Set in the shadow of the towering Eiger, the Laubernorn downhill vaults perilously through undulating Swiss cow pastures for over two miles. Its broad, sweeping turns through the upper snowfields belie the steep pitches to come. As you hit the Hanneggschuss – already nearly two minutes into the course – your legs are burning with fire and pain. Speeds hit 80 mph. And you still have 30 seconds to ski!
The downhill in Wengen, Switzerland is a course for the great champions of sport. The legendary Buddy Werner won the combined in 1958. Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller paired up for three straight wins from 2006-08. Kyle Rasmussen won in 1995.
The passing of Olympic champion Bill Johnson last week brought back poignant memories of that special day - January 15, 1984 - when American downhill ski racing captured the world’s eye.
OBERJOCH, Germany (Jan. 27, 2016) — Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) suffered an injury to his right knee while training giant slalom in Oberjoch, Germany. According to U.S. Ski Team Medical Director Kyle Wilkens, Ligety will return home to USA for further evaluation.
SCHLADMING, Austria (Jan. 26, 2016) – Under the lights of Schladming with more than 50,000 screaming fans, David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) was set up perfectly for another top Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom result.
“I came out firing up top and felt pretty good, then down at the bottom, I don’t know if I just tightened up a little bit or what. I just didn’t ski well,” said Chodounsky, who was fifth after the first run, but finished 11th. “I’m having great first runs … and one of these times I’m going to put two of them together and it’s going to be pretty sweet.”
Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway took the victory in electrifying fashion, overcoming a 1.10-second first-run deficit to take his sixth slalom victory of the season, extending his overall World Cup slalom lead to 180 points over Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, who finished second Tuesday night. Last year's Schladming winner, Alexander Khoroshilov of Russia finished third.
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Jan. 24, 2016) – David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) led the way for the Americans in Sunday’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom, finishing 11th. Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, MN) posted a career-best World Cup finish in 19th, and Tim Kelley (Starksboro, VT) was 21st.
David Chodounsky competes during the slalom on Sunday in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Getty/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)
CORTINA, Italy (Jan. 24, 2016) – Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) notched another Audi FIS Ski World Cup victory, number 75, Sunday in super G and moved into the overall World Cup lead.
Vonn took victory No. 75 in commanding fashion by 0.69 over Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein. Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg was third. Lara Gut of Switzerland held the overall World Cup lead by 10 points over Vonn coming into Sunday’s super G, but finished fifth and surrendered the lead to Vonn by 45 points in what has become a back and forth battle for the overall.
Lindsey Vonn notched victory number 75 in Sunday’s super G in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. (Getty/Agence Zoom-Francis Bompard)
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Jan. 23, 2016) – Thirty racers started a fast, dark and bumpy Hahnenkamm Saturday at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill, but only 24 made it to the finish line. Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) led a trio of surviving Americans.
The race, which started from a lower start position due to weather conditions, was officially cancelled after bib 30 crossed the line. Italy’s Peter Fill was declared the official winner, with Switzerland’s Beat Fuez and Carlo Janka in second and third respectively. Weibrecht finished 13th, Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) was 18th and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) 22nd.
Travis Ganong finished 18th at the downhill Saturday in Kitzbuehel. (Getty/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Jan. 22, 2016) – It’s the biggest weekend in ski racing, and a couple new faces are not only soaking in the experience, but stepping up their game to come away with valuable World Cup points at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup combined Friday. Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, CA), who has enjoyed a breakout season this year, finished ninth, while Drew Duffy (Warren, VT) scored his first World Cup points in 27th at the alpine combined event.
“It’s just awesome to be here … this is the biggest one, definitely a cool weekend,” said Duffy, who is planning to return to the NorAm and Europa Cup circuits and then off to Russia for the World Junior Championships for the remainder of the season. “I don’t know if I was more scared for the super G or the slalom. There were definitely some nerves, but I’m definitely excited on how I’m skiing.”
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Jan. 22, 2016) – Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) grabbed his second, and most prestigious, super G podium result of his career finishing second in Friday’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup on the classic Hahnenkamm track.
“I couldn’t be happier. It’s awesome,” said Weibrecht. “Growing up everybody thinks about getting on the podium at Kitzbuehel. Today is a dream come true.”
Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal won the race, and scored his 15th career World Cup super G victory. Austria’s Hannes Reichelt was third. Friday’s super G also served as the first leg of the alpine combined and is followed with an afternoon slalom race.
Andrew Weibrecht pumps his fist in the finish. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)
GRESHAM, OR (Jan. 21, 2016) – Olympic champion Bill Johnson, whose storybook 1984 season ushered in a new era for American ski racing, passed away Thursday at an assisted living facility outside Portland at the age of 55. His passing closed the final chapter in a tumultuous lifetime that saw him rise to the highest level in his sport.
Born in Los Angeles, Johnson grew up ski racing at Bogus Basin in Idaho, then moving on to Mt. Hood in Oregon as well as the racing program at Mission Ridge, WA.