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Maloja Snake bites Super-G Again

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 10 2017
St. Moritz

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Dec. 10, 2017) – The Maloja Snake bites again!

For the second time in three days, this notorious weather phenomenon rose up the slopes of the Maloja Pass and laid a thick, heavy blanket of fog on the Engiadina track, canceling the women’s FIS Ski World Cup super-G and alpine combined.

The U.S. had nine athletes scheduled to start the morning super-G and alpine combined event, which was added to the Sunday schedule following Friday’s cancellation – also caused by the Maloja Snake. No make-up dates for the event have been announced by the FIS.

Up next, the women’s World Cup circuit heads to Val d’Isere, France for downhill and super-G races Dec. 16-17.

Hirscher Wins Men’s Slalom in Val d’Isere

David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, Colo.) finished 18th in the first run of men’s FIS Ski World Cup slalom in Val d’Isere, France, and was well on his way to a top-15 finish when he hooked a gate near the end of the second run and DNFd.

With heavy snow falling, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher held off Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen for the victory. Sweden’s Andre Myhrer was third. Kristoffersen maintained his overall World Cup lead over Hirscher by 11 points.

Next up for the men’s World Cup are downhill and super-G races in Val Gardena, Italy Dec. 16-17.

RESULTS
Men’s slalom

 

U.S. Riders Dominate Toyota Grand Prix

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 9 2017
ben ferguson

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. (Dec. 9, 2017) – American athletes dominated Copper’s Main Vein halfpipe in Saturday’s Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Olympic qualifying event, claiming five of the six available podium spots. Chloe Kim (Torrance, Calif.), Maddie Mastro (Wrightwood, Calif.) and Kelly Clark (West Dover, Vt.) swept the women’s podium while Ben Ferguson (Bend, Ore.) and Shaun White (Carlsbad, Calif.) put down some massive runs to land in second and third.

Kim was on top of her game straight out of the gate, landing an immaculate frontside 1080 tailgrab in her first run to help her score a 93.75 that carried her through the rest of the day.

“I’m totally speechless,” said Kim. “I woke up this morning and I was nervous, but the halfpipe kind of makes me feel at home and all the nerves go away when I’m dropping in and I’m just excited to try new stuff. It’s always awesome to get a U.S. podium sweep. I think it’s so rad that we were all able to put down very solid runs.”

17-year-old Mastro was the top rider from Thursday’s qualifying rounds and went big again in finals, progressing up to a 90.75 on her last run to claim her fourth career World Cup podium.

“My strategy was to just put down a run and have fun with it,” said Mastro. "I progressed through the practice and through the contest and I’m happy with what I got. I’m super excited with how everyone’s riding this winter. It’s going to be interesting to see where we’re gonna go throughout the winter and what it’s going to take to make the Olympic team.”

While Kim and Mastro are looking to make their first Olympic team, Clark, who has three Olympic medals under her belt, is one step closer to attending her fifth Games after a solid third place finish.

“Olympic years, we always see a big jump in the progression of the riding and the level of the riding, so I’m not surprised to see how great all the ladies were riding today,” said Clark. “It’s one run at a time, one contest at time, but I’m real happy to get a podium and start to accumulate those points that I need to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team.”

Ferguson stepped it up against a strong international field to land his first World Cup podium since 2014, edging out White by just .5 points. White broke out a frontside 1440 stalefish in his final run, but it wasn’t enough to surpass the clean landings Ferguson put down. Japan’s Ayumu Hirano rightfully claimed the top spot, going huge with a frontside 1440 indy and a frontside 1260 indy in his arsenal to post a high score of 95.25.

“I’m feeling pretty great,” said White. “Obviously I wanted to post a better score for the Americans. I was putting in my first kind of easier runs to just put in a great score, lock it in and that allowed me to then go for my second and third run a little harder.”

“Today was a crazy contest,” said Ferguson. “I’m just stoked I landed some stuff - it feels good for sure.”

Olympic qualifying competition continues next week in Breckenridge at the Dew Tour, Dec. 14-17.

RESULTS
Women's halfpipe
Men's halfpipe

Kauf Top American in World Cup Opener

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 9 2017
jaelinkauf

RUKA, Finland (Dec. 9, 2017) – World championship bronze medalist Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) led five American women into finals at the opening FIS Freestyle moguls World Cup with a fifth-place finish. Keaton McCargo (Telluride, Colo.) also broke into the top 10, finishing ninth.

Australia’s Britteny Cox, who won the World Cup opener in 2016, started her Olympic season off with another win on the Ruka course. Canada’s Audrey Robichaud was second and Russia’s Marika Pertakhiya third. Olivia Giaccio (Redding, Conn.), Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.) and Morgan Schild (Rochester, N.Y.) rounded out the top U.S. finishers in 14th, 15th, and 16th.

Emerson Smith (Dover, Vt.) was the top U.S. men’s finisher in 15th. Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury added another victory to his resume while Kazakhstan skiers Dmitriy Reikherd and Pavel Kolmakov finished second and third.

The FIS Freestyle moguls World Cup tour continues Dec. 21-22 in Thaiwoo, China.

RESULTS
Women’s moguls
Men’s moguls

Ligety Rebounds To Lead U.S. in France

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 9 2017
Ted Ligety, 12-9-7

VAL D’ISERE, France (Dec. 9, 2017) – Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) rebounded from a disappointing first run to lead three members of the U.S. Ski Team men’s alpine team into the top 22 at the FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Val d’Isere, France Saturday.

Ligety finished an uncharacteristic 30th in the first run after getting tripped-up on a left turn on the challenging Stade Olympique De Bellevarde track. He rebounded to post the fourth-fasted second-run time to finish just outside the top 15 in 16th. Tim Jitloff (Reno, Nev.) was 20th and Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.) finished 22nd.

“This place is brutal … it doesn’t feel good either when you win,” said Ligety, who won a giant slalom in Val d’Isere in 2010. “It’s a tough adjustment after skiing for a month in easy, nice, grippy Colorado snow and then getting thrown right off the plane and into this.”

Frenchman Alexis Pinturault mastered the technical, bumpy track, made even more difficult due to flat light and a light snow falling, to win his 10th career World Cup giant slalom. Germany’s Stefan Luitz was second, followed by Austria’s Marcel Hirscher in third.
 

Shiffrin 20th as Vonn Suffers Back Injury

On the women’s World Cup circuit, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail. Colo.) led four Americans into the top 30, finishing 20th at the FIS Ski World Cup super-G in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Lindsey Vonn suffered a back compression just a few gates into her run but was able to ski through the pain and finished 24th.  Her injury is currently being evaluated and further information on her status is forthcoming.

Breezy Johnson (Victor, Idaho) was 29th, and Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.) finished 30th in her first race back on the World Cup circuit since suffering a knee injury last season.

Swiss Jasmine Flury dazzled the home-country crowd with her first career World Cup victory. Countrywomen Michelle Gisin was second, followed Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather in third. Shiffrin maintained her overall World Cup lead by 145 points over Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg, who finished sixth Saturday.

Up next, the women will compete in an alpine combined event Sunday, a makeup from Friday’s canceled race, with a morning super-G, followed by an afternoon slalom.  The men will race slalom Sunday in Val d’Isere.

RESULTS
Men’s giant slalom
Women’s super-G

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Dec. 10
3:30 a.m. – Men’s slalom run 1; Val d’Isere –
olympicchannel.com
4:30 a.m. – Women’s super-G (alpine combined first run); St. Moritz – Olympic Channel TV
6:00 a.m. – Men’s slalom run 2; Val d’Isere – Olympic Channel TV
7:30 a.m. – Women’s slalom (alpine combined second run); St. Moritz – Olympic Channel TV

 

Randall Back on Sprint Podium in Davos

By Tom Kelly
December, 9 2017

DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 9, 2017) - World champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska) found power and speed coming down the final stretch in Davos to score her first World Cup podium in nearly three years, finishing third behind Sweden's Stina Nilsson. Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) was fourth.

On a day reminiscent of last February's World Championship freestyle sprint in Lahti, Finland, the Americans put three athletes into the final heat with Randall, Diggins and Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vt.) who was sixth. Five U.S. Ski Team women qualified into the heats including Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) and Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) who made it to semis.

Norway's Johannes Høsflot Klæbo won his sixth straight World Cup to remain unbeaten - tying a record. Klæbo plans to sit out Sunday's 15k skate. Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) skied a strong quarter-final to advance to the semis where he finished ninth.

The women's final was a remarkable matchup with U.S. Ski Team women making up half of the field. Nilsson and Norway's Maiken Caspersen Falla dominated much of the race, building a gap over Diggins and the chase group. Diggins, who won her semifinal heat, set a strong pace for the chase group with Randall picking her way through the field to set herself up nicely for a finish sprint.

After taking a year off for the birth of her son Breck, Randall had a slow start a year ago before a breakthrough freestyle sprint medal at World Championships in February. But a World Cup podium eluded her as she only made one finals all season. 

"The first couple weekends of the World Cup have been a mixed bag for me," said Randall. "I felt like my shape was there but I wasn’t able to put it together in classic It’s really nice to know I’m in position where my fitness is good and I”m just sharpening that race gear."

Randall was strong and tactical in her heats, positioning herself well for the podium sprint. "I was in a perfect place coming into the stadium. I felt the gear shift and feel there’s just a little bit of just sharpening and confidence that will let me bridge that. It’s cool having that concrete example in front of me."

“It was really meaningful for Kikkan,” said Head Coach Chris Grover. “This is a course where she’s won before so she knows how to ski it. But it’s another step in her return. This year she feels like she’s been in good shape all summer and fall. To start out with the first skate sprint - her signature event - with a podium means we’ll see a lot more of Kikkan this year.”

"Our techs and coaches did an incredible job - we had incredible skis," said Sargent, who had a very strong day. "It was so much fun to zoom by people on the downhill. I was feeling great energy when the altitude hit me pretty hard. But it was awesome to be in the final with Kikkan and Jessie."

In the World Cup overall rankings, Diggins moved up to seventh with Bjornsen dropping to ninth.

Sunday is another day of skate racing - this time in an Olympic discipline, with team spots on the line. Diggins will be among the favorites in the women's 10k with the men racing 15k.

RESULTS
Men's Freestyle Sprint 
Women's Freestyle Sprint 

Wise Wins Toyota Grand Prix Halfpipe

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 8 2017
Davie Wise, Copper 12-7-17

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. (Dec. 8, 2017) – David Wise (Reno, Nev.) landed a moonshot and found the top step of the podium in the men’s halfpipe finals at the opening Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Friday. In the women’s final, Devin Logan (West Dover, Vt.) led five members of the U.S. Freeski Team into the top 10, finishing second.

"I’m over the moon right now," Wise said following his victory. "Honestly, my goal for this contest starting off was to just land some runs. I wanted to come in – I’ve been working on the switch right dub for a long time now – and I wanted to come out with that exclamation mark and land it.

"It felt really good to land that trick and land some runs and being on top of the podium at the end of the day is just a huge bonus," Wise continued. "I mean pipe skiing is so ridiculous right now. So many guys are shredding so hard."

Annalisa Drew (Andover, Mass,), Maddie Bowman (S. Lake Tahoe, Calif.), Brita Sigourney (Carmel, Calif.) and Carly Margulies (Mammoth Lake, Calif.) finished fourth through seventh respectively. On the men’s side, Torin Yater-Wallace (Basalt, Colo.) was fifth, Birk Irving (Winter Park, Colo.) was seventh and Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, Colo.) was ninth.

“It feels great," Logan said of her podium result. "I mean not having my best result at Mammoth last year, I definitely needed some redemption to kind of ease the stress on me and I was happy to put down some runs that I’m happy with and can just build up from there.”

RESULTS
Men’s halfpipe
Women’s halfpipe

Skate Weekend in Davos

By Tom Kelly
December, 8 2017
Davos Training

DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 8, 2017) - After two opening weekends of most classic skiing, the FIS Cross Country World Cup tour heads into the Swiss mountain village of Davos for back-to-back skate races in the U.S. Ski Team's home away from home. Skate sprints are on tap for Saturday with a men's 15k and women's 10k on Sunday.

It's also a special weekend for the team and its supporters with the formal dedication of the new U.S. Cross Country Ski team waxing truck.

Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) comes into the weekend standing seventh in the overall World Cup on the strength of two classic sprint podiums. Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) is 10th. She will be among favorites in Sunday's 10k freestyle - an Olympic discipline.

Davos is well familiar to the team, serving as a frequent training and relaxation base in the canton of Graubunden in southeastern Switzerland. It's been a strong venue for Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) who has three podiums in skate sprints including a win in 2011. Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.) and Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) have both made the finals heat in Davos with Diggins skiing to fourth a year ago in a 15k.

“I’m excited to race here in Davos and to be healthy enough to really go after it,” said Diggins.

Every race will be streamed live on OlympicChannel.com

Saturday, Dec. 9
7:45 a.m. ET - Men's and women's freestyle sprints - OlympicChannel.com
10:00 a.m. ET - Men's and women's freestyle sprints - Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA TV

Sunday, Dec. 10
5:30 a.m. ET - Women's 10k freestyle - OlympicChannel.com
7:45 a.m. ET - Men's 15k freestyle - OlympicChannel.com
1:00 p.m. ET - Women's 10k freestyle - Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA TV

Freestyle Sprint
Men

Erik Bjornsen
Paddy Caldwell
Simi Hamilton
Andy Newell

Women
Sadie Bjornsen
Sophie Caldwell
Jessie Diggins
Chelsea Holmes
Julia Kern
Kikkan Randall
Ida Sargent

Men's 15k Freestyle
Erik Bjornsen
Paddy Caldwell
Simi Hamilton
Noah Hoffman
Andy Newell
Scott Patterson

Women's 10k Freestyle
Sadie Bjornsen
Rosie Brennan
Sophie Caldwell
Jessie Diggins
Chelsea Holmes
Kikkan Randall
Liz Stephen


 

 

Weather Postpones Friday's Super-G

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 8 2017

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Dec. 8, 2017) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) continued her dominance on the FIS Ski World Cup circuit, winning the first run slalom in the alpine combined Friday. However, heavy fog scrubbed the second run super-G. Further details regarding the possibility of rescheduling the alpine combined will be released when available from the FIS.

Strong winds and fog also forced officials to swap Friday’s event program, running slalom first, followed by super-G. 

Friday’s first run slalom marked the return to the World Cup circuit for Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, Calif.), who last raced a World Cup event on March 17, 2015. Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.) was scheduled to return to action following last season’s knee injury but decided to sit out the slalom following the change in the event program. Ross is expected to start Saturday's super-G.

Up next, the women race a pair of super-G events Saturday and Sunday at St. Moritz. On the men’s side, Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) and Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.) lead the U.S. Ski Team men’s alpine tech group in giant slalom Saturday and slalom Sunday in Val d’Isere, France.

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Dec. 9
3:30 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom run 1; Val d’Isere – olympicchannel.com
4:45 a.m. – Women’s super-G; St. Mortiz – olympicchannel.com
6:30 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom run 2; Val d’Isere – Olympic Channel TV
7:30 a.m. – Women’s super-G; St. Moritz – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)

Dec. 10
3:30 a.m. – Men’s slalom run 1; Val d’Isere – olympicchannel.com
4:30 a.m. – Women’s super-G; St. Mortiz – Olympic Channel TV
6:00 a.m. – Men’s slalom run 2; Val d’Isere – Olympic Channel TV

 

New USA Wax Truck Puts Speed Into Skis

By Tom Kelly
December, 7 2017

DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 8, 2017) - When the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team rolled into Davos, Switzerland for the FIS Cross Country World Cup this weekend, it was rolling in style. Thanks to a network of dedicated supporters in America, the team has rolled out its new wax truck providing stronger technical support to athletes and a healthier atmosphere for ski technicians.

The new truck was introduced in Finland and Norway for the opening World Cup events that saw U.S. skiers Sadie Bjornsen, Jessie Diggins, and Sophie Caldwell post top results, thanks in part to the new mobile waxing facility. This weekend the truck made the long trip from Lillehammer, Norway down to Davos for a weekend of racing including freestyle sprints Saturday and distance racing on Sunday. Diggins will be among favorites in both events, with equally strong chances coming in the women's Sprint F on Saturday and the 10k freestyle on Sunday.

The U.S. Ski Team will hold an open house and celebration for its fans and donors following Sunday's races to showcase the new truck.

The new wax truck will sit side-by-side with similar vehicles from other major cross country nations including Norway, Sweden, Canada and more. The truck will provide over 48 square meters of working space with eight main waxing stations. The main waxing room has ski storage for 600 pair of skis, saving team staff hundreds of hours they had spent moving gear from rental trucks to wax rooms every weekend. A pull out porch is available for kick waxing in colder temperatures with a roof to protect against falling snow.

A central vacuum system helps technicians keep the environment clean and safe, with three different heating systems to manage temperatures. A custom crew cab features five seats and a bed for long drives between Scandinavia and Central Europe. Tunes will play on a built-in sound system equipped with Bose speakers, one of the team's top partners. The truck was built in Sweden.

The exterior of the truck features action photography of some of the team's leading athletes, a tribute panel thanking donors and the logo of team uniform supplier L.L.Bean. 

"This is a game changer for us in providing the best support for our athletes and a better working atmosphere for our technicians," said Head Coach Chris Grover. "It also illustrates the passion of our fans back in America who raised over $600,000 to make this possible."

Working out of tiny wax cabins in the past, the U.S. Ski Team had become accustomed to small space with its technicians working miracles to prep winning skis. The new truck will provide a much more productive environment for ski preparation.

"The wax truck will make a huge difference for our team this year," said world champion Jessie Diggins. "Having all our wax technicians in the same room means that communication will be instant and easy when waxes are changing on race day. The outside of the truck is a clean, professional design that both inspires and motivates us, and is a really exciting thing for new athletes to the World Cup when they come over to race!" 

"I don’t know if it’s the magic of the truck but it’s definitely been an amazing start to the season with our skis compared to everyone else," said Bjornsen, who stands seventh in the World Cup going into the Davos weekend. "We’re operating best in the world and I have to thank the truck for that."

The truck was made possible thanks to a grassroots fundraising campaign conducted by U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation trustee Liz Arky of Washington, D.C. who heads the team's advisory committee.

"Our American cross country fans, and my fellow Trustees, are extremely proud of our athletes and wanted to do something significant to help them achieve their dreams," said Arky. 

"We have been looking forward to this for years and are so thankful to our supporters and donors for getting us on a level playing field with the rest of the world," added Kikkan Randall, who planted the seed for the truck several years ago and made a special appeal to the Trustees.

The truck was rolled out at the team's final on-snow tuneup camp in Rovaniemi in mid-November. It then traveled to World Cups in Ruka, Finland and Lillehammer, Norway before journeying down to Davos.

Mogul Skiers Ready for Ruka Opener

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 6 2017
troymurphyruka

Ruka, FINLAND (Dec. 6, 2017) – The 2017-18 FIS Freestyle moguls World Cup is set to kick off this weekend in the winter wonderland of Ruka, Finland. The U.S. has 12 athletes competing against a strong contingent of international skiers for the first podiums of the season. Men’s and women’s qualifications and finals will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9.

With it being the first World Cup of the season, any one of the U.S. Ski Team athletes have a chance to notch a top result. Ruka is one of seven World Cup competitions this season that will be taken into consideration when nominating the team for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

Keaton McCargo (Telluride, Colo.) and Mikaela Matthews (Frisco, Colo.) have both previously podiumed on the fun but challenging course in Ruka. Morgan Schild (Rochester, N.Y.) and Troy Murphy (Bethel, Maine) will be looking to start the season off strong after posting career-best seasons in 2016-17.

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

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

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

HOW TO WATCH (times EST)
Saturday, Dec. 9
9:30 a.m. – Men’s and women’s moguls; Ruka – olympicchannel.com

11:00 a.m. – Men’s and women’s moguls; Ruka – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)