MERIBEL, UT (March 18, 2015)—In the first World Cup Finals race of the week, Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) was the top American, taking fourth place in the downhill. Kjetil Jansrud of Norway won the race, and snagged the downhill crystal globe.
It was a beautiful day for the downhill in Meribel, France, with sunshine and warm weather stoking the roaring crowd. Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) was the first American racer out of the start, and took eighth overall—a solid finish for the World Cup veteran. Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) took ninth and Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) was 24th.
MERIBEL, France (March 18, 2015) - Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) began the finale of her comeback season in high style Wednesday, scoring a convincing victory and claiming her 18th career crystal globe in winning the Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill title. Vonn was flawless under the clear blue skies, skiing to a .24 second victory over Austria's Elisabeth Goergl.
Vonnn brought a 35 point lead over Fenninger into the final, essentially needing to stay ahead of the Austrian. Fenninger skied 16th, one spot before Vonn, and had a troubling run to drop into fourth. All Vonn needed was a top-15 to take the title. But she went out charging in the soft snow to move into a convincing lead. Goergl was the only challenger and couldn't top Vonn. Slovenia's Tina Maze was fourth, narrowing the gap behind Fenninger to just 12 points for the overall - a battle that is expected to go down to the final race this week.
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, ME (Mar. 17, 2015)—While a group of World Cup skiers take on the World Cup Finals in Meribel, France, the first race of the 2015 U.S. Alpine National Championships kicked off on Tuesday at Sugarloaf Mountain. Julia Ford (Holderness, NH) was crowned the champion for the women, while Wiley Maple (Aspen, CO) won the men’s downhill.
Sugarloaf experienced some classic Maine March weather, resulting in canceled training and a delayed race. More than eight inches of snow fell on the ski area, followed by heavy winds that whipped the snow into a halfpipe down the Narrow Gauge downhill track. The start had to be delayed, while the race crew attacked the course with snowcats. A shortage of forerunners also resulted in a snow seed starting ahead of the top-seeded racers.
PARK CITY, UT (March 17, 2015) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has announced plans to hire an alpine development director, responsible for all aspects of domestic alpine development. The director will be responsible for all elite domestic programs below the U.S. Ski Team’s A, B and C Teams, reporting directly to USSA Alpine Director Patrick Riml.
The new position stems from the USSA’s recognition of the importance of alpine development in the USA, and its commitment to further evolving and refining its programs.
“Best in the World at every level is our goal,” said Riml. “With that in mind, it is imperative to look at our future and how we optimize the development of our talent and create young, strong alpine teams going forward. Athlete development is the cornerstone for future success at the junior, World Cup and Olympic levels.
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 17, 2015) – Eastern U.S. ski resorts will play a pivotal role in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association ski racing scene the next weeks. Top alpine athletes from the USA and foreign countries will compete at Eastern resorts including Sugarloaf, Burke Mountain and Waterville Valley as hosts to the final races in the International Ski Federation (FIS) NorAm tour. The month will end with the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf.
The NorAm tour is the steppingstone for athletes to the Audi FIS Ski World Cup circuit. The top two athletes in each discipline on the NorAm earn a start position in the next season’s World Cup, in addition to the regular quota of top national team athletes.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO (March 17, 2015) – America’s Ski Town U.S.A, Steamboat Springs, will honor 10 new inductees to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame as the site of the annual induction ceremony capping off the April 6-12 Skiing History Week in the famous Colorado resort. The celebration of skiing history coincides with the centennial of Steamboat’s famous Howelsen Hill.
The Class of 2014 Hall of Fame inductees include a host of notable athletes and sport pioneers from Olympic champion Ross Powers to World Championship medalist Erik Schlopy, along with big mountain skier Chris Davenport, Professional Ski Instructors of America founder Curt Chase, ski goggle pioneer Bob Smith and more.
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (Mar. 15, 2015)—Tough spring conditions got the best of the American athletes in Kranjska Gora in the last Audi FIS Ski World Cup race before the World Cup Finals. But it didn’t hold back the top guys, who were in the hunt for World Cup points to pad their crystal globe missions. Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway put down a beautiful run in the soft snow, taking the win and moving him up to third in the slalom standings. Giuliano Razzoli of Italy took second and Mattias Hargin of Sweden third.
Just 20 years old, Kristoffersen celebrated in the finish—loving being back on the top of the podium. He had won the first slalom race of the season in Levi and has been a one-two punch throughout the season—a solid threat in both slalom and giant slalom. Earlier this week, the youngster also successfully defended his World Junior Championships slalom and GS titles, winning the slalom by 1.55 seconds and the GS by 0.96 seconds.
ARE, Sweden (Mar. 14, 2015)—It felt like spring skiing in Are, Sweden. The sun was out and the snow soft, and the Swedish fans were loud in the last women’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup before the World Cup Finals. Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO) slayed both of her runs, taking her third win in Are and a solid 90-point lead into World Cup Finals.
Shiffrin threw down a blazing first run, skiing in her classic, mistake-less style and took first place by a. 89 seconds over Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic. But she was determined to not back off. “I’m trying to take each run like it’s my last run,” said Shiffrin after she finished first run. “I’m putting all of my heart into it and ski my fastest and see what happens. I don’t want to have any regrets.”
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (March 14, 2015) - Ted Ligety's (Park City, UT) hopes of a sixth Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom title were dashed Saturday, as Marcel Hirscher of Austria finished second and clinched the season title. Ligety was fourth after a rock hit on his first run set him too far back to challenge for the win. France's Alexis Pinturault took the win.
Ligety came into the second to last GS of the season needing a miracle to overcome the 188 point margin of Hirscher. At the eight gate of the first run, Ligety hit a rock with his left ski, making it difficult to get full control on the icy course where he had won four times previously, including the last two years.
"It cost me at least a second," said Ligety. "Half the turns I couldn’t push. Every single turn on my left foot I’m trying to recover trying to stay in the course. I was trying to compensate as hard as I could but it’s not easy."
ARE, Sweden (Mar. 13, 2015)—Tension was palpable in Are, Sweden at the last Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom before the World Cup Finals. Crystal globes were in all of the women’s thoughts, making for an exciting race under the lights. Anna Fenninger of Austria took the win and the lead for the GS title. On her 20th birthday, Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO) was just off the podium in fourth.
The course was soft first run with a deep groove forming throughout the race, but the second run was salted, hardening the track as the sun set. The solid snow was good for the fast and swingy second run, which required the athletes to work the ski on every turn and control the power to the finish.