Elbows in, Head down, Eyes up: Catching up with Mikaela Shiffrin

Originally published by MTN Town Magazine

Miki says she's been training harder than ever before in her life. Photo via Mikaela Shiffrin on Facebook

Mikaela says she’s been training harder than ever before in her life. Photo via Mikaela on Facebook

She’s been standing on World Cup podiums almost since before she could drive. Fast-forward four years, an Olympic Gold medal, two World Championships, three World Cup titles, as well as 15 wins and 24 podiums, and 20-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin can now burn rubber on Mikaela Way, a street named after her in her hometown of Avon, Colorado.

Mikaela Parading in Vail on on the Fourth of July.

Mikaela parading in Vail on on the Fourth of July.

It’s been one of the most fascinating and fun-to-watch careers to hit ski racing in quite some time, and Mikaela wrote the following in an open letter to her friends and fans following her win in Beaver Creek:

“I want to thank all of you for treating me as a special person out there. Every time I turned around someone was calling out “Good luck Mikaela” and making me feel like the hometown, home-state, home-nation fans were pulling for me. That sense of support gave me the strength to overcome nerves and get the job done on race day.”

Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. Photo courtesy of Mikaela.

Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. Photo courtesy of Miki.

This season, all eyes will again be on Mikaela as she segues into a four-event ski racer. She’s expected to race Super G this season and eventually downhill.

This spring while speed training at Loveland ski area, Mikaela sent Tweets using hashtags that read: “We aren’t in Kansas Anymore Toto,” “This ain’t slalom anymore” and “Elbows in, head down, eyes up.”

Here’s more from our recent chat with Mikaela.

How is speed training going? I loved your hashtags from training at Loveland last spring!

Ha ha, yea, it’s going good. We’re going to New Zealand in one week for some tech training, and I guess I’ll get on my Super-G skis a little bit there but the hills are smaller there. Then we go on to Portillo, Chile where it’s basically two weeks of speed, so I’m working on it and I’m pretty excited!

So, have you ever made a wrong turn on Mikaela Way?

Ha! Yea, well I just missed it coming here. [laugh] I was like, “Oh look, there’s my street, and that’s where I’m supposed to go.”

Awesome, so we’ll see you on the downhill this season?

Ha! Well Super-G first, I mean, I’ll try to do some downhill training runs because it’s really good to get the experience. But I’m excited, I’m ready to go fast!

Your dad just called you Miki, I didn’t realize you had a nickname, is that for anyone?

[laugh] Yea, anyone can call me Miki, I sign autographs Miki, it’s shorter than Mikaela Shiffrin and a lot easier on the wrist [laugh].

You’ve got a big following including a lot of young men that wouldn’t mind taking some runs with you, is there anything you care to share about your romantic life?

The consensus right now is that there’s not a lot of time. It’s kind of a bummer because on the one hand, that’s a really exciting part of life, but on the other hand I have some really exciting stuff going on. So for right now I think everything in moderation [laugh].  

As Vice President of the North American Snowsports Journalists (NASJA), I enjoyed the honor of presenting MIki with her second consecutive NASJA Competitor of the Year Award.

As Vice President of the North American Snowsports Journalists (NASJA), I enjoyed the honor of presenting MIki with her second consecutive NASJA Competitor of the Year Award.

Is there a particular venue or race you can’t wait to get to?

I’m actually excited for the first race of the season right now. All I’m really thinking about is Soelden [Austria]. It’s the first GS race and Levi [Finland] is the first slalom. I’m really excited to get there and start the season off right!

How about the venue for Korea 2018, have you skied there before, are you going there this season?

I think we’re planning to go in the spring and there will be more World Cup events held there leading up to the Olympics. We’ll get some time on the snow but I’ve never been there before so its another exciting deal.

What else are you working on?

I’m still working with the team at Barilla on the Share the Table initiative and its going well! I really like working with them because its an authentic group. That, and honestly, I eat a lot of pasta so it kind of works. It’s not like I’m gluten free [laugh].

 

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