VAL GARDENA, Italy (Dec. 17, 2014)—The men’s speed team is in the Dolomites this weekend and is looking fast, with Steven Nyman taking the win at the first and only downhill training run.
Although the temperature has fallen in Italy, the snow has not. The Val Gardena course resembles the early season “white ribbon of death,” with icy manmade chunks making up the course. Because of the snow, the set is different than it has been in the past, allowing the athletes to be more creative with the course. Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) noted the famed camel bumps, which demand athletes to think on their feet. “It could get dirty up there,” said Nyman.
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ARE, Sweden (Dec. 14, 2014)—Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) had a beautiful first run in Sunday's Audi FIS World Cup slalom, but straddled a gate in the second and skied out. NCAA slalom champion David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) took the only American World Cup points of the day, finishing 22nd in Are.
Conditions were perfect on the hill—cold and injected—and the course was rhythmic and fast. After finishing third with a small mistake on his first run, Ligety knew he needed an aggressive second run to keep up with Austrian Marcel Hirscher, who is aiming to be only the sixth skier to win the men’s slalom title at least three times. Ligety held the lead on the second run, but got late coming into the finish, before straddling and skiing out on the bottom. Noticeably frustrated, this would have been Ligety’s first podium in slalom since January 2008 in Wengen, Switzerland, where he finished third. He has never won a World Cup slalom.
ARE, Sweden (Dec. 13, 2014) - Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) had a strong second run in the slalom, but fell two-hundredths short of the podium as Sweden's Maria Pietilae-Holmner brought the home country crowd to its feet with a stunning win over Tina Maze in an Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom in Are. Sweden's Frida Hansdotter rounded out the podium.
Sixth after the first run and over a half second back, Shiffrin felt good in the starting gate and pushed out to an aggressive, more characteristic run to take the lead. She hammered the top, held back a little in the mid-section, and let her skis run at the bottom, but the .53 second deficit was too much to match. She finished .34 seconds out of first, overall.
Are, Sweden (Dec. 12, 2014)—Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) slayed his way to second place in Are, Sweden, behind Marcel Hirscher from Austria - who collected his 25th career World Cup win - and ahead of Stefan Luitz of Germany. Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) grabbed more giant slalom World Cup points, finishing in 22nd. The win moved Hirscher back atop the Audi FIS Ski World Cup GS standings and set the stage for an epic battle for the globe with Ligety, which will continue next weekend in Alta Badia.
With the sun setting just after 2:00 p.m. in Sweden, the giant slalom took place under the lights. The Norwegians set a super technical first run on the steep and injected course. Without much room for error, the course spat out DNFs—18 racers first run, including David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO). But Ted Ligety and Tim Jitloff both skied solidly, with Ligety sitting third and Jitloff 19th after first run.
ARE, Sweden (Dec. 12, 2014) – Lack of snow across mainland Europe has forced the relocation of men’s and women’s giant slalom and slalom races at Val d’Isere and Courchevel, respectively, to Are, Sweden. After a successful North American series for both the men and women, the team morale is high and they’re ready to carry the momentum to Are.
On the women’s side, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) is hungry for her first slalom victory of the 2014-15 season after a fifth place finish in the Aspen Winternational. She’s had time since Aspen to prep for Are and she’s feeling good and rested. Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) was the story of Aspen, skiing into a smoking 11th place finish, which came after an 18th place finish in the slalom season opener in Levi, Finland. Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN) and Hailey Duke (Boise, ID) will also be looking to make that second run flip for the first time this season.
ARE, Sweden (Dec. 12) - Tina Maze continued her quest for the overall Audi FIS Ski World Cup title with her third win in three different disciplines this season, taking the giant slalom in Are. Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) skied to tenth in the opening race of the weekend, originally scheduled for snow-starved Courchevel, France. Rising Swedish star Sara Hector skied from 25th into second while first-run-leading Eva-Maria Brem of Austria was third.
Shiffrin skied solid but not as aggressively as she wanted in the first run, going out second and finishing the run in eighth, one spot behind Maze and .78 from the leader Brem in a tightly packed field. In the second run, Shiffrin dropped to tenth while Maze charged up to take the lead and the victory. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) just made the flip at 30th, but went out in the second run. Megan McJames (Park City, UT) missed the top 30.
Behind the Gold After a disappointing 2013-14 World Cup season for the women, the athletes had a thrilling few days at Lake Louise last week. So what does this mean for their upcoming season with the World Championships on home soil? USSA columnist Tom Kelly takes a look in this week's Behind the Gold.
BEAVER CREEK, CO (Dec. 7) - Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) destroyed the field on Sunday, coming back from fourth in the first run to take the Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom victory at Beaver Creek for the fifth straight year. Ligety's second run down the Birds of Prey piste will go down in legend, faster than Benni Raich, Alexis Pinturault and Marcel Hirscher, who led him in the morning.