KITTILÄ, Finland (Nov. 12, 2016) – It’s a winter wonderland in Kittilä, Finland—home to Levi, the ski resort that plays host to the Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom opener. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Santa Claus country. Though the word on the streets of Soelden was not optimistic for the slalom opener, it seems that Ullr, the Nordic God of Snow and Winter, had different plans. Either that or Santa Claus came early. Either way, it’s a cold winter wonderland and the elves aren’t the only ones excited to get this show on the road!
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, CA (Nov. 8, 2016) – Veteran U.S. Ski Team member and three-time Olympian Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) continues her longstanding commitment to giving back to the ski racing community as she announces recipients of the 2016-17 Stacey Cook/Sun Valley Ski Tools (SVST) Competition Team. Recipients are chosen based on criteria such as passion and dedication to the sport, community involvement and character.
Time flies when you’re having fun and giving back. Though Cook can’t recall exactly what year this is for the scholarship, she believes they’re passing a decade of supporting juniors with this scholarship program. “It is really rewarding to see some of my past scholarship winners excelling in college, post-college, and even getting married,” reflected Cook. “I feel like our past winners represent the program so well and I look forward to seeing how this new group flourishes this season and into the future.”
U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper Mountain Open for Training
COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO (Nov. 5, 2016) – Despite the fact that Mother Nature has been quite moody this fall, Copper Mountain Resort snowmaking team has been working around the clock preparing for the highly anticipated opening of the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center. When fully operational, it is the only full-length downhill training facility open anywhere in the world this time of year.
After firing up the HKD guns on Oct. 3, Copper’s mountain operations crew has picked up the pace to prep the slope for training by the U.S. Ski Team. As of Nov. 4, the Speed Center is open for training on the top portion of the trail Andy’s Encore. The full venue is slated to open on Nov. 11.
Training at Copper Mountain's U.S. Ski Team Speed Center in November 2015.
Vonn Listed Among PEOPLE’s 25 Women Changing the World
Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) is not only winningest woman ski racer in history, she is also working to empower and inspire young girls through the Lindsey Vonn Foundation. Now she's been recognized by PEOPLE, which has included her in their list of 25 women changing the world. “While I want to be known as the greatest skier of all time, I also want my legacy to be about giving back as much as I can,” Vonn told PEOPLE.
PARK CITY, UT (Nov. 4, 2016) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has announced the alpine NorAm schedule for the 2016-17 season. This year’s series features eight stops at ski resorts across the U.S. and Canada.
The NorAm tour is the premiere level of ski racing in North America and the elite development pathway to European competitions and the World Cup. Event title winners and runner-ups earn World Cup start positions for the following season. The NorAm also serves as the primary selection series for the Junior World Championships.
“The NorAm Cup is an important level of competition for the best developing athletes in our country,” said USSA Alpine Development Director Chip Knight. “It serves a wide range of levels in the pipeline, from U.S. Ski Team members to collegiate skiers and elite-development juniors. But the aim is consistent throughout – to prepare athletes for European and World Cup competition down the road.”
STOWE, VT (Nov. 1, 2016) – The top U16 alpine racers in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s (USSA) Eastern region will compete for regional titles this season at the Ronnie Berlack U16 Eastern Region Championships Grand Prix, named in honor of the late U.S. Ski Team athlete. The event, sponsored by Nordica, will take place March 9-14, 2017 at Stowe Mountain Resort, VT.
Berlack, a New Hampshire native, used the Eastern Region Championships as a stepping stone to earning his spot on the U.S. Ski Team. At 13 years old, he had a tough go at the event his first year, but earned a trip to Canadian K2 Nationals in his second year. Berlack followed that performance with more notable junior finishes, including a third place finish at J2 Nationals and a second place U21 result in downhill at the 2014 U.S. Alpine Championships at Copper Mountain, CO. Tragically, Berlack was killed in an avalanche alongside his teammate Bryce Astle on January 5, 2015 in Soelden, Austria.
Having been on the U.S. Ski Team for over 14 years, Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) has become a bit of a hoarder of ski gear throughout the year. He took Ski Racing to his garage to sort through his racing history through World Cup bibs, Spyder suits, old skis and of course, Olympic gear.
During the tour, Nyman took out a pair of well-loved, familiar-looking skis. “A coach of mine, Mike Day—who now coaches Mikaela—gave me these. These were Bode’s old skis,” said Nyman, looking down at the slalom skis. “I went to World Juniors and I won, wearing my tight stretch pants and a cut off downhill suit. Aksel (Lund) Svindal was on the podium with me and he said ‘Who are you?’ … That was the beginning of my ski career.”
SUGARLOAF, ME (Oct. 24, 2016) – The best ski racers in the country will hit the slopes at Sugarloaf this season for the 2017 U.S. Alpine Championships March 25 - 28, 2017. It will be the resort’s sixth time hosting the Championships. Sugarloaf will also play host to the newly instated U19 and U21 Junior National Championships, taking place immediately after the U.S. Championships.
The U.S. Championships are a vital part of the USSA’s national development program, pitting top club athletes from regional teams around America against U.S. Ski Team veterans from the Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour. Sugarloaf, along with Carrabassett Valley Academy, has long been a hotbed of ski racing and the development home of stars like Olympic champion Bode Miller and up-and-comer Sam Morse.
SOELDEN, Austria (Oct. 23, 2016) – Four-time Soelden winner Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) returned from injury to take fifth place at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup opener giant slalom.
Alexis Pinturault of France was unstoppable, never giving up his lead to win by .70 seconds. Austrian Marcel Hirscher threw down a spectacular second run and even after hipping out, grabbed second. Felix Neureuther of Germany was third.
The track was perfect in the morning with hero snow and good visibility. However, it began to cloud over during second run, hinting of an impending storm. But it didn’t affect Ligety, who loved the turny second run set and got lucky with light. Starting in the middle of the pack after finishing 14th first run, he was a little behind the clock on the top section, but nailed the transition to the flatter section to generate speed to the finish. He came down in the lead and held on to take fifth overall.
SOELDEN, Austria (October 22, 2016) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) kicked off the season with a bang, nailing the podium at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, taking second place. Lara Gut of Switzerland dominated the race, winning by 1.44 seconds.
It was a bluebird day with grippy snow, and Gut—last season’s overall World Cup winner—took advantage of the conditions. Shiffrin looked strong after starting 16th first run, but couldn’t keep up with Gut's flawless performance. Gut led Shiffrin by 1.42 seconds after the first run and while Shiffrin stayed on her heels second run, the lead was too great. Behind Shiffrin was Marta Bassino of Italy, who stepped on her first World Cup podium in third place.