White Circus Heads to Adelboden, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee
This weekend, the FIS Ski World Cup heads to Adelboden, Switzerland for the Land Rover U.S. Ski Team men with a tech series, while the women head to Altenmarkt-Zauchensee for a downhill and super-G alpine combined.
Last season, Tommy Ford was sixth in Adelboden—his best result at the venue in his career. After a tough series with challenging conditions in Alta Badia, Italy, where he ended up 20th, Tommy will look to capitalize on the stellar conditions at Adelboden. Ryan Cochran-Siegle—who has scored in 11 of 12 World Cup starts this season, across five disciplines—will look to build upon his already strong and consistent season.
Luke Winters, who has scored in two of four World Cup slaloms this season, will look forward to having a full men’s slalom squad join him on Sunday. After a tough night at Madonna di Campiglio, slalom coach Ryan Wilson made it clear that there has been a purposeful progression for the men’s slalom team, and it’s just the start of a long month of slalom racing. On the same day, Ben Ritchie won a NorAm in Stowe, Vt. by .77 seconds, stamping his ticket to Europe to join Luke, along with teammates Kyle Negomir and River Radamus to field a men’s slalom team of four on Sunday.
On the women’s side, downhiller Breezy Johnson will be returning to World Cup action in Saturday’s downhill for the first time in 667 days, following back-to-back knee injuries sustained during training camps. On March 14, 2018, in the World Cup Finals’ downhill in Åre, Sweden, teammates Lindsey Vonn and Alice McKennis went 1-3 and Breezy was eighth. During the 2017-18 season, the women’s speed team was the fastest downhill team in the world.
The next season, the women’s speed team was plagued with injury, with Lindsey, Alice McKennis, Jackie Wiles and Breezy out with injury for the start of the 2018-19 season. Later that season, Laurenne Ross sustained an injury at World Championships. The team has been building and working hard to return to snow, and now—apart from Laurenne—the team is back together on the mountain again. And, they couldn’t be more excited. When Breezy came through the finish in after the second and final downhill training run, she looked into the camera with a big smile and said, “I’M BAAAAACK!”
Though current World Cup overall and slalom leader Mikaela Shiffrin has not skied an alpine combined since the PyeongChang Olympics, where she earned a silver medal, she comes into Sunday’s alpine combined as a clear favorite. In an ongoing effort to find balance in her six-discipline schedule, Mikaela has opted out of Saturday’s downhill to focus on the alpine combined—which features one run of super-G and one run of slalom—as well as Tuesday’s night slalom in Flachau.
"I don't really have any expectations for Sunday's alpine combined," Mikaela said with a laugh on Friday. "Mostly because I haven't been on this hill before, and I haven't trained much super-G since St. Moritz. So, it's really just going in and having some fun. I feel good on my skis, and I did get one day of super-G training recently—just gliding turns and got up to speed a little bit, so that felt good. Obviously, my slalom is always fairly solid, so I am excited for Sunday but I don't really have expectations. I didn't get downhill training runs in, but I don't think that will make a huge difference for the super-G because I think the super-G will feel a lot different than the downhill is looking."
Mikaela was able to get some good super-G training under her belt with the Norwegian Attacking Vikings—Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. These guys are two of the best skiers in the world. What was that like? "It was so cool to see those guys in action in training. Especially watching Alex in speed was incredible—obviously because he's one of the best in the world, but he's also the most powerful skier on the men's circuit—even just his starts. I feel so klutzy in the start, with the speed skis on, I feel like I'm tangling my legs together and I'm about to fall on my face. And I'm like, 'Geez—do you have any tips for me?!'"
Not only did Mikaela learn a ton from them, but she was also impressed with the respect they showed her in return. "The coolest thing for me is that they were both talking to me about the track and how I felt too. They weren't just like, 'Oh, you're just a girl skiing with us...they were asking, what do you feel? I have so much respect for them, but I felt the respect from them as well—which made it a really cool environment."
Stats for the weekend:
Tommy Ford can become the fifth skier from the United States to win multiple men's World Cup giant slalom events, after Ted Ligety (24), Bode Miller (9), Phil Mahre (7) and Steven Mahre (2).
Three US men have claimed a World Cup podium in the Adelboden giant slalom: Ted Ligety (1st) in 2013, Bode Miller (2nd) in 2005 and Phil Mahre (2nd) in 1982.
Ted has won 24 giant slalom events in the World Cup, third-most among men behind Ingemar Stenmark (46) and Marcel Hirscher (31). His last win came in Sölden, Austria on 25 October 2015, while his last podium in this discipline was a third place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany on 28 January 2018.
Ted (35 years and 133 days on 11 January) can become the oldest man to win a World Cup giant slalom race, breaking the record set by Didier Cucher (35 years, 70 days) in Sölden on 25 October 2009.
Mikaela Shiffrin won one World Cup alpine combined (super-G slalom combo) event, in Crans Montana, Switzerland on 26 February 2017. Outside of the alpine combined (downhill/slalom combo) at the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018 (where she was sandwiched between Swiss combo Michelle Gisin and Wendy Holdener), that was her last alpine combined start.
The last time Breezy Johnson stood in a World Cup start gate was 666 days ago, on March 14, 2018, in Åre, Sweden. On that day, teammates Lindsey Vonn and Alice McKennis went 1-3 and Breezy was eighth. During the 2017-18 season, the women’s speed team was the fastest downhill team in the world.
Check out all the details about who and how to watch below.
Ryan Cochran-Siegle - GS
Tommy Ford - GS
Brian McLaughlin - GS
Ted Ligety - GS
Kyle Negomir - SL
Ben Ritchie - SL
River Radamus - GS, SL
Luke Winters - SL
Breezy Johnson - DH
Alice McKennis - DH
Alice Merryweather - DH, AC
Mikaela Shiffrin - AC
Jackie Wiles - DH
Isabella Wright - DH
HOW TO WATCH
All Times EST
Saturday, Jan. 11
4:00 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 1, Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. - Women’s downhill, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 2, Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
Sunday, Jan. 12
3:15 a.m. - Women’s combined super-G, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
4:00 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1, Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. - Women’s combined slalom, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2, Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel, Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app.
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Why isn’t Altenmarkt-Zauchensee available on NBCSN or Olympic Channel?
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