learn she had won the overall in her bedroom at home in nearly Vail rather than on a piste.

"My mom walked into my room, I had just woken up from a nap, and she said, 'Congratulations, the overall is yours,'" Shiffrin said.

"I said, 'No it's not yet, It's not mine yet.' She said, 'Ilka has decided not to race the slalom, it's yours.' I was like, 'Huh' -- it didn't seem like a real thing.

"It was odd to say I had won something in ski racing when I wasn't actually on the hill."

Austria's Marcel Hirscher, who had already clinched the men's overall and giant slalom World Cup ski season titles, won the last men's giant slalom in Saturday's other race at Aspen.

- 'I feel the fatigue' -

Shiffrin recalled Slovenian ski star Tina Maze, the 2013 overall champion, telling her not to do every event, advice that she better understands after a season-high 11 race wins -- seven in slalom, three more in giant slaloms and one in super combined.

"I haven't skied every race," she said. "I feel the fatigue. It's a tough balance.

"Once it started towards the world championships, I had a good shot at the overall. It started to be a priority."

Shiffrin won her third consecutive world slalom title last month in St. Moritz, the first women to achieve the feat since Germany's Christi Cranz in 1939.

"I had another goal this season I couldn't accomplish, to win every single slalom," Shiffrin said. "I don't know if I'll be able to ever do it, but that's the kind of ambition I have."

Winning Sunday's giant slalom would give Shiffrin a chance to overtake France's Tessa Worley for the World Cup giant slalom crown.

Reigning world and Olympic slalom champion Shiffrin, who turned 22 last Monday, is the youngest overall winner Croatia's Janica Kostelic in 2003.

- Hirscher adds another win -

Hirscher won his sixth World Cup race of the season in 1:49.79, downing Germany's Felix Neureuther by 0.53 of a second with France's Mathieu Faivre third in 1:50.98.

Hirscher kept his fire the week despite being assured of his sixth consecutive World Cup overall crown, his fourth giant slalom season trophy in six campaigns and his fourth slalom title in five seasons.

"I'm a racer. It's not hard to stay motivated," Hirscher said. "I'm not here to make vacation."

The Austrian star, who also won slalom and giant slalom world titles last month, knows success has become an expectation.

"If I'm finishing second in the overall next winter it will be a disaster, at least in Austria," he said.