KUEHTAI IN TIROL, Austria (Dec. 29, 2014)—With two nearly perfect runs, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) never let go of first place at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup, taking her first slalom win of the season against a stacked field in Austria. Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic was second and Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was third. Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) finished in 23rd.
It was a small tech team competing at Kuehtai in Tirol, with only Shiffrin and Stiegler making the flip. Unlike the previous day’s giant slalom, the course was in great condition with a simple set and the girls could let the skis run. Even though Shiffrin faced stiff competition, she skied confidently and built her lead throughout the second run, winning by .80 of a second.
KUEHTAI IN TIROL, Austria (Dec. 28, 2014)—Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) stood on the podium for the first time since her win in Soelden, Austria. Shiffrin won the first run at Sunday's Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom, but battled rough conditions and poor visibility to take third place overall. Sara Hector of Sweden won her first World Cup, and Austria’s Anna Fenninger was second.
After a brief holiday break, the women were back in action in Kuehtai in Tirol, Austria—a venue switch from Semmering due to snow conditions. With a straight-set second run, the course resembled a super G more than a giant slalom, not Shiffrin’s specialty. She held back a little on the run, missing first place by .18.
SANTA CATERINA, Italy (Dec. 27, 2014) - Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) took advantage of a new course for the men's Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour and punched through for his career first victory, winning the Santa Caterina downhill. Austria's Matthias Mayer was the only one who got close to Ganong, finishing in second, nine-hundredths back. Italy's Dominick Paris was third. Universal Sports Network will carry coverage at 10:00 a.m. EST.
A traditional site for women's downhill including World Championships in 1985 and 2005, it was first time for the men on the Deborah Campognini downhill, which Ganong used to his advantage. "It was a perfect run!" said Ganong. "I love to take on a new challenge and a new slope. I love the hill—the mountains are huge here and it’s fun skiing."
As a teen, Steven Nyman learned about terrain at the USSA's Western Region Flight School. How did that help him win Val Gardena a third time? USSA columnist Tom Kelly takes a look in this week's Behind the Gold.
Behind the Gold
Standing atop Ciampinoi at the start is imposing. To your right is the giant Sella Group massif, jutting up like an island in the Dolomites. Behind you is the castle-like Langkofel, it’s rocky red face blanketed lightly in early season snow. The sheer beauty could easily mesmerize you. As a downhill ski racer, you look away and focus your eyes straight ahead down the fabled Saslong – over two miles and two minutes of sheer terror that is about to jar every single bone in your body.
This is the moment Steven Nyman longs for every year.
DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 22, 2014) - The FIS Cross Country World Cup tour came to the Swiss Alps the last two week, with back-to-back weekends of cross country ski racing. USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw was trackside with the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team and shared his thoughts on his time with the team.
Tiger, you were at the races in Davos. As a cross country focused trip, what did you see and can you share a few takeaways from your trip?
I was stunned by the fitness, focus, teamwork and dedication of our athletes. The Norwegian dominance was a major feature of the events, of course, but nonetheless we held our own and are clearly on the upslope in terms of performance and personal bests. I have a full appreciation of the differences between our team and the others.
MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy (Dec. 22, 2014) - It was a tough day at the office for the U.S. Ski Team, with no finishes in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup night slalom in Madonna di Campiglio. After a string of near misses, Germany's Felix Neureuther finally pulled it together for two runs to take his first victory since last March - a .82 margin over his teammate Fritz Dopfer.
For the Americans, Ted Ligety was 18th after the first run - the lone American to make the finals, where he went out. David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) went out first run.
"Today was an eye-opener," said Head Coach Sasha Rearick. "Though we are making progress in slalom, we still need to have greater range of fundamentals and courage to ski with intent. Watching Felix and Fritz dominate the classic slalom hill was inspiring."
Elite athletes know how to deliver elite performances. And they know that the best way to fuel elite performances is to make great nutrition choices. But fueling elite performances shouldn’t be limited to our elite athletes.
Nutrition is a key contributor to performance. And it’s one that is often overlooked for athletes of all ages. The building blocks of good nutrition start with just good instincts. Starting from a young age, you probably knew not to eat certain things before a game, or to not eat too much because it’s hard to digest before the game starts. What youth athletes might not know is that certain foods can make you feel more energetic, think more clearly, and benefit performance in training and competition.
ALTA BADIA, Italy (Dec. 21, 2014)—Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) had a phenomenal second run of giant slalom, skiing from seventh place to second in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in Alta Badia. Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) took 12th.
It was a rough track, with the men tackling nasty ruts and icy bumps. If the racers didn’t stay on their line and on the outside ski, the course spit them out. But those types of courses are perfect for Ligety, who—after a disappointing seventh place on the first run—used his classic angles to shred the hill, coming down second run ahead of the field by over a second.
Ligety pins panels on his second run. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)