From local ski hills to the PyeongChang Olympics, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) encompasses all athletes that share a passion for skiing and snowboarding. We explore what makes each skier and rider a champion with stories from the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing, next to kids winning a NASTAR medal, landing their first cork 7 or joining a club team. Alongside USSA’s mascot Champ, take a look at how all of these athletes strive to be Best in the World.
JASNA, Slovakia (March 7, 2016) – A day after winning the slalom by over two seconds, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) took 14th in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Jasna, Slovakia.
Rescheduled from Saturday’s canceled GS, the weather lacked the amount of fog, snow and wind to which the racers were becoming accustomed in Jasna. But even with the bad weather throughout the weekend, the long course was in perfect condition with the racers able to grip it and rip it.
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (March. 6, 2016) – David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) posted his second-best Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom result of the season, finishing seventh Sunday.
“Coming down into the lead is always good,” said Chodounsky, who shared the top spot with Sweden’s Mattias Hargin until France’s Alexis Pinturault relegated them to second midway through the second run. “I’m really happy for that.”
Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won for the second-straight day in commanding fashion. His winning time was 0.81 seconds over second-place finisher Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway. Stefano Gross of Italy was third. With his second-place finish, Kristoffersen wrapped up the overall World Cup slalom title with 811 points, as Hirscher is second with 700 points with only one slalom race remaining. However, Hirscher extended his overall World Cup lead to 353 points over Kristoffersen with six races remaining in the 2015-16 season.
JASNA, Slovakia (March 6, 2016) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) absolutely crushed the competition Sunday, winning her 18th career Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom. Shiffrin’s winning time was 2.36 second ahead of Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener in second. Home crowd favorite Veronika Velez Zuzulova was third.
Mikaela Shiffrin cruises to a first-run win during Sunday’s slalom in Slovakia. (Getty/AFP-Joe Klamar)
Since her comeback from a left knee injury sustained in December, Shiffrin has won back-to-back slaloms. In Sunday’s first run, she won by 1.67 seconds, despite claiming that her timing was still a bit off due to her eight-week absence from competition.
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.”