"Now I'm in this position where I really have a chance. I've been managed so well this season to be at this point," she told The Associated Press on Friday.
Shiffrin has great admiration for Maze, whose 10 World Cup wins include each speed and technical discipline.
"Her season has been really inspiring to me so I have her to thank for a lot for the energy I have gotten," Shiffrin said. "Seeing her win so much makes me want to win more."
That challenge on Twitter revealed a respect that Shiffrin believes is shared.
"She's always been very supportive and a great competitor and so that tweet was like, 'Come on, bring it on' because she's going to, that's the way she is," Shiffrin said. "I'm almost honored to be in the position where if I lose the slalom globe it goes to her."
They are separated by just seven points. Whoever wins their personal duel will take the title unless both finish outside the top five.
The potential for a dramatic finale almost demands it be decided around high noon Swiss time when the first-run leaders come down a second time.
"I mostly just want to feel in the finish like I skied the fastest I can," Shiffrin said. "That's just such an amazing feeling and I get it a lot in training but I haven't gotten it in a race yet this season. I ski best when I'm loose and fired up and ready to race."
Her U.S. team coach, Roland Pfeifer, believes whatever she achieves is a bonus after the gold medal.
"She has won the biggest race of the year in Schladming. She's feeling very comfortable," Pfeifer told the AP on Friday.
Shiffrin trained this week -- and celebrated her birthday with her parents, Jeff and Eileen -- at Pfeifer's hometown of Schruns, Austria.
"The hotel put on this really big nice birthday party," she said. "They got a band to come and play, and I didn't know any of this was happening. They brought in a cake for breakfast, a cake for lunch and a bigger cake for dinner. I had a great week."
The momentum kept rolling on Friday when Shiffrin collected a sponsor's check for $21,300 as the rising star of the women's World Cup circuit. Her season prize money is several times that sum.
Shiffrin's week can peak today. Then there's a season-ending giant slalom Sunday before the flight home.
"I cannot wait," she said, anticipating home comforts again. "Just to enter the U.S. Even at customs, I'm going to kiss the floor at customs. I just can't wait to get back there."