With her second season in the books, U.S. Ski Team alpine press officer Megan Harrod takes some time to sit down and look back on the 2015-16 season.
Last year I recall sitting in the Center of Excellence in Park City with the sun shining on my face as I wrote the 2014-2015 season recap. It was a stunning first season to be a part of something special – from Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) becoming the winningest female in alpine ski racing history to Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) and Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) defending their World Championship titles on home soil at Vail/Beaver Creek. It’s no surprise that this season was different. It was full of highs and lows and everything in between. Let's talk about it, shall we?!
Mikaela Shiffrin’s March was one for the ages. After suffering a knee injury in December, Shiffrin came back to the World Cup tour with a vengeance, winning the Jasna World Cup slalom, the World Cup finals slalom in St. Moritz and two national titles—one in slalom and one in GS. And all of her wins were by a combined 11.85 seconds. Whoa.
It wasn’t only the ski racing community that noticed Shiffrin’s remarkable comeback. Team USA nominated her for their ‘Best of March’ award.
Help Shiffrin get this prestigious award by voting for her here before 7 p.m. ET on April 6.
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.
SUN VALLEY, ID (March 27, 2016) – In the final day of action at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in front of a big crowd of ski racing fans, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO – U.S. Ski Team) wrapped up the season with her second national title in giant slalom Sunday.
“The first GS win in a long time,” said Shiffrin, who also took the GS title in 2013 at Squaw Valley. “A win is a win, but to be honest, it’s nice to make it to the finish in a GS race.”
SUN VALLEY, ID (March 26, 2016) – Kieffer Christianson (Anchorage, AK - U.S. Ski Team) battled a crazy course set to come away with his first giant slalom national title Saturday at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
After posting DNFs in Thursday’s super G and Friday’s slalom, Christianson, who has struggled with not finishing this season in NorAm and World Cup races, opted for a change in tactics.
SUN VALLEY, ID (March 25, 2016) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) and David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) brought their "A" game to the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom Friday, proving to the rest of the field that it’s hard to beat two of the best slalom skiers in the world.
“I need to congratulate Mikaela for showing the world where she stands,” said Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, NV), who finished second to Shiffrin. “It really fires me up because I have something to chase and I have some work to do, but I’m excited about it.”
SUN VALLEY, ID (March 24, 2016) – Anna Marno (Centennial, WY – U.S. Ski Team) took her first national title as five-time U.S. national giant slalom champion Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV – U.S. Ski Team) scored his first in super G Thursday at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships. Thursday’s super G was also Marco Sullivan’s (Squaw Valley, CA – U.S. Ski Team) final race, capping a 17-year U.S. Ski Team career.
In the afternoon women’s race, Marno nipped World Cup veteran Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) by .28 for the victory. Tricia Mangan (Buffalo, NY – U.S. Ski Team), who was third in Wednesday’s alpine combined, grabbed her second bronze medal of the National Championships. Mangan was also the top junior.
OLYMPIC VALLEY, CA (March 24, 2016) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) has selected Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows as the proposed site of an Audi FIS Ski World Cup in 2017. U.S. Ski Team officials are supporting the return of World Cup ski racing to the Olympic venue of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for the first time since 1969. The USSA is submitting Squaw Valley as a candidate for a March, 2017 World Cup that would bring Olympic champions Julia Mancuso, Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin to Squaw Valley for a giant slalom and slalom. The International Ski Federation will make its final decision on the 2016-17 calendar this June at the FIS Congress meeting in Cancun.
SUN VALLEY, ID (March 23, 2016) – 17-year-old Galena Wardle (Aspen, CO – U.S. Ski Team) took home her first-ever national title at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in the event’s inaugural standalone women’s alpine combined.
On another bluebird morning, the women were excited to shred the tight and technical super G course on Sun Valley's Greyhawk before launching into slalom in the afternoon. “It’s a difficult (super G) hill and they have to put so many gates on it because of the amount of vertical,” said Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR – U.S. Ski Team), who won the super G portion of the day. “It’s really turny, very GS-y. Super technical the whole way down and doesn’t ever let up.”
Two weeks before the close of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup season in St. Moritz, Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin had a decision to make. Having just come back from a December knee injury, she had to decide whether or not to go to Lenzerheide, Switzerland for a super G and an alpine combined leading into the World Cup Finals.
She was coming off a top-10 combined finish in Andorra – her first World Cup in that discipline. And speed events were definitely in her plans. It was a challenging decision for the then 20-year-old (she turned 21 a week later).