American skier Mikaela Shiffrin continued her recent resurgence in slalom by convincingly winning her second straight World Cup race, leaving her rivals in awe four weeks before she defends her world title in Beaver Creek, Colo.
In sunny conditions and cheered by 8,000 spectators at Zagreb, Croatia, the Olympic champion posted the fastest time in both runs to finish in an aggregate 1 minute 56.66 seconds and lead second-place Kathrin Zettel of Austria by 1.68 seconds, the biggest winning margin in the 10-year history of the event.
“For the first time in my career, I just feel like I am in complete control of myself,” said Shiffrin, who sorted out some equipment issues by changing her boots and skis and tweaked her mind-set during a 10-day training camp in Italy in December.
“I feel really comfortable on my feet right now after a lot of testing in Santa Caterina but also really great training,” the American said. “I have started off really great with my career but I am hoping to keep improving.… I feel like I am in a really great place right now.”
Nina Loeseth of Norway was 2.79 back in third for her first career podium finish and first for a Norwegian female skier since 2002. The rest of the field trailed Shiffrin by more than three seconds.
Shiffrin won the slalom World Cup the last two seasons but failed to reach a podium in the first three races this season until dominating in Kuehtai, Austria, last week, where she also won both runs.
It was the 19-year-old American's 12th career World Cup win and 11th in slalom, matching a World Cup record set in 1980 by France's Perrine Pelen for most slalom wins as a teenager.
Olympic champion Felix Loch won his third luge World Cup of the season and Germany made it a weekend's clean sweep by also winning the team relay at Koenigssee, Germany.
Loch, a four-time world champion, was fastest in both runs for a combined time of 1 minute 39.716 seconds, beating compatriot Andi Langenhan by 0.755 seconds and American Chris Mazdzer by 0.809.
Later Sunday, Natalie Geisenberger, Loch, and then doubles team Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt were all fastest in their individual runs as Germany claimed the team relay in 2 minutes 44.493 seconds.
The United States team of Emily Sweeney, Mazdzer and Matthew Mortensen/Jayson Terdiman was second, 1.402 seconds back.