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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Schild and Wilson Top Finishers in Calgary

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 6 2018
calgarymoguls
(FIS)

The U.S. Ski Team qualified six athletes into finals at Saturday’s moguls competition in Calgary, with Morgan Schild (Rochester, N.Y.) and Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.) posting the top results, both finishing sixth.

Schild made it to her first super final of the season after finishing ninth in Friday’s qualifying rounds and sixth in the final. A few mistakes after the top air in her super final run landed Schild a score of 77.17 and her best World Cup finish of the season so far. Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.), Olivia Giaccio (Redding, Conn.) and Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) all made it through to the finals, finishing ninth, 11th and 16th respectively. Australia’s Britteny Cox claimed her second victory of the season followed by France’s Perrine Laffont in second and Canada’s Justine Dufour-LaPointe in third.

It was also Wilson’s first super final of the season. His qualifying runs were strong, but Wilson was unable to put down a clean run and land a podium spot against a stacked field in the men’s super final. In his first World Cup appearance, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Casey Andringa was the only other U.S. man to make the finals and skied to an impressive 7th place finish right behind Wilson. Mikael Kingsbury landed the win on home turf. Kazaksan’s Dmitriy Reikherd was second and Australia’s Matt Graham third.

The U.S. Ski Team will be back on home soil next week when the FIS Freestyle World Cup tour makes a stop at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. The Visa Freestyle International will feature two single moguls competitions on January 10 and 11 followed by aerials on January 12.

RESULTS
Men’s moguls
Women’s moguls

McKinnon Lands First World Cup Win

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 6 2018

With just one skier advancing to the super finals, the U.S. aerials squad ended up with plenty to celebrate when Kiley McKinnon (Madison, Conn.) stomped her super final jump to take home her first career World Cup win in Moscow Saturday. McKinnon has now met objective Olympic selection criteria and is looking good to land a spot on the team headed to PyeongChang in just over a month.

Variable weather conditions made it difficult for athletes to dial in the speed for their jumps on the scaffolding site Saturday night. McKinnon’s first jump - a full, full - qualified her in the seventh position going into finals. She barely made it in to the super finals after scoring an 80.46 on the same trick in finals. But everything came together for McKinnon’s final jump, a triple-twisting double flip called a full, double full. The high degree of difficulty and McKinnon’s flawless execution scored her a 95.52 and the win.

"My strategy was to go out and have confidence in my jumping," said McKinnon. "I have been struggling with that recently and I wanted to prove to myself that I could put a solid jump down. The weather was pretty crazy today with rain and snow, but luckily that cleared for the final rounds. No matter if the weather is good or bad, I always know that my coaches are doing everything they can to dial in the speed for us and they nailed it tonight!

I have been dreaming of a World Cup win for a few years now and, although I have come close a couple times, I had never gotten there. To be able to do it during the Olympic season is really the icing on the cake!"

Belarus’s Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya and Russia’s Alexandra Orlova joined McKinnon on the podium in second and third. World Champion Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va.) competed a triple flip in qualifications, but was unable to land cleanly, finishing 13th and missing out on finals by one spot. Madison Olsen (Park City, Utah) was 20th and Morgan Northrop (Haymarket, Va.) 22nd.

On the men’s side, Nik Seemann (Winter Park, Colo.) was the lone U.S. man to advance into finals. He carried too much speed into his triple-twisting triple flip - a full, double full, full - slapping back on the landing and missing the super finals, finishing 10th. 2014 Olympic Champion Anon Kushnir of Belarus took the win, followed by Russia’s Ilia Burov and Stanislav Nikitin in second and third.

The U.S. Ski Team will be back on home soil next week when the FIS Freestyle World Cup tour makes a stop at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. The Visa Freestyle International will feature two single moguls competitions on January 10 and 11 followed by aerials on January 12.

RESULTS
Women’s Aerials
Men’s Aerials

 

Diggins Challenging for Tour Podium

By Tom Kelly
January, 6 2018
tds 1-6-18
Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg of Norway leads as Jessica Diggins, Heidi Weng of Norway, Teresa Stadlober of Austria, and Kerttu Niskanen of Finland follow during the FIS Nordic World Cup 10k classic in Val di Fiemme, Italy Saturday. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Laurent Salino)

Americans Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) continued a strong U.S. Ski Team performance on the Tour de Ski Saturday, setting themselves up for landmark finishes in the prestigious stage race that ends on Sunday. A stage six assault by defending Tour de Ski champion Heidi Weng of Norway also narrowed the gap on tour leader Ingvild Flugstad Østberg who kept the leader’s bib but saw her nearly one minute lead disintegrate to just 1.8 seconds in the 10k classic mass start, setting up a thrilling finale for Sunday’s climb up Alpe Cermis. 

Diggins finished fourth and now stands fourth in the Tour de Ski after six of seven stages, 10 seconds behind Finland’s Krista Parmakoski, who finished second. Bjornsen was 10th and stands eighth. She is 46 seconds ahead of Austrian Theresa Stadlober, who was third.

She went out strong, holding her own against the powerful Norwegian duo of Weng and Østberg, even holding the lead for a time in the first few kilometers. She remained strong in a five-skier lead pack before Weng made a move around 7k. The remaining chase pack of four began to splinter around 8k with Finland’s Krista Parmakoski and Austria’s Theresa Stadlober moving up. Diggins passed Østberg and held on to finish fourth.

“I was really happy with my race today,” said Diggins. “It was so much fun to be in the lead pack for so long in a classic race and to be feeling this good after so much racing in the tour.”

The U.S. Ski Team wax truck once again produced fast skis for Diggins and the team. “I have to give props to our techs for working so hard throughout this entire tour and getting up to the venue hours ahead of the race over and over again to help us out.” 

Diggins’ strategy was to stay near the front of the mass start and out of trouble, especially after breaking two poles in the Lenzerheide sprint a week earlier. ”I faded slightly in that last lap and could’t go with Krista and Teresa but it was so fun to see exactly where the podium was since it’s mass start - seeing where I can improve a little bit for the next time. Always learning and taking notes.”

Bjornsen had a good race but still one that left her wanting for a bit more. “After falling in the last race, I was determined to make up some time that I had lost in my overall tour position. I have been feeling really great on my classic skis and felt like I had some power left in my legs this morning. So my goal was to just go with the leaders as long as possible.”

Unfortunately Bjornsen had a few tactical errors at the start that left her far back in the pack on the first lap.

“Once I was finally finding position again, I got trampled over and fell,” she said. “Once again, I fought my way back to the front after getting stuck behind some traffic, but just burned a few too many jets getting yo-yo'd around today.”

Still poised for her best Tour de Ski finish, Bjornsen has learned a lot about the mental side of the stage race. “When things go great, you can convince yourself you are invincible. When you get rattled a bit, it takes an extra amount of mental power to fight back to where you want. I think that is what got me today.“

If Diggins and Bjornsen remain in the top 10, it will be the first time in history two Americans have finished that high. The American benchmark in the Tour de Ski is fifth, which was achieved by Diggins a year ago and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.) in 2015.

“I’m really happy with my overall tour placing,” said Diggins. “To be starting 10 seconds behind Krista is awesome and I’ve been racing better than any other year, for sure. It’s fun to feel strong in sprint and distance, classic and skate. My goal for years has been to become a true all-rounder. It’s fun to finally be getting there!”
 
Diggins knows going into the Alpe Cermis hill climb finale that she’s not a natural-born climber. “But I know how to be a fighter and I know to suffer,” she said. “I’m going to go give that climb everything I’ve got left.”

“Considering the swings of this Tour de Ski, I am thrilled to be fighting for top 10,” said Bjornsen. “I have never done that in a Tour event, so it is a good goal for me when I am pushing myself up that mountain tomorrow with every last bit of energy I have tomorrow.”

Diggins now stands fifth in the overall World Cup standings with Bjornsen eighth.

In the men's field, Paddy Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) was 48th - the lone American man still in the Tour. Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.) withdrew.

The Tour de Ski is set up for a dramatic finale with the 9k freestyle pursuit up the face of Alpe Cermis. Live coverage of the women’s final stage will be live streamed beginning at 5:30 a.m. EST with broadcast coverage at 7:30 a.m. on NBCSN. The men’s stage will stream live at 8:30 a.m. EST and broadcast on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA TV at 1:00 p.m. EST.

RESULTS
Men’s 15k Classic Mass Start
Women’s 10k Classic Mass Start

Men’s Tour de Ski Standings (after 6 of 7 stages)
Women’s Tour de Ski Standings (after 6 of 7 stages) 
 

Cochran-Siegle 21st, Ligety DNFs in Adelboden

By Courtney Harkins
January, 6 2018
Ted Ligety
Ted Ligety skis to eighth in the first run, before DNFing second run. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)

Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt.) muscled out his second points-scoring finish of the season to lead the U.S. Ski Team in 21st in Saturday's FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Adelboden.

Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) looked to be back to form, finishing eighth in the first run, however, he got caught up in the tricky, tight second run set and did not finish.

In front of 20,000 screaming Swiss fans, Marcel Hirscher of Austria took his 51st FIS Ski World Cup win - his sixth victory this season. Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway was second and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault was third with the fastest second run.

After almost two seasons away from the World Cup tour due to injury, Ligety - the two-time Olympic giant slalom champion - has yet to podium. But his eyes are firmly planted on PyeongChang and the U.S. Ski Team coaches say he is steadily building toward February.

Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.) also made the second run, but skied out partway through the course.

Next up, the men race slalom in Adelboden on Sunday.

RESULTS
Men’s giant slalom

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Jan. 7
4:30 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 1; Adelboden – olympicchannel.com
7:30 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 2; Adelboden – olympicchannel.com

Shiffrin Battles For Another World Cup Win

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 6 2018

World Cup victory No. 39 wasn’t an easy one for Mikaela Shiffrin.

Feeling a bit under the weather and racing through light rain on a rough, straight-set course, Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) took the first run lead and held on to win her eighth FIS Ski World Cup race this season Saturday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Tessa Worley of France was second, and Sofia Goggia of Italy picked up her fourth World Cup podium of the season in third.

“I’ve been a little bit sick the past couple days,” Shiffrin said following her victory. “A lot of the girls have been sick, so I didn’t feel like it was an excuse for today, and I wanted to come out and charge. Luckily it wasn’t a very long GS today, so I just felt like ‘OK, I just need two minutes of energy, and if I can do that, I’ll be fine.’”

With the victory, Shiffrin moved back into the FIS Ski World Cup overall giant slalom standings. Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg held a narrow advantage over Shiffrin in the overall standings heading into Saturday’s race, but she faltered in the challenging conditions, and finished 11th, falling to third in the GS standings. Shiffrin, who has totaled 1,181 World Cup points so far this season, now leads the overall World Cup standings by 647 points over Rebensburg. Shiffrin also leads the overall downhill and slalom World Cup standings.

Starting fourth in the first run, Shiffrin built a 0.86-second lead – the largest first run giant slalom lead of her career – and challenged the rough second run head-on.

“Certainly a little bit bumpier and a little bit wild in the second run,” Shiffrin said. “I was trying to be aggressive, but I also didn’t want to risk everything, so some turns I was really aggressive, and some turns I was like ‘Whoa, stay on the course at least!”’

Saturday’s race was scheduled for Maribor, Slovenia, but was moved to Kranjska Gora due to snow conditions. It was the first time the women have raced in Kranjska Gora since 2012.

Seventeen-year-old AJ Hurt made her third World Cup start, finishing 45th in the first run. Foreste Peterson, who skis for Dartmouth College, also made her second World Cup start, finishing 53rd in the first run.

Up next, the women race slalom Sunday in Kranjska Gora.

RESULTS
Women’s slalom

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
*schedules subject to change

ALPINE
Jan. 7
3:30 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 1; Kranjska Gora – olympicchannel.com
6:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 2; Kranjska Gora – NBCSN

 

Olympic Selection Heats Up

By Tom Kelly
January, 5 2018
Ashley Caldwell
World Champion Ashley Caldwell is looking to claim her third Olympic berth this weekend with a top finish in the World Cup aerials event in downtown Moscow. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom)

Olympic ski and snowboard spots will be on the line this weekend as the close of Olympic selection is just two weeks away. The Games begin in PyeongChang in just 34 days on Feb. 9.
 
Three skiers earned spots on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team over New Year's Weekend at the U.S. Olympic Trials for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined at the Utah Olympic Park.

Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) earned a spot on his second Olympic Team with a win in nordic combined. Mike Glasder (Cary, Ill.) clinched his first Olympic berth with a ski jumping victory while Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, Utah) claimed a return trip with her women's ski jumping win.
 
Freestyle World Cups this weekend in Moscow and Calgary could impact Olympic selection for aerials and moguls. Aerialist Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va.) and moguls skier Troy Murphy (Bethel, Maine)  are each looking for their second podium to achieve objective criteria.
 
In cross country, there are no more selection events to achieve a top-eight finish to lock in a spot. But athletes can still move up into the top 50 in World Cup distance or sprint rankings. Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.) is expected to make a move in the final two events of the Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Spots via domestic races are also on the line at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships in Anchorage.
 
Final team selections for all ski and snowboard Olympic teams will be announced by U.S. Ski & Snowboard the week of Jan. 22. The United States Olympic Committee will formally name Team USA in late January. The Olympic Winter Games are set for Feb. 8-25 in PyeongChang, South Korea. U.S. Ski & Snowboard anticipates a total team size of over 100 athletes across all ski and snowboard sports.
 
All selections to the U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the USOC.
 
SELECTION UPDATE - Jan. 5, 2018
This update as of the noted date and subject to change through selection period. Update includes only those athletes who have achieved the top levels of objective selection criteria, which does not guarantee a spot on the team. Final team announcements will be made the week of Jan. 22, subject to USOC approval.
 
Alpine (selection period runs through Jan. 22)
Stacey Cook (top 10 downhill) *
Breezy Johnson (top 10 downhill) *
Ted Ligety (top 5 giant slalom) *
Laurenne Ross (top 10 super G) *
Mikaela Shiffrin (top 3 downhill, top 5 super G, top 3 giant slalom, top 3 slalom) ^
Lindsey Vonn (top 3 super G) *
Jackie Wiles (top 5 downhill) *
 
Cross Country (selection period runs through Jan. 15)
Erik Bjornsen (top 50 World Cup ranking in distance, sprint) *
Sadie Bjornsen (top 8 in designated selection event) ^
Rosie Brennan (top 50 World Cup ranking in distance, sprint) *
Sophie Caldwell (top 8 in designated selection event) ^
Jessie Diggins (top 8 in designated selection event) ^
Simi Hamilton (top 50 World Cup ranking in sprint) *
Andy Newell (top 50 World Cup ranking in sprint) *
Kikkan Randall (top 50 World Cup ranking in sprint, distance) *
Ida Sargent (top 50 World Cup ranking in sprint) *
^ Qualified for U.S. Olympic Team
* Achieved objective qualification criteria as of rankings on Jan. 4 (rankings subject to change through Jan. 15)

 
Freeski (selection period runs through Jan. 21)
None have met objective criteria yet
 
Freestyle (selection period runs through Jan. 21)
Jaelin Kauf (2 top 3 moguls) *
* Achieved objective qualification criteria
 
Nordic Combined (selection period runs through Jan. 22)
Bryan Fletcher (winner Olympic Trials) ^
^ Qualified for U.S. Olympic Team
 
Ski Jumping (selection period runs through Jan. 21)
Mike Glasder (winner Olympic Trials) ^
Sarah Hendrickson (winner Olympic Trials) ^
^ Qualified for U.S. Olympic Team
 
Snowboard (qualifying through Jan. 21)
Jamie Anderson (mathematically clinched qualifying series points in slopestyle) ^
Jonathan Cheever (top 3 in designated snowboardcross selection event; leading selection points) *
Chris Corning (mathematically clinched qualifying series points in slopestyle) ^
Faye Gulini (top 3 in designated snowboardcross selection event) ^
Chloe Kim (mathematically clinched qualifying series points in slopestyle) ^
Lindsey Jacobellis (top 3 in designated snowboardcross selection event) ^
^ Qualified for U.S. Olympic Team
* Achieved objective qualification criteria

 
 

Patterson, Hanneman Golden in Sprint

By Tom Kelly
January, 5 2018
Women's Sprint Podium
Caitlin Patterson celebrates back-to-back gold at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships.

Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury, Vt./Craftsbury Green) carried momentum from her opening day gold to win a second Friday in the women's freestyle sprint. Reese Hanneman repeated his gold from last year in the men's race at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships in Anchorage's Kincaid Park.

Patterson took the win over her teammate Kaitlynn Miller (Craftsbury Common, Vt./Craftsbury Green) with Hannah Halvorsen (Truckee, Calif./APU Nordic) picking up her first U.S. Championships medal with bronze.

Hanneman (Fairbanks, Alaska/APU Nordic) repeated as gold medalist outdistancing Kevin Bolger (Minocqua, Wis./Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) and Tyler Kornfield (Anchorage/APU Nordic).

“I used the first few heats to figure out how this course was skiing,” said Patterson, an Alaskan native and former member of the Alaska Winter Stars. “It’s fun to ski on a new course where none of know the tactics.”

Patterson learned the course quickly, using the downhills in each heat to build an advantage. In the finals, she started back in the pack and move up throughout the championship heat, skating ahead on the final climb to take the win.

“I was a little bit surprised with the win,” she said of her first U.S. title in the event. “With sprint you have less control because there’s so much stuff that happens out there. I took each heat as it came.”

In the men’s race, things were tighter in the finals heat. After climbing the small final hill and taking a tight corner into the stadium’s finish area, Reese Hanneman pulled away from Bolger as they raced to the line, winning by less than a tenth of a second.

“On that last corner, all six of us were close,” said Bolger. “Reese picked a really great line and I tucked in behind him. It came down to the last few meters and he just skied really well.”

For the gold medalist Hanneman, it was a special win coming at home.
 
“It's a dream to be able to win a national championship at home in front of all these people who I know and who have supported me and came out to cheer,” said Hanneman, who won his third U.S. sprint title. “And the Hannemans are three in a row, so that’s kinda cool to be able to continue that.”
 
It was a practically perfect day for sprint racing at Kincaid Park – temperatures in the teens; no wind, a rarity here; mostly sunny and bluebird skies, with an occasional ice fog appearance; and a fast-and-firm, technical-and-fast trail.
 
“It was awesome skiing, beautiful conditions,” Reese Hanneman said. “Everybody dreams about skiing on the snow out there today.”

The qualification rounds, which will be considered as a part of Olympic selection, were won by Logan Hanneman (Fairbanks, Alaska/APU Nordic), brother of race winner Reese, and Anne Hart (Stillwater, Minn./Stratton Mountain School) - both of whom missed the finals.

It was another good day for U23 and junior athletes, led by Halvorsen’s bronze.

“Hannah raced with experience above her age,” said Coach Bryan Fish. Halvorsen was a part of the medal-winning women’s relay team at Junior Worlds last year in Soldier Hollow. “It appeared she was changing her race tactics in the heats trying to find the best way for her to win - racing with confidence and dong the small things that are preparing her for success at Junior Worlds.

Four junior and six U23 men made it into the top 30, while five junior and six U23 women qualified into the heats (top-30). 

“This bodes very well for us for Junior Worlds in Goms, Switzerland and the U18 Nordic Nation’s Championships in Vuokatti, Finland later this month,” said Fish. Those teams will be named following this week’s Championships.
 
Leading the junior results was Hannah Halvorsen’s overall U.S. National Championship 3rd place performance.  Hannah raced with experience above her age.  It appeared she  was changing her race tactics in the heats trying to find the best way for her to win.  She is racing with confidence and doing the small things that are preparing her for success at Jr Worlds.   

Zak Ketterson (Bloomington, Minn./Loppet Nordic Racing) was the top U23 man in fourth. Alayna Sonnesyn (Plymouth, Minn./Univ. of Vermont) was the top U23 woman in eighth. Gus Schumacher (Anchorage/Alaska Winter Stars) was top U18 junior man in eighth.

Action continues in Anchorage Sunday with men's 30k classic mass start and women's 20k. All events are being streamed live on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Facebook channel, with Sunday's races scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. EST.

RESULTS
Men's Freestyle Sprint 
Women's Freestyle Sprint 
 

 

 

Engel Matches Career Best In Zagreb

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 4 2018
Mark Engel finished 24th in Thursday’s FIS Ski World Cup slalom in Zagreb, Croatia. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom – Christophe Pallot)

ZAGREB, Croatia (Jan. 4, 2018) – Mark Engel (Truckee, Calif.) matched a career-best FIS Ski World Cup slalom result in 24th on a soft, grooved and punchy course under the lights in the capital of Croatia Thursday night. But most importantly, he maintained a World Cup start position for USA.

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher came from behind in the second run to snatch victory away from his teammate Michael Matt, who finished second. Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen was third.

For Engel, finishing was not only important from a team standpoint, but from a vindication standpoint too. Last year on the same course he finished third in the first run, only to crash spectacularly near the finish of the second run.

“I felt the pressure to finish here today because our team is going to run out of World Cup spots unless we make up some points,” said Engel, who almost repeated last year’s incident near the finish of Thursday’s first run.

“I’m so happy I made it through,” he said after his first run. “I had really tired legs down here and I got a little back seat, but managed to pull it off.”

In the second run, Engel attacked the course. Following the flat middle section, he charged the bottom with a smile on his face. “I’m really happy that my best split was down the last pitch, which has troubled me before,” he added.

Up next, the men head to Adelboden, Switzerland for giant slalom and slalom events Jan. 6-7.

RESULTS
Men’s slalom

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Jan. 6
3:30 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 1; Kranjska Gora – olympicchannel.com
4:30 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, run 1; Adelboden – olympicchannel.com
6:00 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 2; Kranjska Gora – NBCSN
7:30 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, run 2; Adelboden – olympicchannel.com
10:00 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, run 2; Adelboden – Olympic Channel TV (Same day coverage)

Jan. 7
3:30 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 1; Kranjska Gora – olympicchannel.com
4:30 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 1; Adelboden – olympicchannel.com
6:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 2; Kranjska Gora – NBCSN
7:30 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 2; Adelboden – olympicchannel.com

Freestyle Skiers Carry Momentum into 2018

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 4 2018
calgarymoguls
Olympian Brad Wilson competes at the Canada Olympic Park in 2017. (FIS)

MOSCOW (Jan. 4, 2018) – The FIS Freestyle World Cup tour opens 2018 with stops in Moscow for aerials and Calgary, Alberta for moguls. Both competitions are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 6. The U.S. Ski Team will have a total of 22 athletes competing in the third weekend of selection events for the 2018 Olympic games.

Aerials athletes will take to a scaffolding set up just outside of Moscow’s city center for a competition under the lights. U.S. athletes have historically jumped well on the Moscow site; Mac Bohonnon (Madison, Conn.), Jon Lillis (Rochester, N.Y.) and Madison Olsen (Park City, Utah) all podiumed there in 2016. Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn. Va.) and Kiley McKinnon (Madison, Conn.) currently have one of two podiums needed to meet objective criteria to make the Olympic team, so they will also be in the hunt for more top finishes.

Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) and Troy Murphy (Bethel, Maine) led the charge for the U.S mogul squad at the last World Cup in Thaiwoo, China. Kauf achieved objective criteria to make the Olympic team with a win and a second place finish. Murphy earned his one of two podiums needed with a third place finish, the first podium of his career. The U.S. women’s team has consistently put four or more athletes into finals and will look to continue that trend on the mogul course at Canada’s Olympic Park.

Read on to see who to watch and where to watch all the freestyle action this weekend.

MOSCOW AERIALS
Men’s Starters

Mac Bohonnon
Alex Bowen
Jon Lillis
Eric Loughran
Nik Seemann
Zach Surdell

Women’s Starters
Ashley Caldwell
Kiley McKinnon
Morgan Northrop
Madison Olsen

CALGARY MOGULS
Men’s Starters

Casey Andringa
Troy Murphy
Emerson Smith
Dylan Walczyk
Brad Wilson

Women’s Starters
Nessa Dziemian
Olivia Giaccio
Tess Johnson
Jaelin Kauf
Mikaela Matthews
Keaton McCargo
Morgan Schild

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Jan. 6
12:00 p.m. – Men’s and women’s aerials; Moscow – Olympic Channel TV
3:30 p.m. – Men’s and women’s moguls; Calgary – Olympic Channel TV

Crashes Mar Tour de Ski Stage 5

By Tom Kelly
January, 4 2018
women's Tour de Ski start
Skiers take the start of the women’s stage five in the 10k freestyle in Oberstdorf, Germany Thursday. (Getty Images/AFP – Christof Stache)

Crashes took their toll during stage five of the Tour de Ski in Oberstdorf Thursday, a day after mother nature threw her wrath over the region with a massive lightning storm that canceled the classic sprint. In the women’s 10k freestyle mass start, Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) both skied at the head of the pack early in the race before each of them lost ground in crashes. 

Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Østberg extended her Tour de Ski lead. Norway's Imil Iversen won the men's 15k with Tour leader Dario Cologna of Switzerland fourth.

Diggins saw her hopes for a podium finish dashed in the final 200 meters, crashing into the sideboards and finishing 24th. Bjornsen was 26th with Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.) 28th in the women’s 10k freestyle mass start. Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) led the men in 32nd.

Despite being well back in the stage, both Diggins and Bjornsen remained in strong position for top Tour finishes. Diggins is third and Bjornsen seventh in the Tour de Ski overall rankings heading into the final two stages in Val di Fiemme, Italy this weekend.

Wednesday’s severe weather wreaked havoc with the course, felling trees and blowing course bannering away forcing organizers to make changes to the planned course for the mass start events. The new course was essentially the women's sprint course plus an additional 800 meters. It featured very little vertical, which kept virtually the entire field packed together from start to finish and allowed very little opportunity for passing.

Diggins and Bjornsen skied at the front of the lead pack most of the first half of the race, taking turns in the race lead, before Bjornsen fell on the uphill into a sprint prime on the third lap, dropping back just past the midway mark. Diggins remained in the hunt and was in good striking position coming into the finish before she crashed into the sideboards less than 175 meters from the line, dropping from a top position back to 24th in the blink of an eye, losing around 15 seconds. 

“I got into great position to sprint for the bonus seconds,” said Diggins. “Unfortunately, I hit ice and crashed hard into the boards, spinning around and losing quite a bit of time and places. But that happens sometimes in racing and I shook it off already!” 

Diggins showed little frustration and kept her focus looking forward. “Fortunately I had great skis and did the best I could today,” she said. “I have a lot of energy left to fight as hard as I can in these last two stages.”

“Another interesting day in Oberstdorf,” said Bjornsen. ”With the salted course, it kept people pretty tight together and was a challenging day to get an edge into the snow. The highlight of the day was controlling lap two alongside Jessie.”

That highlight was dashed a lap later for Bjornsen with her crash. “In the four seconds on the ground, I managed to get passed by 20 people, and then struggled to fight my way back up,” she said. I was pretty bummed, but then again, it’s tour skiing. You can’t think about a race more than 10 minutes after it’s over or you waste energy for the next.” 

The Tour now heads to Italy for a pair of races that will decide the Tour de Ski. Saturday it’s back to mass starts, this time classic technique. Then Sunday is the final freestyle pursuit featuring the 9k climb up Alpe Cermis.

Diggins is poised for a potential podium finish while Bjornsen is fighting for a top 10. All eyes will also be on Stephen who is a master on the Alpe de Cermis climb.

RESULTS
Men’s 15k Freestyle Mass Start 
Women’s 10k Freestyle Mass Start

Men’s Tour de Ski Rankings 
Women’s Tour de Ski Rankings