GARMISCH, GERMANY (Mar. 6, 2015) – The second week of races at Garmisch features the women, and in the only downhill training run, Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, CO) was seeking redemption on a track that does not bring back good memories. After snagging her very first World Cup victory (and podium) in St. Anton in 2013 in what was the best season in her career, McKennis crashed on the Kandahar course and suffered a tibial plateau injury.
But during Friday’s training run, it didn’t seem to bother McKennis, who turned in the 16th fastest time. “Today was really an interesting day for me, coming back to a place where I had a pretty bad injury and had broken my leg two years ago,” said McKennis after her run. “It’s good to come back and have a little bit of redemption at a place I have a bad memory of, even if it’s just a training run.”
The U.S. ski racers returned to Europe after the World Championships with screams of 200,000 hometown fans still echoing in their ears. Medals adorned necks, hundreds of autographs signed, and national newspapers and morning shows called the skiers heroes. But World Cup circuit schedules returned to normal for the athletes when they crossed the pond—eat, sleep, train, race, repeat. Sometimes they get a quick moment to visit a neighboring town, go out to eat or see friends, but breaks are few and far between. However, every year, when the men and women’s teams arrive in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for speed events, the athletes forgo some of their limited down time to visit the true American heroes at the U.S. military base.
COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO (Mar. 4, 2015)—Top U.S. athletes under the age of 18 headed to Copper Mountain, CO to compete for the title of best American U18 racer in the U18 National Championships. The USSA National Training Group (NTG) raked in results, with Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy showing dominance.
USSA CEO Tiger Shaw congratulated the young athletes on their acceptance into this race with a letter, comparing them to skiers like Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn. “[These] are some of the special athletes that have achieved high levels in our sports,” wrote Shaw. “They were all USSA junior athletes and have backgrounds not unlike you.”
BANSKO, Bulgaria (March 2, 2015) - The weather finally lifted in Bansko, after a weekend of delays and cancelations due to heavy fog. In a sun-drenched, technically set super G, Lindsey Vonn grabbed third place. Podium regulars Anna Fenninger of Austria and Tina Maze of Slovenia went one-two—identical results to Sunday’s alpine combined.
After a tough alpine combined for skiers on Sunday, the Italian coach set a demanding super G on Monday. The race, rescheduled from Friday’s cancelation, tripped up many speed skiers, but the best were able to pull out brilliant runs on the tricky track. The surface, which was not good during Sunday’s race, hardened up overnight—perfect for a super G.
Running 20th, Vonn was a bit unstable on top—almost horizontal on the snow at one point in the top section—but worked to close the half-second gap in the middle of the course. She found that extra gear and skied into third place, .28 off of Fenninger’s winning run.
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (March 1, 2015) - Austria's Marcel Hirscher took revenge for his World Championship loss, posting a 1.99 second first run before charging to a 3.28 second win in an Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) was fourth.
Ligety was eighth after first run, on a run he descibed as like "skiing on one of those kiddy ball rooms where you jump in the pit." The course was tough in the morning, with guys struggling to find speed out of the snow. But Hirscher was able to figure it out, and the normally competitive Ligety did nothing but praise Hirscher's skiing. "That was impressive," he said. "He was able to put on a massive margin on us and that second run he skied awesome. Impressive piece of skiing, that's for sure."
BANSKO, Bulgaria (Mar. 1, 2015)—After two days of delays and canceled races, the race organizers at Bansko were determined to complete the Audi FIS Ski World Cup alpine combined. But the race was marred by tough snow and fog in the super G portion, which caused many racers trouble. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) was the top American finisher in 12th place. Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) did not start the slalom run.
With over an hour delay and a few course holds for the rolling fog, the super G course was rough for many. However, Anna Fenninger of Austria had a fast run—taking first in the super G and never let it go. Tina Maze of Slovenia—always a favorite in the combined—was second and Kathrin Zettel of Austria was third.
GARMISCH, Germany (Feb. 28, 2015)—After over two hours of delays, the race organizers were finally able to squeak one last downhill into February. Fighting flat light and typical thick fog on the Garmisch Kandahar, Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) was the top American downhiller of the day, finishing in sixth place.
It was an Austrian-dominated day, with Hannes Reichelt winning the race, Romed Baumann in second and Matthias Mayer in third. This is the second Austrian downhill podium sweep in a row, with Mayer, Max Franz and Reichelt taking first, second and third in Saalbach.
Even after hours of delays, the snow was fairly consistent—with 140 volunteers working Friday night until 10 p.m. and starting again at 4 a.m. But because of the light conditions, the track was shortened—beginning at the super G start—which did not suit the classic downhillers usually favored on the Garmisch hill.
GARMISCH, GERMANY (Feb. 27, 2015) – In the final Garmisch (GAP) downhill training run on the Kandahar, Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) led the charge for the Americans, turning in the fourth fastest time—0.75 seconds off leader Hannes Reichelt. The Kandahar track is known to be one of the most challenging tracks on the circuit and the weather can be unpredictable, as it was during Friday’s downhill training run. Officials caught wind of a front rolling in, moving the training run up an hour, allowing the weather to hold up for all 49 athletes before the predicted snowfall. The guys are now ready to tackle the track during the Audi FIS Ski World Cup on Saturday.
A slightly different set this year left some athletes questioning after the first downhill training run on Thursday, but the guys have dialed in their line and determined a plan of attack. All questions seem to have been answered after Friday’s training run and at least for Nyman, they have.
PARK CITY, UT (Feb. 26, 2015) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association named a group of 16 elite athletes to compete at the 2015 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships scheduled for March 6-13 at Hafjell, Norway. The annual FIS Alpine World Junior Championships provide a unique opportunity for the best 16-20 year-olds of the skiing world to compete together. Each athlete heralds from top USSA club programs across the country including Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN), who grabbed a pair of top-10 finishes at World Junior Champs a year ago and is currently ranked sixth in the overall NorAm Cup standings.
After a morning of delays, the Audi FIS Ski World Cup super G in Bansko, Bulgaria was canceled due to weather.
Already rescheduled from the Bad Kleinkirchheim cancelation earlier this season, Friday's super G was supposed to start at 5:00 a.m. EST. But with 10-15 inches of fresh heavy snow overnight, the race was pushed in order to clear the track. However, once the course crew shoveled the snow off the course, a thick fog settled over the hill. Rowdy Bulgarian fans stuck around, cheering and playing with noisemakers until 7:30 a.m. EST, when the race organizers finally called it.
Saturday’s super G is scheduled to start at 5:15 a.m. EST and will air on Universal Sports Network at 11:00 a.m. Universal will also stream the race online.