VAL D’ISERE, France (Dec. 19, 2014) – So far this season, the ladies’ speed team has been in the business of making history, with a podium sweep in Lake Louise. And the entire team is riding that wave of excitement going into this weekend’s race in Val d’Isere.
Without a doubt, head speed coach Stefan Abplanalp’s motivating spirit has been a contributing factor to the ladies’ success this year. At the team meeting, he simply stated, “Downhill day is our day. You guys were heroes in Lake Louise.”
NTG Athlete Cashman to Race Logines Future Ski Champions
You’ve heard about ski racing stars like Lindsey Vonn and Ted Ligety. You’ve probably heard about the rising D Team stars like Alex Ginnis and Breezy Johnson. But have you heard of Keely Cashman? If not, tune in.
VAL GARDENA, Italy (Dec. 19, 2014) - There are some downhill courses that suit certain athletes. And the fabled Saslong in Val Gardena is that downhill course with the U.S. Ski Team's Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT). On Friday, Nyman etched his name once again into the annals of skiing history as he won his third career downhill in one of his sport's most challenging races. Coming off a podium finish at the Audi Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek, Nyman ripped to a 1.51 second lead from the lucky seven start position, and hung on to take a .31 second margin over World Cup downhill leader Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. Dominik Paris of Italy was third.
VAL D’ISERE, France (Dec. 19, 2014) - We often see athletes on the podium, holding skis over their heads with medals around their necks. Other times, we see the funny prizes the athletes win—such as a large bird of prey in Beaver Creek or a reindeer at Levi or Ruka, high above the Arctic Cirle in Finnish Lapland. However, these prizes are mostly tokens. In Beaver Creek, the bird—who is named after its corresponding podium mate—stays with its handlers and the skier takes home a framed photo or sculpture. In Lapland, the reindeer stays on the farm, but the winner can follow the beast’s adventures via social media and come visit it when they return.
VAL GARDENA, Italy (Dec. 17, 2014)—The men’s speed team is in the Dolomites this weekend and is looking fast, with Steven Nyman taking the win at the first and only downhill training run.
Although the temperature has fallen in Italy, the snow has not. The Val Gardena course resembles the early season “white ribbon of death,” with icy manmade chunks making up the course. Because of the snow, the set is different than it has been in the past, allowing the athletes to be more creative with the course. Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) noted the famed camel bumps, which demand athletes to think on their feet. “It could get dirty up there,” said Nyman.
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ARE, Sweden (Dec. 14, 2014)—Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) had a beautiful first run in Sunday's Audi FIS World Cup slalom, but straddled a gate in the second and skied out. NCAA slalom champion David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) took the only American World Cup points of the day, finishing 22nd in Are.
Conditions were perfect on the hill—cold and injected—and the course was rhythmic and fast. After finishing third with a small mistake on his first run, Ligety knew he needed an aggressive second run to keep up with Austrian Marcel Hirscher, who is aiming to be only the sixth skier to win the men’s slalom title at least three times. Ligety held the lead on the second run, but got late coming into the finish, before straddling and skiing out on the bottom. Noticeably frustrated, this would have been Ligety’s first podium in slalom since January 2008 in Wengen, Switzerland, where he finished third. He has never won a World Cup slalom.
ARE, Sweden (Dec. 13, 2014) - Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) had a strong second run in the slalom, but fell two-hundredths short of the podium as Sweden's Maria Pietilae-Holmner brought the home country crowd to its feet with a stunning win over Tina Maze in an Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom in Are. Sweden's Frida Hansdotter rounded out the podium.
Sixth after the first run and over a half second back, Shiffrin felt good in the starting gate and pushed out to an aggressive, more characteristic run to take the lead. She hammered the top, held back a little in the mid-section, and let her skis run at the bottom, but the .53 second deficit was too much to match. She finished .34 seconds out of first, overall.
Are, Sweden (Dec. 12, 2014)—Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) slayed his way to second place in Are, Sweden, behind Marcel Hirscher from Austria - who collected his 25th career World Cup win - and ahead of Stefan Luitz of Germany. Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) grabbed more giant slalom World Cup points, finishing in 22nd. The win moved Hirscher back atop the Audi FIS Ski World Cup GS standings and set the stage for an epic battle for the globe with Ligety, which will continue next weekend in Alta Badia.
With the sun setting just after 2:00 p.m. in Sweden, the giant slalom took place under the lights. The Norwegians set a super technical first run on the steep and injected course. Without much room for error, the course spat out DNFs—18 racers first run, including David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO). But Ted Ligety and Tim Jitloff both skied solidly, with Ligety sitting third and Jitloff 19th after first run.