SEMMERING, Austria (Dec. 26, 2016) – The holiday flew by on the Audi FIS Ski World Cup circuit. With the rescheduled giant slalom race from Courchevel for the women and super G from Lake Louise for the men, there wasn’t much time for celebration and relaxation. Even so, the athletes made the most of their time, celebrating with teammates and family before moving on to Semmering and Santa Caterina, Italy.
On the women’s side, the tour returns to the iconic Semmering giant slalom/slalom venue outside Vienna for three races, including an important night slalom for Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) on Thursday. Shiffrin will look to build on her win streak, which is at six successive wins following her victory in Sestriere.
MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy (Dec. 22, 2016) – Santa came early this Christmas for the young AJ Ginnis (Vouliagmeni, Greece). Under the lights and in front of 16,000 screaming Italian fans at one of the longest-standing, most classic venues on the Audi FIS Ski World Cup circuit, Ginnis snagged his first World Cup points, finishing 26th. David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) finished 17th.
For the second consecutive year, Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen and Austria’s Marcel Hirscher went 1-2, with Italy’s own Stefano Gross finishing third, 1.35 seconds out. No worries, Hirscher—no drones in sight this year. Instead, it was Ginnis who stunned the crowd, skiing a clean and solid first run, rocketing him from 58th to 13th.
COURCHEVEL, France (Dec. 20, 2016) – Strong and gusty winds forced officials to cancel the Audi FIS Ski World Cup women’s giant slalom Tuesday. A rescheduled date and location have not been announced by the FIS.
The race started on schedule at 10:30 a.m. local time and the first 19 racers completed the first run as winds picked up. Italy’s Sofia Goggia was in the lead before officials held Canada’s Marie-Michele Gagnon in the start with bib 20 due to conditions. Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) was sitting in 10th position. Following a lengthy course hold, officials announced the race would be re-started from a lower position starting with bib 1 at 12:15 p.m. local time.
After postponing the rescheduled start to 12:30 p.m. local time, officials ultimately decided to cancel the race due to unfavorable weather conditions.
ALTA BADIA, Italy (Dec. 19, 2016) – 22-year-old Cyprien Sarrazin of France took the surprise win in just his seventh World Cup start at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup parallel giant slalom in Alta Badia.
32 racers battled for the win in in the head-to-head, knockout format. Carlo Janka of Switzerland was a close second and last year’s Alta Badia PGS winner Kjetil Jansrud took third. Americans Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT) and Tommy Ford (Bend, OR) did not make it past the first heat. Cochran-Siegle finished 20th and Ford was 25th.
Tommy Ford skied to 25th. (Getty Images-Giuseppe Cacace)
The World Cup tour continues in Italy for a night slalom in Madonna di Campiglio Thursday before the Christmas break.
ALTA BADIA, Italy (Dec. 18, 2016) – The men’s World Cup tour moved to the other side of the Dolomites where Tommy Ford (Bend, OR) was the fastest American in the Alta Badia giant slalom.
Marcel Hirscher of Austria took an easy victory over Mathieu Faivre of France in second and Florian Eisath of Italy in third, which catapulted him to first in the giant slalom standings over France’s Alexis Pinturault, who crashed second run. It was also Hirscher’s fourth win at Alta Badia, tying him with Alberto Tomba, the only other man who has won the venue four times.
Ford skied strongly both runs down the dark Grand Risa pitch, but had a couple of mistakes that cost him a top-10 finish. He took 13th place, adding to the GS points he scored in Val d’Isere at the beginning of the month. “I’m continuing the work I’ve been doing—skiing well and getting in a good position,” said Ford. “I executed better first run—kind of an unlucky mistake in the middle there.”
VAL D’ISERE, France (Dec. 18, 2016) – Getting out of bed was the hardest part of the day for Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) on Sunday.
After winning Friday’s alpine combined downhill, Ross did not start Saturday’s World Cup downhill due to a flu bug making its way around the women’s circuit. Still not 100 percent, she mustered enough strength to finish 18th and lead three Americans into the top 30 at Sunday’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup super G.
VAL GARDENA, Italy (Dec. 17, 2016) – Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) snagged the podium on his favorite Audi FIS Ski World Cup track, finishing in third in Val Gardena. Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) and Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, CA) nailed the top 10.
It looked like Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway was going to take his first downhill win since his injury last season, but Max Franz of Austria spoiled his celebration, coming from bib 26 to win the race—his first World Cup victory of his career and the first Austrian win on the Saslong in eight years.
Nyman skis down the Saslong. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Francis Bompard)
VAL D’ISERE, France (Dec. 17, 2016) – Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID) skied into the ‘bonus points’ Saturday, leading four American’s into the top 30 in downhill at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup.
“I’ve worked really hard all summer long, so it’s great to see it pay off in a place where I really didn’t expect a whole lot because I’ve never been here before,” said Johnson, who finishing 13th - her second career top 15 World Cup result. “My technician (Aleš Sopotnik) and I were talking and he was like: ‘Anything above 25 is really just bonus points.’”
Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec won her third World Cup downhill of the season Saturday by 0.28 over Austria’s Cornelia Huetter. Italy’s Sofia Goggia was third.
VAL GARDENA, Italy (Dec. 16, 2016) – Once Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) got up to speed, he laid down a solid run to lead to U.S. men in Friday’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup super G.
“The skiing was really good once I got into it,” said Ganong, who finished the day in 18th. “But the start is kind of what got me.”
Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud, who has been on fire so far this season in speed events, won his second super G race of the season over countryman Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Canada’s Erik Guay rounded out the podium in third – his 24th World Cup podium finish.
VAL D’ISERE, France (Dec. 16, 2016) – After winning the downhill run, Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) finished 10th in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup alpine combined in Val d’Isere.
Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia capitalized on her hot streak to win her third World Cup of the season—and her third World Cup of her career—having won both downhills at Lake Louise. Michelle Gisin of Switzerland was second and Sofia Goggia of Italy was third.
Ross excelled at the dark and bumpy downhill portion of the day. "The downhill run is awesome--the snow is great, a little bumpy in spots and most of the course is in the shade so it's tough to see," said Ross. "But was a ton of fun. It felt a little faster today, but that may be due to the fact that I didn't make any big mistakes and was skiing more aggressively than in the training runs."