CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Mikaela Shiffrin showed why she is the best women’s slalom ski racer in the world Saturday afternoon, cruising to the U.S. slalom title at Sugarloaf Mountain.

Shiffrin had a combined time of 1:33.02 on her two runs, easily racing past second-place finisher Paula Moltzan by 4.31 seconds. Moltzan finished in 1:37.33. Third-place finisher Megan McJames had a two-run time of 1:39.91.

There was a huge crowd on hand, mostly to see the 20-year-old Shiffrin, who earlier this month won her third consecutive World Cup slalom championship. She is also the defending Olympic champion in the sport.

“These kinds of races mean a lot because of who comes,” said Shiffrin. “It’s the next generation of skiers who shows up and watches and hopefully gets inspired by all of the racing, not just me and not just the U.S. team athletes. It’s cool for me to see that excitement.

“It makes me excited too. I think it’s the perfect way to end the season and get ready for the new season. It gives me some motivation to keep pushing it and keep trying to do my best because there are thousands of kids here who are trying to do their best too.”

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