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The White Circus Chugs Along to Italy, Austria

By Megan Harrod
December, 26 2019
Mikaela Shiffrin Lienz 2011
On 29 December 2011, Mikaela claimed her first World Cup podium (alongside childhood idols Tina Maze and Marlies Schild) in any discipline as she finished third in the Lienz slalom at 16-years-old. (Photo by Christophe Pallot - Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

After a very quick break, the FIS Ski World Cup tour—a.k.a. the “White Circus”—chugs along to Bormio, Italy for the men for a pair of downhills and an alpine combined, and Lienz, Austria, for the women, for a giant slalom and slalom. 

Though the men’s speed team was bummed with the cancellation of one of their favorite downhills [the classic Saslong at Val Gardena, Italy], veteran and team leader Steven Nyman spoke highly of Bormio following the news. 

"Obviously a big bummer," said Steven Nyman after getting word about the cancellation at the venue where he's won all three of his FIS Ski World Cup victories. "It's a place where the Americans have traditionally done well. Bryce [Bennett] is super bummed, but that's ski racing and I am looking forward to Bormio [Italy]...That's a track I know I can do well on, so we just have to look ahead. That's part of the sport."

The cancelled Val Gardena downhill was rescheduled for Friday at Bormio, Italy. In the first and only downhill training run on Thursday, Travis Ganong posted the 12th-fastest time to lead the American men. As always, training runs are for dialing in strategy and tactics and ensuring the equipment set-up is ready for race day. Steven said after his training run on Thursday that he and Bryce both “pinched line and got squashed in compressions.”

“It’s grippier...but it’s still bumpy and dense...last year it was an ice skating rink, this year there are no sections where you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Will my edge bite?!’ It’s much better, but still—it’s dark and bumpy.”

Though there was just one training run, Steven feels like he got a good feel for the track on Thursday. “I pushed the line, and paid a lot,” he laughed. “There are some sections I went straight into that I shouldn’t have, but I ran bib 1 so I didn’t really get to see anybody or hear any reports. There were some sections I skied well and some sections that I just boned. But I’ve had some good [video] review and I know what I need to do, and I just need to do it.”

Keep an eye on Ryan Cochran-Siegle, too, whose ski came off in the training run, but was skiing “nice and balanced” according to Steven. Ryan was sixth to lead the downhillers in the last World Cup downhill at Beaver Creek, Colo. The men’s speed team continued their White Elephant gift-giving tradition with a Christmas party on Christmas night in Bormio, which Steven says was a success—and of course Steven says he purchased the best gift (a pair of wool slippers from a Christmas market). 

Bormio will host two downhills—one on Friday and one on Saturday, followed by the first alpine combined of the season on Sunday. 

On the women’s side, Mikaela Shiffrin returns to action to lead the women’s tech team in Lienz, Austria for a giant slalom on Saturday followed by a slalom on Sunday. Mikaela holds Lienz close to her heart, as it's the site of her first World Cup podium, on December 29, 2011—a podium shared with childhood ski idols Marlies Schild of Austria and Tina Maze of Slovenia. After a tough race in Courchevel, France, Mikaela had a successful tech training block in both Courchevel and at our European training base in Folgaria - Alpe Cimbra, Italy. The Christmas holiday didn’t stop Mikaela, and the conditions in Folgaria were excellent. 

Here’s the rundown of stats for the weekend:

  • On December 29, 2011, Mikaela claimed her first World Cup podium in any discipline as she finished third in the Lienz slalom at 16-years-old.
  • Mikaela Shiffrin has won 62 World Cup races, equal to Annemarie MoserPröll (62) in second place on the all-time women's list. Lindsey Vonn holds the women's record of 82 race wins. On the men's side, only Ingemar Stenmark (86) and Marcel Hirscher (67) have won more World Cup races. 
  • Mikaela has more World Cup victories in all disciplines on Austrian soil (10) than in any other country (9, United States).  
  • Mikaela could become the fifth woman to claim a record 11 World Cup wins in Austria, after Renate Götschl, Annemarie Moser-Pröll, Marlies Schild and Lindsey Vonn. On the men's side, only Ingemar Stenmark and Hermann Maier (both 15) have won more than 10 World Cup races in Austria.  
  • Mikaela finished on the podium in giant slalom World Cup races in Lienz on two occasions: third places on December 28, 2013 and December 29, 2017.
  • Mikaela has won an all-time record 42 World Cup slalom races. Only Ingemar Stenmark (46 in giant slalom) and Lindsey Vonn (43 in downhill) have won more than 42 World Cup races in a single discipline.  
  • The last 22 women's World Cup slalom races were either won by Mikaela (18) or Petra Vlhová (4), since retired Frida Hansdotter won in Flachau on January 10 2017. 
  • Mikaela has recorded a top-two finish in 21 of the last 22 women's World Cup slalom races, including in each of the last 13 since a 'DNF' in Lenzerheide on January 28, 2018.
  • Mikaela can become the first alpine skier, male or female, to record 14 successive slalom podiums in the World Cup. She now shares the record of 13 with Erika Hess (1980-1982). 

Keep an eye on Paula Moltzan, who is excited to be returning to World Cup action after a short break due to some nagging back pain. Nina O’Brien will also start for the women. Nina has shown consistency this season, scoring giant slalom World Cup points in both Soelden, Austria and Killington, Vt., as well as her first parallel slalom points in St. Moritz, Switzerland. 

Check out all the details about who and how to watch below. 

Bryce Bennett
Tommy Biesemeyer
Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Travis Ganong
Jared Goldberg
Wiley Maple
Sam Morse
Steven Nyman

Paula Moltzan
Nina O'Brien
Mikaela Shiffrin

Men’s Downhill Training - Run 1

Men’s Downhill


Official event hashtags: #bormioskiworldcup/#worldcuplienz

All times EST

Friday, Dec. 27
5:30 a.m. - Men’s downhill, Bormio, ITA - Olympic, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday, Dec. 28
4:15 a.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 1, Leinz, Austria - NBC Sports Gold
5:00 a.m. - Men’s downhill, Bormio, ITA - Olympic Channel, Olympic, NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 2, Leinz, Austria - NBC Sports Gold

Sunday, Dec. 29
4:00 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 1, Leinz, Austria - NBC Sports Gold
4:30 a.m. - Men’s alpine combined super-G, Bormio, ITA - Olympic, NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 2, Leinz, Austria - NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Men’s alpine combined slalom, Bormio, ITA - Olympic Channel, Olympic, NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day broadcast
**Next-day broadcast

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