Six days after winning the slalom for the fourth straight year at Killington Mountain Resort, Mikaela Shiffrin was competing in the downhill at Lake Louise. It was a race Shiffrin appeared in line to win, keeping ahead of the pace established by Nicole Schmidhofer, until faltering at the end of the course to finish second.
But that wasn’t what really felt noteworthy about the event.
Compared to the throng of ski racing fans that annually descend upon Killington to watch Shiffrin and the women’s World Cup circuit every November, the crowd in Alberta was decidedly more sparse. Televised live on NBC’s Olympic Channel, it was clear that Lake Louise would deny Shiffrin two things that she could find more easily in Vermont: victory and a rowdy, adoring crowd of fans.
Then again, most crowds will be smaller than what Shiffrin and company again witnessed at Killington over Thanksgiving weekend.