Winter sports: U.S. teen Mikaela Shiffrin shining on the slopes

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Teenager Mikaela Shiffrin has nearly flawless form when she cruises through a slalom course.

Her secret? She pictures the gates as trees and keeps her elbows close because, "arms flying out will get taken off by a tree."

And the 17-year-old almost always seems to be in perfect rhythm. Shiffrin has certainly found her cadence on the course, racing to her first World Cup victory Thursday in Are, Sweden. She's rapidly becoming skiing's next big thing.

Just in time, too, for the United States, with Lindsey Vonn taking a break from the circuit to recover from a nagging virus that has zapped her strength.

Ever since Shiffrin burst on the scene, she's drawn the inevitable comparisons to Vonn.

Not that Shiffrin minds, because she definitely has a lot in common with her idol.

And now, above all else, this — winning.

At 17 years, 9 months, Shiffrin became the third youngest American to win a World Cup race behind Kiki Cutter (16 years, 7 months) and Judy Nagel (17 years, 5 months). Vonn didn't win her first big-league event until 20.

Freestyle skiing

Freestyle skiers Bryon Wilson and Heather McPhie of the United States won a World Cup dual moguls event Saturday in Kreischberg, Austria.

In the men's final, Wilson beat Alex Bilodeau of Canada for his first career World Cup win.

McPhie defeated American teammate Heidi Kloser in the women's final for her second win of the season and third overall.