Career-Best For Ford as U.S. Places Three Into Top 11 at Soelden
Tommy Ford led the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team with a career-best fourth-place finish Sunday on the Rettenbach Glacier in Sölden, Austria, just 0.07-seconds off the podium. Teammate Ted Ligety was fifth, followed by Ryan Cochran-Siegle in 11th - making the American men's team's collective performance today among the most dominant across all nations competing.
“I’m feeling strong,” Tommy said after the race. “That first run was solid skiing, a little safe. And that second run I definitely trusted it a little more and let it go...and I’m psyched with this personal best, and first points at Sölden as well.”
France took the top two spots on the podium with Alexis Pinturault picking up his 24th World Cup win, and Mathieu Faivre grabbing his seventh World Cup career podium result in second. Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec was third. River Radamus and Brian McLaughlin just missed qualifying for the second run, finishing 32nd and 34th respectively in the first run. Dartmouth Big Green athlete Nick Krause was the final U.S. starter, but DNFd in the first run.
When asked post-race who will be his challenger this year now that Austrian great Marcel Hirscher has retired, Frenchman Alexis said, “Everything is changing from one race to the next. The Americans, for example, have great talent…” The U.S. men are knocking on the podium’s door, and it feels great to be in the mix once again.
Ford was 10th in the first run and with the shadows creeping across the course in the second run and Ligety sitting in the hot seat as the current leader, he simply just let the skis run and trusted his instincts through the steepest part of the course. Sunday's result was Ted's first top-five result since his last podium - which was a third place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen during the 2017-18 season. After the first run, Ted waved to the camera and said "hi" to his two-year-old son Jax.
"It was nice to be in the mix a little bit again...it felt good," said Ted, laughing. "There's a good place to step off of this from, and I'm happy to be in the fight, at least. First run I didn't let it go quite as much, and second run I was able to push a little bit harder, especially in the steep part - so it's a good step forward. We race in Beaver Creek next, and that's a hill that's always treated me really well...I love that hill. Similar to here, where I've always had a lot of success, so hopefully I can continue that trend and get back to what I used to be able to do."
“There was a little glare from the valley, so (the light) was manageable,” Tommy recalled. “There was a tough rhythm change in the middle, but there was enough speed control where you could get it clean in the bottom half of the pitch.”
With the first race of the season in the books, Tommy and the rest of the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team are heading back home for a two-week camp at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper Mountain, Colo., where they will be greeted by mid-winter conditions as they prepare for the next World Cup, the Beaver Creek Birds of Prey, featuring giant slalom, downhill and super-G races Dec. 6-8.
“We have a little break now, so I’m going to go home and relax a little bit,” Tommy said. “Then get back into the gym and keep at it...and when the time comes, I’ll be psyched for Beaver Creek.”
Men’s giant slalom