In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring the top news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—youth wins out in Aspen as Mikaela Shiffrin shines, two Australian surfers disappear in Mexico and the World Title race gets tense in Maui.
While Vail Colorado’s Mikaela Shiffrin is only 20 years old, she’s skiing like a seasoned vet, absolutely dominating her World Cup slalom competition.
She won both slalom events this weekend at the Aspen Winternational and on Saturday, smashed a record that had stood for nearly 50 years when she won by 3.07 seconds, establishing a new mark in the sport. This was Shiffrin’s fifth straight World Cup slalom win dating back to last season, the longest string of victories since Austria’s Marlies Schild went for five straight in 2011-2012. “I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again,” Shiffrin said.
This is Shiffrin’s 17th World Cup victory and the 2014 Olympic slalom champ now heads to Lake Louise, Alberta where she’ll make her speed debut in the Super-G hoping to catapult her march to the sport’s top prize: the World Cup overall title. But the Super-G has long been dominated by four-time World Cup champ Lindsey Vonn and Vonn has had so much success in Alberta (15 victories overall and seven straight World Cup wins), the local media playfully calls it “Lake Lindsey.”
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Mexico has long been a destination for traveling surfers looking for adventure. Traveling up and down the coast in beat-up vehicles, camping in small villages along the way on both the Baja Peninsula and the mainland. But one such adventure may have turned tragic last week as two Australian surfers, Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman, failed to show up for reservations in Guadalajara. The duo’s white Chevy van was found burnt and destroyed in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, a drug-riddled region of mainland Mexico reportedly controlled by the cartel and home to notorious Mexican gangster Juan “El Chapo” Guzmán. Two bodies were found inside the van who’ve yet to be identified by Mexican authorities.
When the two went missing, their families took to social media and are now on their way to Mexico to try and help authorities identify the bodies. A GoFundMe site was set up to help cover travel costs and has raised nearly $40,000. The pair’s last confirmed sighting was Nov. 20 as they were getting off a fairy from Baja. They were supposed to arrive in Guadalajara a day later.
The Maui Pro finally got started at Honolua Bay over the holiday weekend and both world title contenders are still in the race heading into Round 4. Oahu’s Carissa Moore was in fantastic form, winning her Round 3 heat (a non-elimination round), advancing directly to the quarterfinals where she awaits her next opponent. Courtney Conlogue, meanwhile, lost in Round 3, which means she’ll have to fight her way through Round 4 to advance.
The World Title scenarios are fairly complex: if Moore finishes at least fifth, then Conlogue must win the event. If the Conlogue finishes runner up then it’s a tie and the title will go to a one-heat surf-off. If Moore ends an even third, Conlogue has to win the event. Moore wins the title automatically if she repeats as the event winner or if Conlogue falters in Round 4.
Honolua Bay is arguably the best wave on the women’s tour, a reeling right hand point break that offers both barrel sections and rippable walls, a fantastic venue to showcase the newschool talent on the women’s tour. “It was so great to have the Bay all to myself, with just two other women,” Conlogue said. Watch the Maui Pro live here and catch action from the Triple Crown, which also continued over the weekend with the opening rounds of the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach.