Olympic Champions Ligety, Shiffrin, Vonn Lead 2018-19 U.S. Alpine Ski Team
After a productive final prep period camp featuring sunshine, blue skies, “hero snow,” and many very early, cold mornings at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper Mountain the last couple of weeks, U.S. Ski & Snowboard has officially announced the 2018-19 U.S. Alpine Team, featuring three Olympic champions including Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah), Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) and Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.).
The season kicked off in Sölden, Austria with women’s giant slalom race the last weekend of October, where Shiffrin grabbed a hard-fought podium, finishing third place. Unfortunately, the men’s giant slalom race was canceled due to weather but will be rescheduled in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria in December. With some solid training under their belt in a very wintry Copper Mountain, the team is ready to tackle this weekend’s slalom kickoff in Levi, Finland, and eagerly awaits the North American tour, starting with the much-anticipated women’s tech series in Killington, Vermont and a men’s speed series in Lake Louise, Canada on Thanksgiving weekend.
First, let's get you acquainted with the TV broadcast schedule.
So, what’s there to look forward to this season?! Plenty. Let’s talk shop.
Vonn has done it all...almost. Winningest female ski racer of all time with 82 FIS Ski World Cup victories across all five disciplines—slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill and combined. She’s the 2010 Olympic downhill champion. She has a record 20 World Cup titles, and seven World Championship medals to her name. There’s just one more thing left to do, and Vonn has her eyes on the prize. With just five more World Cup wins, she’ll surpass the Swede Ingemar Stenmark, becoming the winningest ski racer of ALL TIME. But that’s not all, folks.
After missing the downhill globe to Italy’s Sofia Goggia in the 2017-18 season by a mere three points, Vonn will be going for the downhill globe too. It won’t be easy. A 34-years-old veteran, Vonn will have a host of solid speed competitors to fend off this season. She’ll have multiple opportunities at Lake Louise, Alberta, aka, “Lake Lindsey”—where she has won more than any athlete ever, setting the stage for what will very likely be a historic season. Injury after injury…and Vonn has gotten back up. Every. Single. Time. Plus! It’s a World Championships season, and the alpine team will be heading to Åre, Sweden in February. Don’t count Vonn out as a medalist in speed. Keep a close eye in on Vonn in her final season to see if she will go into the record books as the winningest ski racer—male or female—of all time.
One of the most humble and hardworking to touch the sport of alpine ski racing, Shiffrin has been crowned the number one female alpine skier in the world two years in a row. At just 23-years-old, this double Olympic Champ and silver medalist is en fuego. She’s a three-time World Champion in slalom, and a five-time overall slalom titleholder in the last six years. This “slalom specialist” has even got a downhill victory to her name. Yup. It’s not about all of that, though. For Shiffrin, it's about skiing her best on any given day and maximizing the time she has on the mountain as a true student of the sport. And, to her, that means perfecting giant slalom. With the Olympic gold medal no longer elusive, she wants that globe. Another slalom globe? Yup. More speed success, and a super-G win? Yup. Overall? You better believe it. World Championship gold in giant slalom? It's on her radar!
With 32 slalom victories, she’s on the heels of her childhood hero—Austrian Marlies Schild—who holds the record of 35 slalom victories. It seems like every weekend there’s a new record for Shiffrin to break. She can’t even keep track anymore. Actually, she never has. And this year she has the chance to make history as the first ski racer to win four consecutive World Championship gold medals in slalom.
Two veterans on the women’s side—Resi Stiegler (Jackson, Wyo.) and Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.) are a formidable pair that have the speed to land on the podium in tech and speed, respectively...and the flair, ferociousness, and competitive fire to boot.
Ligety is a father, a business owner, and a game changer in the sport of alpine ski racing. Ask rookie teammate River Radamus (Edwards, Colo.), and he’ll tell you Ligety revolutionized the discipline of giant slalom. He’s a legend. This two-time Olympic champion, five-time World Champion, and five-time giant slalom globe winner has gas left in the tank—and with a full, injury-free prep period for the first time in two years, Ligety is looking for another gear. He had five straight giant slalom victories on the famed Birds of Prey, a track he loves and looks forward to returning to in December, in the giant slalom opener of the season. You can count on Ligety when it matters most. Keep an eye on him as he travels the road to World Championships.
At 36-years-old, veteran Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah) will be returning from back-to-back seasons with knee injuries for a full 2019 season schedule, starting with Lake Louise. Most known for his “King of the Saslong” title, with three victories on the classic Val Gardena, Italy track, Nyman could tie former Italian ski racer Kristian Ghedina with four victories. Fun fact? They share the same magic man—Fischer serviceman extraordinaire—Leo Mussi. Plus, like a fine wine, downhillers get better over time, as knowledge of the track benefits downhillers. Nyman could shine once again in Val Gardena and watch closely during World Championships in Åre—a track he’s had a lot of experience on, as he and the downhillers have a lot of miles of training at that venue.
2015 World Championships downhill silver medalist Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.) and teammate Thomas Biesemeyer (Keene, N.Y.) will return from injury as well, and Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.) and Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah) look to capitalize on their strong skiing during the 2017-18 season. A pair of giant slalom/super-G skiers—Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.) and Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt.)—are skiing fast and focused in training, and looking to lay it down and make their mark on the big stage.
Coming out of the PyeongChang Olympics much has been said about the renewed focus on alpine development, and this season you all will be able to witness the fruits of that effort. The “young guns” to watch this season as they make their transition from NorAm and Europa Cups to the World Cup stage are 17-year-old A.J. Hurt (Squaw Valley, Calif.), Radamus, and Luke Winters (Gresham, Ore.). Hurt snagged her first World Cup start at just 16-years-old in Killington, Vermont last season, and has the talent to do something special for years to come.
Radamus and Winters had a double podium in super-G at World Juniors in Davos, Switzerland in 2018. Radamus has flair on the mountain, to match his name. And speed. He won the hat-trick of golds at the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway in 2016, then grabbed a silver medal in the alpine combined at World Juniors in 2017, and was the NorAm Overall winner in 2018. Hometown boy Radamus will grace this year’s Birds of Prey poster, and he couldn’t be more stoked. He grew up collecting every Birds of Prey poster, so this is pretty rad (yep, I did that) for him. However, he notes, if you go to his house to check out the collection, you'll find "an embarrassing amount of Lindsey and Ted posters."
Keep an eye on these young athletes this season, as they make more frequent World Cup appearances, and definitely watch them as we head into the next Olympic cycle.
2018-19 U.S. Alpine Ski Team
Name (hometown; home club; birthdate)
Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.; Squaw Valley Ski Team; 7/14/1988)
Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard; 8/31/1984)
Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard/Sundance Ski Team; 2/12/1982)
Breezy Johnson (Victor, Idaho; Rowmark Ski Academy; 1/19/1996)**
Alice McKennis (New Castle, Colo.; Sunlight Winter Sports Club/Rowmark Ski Academy; 8/18/1989)**
Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.; Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation; 8/17/1988)
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.; Burke Mountain Academy/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 3/13/1995)
Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail/Buck Hill Ski Team; 10/18/1984)
Jacqueline Wiles (Aurora, Ore.; White Pass Ski Club; 7/13/1992)**
Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.; Squaw Valley Ski Team; 7/14/1992)
Tommy Biesemeyer (Keene, NY; New York Ski Education Foundation; 1/30/1989)
Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt.; Cochran’s/Mount Mansfield Ski & Snowboard Club; 3/27/1992)
Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.; Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation; 3/20/1989)
Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah; Snowbird Sports Education Foundation; 6/15/1991)
Sam Morse (Carrabassett Valley, Maine; Carrabassett Valley Academy; 5/27/1996)
River Radamus (Edwards, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 2/12/1998)
Luke Winters (Gresham, Ore.; Sugar Bowl Academy; 4/2/1997)*
AJ Hurt (Carnelian Bay, Calif.; Squaw Valley Ski Team; 12/5/2000)*
Alice Merryweather (Hingham, Mass.; Attitash Race Team/Stratton Mountain School; 10/5/1996)
Nina O’Brien (San Francisco, Calif.; Burke Mountain Academy/Squaw Valley Ski Team; 11/29/1997)
Resi Stiegler (Jackson, Wyo.; Jackson Hole Ski Club; 11/14/1985)
Cooper Cornelius (Glenwood Springs, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 6/20/1999)*
Nick Krause (Northboro, Mass.; Stratton Mountain School; 5/12/1993)
Kyle Negomir (Littleton, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/3/1998)*
George Steffey (Lyme, N.H.; Stratton Mountain School; 8/8/1997)**
Abi Jewett (Ripton, Vt.; Green Mountain Valley School; 1/10/2000)*
Tricia Mangan (Derby, N.Y.; Holimont Race Team; 3/7/1997)
Katie Hensien (Redmond, Wash.; Rowmark Ski Academy; 12/1/1999)
Galena Wardle (Aspen, Colo.; Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club; 4/24/1998)
Andrew Miller (Park City, Utah; Park City Ski Team; 12/18/1998)*
Isaiah Nelson (Wayzata, MN.; Buck Hill Ski Racing Club; 4/3/2001)*
Ben Ritchie (Waitsfield, VT; Green Mountain Valley School; 9/5/2000)*
Jett Seymour (Steamboat, Colo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club/University of Denver Ski Team; 11/5/1998)
Trey Seymour (Steamboat, Colo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 10/13/2000)*
Keely Cashman (Strawberry, Calif.; Squaw Valley Ski Team; 4/4/1999)
Cecily Decker (Saranac Lake, N.Y.; New York Ski Education Foundation; 5/16/1998)**
Ainsley Proffit (St. Louis, MO; Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy; 3/21/2001)*
Nellie-Rose Talbot (Vail, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 8/24/1999)
Nicola Rountree-Williams (Edwards, Colo.; Loveland Ski Area/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 7/7/2002)*
Zoe Zimmermann (Gilford, N.H.; Burke Mountain Academy; 5/16/2002)*
*Newly named to the U.S. Ski Team
**Currently sidelined due to injury, but WILL be back in the future. Stay tuned.
Official U.S. Alpine Ski Team Partners can be found here.
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