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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Men Take on the Deceiving Kandahar, While Women Attempt for Speed in Sochi

By Megan Harrod
January, 31 2020
Men's Speed Team at Military Base
The Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team men's speed team poses with friends and families of the U.S. Army servicemen and servicewomen in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Max Hall)

The FIS Ski World Cup men’s tour will take on the mighty and deceiving Kandahar track in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, while the women attempt to get races off in 2014 Olympic venue in Rosa Khutor, Sochi, Russia. 

The Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team downhillers and giant slalom skiers head to Garmisch to take on a downhill and giant slalom on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Though warm weather has plagued the World Cup classic downhill and erased the first downhill training run on Thursday, the organizers salted the track and the downhillers were able to get in a training run⁠—albeit with soft snow and less-than-ideal conditions⁠—on Friday. In Friday’s first and only downhill training run, Ryan Cochran-Siegle led the way with the fifth-fastest time, .48 seconds off France’s Johan Clarey’s time, while 2017 Garmisch winner Travis Ganong was just a tenth back, tied for seventh. 

It's a dark, bumpy ride down the Kandahar in Garmisch, and after the noise of Wengen's Lauberhorn and Kitzbuehel's Hahnenkamm, it can be quite deceiving. The downhillers have talked about how many have let their guard down in Garmisch, and how it has come back to bite them. The classic track is challenging and has claimed its fair share of victims in the past—including, and especially, in 2017 when 11 athletes DNFed and two (including Steven Nyman) were airlifted from the track with season-ending injuries. 

The giant slalom crew will return to action on Sunday, led by Olympic champion Ted Ligety and this year’s Beaver Creek victor, Tommy Ford. Though the giant slalom crew has had a break since Adelboden, they’ve gotten a solid training block at the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team’s European official training base in Alpe Cimbra ski area – Folgaria, Lavarone in Italy. Keep an eye on both Ted and Tommy, and remember—Ted’s last podium was in 2018 in Garmisch on this track, prior to the PyeongChang Olympics. 

Steven, Travis, Ryan, Bryce Bennett, Sam Morse, Sam Dupratt and Jared Goldberg enjoyed their annual visit to the U.S. Army base in Garmisch on Wednesday evening, signing autographs for families of servicemen and servicewomen in Garmisch. This is a tradition the Team has enjoyed for the last 20+ years, and it’s a hearty American welcome that makes the athletes feel at home in Garmisch. 

The women’s speed team traveled to Rosa Khutor, in Sochi, Russia for a downhill on Saturday and a super-G on Sunday, but heavy snowfall has severely affected the schedule, with cancelled downhill training runs on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Snow continues to fall at Rosa Khutor, though organizers are optimistic they’ll be able to nail down an aggressive schedule on Saturday that includes a downhill training run at 8:00 a.m. CET followed by a race at 10:30 a.m. CET. The speed series in 2019 was cancelled entirely due to heavy snowfall. 

Current overall, super-G and slalom World Cup standings leader Mikaela Shiffrin, who is competing in all six disciplines, has wisely opted to sit out Rosa Khutor and instead rest and recover prior to the next block of races. Mikaela also is currently sitting in second in the downhill and giant slalom standings. If the weather subsides and the races happen, keep an eye on Breezy Johnson—who scored a pair of top-10 results in her second and third World Cup races back from injury last weekend in Bansko, Bulgaria. 

WATCH: Take a pause and watch our second edition of Cellar Talks, with the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team downhillers.

Check out how and who to watch below. 

MEN’S STARTERS
Bryce Bennett
Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Sam Dupratt
Tommy Ford
Travis Ganong
Jared Goldberg
Ted Ligety
Brian McLaughlin
Steven Nyman
River Radamus 

WOMEN’S STARTERS
Breezy Johnson
Alice McKennis
Alice Merryweather
Jackie Wiles

RESULTS
Men’s Downhill Training Run 1

START LISTS
Women’s Downhill Training Run
Men’s Downhill

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HOW TO WATCH 
All times EST

Saturday, Feb. 1
3:30 a.m. - Women’s downhill, Rosa Khutor, RUS - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. - Men’s downhill, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday, Feb. 2
12:30 a.m. - Men’s downhill, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - NBCSN*
2:30 a.m. - Women’s super-G, Rosa Khutor, RUS - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
4:00 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 1, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
6:30 a.m. - Women’s super-G, Rosa Khutor, RUS - Olympic Channel*
7:30 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 2, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. - Men’s giant slalom, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - NBCSN*

*Same-day broadcast

Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app. 

Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow