KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (Mar. 15, 2015)—Tough spring conditions got the best of the American athletes in Kranjska Gora in the last Audi FIS Ski World Cup race before the World Cup Finals. But it didn’t hold back the top guys, who were in the hunt for World Cup points to pad their crystal globe missions. Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway put down a beautiful run in the soft snow, taking the win and moving him up to third in the slalom standings. Giuliano Razzoli of Italy took second and Mattias Hargin of Sweden third.
Just 20 years old, Kristoffersen celebrated in the finish—loving being back on the top of the podium. He had won the first slalom race of the season in Levi and has been a one-two punch throughout the season—a solid threat in both slalom and giant slalom. Earlier this week, the youngster also successfully defended his World Junior Championships slalom and GS titles, winning the slalom by 1.55 seconds and the GS by 0.96 seconds.
ARE, Sweden (Mar. 14, 2015)—It felt like spring skiing in Are, Sweden. The sun was out and the snow soft, and the Swedish fans were loud in the last women’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup before the World Cup Finals. Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO) slayed both of her runs, taking her third win in Are and a solid 90-point lead into World Cup Finals.
Shiffrin threw down a blazing first run, skiing in her classic, mistake-less style and took first place by a. 89 seconds over Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic. But she was determined to not back off. “I’m trying to take each run like it’s my last run,” said Shiffrin after she finished first run. “I’m putting all of my heart into it and ski my fastest and see what happens. I don’t want to have any regrets.”
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (March 14, 2015) - Ted Ligety's (Park City, UT) hopes of a sixth Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom title were dashed Saturday, as Marcel Hirscher of Austria finished second and clinched the season title. Ligety was fourth after a rock hit on his first run set him too far back to challenge for the win. France's Alexis Pinturault took the win.
Ligety came into the second to last GS of the season needing a miracle to overcome the 188 point margin of Hirscher. At the eight gate of the first run, Ligety hit a rock with his left ski, making it difficult to get full control on the icy course where he had won four times previously, including the last two years.
"It cost me at least a second," said Ligety. "Half the turns I couldn’t push. Every single turn on my left foot I’m trying to recover trying to stay in the course. I was trying to compensate as hard as I could but it’s not easy."
ARE, Sweden (Mar. 13, 2015)—Tension was palpable in Are, Sweden at the last Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom before the World Cup Finals. Crystal globes were in all of the women’s thoughts, making for an exciting race under the lights. Anna Fenninger of Austria took the win and the lead for the GS title. On her 20th birthday, Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO) was just off the podium in fourth.
The course was soft first run with a deep groove forming throughout the race, but the second run was salted, hardening the track as the sun set. The solid snow was good for the fast and swingy second run, which required the athletes to work the ski on every turn and control the power to the finish.
Everyone knows World Cup ski racers are incredible athletes, but did you know they’re also incredible people? Fans may be familiar with Stacey Cook from her podium in Lake Louise this season, or her rise through the ranks of the U.S. Ski Team or her aggression when it comes to charging down a downhill course, but it turns out that she’s more than just a professional skier. In her little free time, Cook serves on the board of the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation—a program that funds educational and athletic programs in Mammoth Lakes, California.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (March 11, 2015) – The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has named Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) as the male Athlete of the Month for February 2015, recognizing “Mr. GS” for his outstanding performance at the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek.
The scene at World Champs was one of great excitement. After a cautious first run, Ligety stepped up and showed that he was still is the best giant slalom skier in the world, skiing fluidly through his second run. Railing turns on-edge, he milked speed out of every transition and put together a perfect run. As he crossed the finish line, Ligety’s time was 1.23 seconds ahead of the field. The crowd went wild and Ligety pumped his fists.
PARK CITY, UT (March 10, 2015) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s National Training Group (NTG) athletes put on a strong showing at the 2015 U18 National Alpine Championships at Copper Mountain, CO. Eight NTG athletes found the podium after eight days of tech and speed events. For the first time, the championship event included two downhill races in addition to the super G, giant slalom and slalom.
On the tech side, Nina O’Brien took the slalom title for the women, besting her NTG teammate Megan McGrew. Burke Mountain Academy’s Madison Lord finished third. On the men’s side, River Radamus (NTG) claimed a 0.43 second victory over Stratton Mountain School’s George Steffey. A powerful second run propelled NTG/Sugarbowl athlete Luke Winters on to the podium in third. Winters also took home the men’s combined title.
HAFJELL, Norway (March 9, 2015) – Nearly perfect snow conditions on the first run led Minnesota native Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN) to a gold medal in slalom Monday at the 2015 FIS Alpine Junior World Championships on the 1994 Olympic venue of Hafjell, just outside Lillehammer. Moltzan’s win is the first ever win for a U.S. woman in Junior Worlds slalom. Teammate AJ Ginnis (Waitsfield, VT) also snagged a medal, finishing third in the men’s slalom.
Moltzan was on top from the beginning, finishing nearly a second faster than Germany’s silver medalist Marlene Schmotz on her first run before claiming the title by 0.65 seconds. Austria’s Katharina Truppe was a full second off Moltzan’s pace, finishing with the bronze. Moltzan’s gold medal is the first for the U.S. women since Julia Mancuso won the combined in 2004.
KVITFJELL, Norway (March 8, 2015)—It was a tough day in Kvitfjell, with 21 DNFs in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup super G. Only 38 racers made it down the difficult course, with Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) tying his career-best super G result in fifth place. Kjetil Jansrud of Norway was back to his dominating form, winning the race, with Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria second and Dustin Cook of Canada third.
Weibrecht was excited about his race, which wasn’t his best, but he put down a clean, solid run. “The snow is really soft and it’s not an easy race. It took a lot of tactics,” said Weibrecht after his run. “It’s just a really, really tough race, but I’m pretty satisfied.”
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (March 8, 2015)—The ladies wrapped up the last speed series before World Cup finals on Sunday with a Audi FIS Ski World Cup super G in Garmisch. It was a perfect day for Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), who put down a flawless run to take the win and the overall super G World Cup lead.
With no mistakes, Tina Maze of Slovenia slayed the course that her Slovenian coach set, and pulled out a time that everyone thought was unbeatable. But Lindsey Vonn’s coaches radioed up to Vonn, telling her to “send it,” and she did just that. Building speed throughout the course, Vonn crushed her run and took the win over Maze by .20. Anna Fenninger of Austria was third.