SOCHI, Russia (March 5, 2016) – The FIS Junior World Ski Championships wrapped up today with men’s and women’s slalom, in which Alex Leever (Vail, CO, U.S. Ski Team, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) and Patricia Mangan (Derby, NY, U.S. Ski Team/Holimont Racing Club) led the way for the Americans, finishing 19th and 14th respectively.
The tough conditions at the Rosa Khutor alpine center continued to plague the top juniors in the world. On the men’s side, Leever battled rain, sleet, snow and fog to grab a top 20, finishing 19th. Patrick Kenney (Hingham, MA, U.S. Ski Team/Burke Mountain Academy), Florian Szwebel (Avon, CO, National Training Group/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail), Drew Duffy (Warren, VT, U.S. Ski Team/Green Mountain Valley School) and Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA, U.S. Ski Team/Squaw Valley Ski Team/Bear Valley) did not finish in a challenging first run, where athletes struggled to even see through their goggles.
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (March. 5, 2016) – Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT) put up a tough fight to finish in the top 30 of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom Saturday. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won the race, ending the four-win streak of France’s Alexis Pinturault.
“I just tried to be as clean as possible, but the snow conditions were tough,” said Cochran-Siegle, who started 35th and posted the 20th-fastest first run time. “I managed to ski it pretty well, considering, so I’m pretty happy with that.”
However, the second run proved a tougher challenge as Cochran-Siegle ran into all sorts of difficulty. “My hand hit a hole and I lost a pole,” he said. “And then I just kind of scrambled after that and went too straight into another gate.” After hiking to make a gate in order to post an official result, Cochran-Siegle finished in the top 30, but 11.90 seconds out of first, meaning he finished out of the points.
JASNA, Slovakia (March 5, 2016) – After pushing the start and attempting to wait out whipping wind, the Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Jasna, Slovakia will be rescheduled for Monday, March 7.
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO), Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY) and Megan McJames (Park City, UT) will wait to kick off the Slovakian race series, now skiing slalom first on Sunday.
"This is my first time here and so far it’s been foggy and windy, but the hill looks really good," said Shiffrin. "I’m enjoying our time here, but I just really want to race! We’ve been on the race hill a couple times now. It looks like the race crew has done a really great job with the preparations."
JASNA, Slovakia (March 4, 2016) – The Audi FIS Ski World Cup returns to Jasna, Slovakia for the first time since 1984 for a giant slalom and slalom. A healthy and strong Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) is ready for her first full tech weekend back on the World Cup circuit since returning from a knee injury sustained in Åre, Sweden.
Shiffrin, who turns 21 on March 13, has won 18 World Cup races in her career – 17 of them slalom victories – one shy of Switzerland’s Lise Marie Morerod’s total before reaching the age of 21. Only one other woman – the great Annemarie Moser Pröll – has won more races before turning 21 years old, with 31 victories. Perhaps the weekend will bring an early birthday present for Shiffrin? Only time will tell.
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (March 4, 2016) – David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) came out of the 58th start position to finish as the top American in 26th at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom Friday. Tommy Ford (Reno, NV) continued his string of top 30s, finishing 27th in the weekend opener, which replaced the cancelled event from Garmisch.
“First run, I’m happy,” Chodounsky said. “I started in the back and felt like I skied well … aggressive. But then I completely over-skied the second run. It skied so much easier that I thought it would.”
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (March 3, 2016) – Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) and David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) will lead a big group of skiers into a pair of Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom races – one a make-up race from Garmisch – and one slalom race this weekend.
It’s been a challenging season for the men’s tech team, especially for the giant slalom specialists, who have experienced a moody Mother Nature forcing multiple race cancellations. The schedule changes have certainly affected athletes like Jitloff mentally, who has been working tirelessly with his technician to dial in his equipment set-up the last few weeks.
“I have two more races coming up in Kranjska Gora,” said Jitloff after the second giant slalom race in Hinterstoder last Sunday. “I’m going to take a rest here for a few days before I go there we’re going to try a few new things just to try and get the energy back into it and hopefully I can reel this back in before the end of the season.”
SOCHI, Russia (Mar. 3, 2016) – In yet another tough day at the Rosa Khutor alpine center, FIS Junior World Ski Championships Downhill Champion Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA, U.S. Ski Team/Squaw Valley Ski Team/Bear Valley) was the lone American to finish in Thursday’s giant slalom, landing in 14th.
“The snow is incredibly mushy at this point, and it's pushing the race organizers to extremes to pull off quality events,” said Alpine Development Director Chip Knight. “Really proud of the way Erik competed today. He showed a lot of grit, fighting from a high start number through warm, deteriorating conditions to finish 14th. I'm sure it didn't feel great, but he made it happen against a top-notch field.”
In a race where more than half of the field did not finish, Switzerland once again prevailed, with Marco Odermatt the victor, France’s Elie Gateau in second and Austria’s Maximilian Lahnsteiner rounding out the podium in third.
SOCHI, Russia (Mar. 2, 2016) – The FIS Junior World Ski Championships rolled on Wednesday with the women’s giant slalom, where Galena Wardle (Aspen, CO, U.S. Ski Team/Aspen Valley Ski Club) once again led the Americans, with a 22nd place finish in yet another challenging race with soft snow and diffcult course sets on a demanding track.
The 2015 National GS Champion Nina O’Brien (San Francisco, CA, U.S. Ski Team/Burke Mountain Academy/Squaw Valley Ski Team) finished 24th, and Alice Merryweather (Hingham, MA; U.S. Ski Team, Stratton Mountain School; 10/5/96) in 29th. Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID, U.S. Ski D Team/Rowmark Ski Academy) did not finish first run, while Nellie Rose Talbot (Vail, CO; National Training Group, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 8/24/99) did not finish the second run.
The sign above the door read “Ski Like a Champion.” Erik Arvidsson had taped it there the night before the opening event of the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships in Sochi. A few weeks earlier, Arvidsson and his teammates had visited the Lake Placid locker room that sent the 1980 Team USA hockey team into history. Being in Russia, it was fitting. Ski racing is an individual sport. But the young men wanted a locker room. They wanted to be a team.
Race morning, five young ski racers got together in their makeshift locker room. They listened to a recording of the famous Herb Brooks speech that sent the Americans to gold 36 years earlier. One by one, Erik Arvidsson, Sam Morse, Drew Duffy, Florian Szwebel and Patrick Kenney tapped their ski poles on the Champion sign as they headed out from the athlete village to the slopes of Rosa Khutor.
This is the story of the power of a team – the story of American Downhillers.
PARK CITY, UT (March 2, 2016) - Audi FIS Ski World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) today announced that she is suspending competition for the remainder of the season. Vonn was injured during a super G race in Soldeu-El Tarter, Andorra, Saturday. With three weekends of racing remaining in the season, Vonn is currently leading the World Cup overall and super G standings, and in a three-way tie for the alpine combined lead.
“I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish this year,” said Vonn. “But today I am making the difficult decision to end my season and leave the World Cup circuit due to an injury I suffered last Saturday.”
Vonn, who has already clinched the World Cup downhill title for a record 20th career crystal globe, won nine World Cup races this season and set a new record for downhill victories. She now has 76 World Cup wins and is chasing the record of 86 World Cup victories held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark.