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U.S. Ski & Snowboard Designates Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows as Official Training Site

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 21 2017

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. (Dec. 20, 2017) – U.S. Ski & Snowboard today announced a five year agreement with Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, designating the resort as an Official Training Site of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows joins Mammoth Mountain in California, Deer Valley in Utah, Copper Mountain in Colorado and Timberline Lodge in Oregon as one of only five official training sites across the country. In addition to being an Official Training Site for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is a U.S. Ski & Snowboard High Performance Center and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Development Site.

“Since hosting the Olympics in 1960, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has produced some of our nation’s best skiers and snowboarders,” said Luke Bodensteiner, U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Chief of Sport. “As a World Cup venue, a NASTAR resort and home of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Ski Teams, both U.S. Ski & Snowboard gold certified clubs, it has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the development of athletes and providing the resources they need to succeed at the elite level. Squaw Valley’s designation as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team training site not only provides elite-level training resources for our national team, but also creates  resources in high performance and education that athletes, coaches and clubs in the region can all benefit from.”

As an Official Training Site for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will host U.S. team athletes for elite training sessions at the resort at key times during the season. Additionally, the High Performance Center and Development Center designations connect Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Team staff with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Park City-based Center of Excellence and other high performance centers across the country to share best practices in strength and conditioning, sport science and sports medicine while also acting as a central training and education site for U.S. Ski & Snowboard clubs in the region.

“Being the only U.S. club to be designated as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Gold Certified Club, Development Site, High Performance Center and Official Training Site is a true honor,” said Todd Kelly, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Team Program Director. “Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have a number of phenomenal on-hill training venues for all U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and we look forward to welcoming them to our resort, and supporting their needs while they’re here. This designation also gives our great youth coaches access to additional resources available through U.S. Ski & Snowboard, allowing them to continue in their own development as coaches. Finally, there’s nothing better for our young athletes than the opportunity to watch, train alongside and get inspiration from some of our country’s best winter sports athletes.”

Host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, 1969 and 2017 FIS World Cup’s and, this year, the NASTAR National Championships, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and the surrounding communities of Truckee and North Lake Tahoe have a strong connection to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team. With athlete representation at every winter games since 1964, many current and former U.S. Ski Team athletes credit the resort’s diverse and challenging terrain for much of their success. The resort currently has six athletes on the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, more than any other resort or race program in the country. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is eager to continue the legacy with the designation of Official Training Site of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Teams.   

Four Stage Winners Highlight USA Tour de Ski Team

By Tom Kelly
December, 21 2017
Jessie Diggins skates to a Tour de Ski stage win in Toblach, Italy. (Getty Images)

Four stage winners will highlight athletes named by the U.S. Ski Team to compete in the upcoming Tour de Ski. The Team heads into the seven-stop tour with optimism based on strong early season results with two different athletes on World Cup podiums. The Tour opens Dec. 30 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. All events will be streamed live on OlympicChannel.com and broadcast daily on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA with the finale also on NBCSN.

The grueling seven-stage tour will cover three stops in three nations over a nine-day period before the Sunday, January 7 finale up the towering Alpe Cermis hill climb in Val di Fiemme, Italy. It opens with three races in Lenzerheide, Switzerland kicking off with a freestyle sprint, followed by classic distance racing and a freestyle pursuit. The Tour then swings to Oberstdorf, Germany for a classic sprint plus mass start skate distance. The classic sprint is the final Olympic selection event for athletes to qualify via a top-eight finish. The Tour wraps up in Val di Fiemme with classic distance racing and the hill climb finale.

Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) will be back seeking to better her fifth overall ranking year ago - matching the American mark held by Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.). Stephen will be starting her seventh Tour de Ski - most of any American woman. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage), who has two stage wins, will make her fifth start. Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) is looking forward to coming back to Oberstdorf, Germany where she won the classic sprint two years ago.

One dark horse to watch is Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.). Bjornsen is coming off her best start ever with a pair of podiums, starting her fifth Tour.

On the men's side, Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) is looking forward to the return of the freestyle sprint in Lenzerheide, which he won in 2014. After a one year break, Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.) will make his eighth start. He debuted as the first American in the Tour de Ski in 2010. Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), off to his best World Cup start ever, will make his fourth Tour appearance.

Head Coach Chris Grover is looking forward the Tour with one of the strongest and deepest teams ever. "It's a huge boost to come in with six athletes who have been on Tour de Ski podiums, including four winners," said Grover. 

The team is especially stacked in sprint with five women from the top-13 of the World Cup sprint standings including Bjornsen, Diggins, Caldwell, Randall and Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vt.), who is returning for her third Tour after a one year hiatus.

"I’m really happy that I found good race performances in Period 1 which give me confidence that my shape is strong," said Randall, who was on a sprint podium earlier this month. "Now it’s just a matter of staying healthy and getting in good consistent training and hard efforts until the Olympics."

Randall plans to ski the three races in Lenzerheide, before taking a break to train in Davos, Switzerland to prepare for the Dresden, Germany city sprints a week after the Tour.

“The Tour de Ski has been my favorite series of racing in the entire winter,” said Bjornsen, who has her sights set on completing the Tour. “I love the challenge of it, and the perfect balance of racing hard, recovering, traveling, racing hard, recovering, traveling. It takes such a unique skill mentally and physically to take on this beast, and I have loved trying to get better and better at it each year.”

Bjornsen and her teammates are very cognizant that this year’s Tour de Ski falls just a month prior to the Olympics, which is the primary focus. In particular, she has her eyes on the Oberstdorf classic sprint - which teammate Caldwell won two years ago. 

"For me, the Tour de Ski is always a great opportunity to get a lot of race starts in," said Diggins. "I’m planning to race the full tour as it always gives me a great fitness boost when I get a solid recovery after the tour ends, and it helps me come into sharper race form for the rest of the season." 

"I see the first half of the Tour as a great opportunity to do some racing on two sprint courses I love (Lenzerheide and Oberstdorf) and to also get two distance races in," said Sophie Caldwell, who won the classic sprint in Oberstdorf two years ago. "It's an exciting change to the schedule because usually we are racing once or twice every weekend and this is a week of more intensive racing with a nice break on either end. I hope to be rested, healthy, and skiing fast through the first four stages and then look forward to cheering on my teammates who plan on finishing the tour!"

"I love tour style racing," said Brennan, who is focused on skiing the entire Tour. "It is so fun to challenge the mind and body like that so I am looking forward to the experience. No tour is the same so it's hard to predict what your body will feel any given day, but that is part of the fun, just working with what you have and knowing that everyone is going to be fighting fatigue at some point. Racing so many days often gives my body a big boost in fitness so I hope to have a good rest after the Tour and then use the fitness boost to carry me forward." 

"The Tour is a blast because it's go-go-go the whole time," said Sargent. She will ski through the classic sprint in Oberstdorf before taking off to prepare for Dresden. "I also think the new wax truck is going to be a game changer for our team when it comes to an event like the Tour.  Having the stable environment that does not require a lot of packing and unpacking will make a huge difference for the wax techs."

"The Tour de Ski is my favorite event of the year," said Stephen. "I feel a giddy excitement creeping in as it gets closer. Climbing Alpe Cermis on the ninth day is a pretty incredible feeling for me. In the past, the Tour de Ski has been the turning point of my season, with each race tuning me up more and more and I always feel like it gets me into the shape I am looking for heading into the Olympics."

The only newcomer to the Tour de Ski this season will be Paddy Caldwell (Lyme, N.H.). "Paddy is in great shape and has been skiing with a lot of poise for a rookie in his first season on the World Cup," added Grover. 

Many of the top team athletes are presently training in Seefeld, Austria, site of the 2019 World Championships. Other are scattered across France, Italy and Switzerland with family and friends.

Live streaming of every stage is available on OlympicChannel.com or the Olympic Channel mobile app. Same day broadcast coverage will be featured on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA TV. Live scoring data is available at FIS-Ski.com, including GPS tracking at some distance events.


2018 U.S. SKI TEAM TOUR DE SKI ROSTER
MEN

Erik Bjornsen, Winthrop, Wash.
- Fourth Tour de Ski start
- Strong early World Cup season

Paddy Caldwell, Lyme, N.H.
- First time in Tour de Ski

Simi Hamilton, Aspen, Colo.
- Sixth Tour de Ski start
- Won 2014 Lenzerheide freestyle sprint

Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, Vt.
- Eighth Tour de Ski start - most of any American
- Was first American to compete in Tour de Ski in 2010

WOMEN
Sadie Bjornsen, Winthrop, Wash.
- Fifth Tour de Ski start
- Finished 14th in 2016 in only Tour finish
- Two classic sprint podiums in early season World Cups
- Presently eighth in World Cup overall standings

Rosie Brennan, Park City, Utah
- Third Tour de Ski start
- Strong early season distance results

Sophie Caldwell, Peru, Vermont
- Fifth Tour de Ski start
- Won Oberstdorf classic sprint in 2016

Jessie Diggins, Afton Minn.
- Sixth Tour de Ski start
- Fifth in 2017 matching best U.S. finish ever; was 10th in 2016
- Two podiums in 2017 Tour including a win
- Won Toblach, Italy 5k freestyle in 2016 and 2017
- Four full Tour finishes
- Standing sixth in FIS World Cup overall

Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK
- Fifth Tour de Ski start (skipped 2014 Tour to prepare for Olympics and 2016 while pregnant)
- Won two stages in 2013 including Oberhof prologue and Val Mustair freestyle sprint
- Finished 10th in 2012
- Three full Tour finishes

Ida Sargent, Orleans, Vt.
- Third Tour de Ski start

Liz Stephen, E. Montpelier, Vt.
- Seventh Tour de Ski start - most of any American woman.
- Has finished all six Tours she has entered - also most of any American athlete
- Holds top U.S. Tour de Ski finish of fifth (2015) as well as a seventh (2014); was 14th in 2017
- Second in Alpe Cermis hill climb in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017
- 5th in Val di Fiemme 10k classic mass start in 2016

2018 TOUR DE SKI SCHEDULE (all times EST)
All events to be streamed on OlympicChannel.com with broadcast coverage on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA TV or NBCSN for many events.

LENZERHEIDE, SWITZERLAND
Saturday, December 30

7:00 a.m. - Men’s and women’s freestyle sprint (Olympic Channel TV)

Sunday, December 31
4:30 a.m. - Men's 15k classic (Streaming only)
9:00 a.m. - Women's 10k classic (9:30 a.m. Olympic Channel TV)

Monday, January 1
5:00 a.m. - Women's 10k freestyle pursuit (Olympic Channel TV)
7:00 a.m. - Men's 15k freestyle pursuit (Streaming only)

OBERSTDORF, GERMANY
Wednesday, January 3

8:50 a.m. - Men's and women's classic sprint (12:00 p.m. Olympic Channel TV)
NOTE: Final Olympic selection event to qualify through a top-eight finish

Thursday, January 4
4:00 a.m. - Women’s 10k classic mass start (Olympic Channel TV)
5:00 a.m. - Men’s 15k classic mass start (Streaming only)

VAL DI FIEMME
Saturday, January 6

8:15 a.m. - Women's 10k classic mass start (11:00 a.m. Olympic Channel TV)
9:45 a.m. - Men's 15k classic mass start (Streaming only)

Sunday, January 7
5:30 a.m. - Women’s 9k freestyle pursuit - hill climb (7:30 a.m. NBCSN, 11:00 a.m. Olympic Channel TV)
8:30 a.m. - Men’s 9k freestyle pursuit - hill climb (Streaming only)

USA TOUR DE SKI HISTORY
USA Tour de Ski Stage Winners

Jessie Diggins - 2017 Toblach 5k
Jessie Diggins - 2016 Toblach 5k
Sophie Caldwell - 2016 Oberstdorf classic sprint
Simi Hamilton - 2014 Lenzerheide freestyle sprint
Kikkan Randall - 2013 Val Mustair freestyle sprint
Kikkan Randall - 2013 Oberhof prologue

USA Tour de Ski Stage Podiums
Jessie Diggins - 1st 2017 Toblach 5k
Sadie Bjornsen - 3rd 2017 Toblach 5k
Jessie Diggins - 2nd 2017 Oberstdorf skiathlon
Jessie Diggins - 1st 2016 Toblach 5k
Sophie Caldwell - 1st 2016 Oberstdorf classic sprint
Simi Hamilton - 1st 2014 Lenzerheide freestyle sprint
Kikkan Randall - 1st 2013 Val Mustair freestyle sprint
Kikkan Randall - 1st 2013 Oberhof prologue
Kikkan Randall - 2nd 2012 Toblach freestyle sprint

USA Tour de Ski Other Top Three (time of day or scorable race segment)
Liz Stephen - 2nd 2017 Alpe Cermis 9k
Liz Stephen - 2nd 2016 Alpe Cermis 9k
Liz Stephen - 2nd 2014 Alpe Cermis 9k
Noah Hoffman - 1st 2014 Toblach to Cortina to Toblach freestyle leg
Liz Stephen - 2nd 2013 Alpe Cermis 9k

Kauf Wins, Murphy Third in Thaiwoo

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 21 2017
jaelinandtroy
Jaelin Kauf and Troy Murphy celebrate their podium finishes.

THAIWOO, China (Dec. 21, 2017) – The U.S. Ski Team moguls athletes stepped up to claim two podiums on day one of competition at Thaiwoo Resort. Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) took home a win and Troy Murphy (Bethel, Maine) third.

After a strong fifth-place finish at the World Cup opener a few weeks ago, Kauf dominated the women’s finals in Thaiwoo. She qualified first into the super final and was the last skier to drop, skiing a clean, fast run to secure her second career World Cup win, her first singles win and one of two podiums needed to meet objective criteria for the 2018 Olympic team.

"I fee like I'm floating on cloud nine right now," said Kauf after her win. "This is honestly just such a confidence booster moving forward with the rest of the season. I feel like I can relax a little more now and just go out there and ski my runs.

I was able to let my speed go through the middle section today," she added. "I put down two runs back to back where I pushed the speed but was able to stay pretty tight and clean and I think that was a key component to my run."

The U.S. women once again packed skiers into the finals with Mikaela Matthews (Frisco, Colo.) sixth, Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.) seventh, Keaton McCargo (Telluride, Colo.) eighth and Morgan Schild (Rochester, N.Y.) ninth. Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva and Canada’s Andi Naude rounded out the podium in second and third.

Murphy, who was ranked sixth in the world in 2017, was within reach of a podium finish at multiple events last season, but was never able to secure it. That wasn’t the story this time as Murphy’s bag of high degree of difficulty tricks and clean turns carried him to a third-place finish with a score of 80.57. It was the first podium of Murphy’s career and puts him one step closer to PyeongChang.

"It's awesome to finally stand on the podium," said Murphy. "This is obviously a big year and I'm stoked that my hard work throughout the years is paying off! I think my jumps are always the stamp of approval on my runs. I'm happy with my skiing as well. There's room for improvement all around which I'm happy about because there is more success to be had."

In just his seventh World Cup start, Emerson Smith was the top qualifier heading into super finals before skiing out on his final run for a sixth place finish. Bradley Wilson (Butte, Mt.) also advanced to finals, finishing 12th. Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury claimed yet another win and Australia’s Matt Graham was second.

Moguls action continues in Thaiwoo with another singles competition on Dec. 22. Finals will be broadcast live on The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

RESULTS
Men’s Moguls
Women’s Moguls

HOW TO WATCH (times EST)
Friday, Dec. 22
12:30 a.m. – Men’s and women’s moguls – Olympic Channel TV

Shiffrin Wins Again in Courchevel

By Courtney Harkins
December, 20 2017

COURCHEVEL, France (Dec. 20, 2017) – One day after winning the giant slalom in Courchevel, France, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) took her second FIS Ski World Cup victory in two days—this time in the parallel slalom.

Under the lights in a head-to-head format, Shiffrin picked off skier after skier—starting with France’s Coralie Frasse Somet in the 1/16 round, moving on to Austria’s Carmen Thalmann in the round of 16 and beating Austria’s Ricarda Haaser in the quarterfinals. She then raced Irene Curtoni of Italy in the semis before facing off against Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who beat Shiffrin in the season-opening slalom in Levi, Finland.

The two 22-year-olds were neck-and-neck, but Shiffrin was able to squeak through the lights just before Vlhova—winning by .04 seconds. This was Shiffrin’s 35th World Cup win and her third win in a row. Curtoni was third. 

"It’s not like a traditional event—it’s short; it’s a sprint," said Shiffrin after her win. "You have to go so hard every single gate. I felt like when I started off, some turns were not as aggressive as I wanted. But every run I felt more comfortable.

"I had to go to a dark place in the start," continued Shiffrin, laughing. "I was like, 'OK you can do this. You've gotta be strong.' It was good. It worked out well."

Resi Stiegler (Jackson, Wyo.) was the only other American to make it through the morning’s qualifying race, but didn’t advance after the first round.   

The tech women now go on break and will be back in action after the holidays in Lienz, Austria for a giant slalom and slalom, Dec. 28-29. The men have one more race before Christmas: a night slalom in Madonna di Campiglio on Dec. 22.

RESULTS
Women's parallel slalom

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
*schedules subject to change

Dec. 22
11:45 a.m. – men’s slalom run, run 1; Madonna di Campiglio – olympicchannel.com
1:30 p.m. – men’s slalom, run 2; Madonna di Campiglio – Olympic Channel TV

 

Mogul Skiers Prepare for Double Header in China

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 20 2017
(Photo by FIS Freestyle)

THAIWOO, China (Dec. 20, 2017) – U.S. Ski Team moguls skiers are back in action this week with two single moguls events at Thaiwoo Ski Resort in China. Athletes will compete Dec. 21 and 22, with both events broadcast live on The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

The women’s moguls team is off to a strong start after advancing five skiers to the finals at the World Cup opener in Ruka, Finland and Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) notching a top five finish. They’ll be looking to improve to podium finishes in Thaiwoo. This week also marks the return of 2015 National Champion Nessa Dziemian (East Hampstead, N.H.) to competition after suffering a knee injury last February.

Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.) and Troy Murphy (Bethel, Maine) both had solid finishes on the Thaiwoo course last season with Wilson landing a third place finish in duals and Murphy a fourth place finish in singles. Emerson Smith (Dover, Vt.) was the only U.S. man to advance into the finals in Ruka, so the U.S. skiers will be looking to step it up in their last event before the Holidays.

Read on to see who to watch and where to watch all the action from Thaiwoo.

MEN’S STARTERS
Joel Hedrick
Troy Murphy
Emerson Smith
Troy Tully
Brad Wilson

WOMEN’S STARTERS
Nessa Dziemian
Olivia Giaccio
Tess Johnson
Jaelin Kauf
Mikaela Matthews
Keaton McCargo
Morgan Schild

HOW TO WATCH (times EST)
Thursday, Dec. 21
12:30 a.m. – Men’s and women’s moguls – Olympic Channel TV

Friday, Dec. 22
12:30 a.m. – Men’s and women’s moguls – Olympic Channel TV

Shiffrin Dominates Giant Slalom With World Cup Win #34

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 19 2017

COURCHEVEL, France (Dec. 19, 2017) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) built upon her overall World Cup lead with her first FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom victory of the season in Courchevel, France Tuesday.

“It was a bit scrappy at some points, but that was the tactic today,” Shiffrin said. “I tried to be really aggressive, and almost went off the course a couple times. It was a really straight second run, so I was like ‘OK, you gotta take advantage of that!’ I’m really excited that I fought for it!”

Tessa Worley of France was second, followed by Manuela Moelgg of Italy in third.

The defending overall World Cup Champion has totaled 621 points so far this season following Tuesday’s win. Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, who won the first two giant slalom races of the season, fell further behind in second following a disappointing 14th-place finish Tuesday. Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather is third overall after sitting out Tuesday’s race with a small bone fracture in her left hand. She hopes to return to the World Cup circuit Dec. 28-29 in Lienz, Austria.

Shiffrin also moved into the overall giant slalom World Cup lead Tuesday with 225 points. Rebensburg is second with 218 points. She also leads the overall downhill and slalom World Cup standings, but most importantly, she is just having fun skiing.

“Right now, I’m really enjoying skiing every discipline,” Shiffrin said. “Normally, if I ski slalom, I want to ski GS, if I ski GS I want to ski downhill or super-G. So right now I’m really enjoying it when I’m doing it, and that’s a fun place to be.”

With her victory Tuesday, Shiffrin moved into second among Americans with 34 World Cup victories. Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.), who won Saturday’s super-G, leads with 78 World Cup wins. Bode Miller is third with 33 Word Cup wins among Americans.

Up next, the women compete in parallel slalom under the lights in Courchevel Wednesday evening.

RESULTS
Women’s giant slalom

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
*schedules subject to change
Dec. 20
12:00 p.m. – Women’s parallel slalom; Courchevel – Olympic Channel TV

Dec. 22
11:45 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 1; Madonna di Campiglio – olympicchannel.com
2:30 p.m. – Men’s slalom, run 2; Madonna di Campiglio – Olympic Channel TV

 

Athletes Competing Around The World: Dec. 19-22

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 18 2017
lindseyvonn
(Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Michel Cottin)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes continued to rack up top results across the globe this past weekend, including Lindsey Vonn’s 78th career win, a surprise Olympic qualification win from young gun Jake Pates (one of 11 U.S. podiums at Dew Tour!), Faye Gulini’s first career podium and Ashley Caldwell’s first of two podiums needed to make it to PyeongChang. U.S. Snowboard Team members Chloe Kim, Chris Corning and Jamie Anderson confirmed their nominations to the U.S. Olympic snowboard team, and more spots will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Read on to see where U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes will be in action this week and how to watch via NBC, NBCSN and the Olympic Channel - Home of Team USA.

FIS Women’s Ski World Cup - Courchevel, FRA
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.), Nina O’Brien (Edwards, Colo.) and Tricia Mangan (Buffalo, N.Y.) will kick things off in Courchevel Dec. 19 with a giant slalom competition. They, along with Resi Steigler (Jackson Hole, Wyo.), will race in the Dec. 20 nighttime parallel slalom event.

FIS Men’s Ski World Cup - Madonna di Campiglio, ITA
The U.S. Ski Team men’s tech group takes to the slopes in Italy Dec. 22 for a nighttime slalom event. Seven athletes are expected to compete, including David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, Colo.), Mark Engel (Truckee, Calif.) and AJ Ginnis (Vouliagmeni, Greece), who scored his first World Cup points in Madonna last season.

FIS Freestyle World Cup - Thaiwoo, CHN
The moguls World Cup stops at the 2022 Olympic venue in Thaiwoo, China Dec. 21-22 for a doubleheader. Both the men’s and women’s teams are on the hunt for podiums during this crucial Olympic selection period.

FIS Freestyle World Cup - Innichen, ITA
The skicross World Cup tour ends 2017 with two races in Innichen Dec. 20 and 21. The U.S. placed three athletes in the top 30 at last week’s races in Montafon, Austria.

FIS Snowboard World Cup - Cervina, ITA
Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton, Vt.), Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City) and the rest of the U.S. Snowboard Team’s snowboardcross athletes will compete in Cervinia, Italy before the World Cup tour takes a break for the Holidays. Qualifications are on Dec. 21 with finals on Dec. 22.

U.S. SKI & SNOWBOARD BROADCAST AND STREAMING SCHEDULE
All times EST
*schedules subject to change

ALPINE
Dec. 19

4:30 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 1; Courchevel – olympicchannel.com
7:00 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 2; Courchevel – Olympic Channel TV

Dec. 20
12:00 p.m. – Women’s parallel slalom; Courchevel – Olympic Channel TV

Dec. 22
11:45 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 1; Madonna di Campiglio – olympicchannel.com
2:30 p.m. – Men’s slalom, run 2; Madonna di Campiglio – Olympic Channel TV

FREESTYLE
Dec. 21
12:30 a.m. – Moguls; Thaiwoo – Olympic Channel TV
7:30 a.m. – Skicross; Innichen – Olympic Channel TV

Dec. 22
12:30 a.m. – Moguls; Thaiwoo – Olympic Channel TV
7:30 a.m. – Skicross; Innichen – Olympic Channel TV

SNOWBOARD
Dec. 22

6:00 a.m. – Snowboardcross; Cervinia – olympicchannel.com
 

Ligety Moving Toward Top Of The Podium

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 17 2017

ALTA BADIA, Italy (Dec. 17, 2017) – Ted Ligety’s comeback from back surgery took another step toward the top step of the podium at the FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, Sunday.

“I want to start winning World Cups here, and I feel I’m just a couple little things away from figuring that out,” Ligety (Park City, Utah) said after finishing seventh in the first run and then charging the second run to score his best World Cup result in more than a year, finishing  fifth.

“I had some good turns in there,” Ligety said of his first run. “I was holding onto it a little bit on the bottom and had a couple bobbles down here on the flat that cost a lot of speed, but overall it was OK skiing.”

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won his second giant slalom of the season and moved into a tie for the overall World Cup lead with Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, who won Saturday’s downhill but did not compete in Sunday’s GS. Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen was second, and Zan Kranjec of Slovenia landed on his first World Cup podium in third.

Tommy Ford (Bend. Ore.) finished 23rd in the first run but did not finish the second run.

“It was difficult,” Ford said of his first run. “I had a hard time letting go and carrying speed. The snow was really grippy, and I had a hard time being light on my edges.”

Up next, the men compete in parallel giant slalom under the lights in Alta Badia Monday night. Ligety is looking forward to the upcoming races and as he continues building toward the Olympics Winter Games.

“Body-wise I’m feeling good,” he said. “But after two years of being injured, it’s hard to get the race sharpness back right away. That’s definitely a skill you get back by doing it a little more.  I just feel like I need to get that last little bit of intensity in.”

RESULTS
Men’s giant slalom

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Dec. 18 
12:30 p.m. - Men’s parallel giant slalom, Alta Badia – olympicchannel.com

Dec. 19
7:00 a.m. - Women’s giant slalom, Courchevel – olympicchannel.com

Dec. 20
12:00 p.m. Women’s parallel slalom, Courchevel – olympicchannel.com

MEN'S GIANT SLALOM - OLYMPIC SELECTION

Dec. 17, 2017 - (after 2 races; 1 race remaining in qualifying period)
Up to three athletes in each event will be selected based on following criteria in sequential order. Top two athletes based on current World Cup rankings at start of the Olympics will have automatic start right in event. Up to four may be entered in the Olympic event.

Full Alpine Selection Criteria

Top Three Finish (indicates number of finishes in criteria category)
None

Top Five Finish
Ted Ligety (1)

Top 10 Finish
Ted Ligety (1)
Tommy Ford (1)

Current World Cup Points Ranking
9. Ted Ligety (96)
19. Tommy Ford (35)
35. Tim Jitloff (11)

Remaining Race
Jan. 6, 2018 - Adelboden, Switzerland

NOTE: Canceled race in Soelden will not be rescheduled.

McKennis Posts Career Best As Vonn Sits Out

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 17 2017
Alice McKennis Val d'Isere 12-17-17
Alice McKennis skied to career-best 15th-place finish in the FIS Ski World Cup super-G in Val-d'Isere, France, Sunday. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Alain Grosclaude)

VAL D’ISERE, France (Dec. 17, 2017) – Alice McKennis (New Castle, Colo.) posted a career-best FIS Ski World Cup super-G result, finishing 15th in Val d’Isere Sunday. Jackie Wiles (Aurora, Ore.) was 17th, and Laurenne Ross (Bend. Ore.) was 29th.

Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.), who won her 78th career World Cup race Saturday, opted to sit out Sunday’s event. “Unfortunately I’m not racing today,” Vonn posted on Twitter. “Knee is a bit sore from yesterday so to be on the safe side I’m going to give my body some rest. My focus is on the Olympics so no need to risk anything now.”

Austria’s Anna Veith won her third career World Cup super-G, which was once again contested on the same abbreviated course the women ran on Saturday. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was second, and Italy’s Sofia Goggia, who was second behind Vonn Saturday, finished third.

For the second consecutive day, the soft-grippy snow caught a number of competitors off guard, including Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, who started with bib 1 and crashed midway down the track after catching an edge. Defending World Cup giant slalom champion Tessa Worley of France also crashed out.

For McKennis though, the course conditions proved to her liking, as she came out of the 37th start position, and put her early season woes behind.

“The beginning of the season didn’t go super great for me at Lake Louise, and that was pretty frustrating considering how well I had been skiing,” said McKennis, a solid downhiller who has now scored World Cup points in three of the four super-G races this season. “Coming into the races this weekend, I tried to take a step back and figure out what the issue was, and I think a lot of it was I was just trying too hard.

“Every time I was out on the race course I was pushing myself so hard, that I wasn’t even skiing well anymore,” she continued. “So this weekend, I really focused on the skiing, and skiing for myself and not thinking that I needed to push myself harder than what I do in training. That started to make me feel more comfortable and confident in what I was doing out there.”

Ross, who was eighth in Saturday’s super-G, also banked some confidence from Sunday’s result as she continues her comeback from last season’s significant knee injury.

“I’m pretty strong, but I’m still working to get my knee into shape,” Ross said. “I'm definitely not 100-percent, but that being said, with every day I gain a bit more confidence and that helps me to trust myself a little bit more. Even though I know that my knee is not 100-percent, I can still ski fast and I can still push myself.”

Up next, the women head to Courchevel, France, for a giant slalom and a parallel slalom under the lights Monday and Tuesday. Current overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin and Resi Stiegler are expected to compete. The next speed series is scheduled for Jan. 13-14 with downhill and super-G in Bad Kleinkircheim, Germany.

RESULTS
Women's super-G

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Dec. 18 
12:30 p.m. - Men’s parallel giant slalom, Alta Badia – 
olympicchannel.com

Dec. 19
7:00 a.m. - Women’s giant slalom, Courchevel – 
olympicchannel.com

Dec. 20
12:00 p.m. Women’s parallel slalom, Courchevel – 
olympicchannel.com

WOMEN’S SUPER-G - OLYMPIC SELECTION
Dec. 17, 2017 - (after 3 races; 2 races remaining in qualifying period)
Up to three athletes in each event will be selected based on following criteria in sequential order. Top two athletes based on current World Cup rankings at the start of Olympics will have automatic start right in the event. Up to four may be entered in the Olympic event.

Full Alpine Selection Criteria

Top Three Finish (indicates number of finishes in criteria category)
Lindsey Vonn (1)

Top Five Finish
Mikaela Shiffrin (1)

Top 10 Finish
Laurenne Ross (1)

Current World Cup Points Ranking

10. Lindsey Vonn (107)
18. Mikaela Shiffrin (56)
25. Laurenne Ross (35)
30. Alice McKennis (27)
36 Jackie Wiles (14)
39. Breezy Johnson (8)
41. Alice Merryweather (7)

Remaining Races
Jan. 14, 2018 - Bad Kleinkircheim, Austria
Jan. 21, 2018 - Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

Diggins Leads the Pack in Toblach Finale

By Tom Kelly
December, 17 2017
Jessie Diggins lunges across the finish line ahead of the pack in Toblach. (Getty Images/Action Plus-Pierre Teyssot)

It was all about Norway in the finale of the pursuit weekend in Toblach, Italy. Norway's Marit Bjoergen lead a five place sweep in the women's 10k classic pursuit. Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) was leader of the chase pack, finishing seventh. Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) ended up ninth.

Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) led the U.S. men in 26th as Norway's World Cup leader Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo was back on track with another win.

In the pursuit format, athletes went out onto the course based on their times from the freestyle race on Saturday. It only took a kilometer before both a lead and a chase pack formed. Sweden's Charlotte Kalla, who won the 10k freestyle a day earlier, held a precarious eight second lead until just before the mid point when the Norwegian train rolled on by. The six stayed together most of the way building a 40 second margin over Diggins' chase group.

While the chase that came together was formidable, it was impossible to close the gap. Both Diggins and Bjornsen held their own within their pack.

“Pursuit races are pretty fun - I love being in the hunt,” said Diggins. “I had an awesome pack of girls to ski with and everyone took turns pulling at the front so we were moving along at a good pace. I just love that feeling when everyone is still racing each other, but also working hard and taking their turn so that the pack is ripping along the course! The race felt like it flew by.”

Diggins initially tried to bridge up to Norway’s Ingvild Oestberg. “She had an awesome and impressive race so when I realized we wouldn’t be able to bridge the gap, I was still skiing really hard but also preparing mentally for the final sprint-out. Which came as predicted - the final 2km felt like an all-out sprint.”

“Great skis out there today, and super fun to ski with Jessie,” said Bjornsen. “I think we have some similar strengths, and also some opposite strengths, so we can almost work together both physically and mentally.”

"All the racing from Period 1 started is catching up with me," said Brennan. "I hung tough and managed to salvage a decent result. I am very happy with all of my Period 1 racing. It's always the hardest period so to have some strong results in all disciplines gives me an immense amount of confidence for the rest of the season."

The finishes left Diggins and Bjornsen seventh and ninth in the overall World Cup standings to close out Period 1 of the World Cup. 

“I can feel my brain needs some rest right now,” added Bjornsen. “Period 1 is an intense block, with a lot of travel, and a lot of excitement for me. I felt today that my mind and body were digging deep down for the final fumes in the tank so I’m excited for some holiday time.”

The team will now take a holiday break with athletes heading to different spots in Europe from Italy to Seefeld to Meribel and more, before reconvening for the Tour de Ski that starts in Lenzerheide, Switzerland on Dec. 30 with a freestyle sprint. This year's edition of the Tour will feature seven stages in three resorts - Lenzerheide, Oberstorf, Germany and Val di Fiemme, Italy.

RESULTS
Men's 15k Classic Pursuit 
Women's 10k Classic Pursuit