CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy (Jan. 17, 2015) - Mother nature won again Saturday, dumping heavy snow on the Dolomites and forcing cancelation of the scheduled Audi FIS Ski World Cup for the women. Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) will have to wait, once again, for a try at the record of 62 World Cup wins. Organizers will try again Sunday with a downhill at 11:00 a.m. local time, with the super G pushed to Monday at 10:30 a.m.
USSA columnist Tom Kelly takes a look at Liz Stephen's phenomenal result at the Tour de Ski in this week's Behind the Gold.
It’s fall in Park City. Liz Stephen pulls the laces tight on her running shoes at the USSA Center of Excellence, heading out onto the mountain trails for a 25-mile afternoon run. As she strides over rocks and logs up to the ridgeline, she doesn’t see the brilliant colors of fall. All she sees is an alpine slope, covered in snow, in the heart of the Italian Dolomites. And she feels the pain.
Since its inception in 2006, the Tour de Ski has re-defined cross country ski racing. Gone are the days of heading into the woods, emerging an hour later. Today’s cross country ski racing is head-to-head, high speed, on-the-edge plus calculated suffering.
WENGEN, Switzerland (Jan. 16, 2015)—Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) battled the alpine combined—a downhill followed by one run of slalom—to be the top American in Wengen, finishing in fifth place. Downhiller Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT) skied to 15th, his first top 15 on the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup this season. Carlo Janka of Switzerland won the race by 1.31 seconds and Victor Muffat-Jeandet of France was second.
The first run on Wengen’s famed Lauberhorn downhill was solid for Ligety and Goldberg, giving them good start numbers for the slalom portion. Ligety took 27th—a respectable finish for the tech skier. “It wasn’t great skiing. My turns were really grindy in some places,” Ligety critiqued after his downhill run. “In this snow, you pay hard because there’s decent snow out there.” Goldberg finished 19th.
CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy (Jan. 16, 2015) - A shortened Cortina downhill became more of a sprint course on Friday, with Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) leading the USA. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) was eighth and Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) tenth, having to wait again for record win number 62 in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup. Host Italy had its day with Elena Fanchini taking the win by .15 over Canada's Larisa Yirkiw. Viktoria Rebensberg of Germany was third.
Ross took the early lead out of the top starting position on a course that was shortened by nearly 20 seconds from Thursday's lone training run due to weather. The start was in the fog with light snow falling during the race. Ross was just three-hundredths off the podium. Three of the top four started in the first five racers, as conditions deteriorated through the running order.
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (Jan. 15, 2015)—The women’s speed team looked strong in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, with Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) going 1-2 in the first and only downhill training run. Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) also looks for the podium, finishing in sixth.
Rescheduled from last weekend’s canceled Bad Kleinkirchhaim downhill, Friday will be the first of two downhill races, with the second taking place on Saturday. This double dose of downhills may permit Lindsey Vonn to break the record for World Cup race victories on one of her favorite downhill tracks. She is currently one win away from tying the record.
“I got my first World Cup podium in Cortina. I love the track,” said Vonn, who has podiumed at the Cortina downhill eight times, winning in 2013, 2010 and 2008. “I’ve had some really great memories and really great races there. My family is here too, so it should be a pretty fun weekend.”
WENGEN, Switzerland (Jan. 15, 2015) - Wengen’s fabled Lauberhorn downhill is in a class by itself: It's over two and a half minutes of leg-burning pain down a 2.78-mile course with speeds pushing 100 mph. Two-time downhill champion Bode Miller was back, testing his body and gauging the viability of getting into the start house for the 85th running of Lauberhorn on Saturday. After the first two runs of the season, Miller remains in the hunt.
“This is a tough race to come into for your first race of the season,” he said after Tuesday’s first training run. “Physically, this is probably the most demanding course of the year. Being in good physical shape is one part of it, but being in efficient skiing shape is also part of it.”
FLACHAU, Austria (Jan. 13, 2014)—The women raced under the lights in Flachau, Austria for the last Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom before the World Championships. Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO) had a speedy second run, skiing from eighth place to grab third place overall. Frida Hansdotter from Sweden took the win and Slovenian Tina Maze finished second.
The crowd was huge, with 10,000 screaming fans cheering on the women. The course crew injected the hill on Thursday, but with rain and 1.5 feet of snow falling on top of it over the weekend, the grippy track grooved up quickly.
It was a tough race for many, with seven DNFs second run. Shiffrin overskied first run, and finished eighth—only .68 seconds behind Hansdotter—but was determined to hammer it second run. She followed up on her resolve, putting the pedal down to finish third on the second run, and third overall.
At Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ we encourage parents to help youth athletes deal with the pressures and stresses that accompany youth sports. That starts with reminding them that the sport is about more than just winning and should be fun.
There are many ways to support youth athletes and encourage a focus on fun and what we call “low-stress success.” One of those ways is through listening to music.
We asked U.S. Ski Team athlete Mikaela Shiffrin to share her playlist of the top 5 songs she listens to when preparing for a big competition:
ADELBODEN, Switzerland (Jan. 11, 2015)—Another warm and cloudy day at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in Adelboden had the men struggling for results in slalom. David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) was the top-finishing U.S. athlete in 11th with Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) was 22nd. Italian Stefano Gross took his first ever World Cup win.
Like the previous day’s giant slalom, the slalom course was salted and rough. As much as the course workers tried to keep up with the maintenance, the men quickly beat up the course and the snow broke away underneath their skis while racing. The Americans wrestled with these conditions with only two finishers. Chodounsky—who could almost taste the podium in Zagreb, Croatia before DNFing—fought the weird snow and finished 11th. Ligety had a fast top section of the course, but couldn’t maintain it on the technical steeps. He took 22nd.
BAD KLEINKIRCHHEIM, Austria (Jan. 11, 2015) - For the second day in a row, high winds wreaked havoc in Bad Kleinkirchheim, resulting in cancelation of the women's Audi FIS Ski World Cup super G. This time organizers got it started - albeit 45 minutes late - but after 11 racers officials pulled the plug as winds contnued to sweep over the venue destroying race venue infrastructure. The tour will now move on to Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy next weekend. A decision on rescheduling the canceled races is pending.