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Moguls to Compete in Tremblant: World Championships Starts on the Line

By Lara Carlton
January, 25 2019

In their final World Cup event before the FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships, presented by Toyota, the U.S. Moguls Team will compete in Tremblant, Quebec, Saturday in their sixth competition of the season.

“I am psyched for the last World Cup here in Mont Tremblant before World Championships. It’s one last shot to try and get that World Champs spot and prove ourselves before the big show!” said Casey Andringa (Boulder, Colo.)

Coming off of a successful home-snow World Cup in Lake Placid, New York, last week, the internal battle for World Championships Team spots comes down to the wire - results from Tremblant will determine several spots. “Despite the jockeying for World Champs, the team remains strong. The athletes are very supportive of each other and remain close, even with what’s at stake each run on Saturday,” said Head Moguls Coach Matt Gnoza. World Championships Teams will be announced Tuesday.

The biggest challenge this week will be weather. The first day of training was cancelled due to rain and freezing temperatures, so athletes will only have access to the course one day before qualifications. Saturday’s projected to be below freezing, “so this could be more of a skating contest,” comments Gnoza.

The Tremblant course has a few pitch changes, which will require athletes to make adjustments throughout their run to stay on top of their body position and balance. Skiers like Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) and Dylan Walczyk (Rochester, N.Y.) that have all mountain ski skills with have an advantage. “This is not a common challenge on most moguls venues so it will be interesting to see who handles it well. The pitch changes will provide enough of a challenge to spate out the field,” explains Gnoza.

The bottom air is where skiers will have an opportunity to really shine - it’s big and has a long step landing pad, which will allow athletes to push their limits. “We had a few athletes training cork 1080s (a spin that rotates left or right and up/down 1080 degrees) after Lake Placid so we are looking forward to taking advantage of Tremblant. Watch for Casey Andringa, Hunter Bailey, and Olivia Giaccio.”

Women to watch this week include the number two ranked Kauf, who continues to battle Perrine Laffont (France) for the yellow bib. Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.), currently ranked fifth, will look to build off of her success in Lake Placid, where she skied into third. Hannah Soar (Somers, Conn.), in her second World Cup back from injury will look to earn her spot in the finals. The stage is set for Giaccio (Redding, Conn.), Nessa Dziemian (East Hampstead, N.H.), Alex Jenson (Park City Ski & Snowboard) and Morgan Schild (Pittsford, N.Y.), to claim World Championships Team spots.

On the men’s side Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.) and C. Andringa are currently ranked eighth and ninth. They have been cutting their bib numbers down all season and will look to ski into the top-5 with a podium finish. Returning from injury this week are Emerson Smith (Dover, Vt.) and Tom Rowley (Long Beach, N.Y.). It’s a close call among Hunter Bailey (Vail, Colo.), Jesse Andringa (Boulder, Colo.) and Walczyk for who will compete at Deer Valley during Worlds. Spots will come right down to who beats who in Tremblant.

Starters
Women

Jaelin Kauf
Tess Johnson
Nessa Dziemian
Olivia Giaccio
Hannah Soar
Alex Jenson

Men
Brad Wilson
Casey Andringa
Hunter Bailey
Jesse Andringa
Dylan Walczyk
George McQuinn

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Preliminary schedule, subject to change

FREESTYLE
Saturday, Jan. 26

1:30 p.m. - Men and women’s moguls, Mont Tremblant, Quebec - Olympic Channel-TV,OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
 

Ferreira, Wise 1-2 at X Games

By Andrew Gauthier
January, 25 2019
Alex, David 1-2
U.S. Freeski Pro Team member Alex Ferreira (center), and David Wise (left) finished 1-2 in Thursday night's X Games ski superpipe. (X Games)

Aspen local, 2018 PyeongChang Olympic silver medalist, and U.S. Freeski Pro Team member Alex Ferreira (Aspen, Colo.) made his childhood dreams come true on Thursday with a performance of a lifetime.

“I feel phenomenal, I can’t believe what just happened,” Ferreira said after winning the X Games superpipe with a run that included four double corks and an extremely stylish switch cork 720 japan grab all with significant amplitude. “I am the happiest person in the world right now and this is the best day of my life. I would change literally nothing about this night. “

Ferreira now sets his sights on the 2019 FIS World Championships in Park City, Utah, Feb. 1-10.

“I’m looking forward to World Championships,” he said. I’ve never been there before, I’ve never been invited so I’m really excited to just be a part of it.”

David Wise (Reno, Nev.) was second and Nico Porteous of New Zealand was third.

“I had to dig deep tonight for sure,” said Wise. “I didn’t land a single run in practice and I fell twice in the first two runs, but I have been there before. I gave it everything I had and put one down to end up on the podium. “I am especially stoked for Alex! It’s always great to share the podium with Alex and Nico.”

Wise also shared his excitement about the World Championships right around the corner.

“I love the concept of having the World Championships on American soil,” he said. “I could not be more excited. I have always had an affinity for the Park City halfpipe. It’s on a steep pitch, that means athletes are going to be going big. Plus, I left something to be desired tonight, I didn’t get my switch right double cork in tonight and that’s something I look forward to for World Champs.”

For the ladies, top U.S. results in the superpipe included Olympic bronze medalist Brita Sigourney (Carmel, Calif.) in fourth and Maddie Bowman (S. Lake Tahoe, Calif.) in fifth.

“I’m happy I put down my runs,” said Sigourney. “I was definitely a little nervous after not having great training the last two days. I’m glad I landed my runs, but I know I can do better. I’m looking forward to World Championships and I’m planning on getting some time in the pipe before then. It’s always good to have my family here, it’s social a social event and it feels great to have their support behind me no matter what the result”

To close out the first day of X Games competition, Jamie Anderson (S. Lake Tahoe, Calif) earned a second consecutive bronze medal in X Games snowboard big air. She suffered a hard crash, which left her shaken up, but her previous runs kept her on the podium to close out the competition.

HIGHLIGHTS
Alex Ferreira gold medal run
David Wise silver medal run

RESULTS
Men’s ski superpipe
Women’s ski superpipe
Women’s snowboard big air

HOW TO WATCH

FREESKI
Friday, Jan. 25
12:00 p.m. - Women’s slopestyle - Aspen, Colo. - @XGames
12:00 p.m. - Men’s big air elimination - Aspen, Colo. - @XGames
9:00 p.m. - Women’s big air - Aspen, Colo. - @XGames
10:35 p.m. - Women’s big air - Aspen, Colo. - ESPN

Saturday, Jan 26
10:00 p.m. - Men’s big air - Aspen, Colo. - ESPN

Sunday, Jan. 27
2:00 p.m. - Men’s slopestyle - Aspen, Colo. - ESPN2

SNOWBOARD
Friday, Jan. 25

12:00 p.m. - Men’s slopestyle elimination - Aspen, Colo. - @XGames
10:35 p.m. - Men’s snowboard big air - Aspen, Colo. - ESPN

Saturday, Jan 26
1:00 p.m. - Women’s slopestyle - Aspen, Colo. - ABC
1:00 p.m. - Men’s slopestyle - Aspen, Colo. - ABC
8:30 p.m. - Knuckle Huck - Aspen, Colo. - @XGames
10:00 p.m. - Women’s superpipe - Aspen, Colo. - ESPN

Sunday, Jan. 27
8:30 p.m. - Men’s superpipe - Aspen, Colo. - ESPN
 

Snowboarding Legend Kelly Clark Announces Retirement

By Andrew Gauthier
January, 25 2019
Kelly Clark Method
Kelly Clark shows her gold medal-winning form in the women's halfpipe snowboard competition during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games. (Getty Images - Tim De Waele)

Kelly Clark, the most accomplished snowboarder in history with more wins than any other rider male or female, announced her retirement from competitive snowboarding on Friday. Clark’s illustrious career spanned 18 years as a member of the U.S. Snowboard Team.

Clark was the first American ever to win Olympic gold in snowboarding at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. Her victory put her on top of the young sport as she continued to raise the bar with halfpipe bronze medals at both the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“Since 2000 when Kelly first made the U.S. Snowboard Team, she has been leading the sport, not just in the USA but worldwide, and she leaves an astonishing legacy as her competitive career comes to a close,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Director – Snowboard, Freeski and Freestyle Jeremy Forster. “From Olympic medals, multiple X Games victories, World Cup U.S. Open, and Grand Prix titles her competitive record speaks for itself. As importantly Kelly has also, throughout her career, served as a leader and an inspiration to her teammates and future generations of snowboarders. She is, justifiably, known worldwide as one of the greatest ambassadors in the sport. As Kelly moves to the next stage of her career everyone at U.S. Ski & Snowboard joins me in thanking Kelly for her commitment to her sport and wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Kelly is a true legend, it’s as simple as that.”

Clark’s snowboarding legacy does not only come in the form of countless World Cup, U.S. Open and X Games victories but rather an everlasting footprint of progression within the sport as a whole. With the passion, drive, and excitement that Clark has displayed throughout over two decades of competitive snowboarding, it’s hard to imagine where the sport would be today without her efforts. Throughout all her success, Clark remained humble, supportive of her fellow athletes, and always kept the good interest of the sport as her main priority.

A five-time Olympian - the most of any competitive snowboarder - her long-standing career includes 13 FIS Snowboard World Cup halfpipe victories and 21 consecutive SuperPipe appearances at X Games Aspen where she finished on the podium 14 times. Clark was the first woman to land a 1080 in competition, a trick that is still done in the halfpipe today. She has won more than 70 career events and will now look to continue that success beyond snowboarding competition.

“Kelly has become the greatest female halfpipe rider of all time from two decades of steadfast commitment towards progression,” said U.S. Snowboard Head Pro Team Halfpipe Coach Rick Bower. “Kelly constantly evaluates then re-evaluates her personal best with the goal of moving her level of riding one step closer to perfection. I am so grateful for what I have learned from my nearly 15 years of working with Kelly. Kelly is the greatest role model for our current generation of female riders. Kelly displayed a relentless work ethic and desire to be the best version of herself every time she stepped on the snow.”

Clark plans to continue to give back to the sport through the Kelly Clark Foundation, which she founded in 2010. The Kelly Clark Foundation is an organization which provides youth with resources and opportunities to achieve their highest potential through snowboarding, and has helped support three current U.S. Snowboard Team members. Clark’s love for snowboarding is undeniable and although she won’t be competing, fans can expect her connection to and presence within the snowboarding community to remain strong.

KEY LINKS
Burton - Rise: 20 Years of Kelly Clark
X Games - Being: Kelly Clark
Kelly Clark Foundation
 

Bennett Leads U.S. in 14th at Kitzbuehel

By Tom Horrocks
January, 25 2019
Bryce Bennett Kitzbuehel
Bryce Bennett finished 14th in Friday's FIS Ski World Cup downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Getty Images/AFP - Joe Klamer)

Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.) crossed that fine line between surviving and competing on the Streif in Friday’s FIS Ski World Cup downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

“I crossed the finish line today and I was like ‘that's doable,’’ Bennett said of his potential to win Kitzbuehel someday, after leading the U.S. Ski Team in 14th place on Friday. “I think it's totally possible to be one of the competitive guys here, and I’m looking forward to the future.”

On arguably the world’s most challenging - and historic - downhill track where racers go from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds, Bennett, who has posted some impressive results this season with four top-10 World Cup downhill finishes, walked away from Friday’s race not only relieved, but also knowing what it finally takes to win in Kitzbuehel. He came into the finish, sighed, and the first words out of his mouth were, "That was FUN!"

“The past years I've just been managing, and managing making it down this track,” said Bennett, who finished 41st in his debut on the Streif in 2017, and 28th last year. “Now I feel like I’m in a position to actually make turns down it, and it was quite an emotional rollercoaster of being a very scared, and having fun. I think I was able to do what I wanted to do, and I'm happy about that.”

Bennett has had a banner season, snagging personal best results at every World Cup venue this season with 12-9-4-4-5 and now 14th, as he continues to show consistency and prove that he’s not a one trick venue pony - establishing a home for himself among the greats on a stacked men’s tour. 

Bennett was just 1.45 seconds off the winning time of Italy’s Dominik Paris, who won for the third time on the Streif. Switzerland’s Beat Feuz was second, while Austria’s Otmar Striedinger came out of the 27th start position with some more visibility as the sun came out, to whip the crowd into a frenzy with a third-place finish - his first career World Cup downhill podium.

“I had a plan. I committed to that plan, which I’m happy about,” Bennett said. “I think this week was super good for me to learn - it was a huge learning experience.” The big guy lost some time through the middle of the course in the "Seidlalm" section, with a little bobble on the flats, which is a disadvantage with his 6'7" height since he has a harder time being aerodynamic than anyone else on the mountain. "It's tough to be aerodynamic there," he said. "A lot of people are standing up, and when I stand up it's pretty slow."

Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.) was 19th; Wiley Maple (Aspen, Colo.) was flagged off course for the second-straight week and finished 38th on his second attempt; and Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah) was 43rd.

Up next, the men compete in slalom Saturday in Kitzbuehel, followed by super-G Sunday.

RESULTS
Men’s downhill

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Preliminary schedule, subject to change
*Same-day delayed broadcast
**Next-day broadcast

Saturday, Jan. 26
3:30 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1 - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
4:00 a.m. - Women’s super-G - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
6:30 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2 - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. - Women’s super-g - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - NBCSN*

Sunday, Jan. 27
5:30 a.m. - Women’s downhill - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Men’s super-G - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
9:00 p.m. - Women’s downhill - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - NBCSN*

Monday, Jan. 28
4:00 p.m. - Men’s downhill and super-G - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBCSN**

Tuesday, Jan. 29
11:00 p.m. - Men’s slalom - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBCSN**

All streams are available via desktop (NBCSports.com/Live, NBCSports.com/Gold andOlympicChannel.com) as well as mobile, tablet and connected television platforms. The NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Gold app and Olympic Channel app are available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass.

2019 World Championships Preparation Ahead of Schedule

By Melissa Fields
January, 24 2019
One Week Out

Only one week remains before more than 1,400 athletes from around the globe converge on Utah for the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships, presented by Toyota. Mother Nature has gone above and beyond for her part, blanketing all three event venues—Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain and Solitude Mountain Resort—with almost five feet of snow in the last seven days.

“All season, Utah has been blessed with cold weather and consistent snow,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief of Systems & Operations and 2019 World Championships Organizing Committee Chair Calum Clark. “That snow, combined with the amazing commitment from the resort partners, means that the competition venues are ahead of schedule in their preparations for the events to come at this stage of the countdown to day one!”

Another part of 2019 World Champs preparations that came together this week was the announcement that Grammy award-winning, hip hop superstar Lupe Fiasco will be the headline act at the closing ceremonies, scheduled for Feb. 10 on Park City’s Lower Main Street beginning at 4:00 p.m. Joining Lupe Fiasco are The Main Squeeze, performing at the event’s opening ceremonies at Park City Mountain’s Canyons Village on Feb. 2 at 9:00 p.m., and Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers who will be on stage at Canyons Village Feb. 5, at 5:00 p.m. prior to the snowboard big air final at 7:00 p.m.

HOW TO WATCH
There are two ways to spectators can get in on the excitement of the 2019 World Champs: watching the events from the comfort of home via the NBC television broadcast or online live stream at nbcsports.com (see complete schedule below) or live, in real, time at the venues.

VENUE ACCESS
Solitude kicks off the 2019 World Champs competition schedule with what are likely to be some of the most easily accessible—and perhaps most exciting—events of the entire 10 days: the snowboard and skicross competitions on Feb. 1 to 3. Get there by taking the Utah Transit Authority bus number 972 with regular service from park and ride lots in Salt Lake City at 6400 South and Wasatch as well as at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon. The fare is $4.50 one way; Solitude season pass holders and Ikon Pass holders can ride the UTA ski bus for free. (Ikon Pass bus access must be activated in advance at a Solitude ticket window.) Parking on site at Solitude is limited and will be available to the public at the Moonbeam base area (Entry 1) only. Shuttles circulate regularly between Moonbeam Lodge and Solitude Village, and the public can also ski there via Moonbeam Express and Link chairlifts. A lift ticket or pass is required to use these chairlifts. There is no public parking at Solitude Village.

Plan on plenty of time to get to and from the Park City venues—Deer Valley and Park City Mountain--particularly if you plan to attend the 2019 World Champs opening ceremonies, featuring the freeski big air finals, a free concert with Main Squeeze and fireworks, at Canyons Village on Saturday, Feb. 2, which also happens to be the last night of Park City’s Sundance Film Festival. Deer Valley Resort’s evening freestyle aerials and moguls events on Feb. 6-9 are also expected to draw high attendance and it is highly recommended that spectators park at Park City High School and take the free bus (yellow route) to Snow Park Lodge.

Following are a few more tips for planning your trip to the Park City venues:

Take the Bus: Park City Transit will offer increased service on the Red, Blue, White, Lime, and Yellow bus routes throughout the 2019 FIS World Champs. Please visit parkcitytransit.org  for a route and transit schedule, or download the MyStop app for real-time transit information.

Park & Ride: The new Ecker Hill Park & Ride, accessible via I-80 exit 141/Jeremy Ranch, is an ideal location to park and catch transit to the event venues. Spectators can take advantage of 15-minute transit service (approx.) into Park City via the Lime and Pink routes.

Free Parking: Carpooling is encouraged for those wishing to park in town and at the venues.

Free parking is available at Park City Resort Mountain Base, Park City Resort Canyons Village and Deer Valley Resort from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily, and at Park City High School, Treasure Mountain Middle School, McPolin Elementary and the Park City Learning Center Parking (all located off Kearns Blvd/SR248) from 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily and all day on the weekends. The Richardson Flat Park & Ride (accessible via U.S. 40) will be available for carpool parking; however no transit service will be provided from this location during the 2019 FIS World Champs. Text PCEVENTS to 888777 for the most up to date transportation information.

If you do go, please bring a reusable water bottle. The 2019 World Champ Organizing Committee has undertaken a zero single-use plastic water bottle initiative for this event and will provide water bottle refilling stations at all three venues. Funds saved from not purchasing bottled water for 2019 World Champs staff and volunteers (all of whom have been supplied with a collapsible water bottle for this event) will be donated to Protect Our Winters, the sports community’s leading climate advocacy group. Other sustainability measures that will be in practice during the 2019 World Champs include the use of notification apps and other electronic communications to eliminate paper and stationing staff near recycling bins at each venue to avoid waste mixing. Also, each of the resort venues engage in rigorous sustainability programs, covering everything from efficient snowmaking practices to using recycled and recyclable products in on-mountain restaurants.

Everyone attending the events will be searched prior to entering the venues. We strongly suggest that you do not bring bags; priority for security screening will be given to those without bags. People with bags should expect long lines and wait times when entering the venue. Keep the following tips in mind when planning your arrival to the venues. Only bring what you absolutely need. Do not bring any of the following items to any venue: knives, weapons, laser pointers, pets, illegal drugs, or drones. Do not bring any of the following prohibited items to the Opening Ceremonies and big air competitions at the Canyons Village: alcoholic beverages, glass containers, knives, weapons, laser pointers, pets, illegal drugs, or drones.

For those interested in catching a 2019 World Champs preview, athlete training will begin in earnest on Monday, Jan. 28 at Solitude, on Feb. 1 at Park City Mountain and on Feb. 3 at Deer Valley. “The resorts will be open before and during the World Championships and the competition venues at each are very accessible to both skiers and those on foot,” Clark said. “We encourage people to check each out the training sessions during their ski day.”

Get the latest on 2019 World Champs competition, road conditions, weather updates and more  starting January 28, 2019 by following @2019worldchamps on Twitter or visiting 2019worldchamps.com.  

TELEVISION BROADCAST AND LIVE STREAMING
All times EST
Preliminary broadcast schedule, subject to change
Streaming schedule TBA
*Same-day broadcast
**Next-day broadcast

Friday, Feb. 1
1:00 p.m. - Men and women's snowboardcross finals - NBCSN

Saturday, Feb. 2
3:00 p.m. - Men and women’s skicross finals - Olympic Channel
8:30 p.m. - Men and women’s skicross finals - NBCSN*

Sunday, Feb. 3
1:00 a.m. - Men and women’s freeski big air finals - NBCSN**
1:00 p.m. - Team snowboardcross - Olympic Channel
4:00 p.m.-  Team snowboardcross - NBCSN*

Monday, Feb. 4
3:00 p.m. - Parallel snowboard giant slalom - Olympic Channel
7:00 p.m. - Parallel snowboard giant slalom - NBCSN*

Tuesday, Feb. 5
3:00 p.m. - Parallel snowboard slalom - NBCSN
9:00 p.m. - Men and women’s snowboard big air - NBCSN

Wednesday, Feb. 6
3:00 p.m. - Men and women’s freeski slopestyle finals - NBCSN
9:00 p.m. - Men and women’s aerials - Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. - Men and women’s aerials - NBCSN*

Thursday, Feb. 7
9:00 p.m. - Team aerials - NBCSN

Friday, Feb. 8
1:00 p.m. - Men and women’s snowboard  halfpipe - NBCSN
9:00 p.m. - Men and women’s moguls - NBCSN

Sunday, Feb. 10
2:00 a.m. - Men and women’s dual moguls - NBCSN**
1:00 p.m. - Men and women’s snowboard slopestyle - Olympic Channel
3:00 p.m. - Men and women’s snowboard slopestyle - NBC*

Monday, Feb. 11
10:30 p.m. - Women’s freeski halfpipe finals - NBCSN**

EVENT SCHEDULE
All times MST (local time)

Friday, Feb. 1
11:00 a.m. - Snowboardcross Final - Solitude Mountain Resort

Saturday, Feb. 2
1:00 p.m. - Skicross Final - Solitude Mountain Resort
7:00 p.m. - Freeski Big Air Final - Canyons Village - Park City Mountain

Sunday, Feb. 3
11:00 a.m. - Mixed Gender Team Snowboardcross Final - Solitude Mountain Resort

Monday, Feb. 4
1:00 p.m. - Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom Final - Park City Village at Park City Mountain

Tuesday, Feb. 5
1:00 p.m. - Snowboard Parallel Slalom Final - Park City Village at Park City Mountain
7:00 p.m. - Snowboard Big Air Final - Canyons Village - Park City Mountain

Wednesday, Feb. 6
11:00 a.m. - Freeski Slopestyle Final - Park City Village at Park City Mountain
7:00 p.m. - Freestyle Aerials Final - Deer Valley Resort

Thursday, Feb. 7
7:00 p.m. - Freestyle Team Aerials Final - Deer Valley Resort

Friday, Feb. 8
11:00 a.m. - Snowboard Halfpipe Final - Park City Village at Park City Mountain
7:00 p.m. - Freestyle Moguls Final - Deer Valley Resort

Saturday, Feb. 9
11:00 a.m. - Freeski Halfpipe Final - Park City Village at Park City Mountain
7:00 p.m. - Freestyle Dual Moguls Final - Deer Valley Resort

Sunday, Feb. 10
11:00 a.m. - Snowboard Slopestyle Final - Park City Village at Park City Mountain

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Tom Webb
Director of Marketing and Communications, U.S. Ski & Snowboard
+1.435.602.9644
tom.webb@usskiandsnowboard.org

FOR ACCREDITED MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Tom Kelly
Chief of Press
+1.435.602.9799
2019WorldChampsMedia@usskiandsnowboard.org
 

Highway to Hell: THE HAHNENKAMM

By Megan Harrod
January, 24 2019
Bryce Bennett Kitzbuehel
Bryce Bennett will lead the downhillers down the gnarly Streif on Friday at Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Living easy, living free...that’s what the downhillers are doing this weekend in Kitzbuehel, Austria - where copious amounts of glühwein will be slung, massive cowbells will be rung and bodies will be flung down the Streif, at speeds upwards of 100mph. This is the White Circus, and the athletes are the performers on a Streif stage for the 70,000 fans, foaming at the mouth and in awe of the ski racing gods skiing before them. Ahhhh, the revered Hahnenkamm.

Nothing prepares an athlete for the first time they step into the start gate at the Hahnenkamm.  Out of the start gate, they will be hurling their bodies down an ice hockey rink flipped sideways, going from zero to 60 mph faster than a sports car. Want to know what it feels like to fly? Ask a downhiller. They fly more than 150 feet off the first jump alone. It’s in your face from the moment you leave the start gate. One must find the right balance of control and a solid position in order to build speed and defy gravity. Resist? Nope. Not a good idea. Better to go with the flow.

Organizers use fire hoses to spray down the surface so it’s responsive and slick. This year, the surface is definitely slick. And it’s bumpy. Downhiller after downhiller came to the finished wide-eyed, saying “I’m glad that’s over” and “I couldn’t grip at all” on Tuesday’s first training run. This track is a track where you have to take the skis for a ride...not the other way around. You must become one with the distractions. Find calm amidst the chaos. Highway to one hell of a ride indeed!

The “Highway to Hell” isn’t necessarily the ride down the Streif, but it starts with the five hour drive from Wengen, Switzerland, to Kitzbuehel, Austria, and it’s a steady build in nervous energy throughout the week until race day hits. Eerily quiet when you enter town on Monday, and then the anticipation builds as quickly as the crowds and the noise builds until BOOM - you’re standing in the start gate and it’s eerily quiet once again. Then the gong strikes and it’s go time. No looking back now, boys. This year, it just so happens that the schedule is all jumbled up due to the weather - a common occurrence in an outdoor sport that deals with variables. Due to the weekend’s weather forecast, the premier event - the downhill - will now be on Friday, followed by the slalom on Saturday and the super-G on Sunday.

Team veteran and leader Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah), has already announced that he will sit this weekend out, due to a concussion sustained from his crash in Wengen, Switzerland. “I’m not going to be an idiot and go when I’m not prepared,” Nyman said after he opted to sit out of Tuesday’s training run. “My body is surprisingly fine. My head is not. I don’t have the quickness in my brain or the energy within me and the risks are just too high. To go through a boxing match and then come back and ski the Hahnenkamm is not easy.” Understatement of the century? I think so. “It’s not just me and the mountain anymore,” he continued. “I have a family.”

Nyman’s teammate Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.) has had a banner season, snagging personal best results at each World Cup venue this season with 12-9-4-4-5, respectively, continues to show consistency and prove that he’s not a one trick venue pony - establishing a home for himself among the greats on a stacked men’s tour. When asked if he could stick it in there in Kitzbuehel, he laughed and said, “I haven’t quite figured that track out yet.” Funny, considering his previous best at Wengen was 17th in the downhill, and he finished fifth there last weekend. His time will come. Soon enough.

“They’ve used so much water and it’s so bumpy and so physically demanding,” he said. “You feel forces in your body unlike anything you’d ever imagine you’d experience. There’s nothing quite like it. It’s a violent ride down an extremely icy track, where knowing the line and committing to the line are two very different worlds. I remember my first time four years ago. Inspection was the scariest part of the day. It was so steep you could barely hold an edge. The margin for error is so small. If you make a mistake, you end up in the nets.”

He paused.

“I can’t believe this sport. How *enter expletive* crazy is this?! ‘Hey, we’re going to water this mountain and then throw our bodies down it.’ Cool. I see the line I need to take but I’m really not sure I’m ready to commit,” Bennett admitted, and with that he turned around and left the finish area.

The only question that remains, is will Bennett and his teammates Tommy Biesemeyer (Keene, N.Y.), Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.), Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah), and Wiley Maple (Aspen, Colo.) choose to commit or not? Game time, baby! No stop signs, speed limit...nobody's gonna slow me down!

On the women’s side, Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.) and Alice Merryweather (Hingham, Mass.), will look to build on their solid results from Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, while in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, this weekend for a downhill and super-G on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Olympic Champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.), who returned to competition in Cortina, announced on Thursday that she has decided to sit out this weekend’s speed series to rest her body as she deals with a lingering knee problem. Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) - who has gone three victories for three super-G starts - will take Garmisch off to focus on training for the Maribor, Slovenia, tech races next weekend.

Catch all of the action on the Olympic Channel, NBC Sports Network, and NBC Sports Gold.

RESULTS
Women’s downhill training 1
Men’s downhill training 1
Men’s downhill training 2

START LISTS
Men’s downhill

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST.
*Same-day delayed broadcast
**Next-day broadcast


Friday, Jan.  25
5:30 a.m. - Men’s downhill - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBC Sports Gold

Saturday, Jan. 26
3:30 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1 - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
4:00 a.m. - Women’s downhill - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
6:30 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2 - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. - Women’s downhill - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - NBCSN*

Sunday, Jan. 27
5:30 a.m. - Women’s super-G - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Men’s super-G - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
9:00 p.m. - Women’s Super-G - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - NBCSN*

Monday, Jan. 28
4:00 p.m. - Men’s downhill and super-G - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBCSN**

Tuesday, Jan. 29
11:00 p.m. - Men’s slalom - Kitzbuehel, AUT - NBCSN**

All streams are available via desktop (NBCSports.com/Live, NBCSports.com/Gold and OlympicChannel.com) as well as mobile, tablet and connected television platforms. The NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Gold app and Olympic Channel app are available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass.

Vonn To Sit Out Garmisch Speed Series

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 24 2019
Vonn

Due to a lingering knee injury, Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.) will not be racing this weekend’s downhill and super-G in Garmisch, Germany.

Vonn posted the following message on her Instagram feed Thursday.

Lindsey Vonn Instagram Post

Nyman to Skip Kitzbuehel, Garmisch

By Megan Harrod
January, 23 2019
Steven Kitzbuehel
Steven Nyman will sit out Kitzbuehel and Garmisch World Cups to remain focused on Are, Sweden World Championships. (Alexis Boichard)

After taking a knee to the face during his crash at the FIS Ski World Cup at Wengen, Switzerland, Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah) has announced that he sustained a concussion and is not feeling sharp enough to step into the start gate in this weekend's speed series at the revered Hahnenkamm in front of 60,000+ fans, or next weekend in Garmisch, Germany, on the Kandahar, where he has suffered season-ending knee injuries each of the last two years. 

Though his limbs are okay - thankfully - after the Wengen fall, Nyman felt "foggy" on Tuesday and made the call not to start in the first of two downhill training runs. Nyman then posted the video from his gnarly Lauberhorn crash and announced his decision on Instagram Wednesday evening:

The good news is my limbs are okay and I think it is because of the knee to the face. It redirected my fall to a much safer one. The bad news is the knee to the face has left me with a concussion and I’m not feeling sharp enough to tackle the beasts ahead. I’ve chosen to not race the Hahnenkamm and the Kandahar and I have shifted my focus toward the Are World Championships. I’m going to go thru our concussion protocol and get back up to speed ASAP. Good luck to my compatriots these next two weekends.

Nyman will undergo protocol and treatment over the next 10 days to get back to race speed. He will have two weeks to get back to 100 percent before traveling to Are, Sweden, for the World Championships where the first downhill training run will take place on February 5, 2019. 

Patient Notes: Lies and Greed

By Breezy Johnson
January, 23 2019
Breezy Johnson - Patient Notes, v.5
Breezy Johnson returns to snow at home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (Renee Glick)

Editor's Note:
Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID) sustained an ACL tear in September that has sidelined her for the 2019 season. Throughout Johnson's road to recovery, she'll be sharing the ups and downs of rehabilitation here in a column of her own, entitled "Patient Notes," in hopes that you will follow along for the journey to learn how challenging it is both physically and mentally to return to snow at the elite level. Being an injured athlete can be challenging and lonely, and we're hoping that by writing this column, Johnson will be able to stay connected to the community and her sponsors.

Johnson kicked off her series with a poignant pre-surgery piece with Patient Notes: Volume 2, she brought you all the post-op nitty grittyPatient Notes: Volume 3, she talked about ferocity and frustration and Patient Notes: Volume 4, where she talked about the mental ups and downs in the mid stages of recovery. She's thankful for your support and invites you to follow along on her Instagram. All of the words below are Johnson's thoughts, straight from her journal to your computer screen.

Enjoy the journey,

Megan Harrod 
Alpine Communications Manager

------------------

1/20/2019: 4 Months (122 days) post-op,139 days post injury, 1 day post return to snow

Lies and Greed

I lied. I lied to the people around me; I lied to the public; but most of all I lied to myself. I told the world that I wasn’t going to race. But I wanted to. I planned to. I hoped that I would be able to return to snow in three months and make my return to racing in Cortina, a fitting birthday present to myself, I thought. I lied and thought that I would be able to complete the most remarkable comeback in alpine history. I thought I would be able to do more, push more, have more. We athletes are eternally greedy; when they tell us to slow down we decelerate, momentarily before racing forward at Mach speed. Greed, it’s a characteristic that for better or worse, when it comes to physical progress I have in spades.

To go back to the beginning I have to explain why I thought any of this was possible at all. I have to go into some confusing medical language, so bear with me. I tore my ACL, this is true, but I did not tear it as many do...and because of that I did not have the same surgery that many do. Instead of your standard mid-substance ACL tear I tore mine off of the femur, a proximal tear to the greater medical community. Moreover, I partially tore mine. Fibers remained. And so I opted for a different procedure than most. Rather than a standard reconstruction, where they take tissue from elsewhere to create your new ACL, I opted to repair my original ACL, to have the torn ligament reattached to the bone. This helps save the original ACL, which has some properties that I didn’t want to lose, and doesn’t suffer from some of the drawbacks of the different reconstruction harvests.

My doctor told me that the return to snow would take four months. As you can guess, I thought four meant three. I didn’t anticipate the atrophy, though I had less than some, I anticipated a quicker return to aggressive weight training and plyos. I may have been the greediest person to have ever walked into a therapy room, or surgeon's table. As my therapists can attest to, I was never satisfied in therapy. I nitpicked over the slightest deficiencies in testing and as my therapist told me ‘spent more time in the gym than many employees.’

I did not get on snow quite as soon as I wanted. I got back on snow on my birthday, one day shy of the four-month marker that my surgeon set for me in September. In many ways I was completely delusional thinking three months sounded reasonable. I was a bit insane, having never been through this before, as to how I would feel, and how strong I would be. Four months is fast, probably the fastest return in U.S. Ski and Snowboard history. And for that I should be grateful. And I am. But now that I am back, in the middle of January I need to set a few things straight both for everyone out there and, perhaps more importantly, for myself.

I will not be racing this season. I say that, with the feeling of twisting my own knife in my chest. I think I could. Perhaps if it were an Olympic year, I would. But the thing that is perhaps most difficult with an ACL tear is that they do not simply heal; you don’t just pass tests, get back on snow and you’re fine. ACL tears lead to more ACL tears. Re-tearing an ACL (as we define it at U.S. Ski & Snowboard: tearing the same ACL again or tearing the other ACL within two years of your first injury) is not uncommon in the ski world. One has to look no farther than the recent loss on the World Cup of Austrian Stephanie Brunner to know that re-tears are real and problematic in ski racing. I am strong, and I have passed my return to snow. But it makes much more sense to take my return to skiing slow, with more work in the gym mixed in, so that I may lower my risk of needing to go through this again, that I might avoid having to sit out another season.

I also think, while I am trying to be truly honest with myself, that it will be better for my skiing to wait. I need to be able to completely rely on every piece of my body in order to ski the way I do. A lot of my success, I believe, is about confidence, and I still need some time to regain that. But based on how quickly I have gotten my strength and power back to return to snow levels, I trust that my body will be feeling as strong as ever soon enough. I certainly have high expectations.

So to those who can’t wait to see me back, thank you. I love you and I am eternally grateful for your support. But you will not see me in the starting gate until Lake Louise next year. It kills me a little bit to say that, but the intelligent part - the voice that has an uncanny similarity to my therapist, Gillian Bower - thinks that is the right thing to do. I hear patience is a virtue, at least outside of downhill courses.

Lupe Fiasco Headlines World Championships Entertainment Lineup

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 23 2019
Lupe Fiasco

PARK CITY, Utah - Hip hop superstar Lupe Fiasco will be the headline musical act at the closing ceremonies of the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships, presented by Toyota, taking place at Utah’s Solitude Mountain Resort, Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resort February 1 - 10, 2019. The closing ceremonies will start at 4:00 p.m., February 10, on Park City’s Main Street, bringing to a close the largest winter sports event to take place in Utah since the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Joining Lupe Fiasco on the 2019 World Champs musical roster are The Main Squeeze, performing at the event’s opening ceremonies at Canyons Village, Park City on February 2 at 9:00 p.m., and Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers who will be on stage at Canyons Village, Park City February 5, at 5:00 p.m. prior to the snowboard big air final at 7.00 p.m.

Lupe Fiasco is a true hip hop pioneer. A rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and community advocate, the artist rose to fame in 2006, following the success of his debut album Food & Liquor. Since then Lupe has released more than four acclaimed studio albums; his latest being Drogas Wave released in 2018.

Kicking off the 2019 World Champs musical offering are The Main Squeeze. From their origins as a jam/party band in Indiana, The Main Squeeze have been weaving the veins of rock, funk, blues, and R&B into modern song stylings. Now LA-based and with three albums under their belt (last one being 2017’s Without A Sound), festival appearances from KABOO to Bonnaroo, and features from Billboard and Rolling Stone, The Main Squeeze have a rich touring history including opening slots for The Roots, Jane’s Addiction, D.R.A.M., Mac Miller, Aloe Blacc, and Umphrey’s McGee, The Main Squeeze are launching into a new musical orbit with plans for a fourth LP in 2019.

Rounding up the musical roster are Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers who are not to be missed. In their own words, the band “will make a sprightly young groove doctor out of anyone. With spectacular energy pulsating from every member of the band, the Rainbow Seekers could illuminate the very chambers of Heaven. Lead singer Joe Hertler splashes through lyrical puddles of golden rain, leaving his audience wearing flowery crowns and bubbling smiles. A ride on the Rainbow will take you across the mountains of Motown, through the fjords of folk, over the archipelagos of Americana, and-at last-into a funky firth, where only the fiercest of friendships can be found.”

For more information on the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships, presented by Toyota, visit www.2019worldchamps.com