SPINDLERUV MLYN, Czech Republic—American skier Mikaela Shiffrin posted the fastest time in the opening run of a women’s World Cup slalom Saturday, positioning herself for her 85th career victory.
If Shiffrin wins the race, she would move within one of the World Cup record of 86 wins set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark in the 1980s.
Shiffrin had shared the women’s record of 82 wins with former teammate Lindsey Vonn before triumphing at back-to-back giant slaloms in Italy this week.
On Saturday, the American was 0.29 seconds faster than Lena Dürr of Germany, and Olympic slalom champion Petra Vlhová of Slovakia trailed by 0.46 in third.
“In the end, good skiing, and I’m happy with that,” Shiffrin said.
The rest of the field was more than a second off the pace. Lower-ranked skiers were still coming down the course.
Shiffrin, racing at the resort where she had her World Cup debut as a 15-year-old almost 12 years ago, had a fast start and already led her competitors by at least a quarter of a second at the first intermediate time.
She also gained time on most racers in a tricky passage halfway through her run, where the course set allowed various ways to pass the gates.
“You could ski it either way,” Shiffrin said. “I was able to really carry a lot of speed on the end of the course. In the end, I felt very good on my run.”
The American has won four of the seven slaloms this season and is chasing her 11th victory of the season.
Only twice in her career has she won more than 11 races in a single season: 12 in 2017–18 and a record 17 in 2018–19.