In 2013 Mikaela became the first U.S. Slalom World Cup champion since Tamara McKinney in 1983-84. She backed it up in 2014 with title number two by notching five wins. Last season, at the age of 19, Mikaela continued her dominance in slalom and nabbed another overall title for the third season in a row as well as another first place finish in slalom at the World Cup Championships held in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colo.

In addition to her long list of accomplishments, she also was the youngest woman in U.S. history to win a World Championship and the youngest ski race athlete (male or female) to win an Olympic slalom gold medal. Kicking-off the 2015/16 World Cup Ski race season in Soelden, Austria, Mikaela placed second place in the giant slalom revealing that she is yet again on par with another successful season.


MIKAELA TOOK TIME OUT OF HER BUSY SCHEDULE TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WIN THE COVETED WORLD CUP GLOBE (GIVEN TO THOSE WHO WIN THEIR RESPECTIVE OVERALL TITLES IN EACH DISCIPLINE AS WELL AS THE OVERALL SEASON WORLD CUP TITLE), AS WELL AS WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE TO RACE IN THE 2017 WORLD CUP FINALS IN ASPEN, COLORADO.

How did it feel to win your first World Cup Globe?

Winning my first globe was such a surreal experience, I was 8 points behind Tina Maze going into the last race and I had already won several races that season so I knew that I could win another, but because the globe was on the line in the last race I got really nervous and froze in the first run. I went into the second run with a 1.17 deficit to Maze and was thinking that there was no way I could make up that time and I had given up the globe. The thing is, it’s quite easy to lose 1.17 if you make a mistake or two in a run just freeze up, but it’s really hard to make that time up when everyone else is skiing well. You have to blow it out of the water and I just didn’t think I could do that, so I was counting on having a really good second run and maybe Maze would be feeling the pressure and choke like I did in the first run, which is exactly what happened. When Maze came through the finish and I saw that I had won the race and the globe I was dumbfounded because it was one of those moments where the stars aligned perfectly. I did a good job the second run but nothing spectacular, and it was sheer luck for me that Maze slowed down and pretty much handed the race to me. It was just amazing.

What do you think enabled you to accomplish that?

I went through a mental rollercoaster that day (World Cup finals slalom), I was so nervous for the first run and I remember thinking in the start— “oh boy, this is not going to go well”. Then I had about 3 hours between the first run and the second run where I went through phases of thinking that I could never make up that time and I shouldn’t even ski the second run to thinking that maybe I could make up the time if I had the run of my life to thinking that maybe Maze would get sick all of the sudden and couldn’t finish the race! I played through thousands of scenarios in my mind but what it came down to was my mom, coaches, and one of my friends back home reminding me to trust the feeling that I had in slalom all season long and not making that race out to seem like anything more than another race that I was fully equipped to attack.

Are you excited about the prospect of the potential to compete for a title and a globe on home soil in Aspen in March 2017?

Oh my gosh I’m so excited that WC finals is coming to Aspen! First of all, by the time March rolls around I start counting down the days until I get to go home and I try to look for any possible motivation to keep focused on the last races of the season, but I think that being able to come home for the last races of the season is going to be an energy booster in and of itself! I can picture all the festive and the ambience around Aspen World Cup Finals and when I imagine it all I want to do is fast forward through time and experience it in real life! And of course it would be amazing to compete for the season title on home soil, especially the season before the Olympics, it could spur up so much excitement!

We are excited to have you back in Aspen racing, is there anything special about racing on home soil In Aspen?

Racing on home soil is always special, just the feeling of being home is so wonderful and it puts me at ease. When I’m racing in Europe there’s this constant edgy feeling like I’m doing something wrong or not following the rules! Don’t get me wrong, it’s spectacular in Europe, but when I come home after being in Europe all winter I can actually take a deep breath and really relax for the first time since the start of the season. It’s huge that we get to spend most of November training in Colorado with the men racing in Beaver Creek and the women racing in Aspen, it’s probably my favorite time of the season.