While Santa Claus has a full team of eight reindeer to pull his sleigh, US Ski team phenom’s Mikaela Shiffrin's team of reindeer could challenge the jolly elf. Shiffrin won her fourth reindeer at a ski race in Finland last weekend.
The US women’s alpine team was in Levi, Finland racing last weekend. US Ski & Snowboard’s Lara Carlton says Mikaela Shiffrin’s win was a historic one in Scandinavia.
“She won her 41st slalom victory in Levi, Finland which broke the previous slalom victory record of Ingemar Stenmark which was at 40,” Carlton explained. “When you win a World Cup in Levi you also win a reindeer, and this is Mikaela’s 4th reindeer. She named it Ingemar after receiving permission from him via text.”
Shiffrin’s reindeer Ingemar will remain on a ranch in Finland along with her other reindeer Rudolph, Sven and Mr. Gru all won in previous years.
“Some World Cups have different prizes; I believe there's one in Austria where you get a cow,” Carlton continued. “Reindeer are big part of culture up there in terms of labor and modes of transportation with all the snow. So, it’s just something fun to add to that event.”
Fellow teammate Paula Moltzan picked up her first world cup points finishing 20th. The alpine women’s team will race this weekend in Killington, Vermont.
The cross-country team competed in the Norwegian National opener, serving as a tune-up event ahead of their opening event this week. Leading the way for the women was Sophie Caldwell who finished third in the event.
“Saturday, we had Jessie Diggins come in 4th just missing the podium there,” Carlton said. “Sadie Bjornsen in 5th, Rosie Brennan came in 9th and our top American man finished at 36 on Saturday. So, the team is skiing really strong and excited to be back in Europe, back on snow, excited to kick-off in Ruka, Finland on Friday.”
Men’s Alpine, Freestyle, Freeski are all yet to really get underway. Although Freeskier Alex Hall did grab a gold in big air at the X games in Norway. He’ll be one of a few athletes showcased at a new event in Atlanta.
“This is part of our commitment to bring big air events to ballparks around America for the next three years as we head into Beijing 2022,” Carlton explained. “Big air made its Olympic debut in 2018 and freeski big air will make its Olympic debut in 2022. So, we're bringing the mountains to Atlanta, GA SunTrust Park, home of the Braves, getting to Atlanta just ahead of the Holidays. It should be just a really fun, awesome event.”
The Atlanta Big Air event is December 20th and 21st.