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World Cup Finals Downhill Canceled; Bennett, Cochran-Siegle Claim Best Ranks

By Sierra Ryder - Stifel U.S. Ski Team
March, 24 2024
Ryan Cochran-Siegle skis the downhill training run in Saalbach. (Getty Images)

On Sunday, March 24, the final downhill of the season was canceled due to weather and safety. Despite the disappointing end, Stifel U.S. Ski Team athletes Bryce Bennett and Ryan Cochran-Siegle officially ended the season in their top downhill ranks ever. Bennett was fifth and Cochran-Siegle eighth.  

The racers arrived to the Saalbach venue ready to roll Sunday morning, but the conditions were the opposite of what had transpired the last 10 days with snow and wind—creating a difficult job for the course workers. The race was initially delayed by a few hours, but after salting, hosing and slipping, the organizing committee made the difficult decision to cancel the final downhill race. 

“Well, winter came back to Austria at the exact wrong time,” joked Bennett. “The organizing committee here in Saalbach did everything possible to make it happen but the weather conditions did not allow.” 

This decision also ended the fight for the downhill Crystal Globe. It was a tight race between Swiss star Marco Odermatt and Frenchman Cyprien Sarrazin, with a gap of 42 points between the two racers. Odermatt came out on top for his third discipline globe. He also claimed the giant slalom, super-G, downhill and overall titles this season — four globes in total. 

The Stifel U.S. Ski Team also had a lot to be proud of this season. Bennett and Cochran-Siegle showed strength and consistency to become a solid force on the downhill circuit. Bennett opened the season with a win and a podium, sporting the red leader's bib for the next races. Cochran-Siegle was a mere hundredth from a podium in Kitzbühel and had multiple top 10 results. The two skiers are more fired up than ever to continue the momentum into the next season along with the rest of the speed team. The team took the fifth spot of the downhill Nations Cup as well; they were just shy of overtaking the Austrians in fourth. 

“It was a good season, highs and lows. We are ready to move forward. I think our entire team has been pushing really hard,” said Bennett. “In Kvitfjell we had six guys in the top 20 which has not happened in over a decade, so I think we have a strong team moving forward and we are excited to keep pushing.”

The grind is not over for the downhillers, who will now stay in Austria for a few more days to test skis and prep for the next season. 

Men's downhill