ASPEN, CO (Nov. 22) - It's time to go ski racing in Colorado! The International Ski Federation has given the final go-ahead to both Aspen and Beaver Creek for upcoming Audi FIS Ski World Cup races. Cold snowmaking temperatures mixed with natural snow have helped Colorado resorts prepare for the start of the season. The women open with a giant slalom and slalom at the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational Dec. 29-30, while the men preview the World Championships with a downhill, super G and giant slalom at Beaver Creek for the Audi Birds of Prey Race Week Dec. 5-7. Admission is free, or watch the action on NBC, NBCSN and Universal Sports.
Laurenne Ross took the second of two FIS super G races at Colorado’s Copper Mountain yesterday, racing against athletes like Tina Weirather, Viktoria Rebensburg and Ilka Stuhec.
Thrilled about the result, Ross said she was notably more aggressive in the second race. “I took a little bit of a deeper line. I was a little bit more level and technically skiing better and pinning it a little more,” she told Ski Racing.
Mikaela Shriffrin also participated in the races, her first super Gs since Sochi in 2013. Not thrilled with her results—16th and 15th, respectively—she was still upbeat and determined to continue branching into speed this season. “I’m trying to take it all in stride and learn as much as I can,” said Shriffrin.
VAIL, Colorado (Nov.14) – The traditional alpine skiing powers are coming, but so are countries such as the Cayman Islands, India, the Netherlands and Timor-Leste as preliminary team entries for Vail and Beaver Creek’s 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships have yielded 69 confirmed national team entries to date.
Two additional nations are currently unconfirmed, bringing the total entries to 71. The preliminary entry deadline for the Championships was October 30.
“The list of countries coming to the 2015 World Championships is a real lesson in geography,” offered Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and head of the 2015 Organizing Committee. “These truly are ‘World’ Championships and it will be exciting for our community to have the chance to interact with participants from all of these nations.”
PARK CITY, UT (Nov. 17) – Olympic champion Bode Miller will undergo outpatient back surgery today but is planning to return to the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in January based on the outcome of the surgery. Miller has been training in Austria and at Copper Mountain the past month but elected to have the surgery to alleviate pain and discomfort. He is hoping to still compete in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships this February in Vail/Beaver Creek. The key races in January include downhills in Wengen, where he has won in the past, and Kitzbuehel, where he was third last season.
The men’s World Cup slalom opener could serve as a harbinger for a rivalry to come this season, as the world’s two best slalom skiers, in a league of their own on Sunday, battled it to within twelve-hundredths of a second on the Levi Black course in Finland.
Twenty-year-old Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, likened by some to Mikaela Shiffrin on the men’s tour for his youthful promise in technical disciplines, overtook Marcel Hirscher who held the slight edge after the first run. A gritty second run ultimately paid dividends for Kristoffersen, who simply took more risk than the clean-skiing Austrian to claim the second win of his young career.
LEVI, Finland (Nov. 16) - Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) finished 18th, 3.33 seconds out, Sunday in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour's first slalom. David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) finished 26th, 4.32 seconds out. Small mistakes in the wrong spots cost Ligety and Chodounsky time. Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen laid down an aggressive and fast second run, beating his great rival and last year's winner Austria's Marcel Hirscher with an overall time of 1:50:39. It was win number two for Kristoffersen, who had played the position of second fiddle throughout the 2014 season. Germany's Felix Neureuther looked a bit stiff in the lower back first run, but dominated the top section of the second run to round out the podium.
The start of the 2014-15 slalom season began in Levi, Finland, with all eyes on defending overall slalom champ and Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin, but it was 2013 overall winner Tina Maze who surprised many – and stole the show.
Maze, who started with bib 13, skied a flawless first run to overtake then-leader Frida Hansdotter and held on after a bobble on the pitch in the second run to take the win.
“I’m really happy I managed to finally finish the first run in first position and end up that way; that was always hard for me, and today I made it,” said Maze. “It’s good to be here to have this time to get ready for slalom. The hill was just super nice, and I gave my best so I’m really happy.”
LEVI, Finland (Nov. 15) - Olympic gold medalist and reigning World Cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) was electrifying in her opening turns on the first run of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom opener. But an uncharacteristically conservative approach on the Levi Black steeps got the best of her, as she fell 1.71 seconds back on the first run, finishing 11th. Levi Black is known as one of the toughest slalom slopes on the women's circuit, combining a rather flat top section with a steep pitch, which requires skiers to quickly adapt. Today was Slovenian Tina Maze’s day. She conquered the challenging slope snagging the win and a Lapland reindeer. After a disappointing 2014 season, Maze claimed her fourth career World Cup slalom victory, and her first slalom win in two seasons. Sweden's Frida Hansdotter finished in second, 0.34 seconds back and Austria's Kathrin Zettel rounded out the podium, 0.52 seconds out.
LEVI, Finland (Nov. 13) – Ask any U.S. Ski Team member about these Lapland slalom races north of the Arctic Circle, and you’ll hear that there’s something magical about Levi, Finland. The town is blanketed with snow and Christmas is already in the air. World Cup champions Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety are among 11 U.S. athletes heading to the winter wonderland for the Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom races set for this Saturday and Sunday hoping to make magic happen. Shiffrin is fresh off her first ever World Cup GS win at the World Cup opener in Soelden, Austria. Additional U.S. starters are Will Brandenburg, Nolan Kasper, David Chodounsky, Will Gregorak, Tim Kelley, Michael Ankeny, Paula Moltzan, Resi Stiegler and Hailey Duke. The 2014 U.S. Alpine Ski Team was named Nov. 8 during Nature Valley First Tracks at Copper Mountain, CO.