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Weather Claims Oberstdorf Sprint

By Tom Kelly
January, 3 2018
oberstdorf wind rain
Heavy wind and rain forced cancelation of the fourth stage of the Tour de Ski. (Getty Images/AFP)

Severe weather has forced the International Ski Federation to cancel stage four of the Tour de Ski in Oberstdorf, Germany. A huge rainstorm with strong winds and lightning descended on the German community during the women's classic sprint qualifying, which did run to its conclusion. The men's qualifying and both men's and women's heats were canceled.

The results of the women's sprint will be used for FIS points but not for either World Cup or Tour de Ski rankings. The sprint will not be rescheduled and the Tour will have only six stages, not seven. The classic sprint was the final Olympic selection race for a top-eight finish for the U.S. skiers.

In women's qualifying, Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) was second with Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vt.) ninth. Rosie Brennan (Park City, Utah) was 21st. Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash) finished outside the top 30.

The team woke to a wet but calm morning with a forecast of heavy rain and win at about start time for women’s qualifying. The storm rolled in as planned and played a factor in the qualifying race with wind, rain and hail impacting athletes. Some banners and inflatable displays were blown away by the wind.

As the men’s qualifying was set to begin, coach Jason Cork reported a strong microburst with debris blowing onto the course and trees falling onto the test track. Thunder and lightning accompanied the storm. Much of the on-course fencing was damaged between the women’s and men’s qualifying rounds.

“We’re grateful for the decision by FIS and the organizing to cancel the race in the interest of safety,” said U.S. Ski Team Coach Matt Whitcomb. “This is the first time I’ve seen lightning at a World Cup and it created stress for our staff and the athletes.”

The Team’s new wax truck got a lot of use as athletes gathered to weather the storm and ride stationary bikes.

One skier who may have gotten a break is Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.). Caldwell, who has won the Oberstdorf classic sprint in the past, was sick and did not start. Because of the cancelation, she will still be able to continue in the Tour de Ski if she chooses.

U.S. Championships Open in Anchorage

By Tom Kelly
January, 3 2018
Anchorage training
Athletes get in a final warmup in Anchorage's Kincaid Park prior to the opening of the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships.

Nearly 400 athletes are on hand this week in Anchorage's Kincaid Park for the 2018 L.L.Bean U.S Cross Country Championships. The six-day event opens Wednesday, January 3, continuing through Monday, January 8. All events will stream live on U.S. Ski & Snowboard's Facebook channel.

Top athletes at the U.S. Championships will be vying for additional Olympic quota spots. While the primary team qualifying will come from World Cup results, additional spots will come from the event. Olympic nominations will be announced the week of January 22.

The U.S. Championships will also be used to select the U.S. team that will compete in the FIS World Junior Championships and U23 World Championships to be held in Goms, Switzerland January 28 - February 3. A team will also be selected for the U18 Nordic Nations Championship in Vuokatti, Finland at the same time.

Among the anticipated leaders will be SuperTour leaders Ben Lustgarten (Burlington, Vt./Craftsbury Nordic) and Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Common, Vt./Craftsbury, Vt.). Lustgarten won his first U.S. title a year ago in the 30k classic. Patterson took a pair of medals a year ago at Soldier Hollow, Utah and two U.S. titles in 2016.

Some of the top athletes from the World Cup tour will be in Anchorage seeking spots on the Olympic Team. Among them are Noah Hoffman (Aspen, Colo./Ski & Snowboard Club Vail), Scott Patterson (APU Nordic/Anchorage) and Chelsea Holmes (Anchorage/APU Nordic).

The action opens with the women's 10k freestyle Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Alaska time, with the men going out with a 15k freestyle at 12:30 p.m.

Live Streaming Schedule
2018 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships

Schedule subject to change

Live race results

Wednesday, January 3
2:00 p.m.  EST - Women's 10k freestyle
4:30 p.m. EST - Men's 15k freestyle

Friday, January 5
2:00-3:30 p.m. EST - Men's and women's freestyle sprints - qualifiers
4:45-8:00 p.m. EST - Men's and women's freestyle sprints - heats

Sunday, January 7
2:00-7:00 p.m. EST
Men's 30k classic mass start
Women's 20k classic mass start
Junior men's 10k classic mass start
Junior women's 5k classic mass start

Monday, January 8
2:00-3:30 p.m. EST - Men's and women's classic sprints - qualifiers
4:45-8:00 p.m. EST - Men's and women's classic sprints - heats

 

Final Olympic Selection Events are Underway

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 2 2018
Weekly Preview 1-2-18
Ted Ligety (left), Jessie Diggins and Jaelin Kauf are all in action in World Cup events this week. (Getty Images)

Happy New Year from U.S. Ski & Snowboard! The countdown is on to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and athletes have just three weeks of qualifying competition left to achieve nominations to their respective Olympic teams. January will feature a host of competitions both abroad and on American soil, including Toyota U.S. Grand Prix stops at Snowmass, Colorado and Mammoth Mountain, California, and FIS Freestyle World Cups at Deer Valley Resort, Utah and Lake Placid, New York.

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 - Zagreb, CRO + Kranjska Gora, SLO
The U.S. tech women will get to put on a show under the lights with night slalom in Zagreb, Croatia on Jan. 3. The tour then moves to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Jan. 6-7 for a giant slalom and slalom. Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) is expected to compete in all three events and will be favored to add more World Cup podiums to the 11 she’s already landed this season. Other familiar U.S. faces include Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, Wyo.) and Nina O’Brien (Edwards, Colo.).

FIS Men’s Ski World Cup - Zagreb, CRO + Adelboden, SUI
The men’s Alpine team follow the women with their own night slalom in Zagreb, Croatia on Jan. 4 and then Adelboden, Switzerland will host a giant slalom and slalom Jan. 6-7. Skiers expected to race throughout the week include Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah), David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, Colo.) and Nolan Kasper (Warren, Vt.), who’s returning to the World Cup after two years of injury.

FIS Freestyle World Cup - Calgary, CAN
The U.S. Ski Team moguls athletes kick off the New Year with a World Cup event in Calgary, Alberta on Jan. 6. The event will take place at the 1988 Olympic Park. Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) and Troy Murphy (Bethel, Maine), who both landed podiums at the last World Cup in China, will be leading the charge into the third Olympic selection event of the season.

FIS Freestyle World Cup - Moscow, RUS
The aerials World Cup tour continues with a city event on scaffolding in Moscow Jan. 6. U.S. athletes have historically done well on the Moscow site; Mac Bohonnon (Madison, Conn.), Jon Lillis (Rochester, N.Y.) and Madison Olsen (Park City, Utah) landed podiums there in 2016.

FIS Cross Country World Cup - Tour de Ski: Oberstdorf, GER + Val di Fiemme, ITA
Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) all landed podiums in the first three stages of the Tour de Ski. The Tour continues with a stop in Oberstdorf, Germany Jan. 3-4 followed by the finale in Val di Fiemme, Italy Jan. 6-7. Diggins and Bjornsen are currently sitting third and fifth in the Tour standings.

FIS Ski Jumping World Cup - Innsbruck + Bischofshofen, AUT
Coming off strong performances at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, 2018 Olympic Team member Michael Glasder (Cary, Ill.), Kevin Bickner (Wacounda, Ill.) and Will Rhoads (Park City, Utah) move into the final stops of the Four Hills Tournament in Austria.

FIS Snowboard World Cup - Lackenhof, AUT
Riders will compete in a pair of parallel giant slalom races Jan. 5-6.

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

ALPINE
Jan. 3
7:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 1; Zagreb – olympicchannel.com
10:00 a.m.  – Women’s slalom, run 2; Zagreb  – Olympic Channel TV

Jan. 4
6:45 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 1; Zagreb – olympicchannel.com
10 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 2; Zagreb – Olympic Channel TV

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

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

FREESTYLE
Jan. 6
12:00 p.m. – Men’s and women’s aerials; Moscow – Olympic Channel TV
3:30 p.m. – Men’s and women’s moguls; Calgary – Olympic Channel TV

CROSS COUNTRY
Jan. 3
8:50 a.m. – Men’s and women’s sprint – olympicchannel.com
12:00 p.m. – Men’s and women’s sprint – Olympic Channel TV (Same day coverage)

Jan. 4
4:00 a.m. – Women’s 10k + Men’s 15k – Olympic Channel TV

Jan. 6
8:15 a.m. – Women’s 10k mass start – olympicchannel.com
9:45 a.m. – Men’s 15k mass start – olympicchannel.com
11:00 a.m. – Women’s 10k mass start – Olympic Channel TV (Same day coverage)
6:00 p.m. – Men’s 15k mass start – Olympic Channel TV (Same day coverage)

Jan. 7
5:30 a.m. – Women’s 9k pursuit – olympicchannel.com
7:30 a.m. – Women’s 9k pursuit – Olympic Channel TV (Same day coverage)
8:30 a.m. – Men’s 9k pursuit – olympicchannel.com
1:30 p.m. – Men’s 9k pursuit – Olympic Channel TV (Same day coverage)

SKI JUMPING
Jan. 3
8:00 a.m. – Men’s HS130 Qualification; Innsbruck – olympicchannel.com

Jan. 4
8:00 a.m. – Men’s HS130; Innsbruck – olympicchannel.com
2:30 p.m. – Men’s HS130; Innsbruck – Olympic Channel TV (SDD)

Jan. 6
11:00 a.m. – Men’s HS140; Bischofshofen – olympicchannel.com
8 p.m. – Men’s HS140; Bischofshofen – Olympic Channel TV (SDD)

SNOWBOARD
Jan. 5
7:00 a.m. – Men’s and women’s PGS; Lackenhof – olympicchannel.com

Jan. 6
5:00 a.m. – Men’s and women’s PGS; Lackenhof – olympicchannel.com

 

Shiffrin Skis with Momentum and Inspiration

By Megan Harrod
January, 2 2018
Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin looks to continue her winning streak in Zagreb on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Heading into an extremely busy month which will culminate with the naming of Team USA, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) is finding not only momentum in her skiing, but also inspiration from the performances of her cross country and ski jumping teammates. And it’s the female athletes who have been in headlines as we roll into 2018.

With podiums by cross country skiers Sophie Caldwell, Sadie Bjornsen and Jessie Diggins in the Tour de Ski and a win by Sarah Hendrickson in the recent U.S. Olympic Ski Jumping Trials, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team women have been fast and furious in the last two weeks. Add to that six podiums by Shiffrin since December 20 – five of those being victories – and the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team has some serious momentum heading into the new year and the upcoming Olympic Games in PyeongChang.  

As she heads into a big tech series with FIS Ski World Cups in Zagreb, Croatia, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia and Flachau, Austria, Shiffrin admits she’s thriving off that momentum and feeding off the success of her #oneteam teammates.

“It’s always really exciting to see teammates from the other sports having success and you see it everywhere – you see it on Instagram and we get the weekly newsletter from U.S. Ski & Snowboard – just seeing how much excitement there is across all the sports,” noted Shiffrin.

“I can get isolated in my own little bubble with ski racing and it’s really fun – especially with the Olympics – to branch out a little bit and look at the other sports and think, ‘Oh yeah, these girls I see at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence training in the summer all of the time are crushing it,” Shiffrin reflected. “Knowing a lot of them on a more personal basis, it’s just really exciting to see them have success and it makes me feel a little more inspired to keep working towards mine.”

Shiffrin goes into the weekend with a healthy 471-point lead in the overall World Cup hunt ahead of Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg and a 135-point lead in the slalom standings over Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova. She will be looking to stand atop the podium at Zagreb and once again be crowned “VIP Snow Queen” as she was in 2013 and 2015 at this venue. In fact, in her last 23 starts in a World Cup slalom, Shiffrin finished on the podium 22 times, including 18 wins, two second-place, and two third-place finishes. The only exception in this run was the Zagreb race a year ago, when she straddled and recorded a DNF in the first run.

“I’m really excited to race tomorrow and just keep this mentality going,” Shiffrin said after Tuesday’s bib draw at the Ice Park in Zagreb’s city center’s King Tomislav Square. It’s good to be back in Zagreb. Last year I had a bit of a heartbreaking race here with the straddle and I’m really looking forward to skiing aggressive on the hill this year, and hopefully continue that all the way down.”

Joining Shiffrin in Wednesday’s slalom will be veteran Resi Stiegler (Jackson, Wyo.), who finished a season-best seventh last year at this venue, as well as Nina O’Brien (Edwards, Colo.) and Megan McJames (Park City, Utah).

On Thursday, all eyes will turn to the men who will also battle for the VIP Snow Queen Trophy. Veteran David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, Colo.) will headline six American men as he looks to find his way back into the top 10 in an incredibly deep and talented men’s slalom field.

The women will then travel to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia for a tech weekend originally scheduled for Maribor, Slovenia, but canceled due to lack of snow and warm temperatures. The men will head to the classically iconic Adelboden, Switzerland venue for giant slalom and slalom, as Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) looks to build on his “Mr. GS” momentum, steadily climbing back up to the top. Not only has Ligety won here in giant slalom (2013), but he also landed on the slalom podium with second in 2006. Keep an eye out for Ligety, as we may see him throwing on the disco sticks once again and jumping into the slalom start gate on Sunday.

Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) has been sidelined with injury the last two seasons and will be returning once again to World Cup competition in Adelboden. His last World Cup start was Schladming, Austria on January 27, 2015. Keep an eye on Kasper, as he has one career podium from 2011 and has worked extremely hard to come back from injuries.

Steve Schlanger and U.S. Ski Team alumnus Steve Porino will call the action in the coming week. See who to watch and where to catch all the action below.

WOMEN’S STARTERS
Zagreb, CRO – Slalom
Mikaela Shiffrin
Resi Stiegler
Nina O’Brien
Tricia Mangan

MEN’S STARTERS 
Zagreb, CRO – Slalom
Michael Ankeny
David Chodounsky
Mark Engel
AJ Ginnis
Robby Kelley
Hig Roberts

NOTE: Final starters for Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, and Adelboden, Switzerland have yet to be solidified. Stay tuned to our social channels for updated information.

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST 
Jan. 3
7:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 1; Zagreb – olympicchannel.com
10:00 a.m.  – Women’s slalom, run 2; Zagreb  – Olympic Channel TV

Jan. 4
6:45 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 1; Zagreb – olympicchannel.com
10:00 a.m. – Men’s slalom, run 2; Zagreb – Olympic Channel TV

Jan. 6
3:30 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 1; Kranjska Gora – olympicchannel.com
4:30 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, run 1; Adelboden – olympicchannel.com
6:00 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 2; Kranjska Gora – NBCSN
7:30 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, run 2; Adelboden – olympicchannel.com
10:00 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, run 2; Adelboden – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)

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

START LISTS
Women’s Slalom

Watch the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 2 2018
Top cross country skiers from across America will compete for national titles this week in Anchorage, Alaska. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Jan. 2, 2017) – Top cross country skiers from across America will compete for national titles, FIS Junior World Championship spots and potential Olympic berths at the 2018 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships Jan. 3 - 8. The week’s competitions will feature two freestyle and two classic events for both men and women, with more than 350 athletes expected to compete. All events will be streamed live on U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Facebook page and on U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s U.S. Cross Country Championships page.

All races in Anchorage are also part of the 2017-18 SuperTour and points will count towards the overall SuperTour titles, Olympic Winter Games selection and international World Cup starts. The long distance and team championships will take place March 23-28 in Craftsbury, Vermont.

Fans can also follow live timing via Superior Timing. More information on the 2018 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships can be found at usskiandsnowboard.org and usnationals2018.com.

2018 L.L.BEAN U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS STREAMING SCHEDULE
*times subject to change
All times EST

Jan. 3
2:00 p.m. - Women's 10k freestyle, men's 15k freestyle

Jan. 5
2:00 p.m. - Men and women’s freestyle sprint

Jan. 7
2:00 p.m. - Women’s 20k classic, men’s 30k classic

Jan. 8
2:00 p.m. - Men and women’s classic sprint

U.S. Cross Country Championships LIVE Stream

Injury Sidelines Ganong For Remainder of Season

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 1 2018
Travis Ganong 1-1-18
Travis Ganong suffered a season-ending injury at the recent FIS Ski World Cup event in Bormio, Italy. (Getty Images - Matthew Stockman)

Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.), one of U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s primary men’s Alpine speed team athletes, suffered an injury at the recent FIS Alpine World Cup event in Bormio, Italy which means he will miss the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea. Post-event assessments by a medical team in the USA established that the injuries Travis sustained included an ACL tear which brings to an end the Californian ski racer’s season.

“I’m obviously disappointed that the injury I sustained in Bormio means my season is over, especially as this is an Olympic year,” said Ganong after his injury was diagnosed. “But I know I will be back, and I will be back stronger and faster than ever. Now my focus is on recovery and on supporting my teammates at the Games in South Korea. We have an incredible team, right across all the disciplines U.S. Ski & Snowboard represents, and I’ll be cheering as loudly as any of our fans when our guys win medals in PyeongChang.”

“Travis was a medal threat in South Korea, for sure,” said Tiger Shaw, CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “He has the speed, talent and experience to win, and he’s tasted podium success already on the world stage, so not having him on our team in PyeongChang is clearly disappointing, but he will recover and he will have many opportunities to win in the future.

“Looking at the team overall, in Ted Ligety and Steven Nyman, we have two more experienced, world class athletes flying the US flag in international men’s alpine competition, and we have some exciting talent coming through the ranks which bodes well for the future. Bryce Bennett, for example, has been showing good consistency this season, as has Jared Goldberg, and now we also have the exciting talent of River Radamus coming through -- a young racer who has just taken part in his first World Cup event. We have a lot to look forward to but, for now, our focus is on achieving our targets across the team in South Korea.”

Shiffrin Rings In New Year With 37th World Cup Win

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 1 2018

OSLO, Norway (Jan. 1, 2018) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) rang in a foggy start to the New Year with her 37th career FIS Ski World Cup victory in the city event dual slalom in Oslo, Norway Monday night. It was her second-career city event victory and her seventh World Cup win so far this season.

Competing on a tight dual slalom course covered in a blanket of fog, Shiffrin and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener both entered the finals undefeated as Shiffrin took the first run by a slim 0.01-seconds. Shiffrin then took the second run by 0.17 seconds to remain undefeated for the evening while picking up another 100 World Cup points. Nineteen-year-old Melanie Meillard defeated Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter in the small final for her first career World Cup podium in third.

“For me, this is totally different than GS or slalom, or a traditional ski race because you have the person next to you. And I always know that my competitors really want to win - everybody wants to win,” Shiffrin said. “Especially tonight with Wendy, she is so hungry, and I have to think ‘OK, I have to be hungry too, and I have to be tougher and a little bit crazy.’ And it worked out really well for me. It’s not always that way … you have to really dig deep.”

With the victory, Shiffrin tied her childhood idol Marlies Schild, and is now sixth on the all-time World Cup win list at age 22.

In the men’s event, Sweden’s Andre Myhrer defeated Austria’s Michael Matt for his first city event win. Germany’s Linus Strasser defeated Great Britain’s Dave Ryding for third. 

With the victory, Shiffrin extended her overall World Cup lead to 471 points over Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, who did not compete Monday. She also further extended her overall World Cup slalom lead over Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who finished tied for fifth.

Up next, the women compete in an evening slalom Jan. 3 in Zagreb, Croatia. The men compete in an evening slalom Jan. 4, also in Zagreb.

For the U.S. women, Shiffrin, Megan McJames (Park City, Utah), Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, Wyo.) and Nina O’Brien (Edwards, Colo.) are scheduled to compete Wednesday. On the men’s side, David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, Colo.), Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, Minn.), Mark Engel (Truckee, Calif.); AJ Ginnis (Vouliagmeni, Greece), Robby Kelley (Starksboro, Vt.) and Hig Roberts (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) are scheduled to compete in Thursday’s slalom.

RESULTS
Men’s city event
Women’s city event

HOW TO WATCH
Jan. 3
10:00 a.m. – Women's slalom; Zagreb - Olympicchannel.com

Jan. 4
10:00 a.m. – Men's slalom; Zagreb - Olympicchannel.com

 

Diggins Gets to Podium in Tour de Ski Pursuit

By Tom Kelly
January, 1 2018
Lenzerheide 10k Pursuit Podium
Second-placed Heidi Weng (left) of Norway, winner Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg of Norway and third-placed Jessie Diggins celebrate during the podium ceremony at the Tour de Ski in Lenzerheide. (Getty Images/AFP - Fabrice Coffrini)

Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) skied a lonely race but held her position to take her first World Cup podium of the season to celebrate the New Year in Lenzerheide, Switzerland Monday. Diggins started third in the 10k freestyle pursuit and held her spot, remaining third after stage three of seven in the Tour. Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) dropped from fourth to fifth as Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Østberg retained her lead.

Swiss hero Dario Cologna took the win in the men's 15k freestyle with Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) continuing to perform well, finishing 22nd.

While Diggins has been having a strong season both on the World Cup and in the Tour de Ski, a podium has eluded her in the opening five weeks of the season. “I’ve been really patient this year and believed in my plan,” she said. “In this Tour I’ve finally been feeling those sharper race feelings again! Which is so much fun!”

Diggins went into the start a minute five seconds behind Østberg and more than 30 seconds from Heidi Weng. So closing the gap would be tough. “Today my plan was to go out hard and ski a gutsy race, and try to put some time into the girls behind me,” said Diggins. “It’s sometimes hard to be skiing alone but I actually loved it because I could just put my head down, hammer, and do my thing!”

Bjornsen admitted it was a bit terrifying to start fourth. “It was my goal to try to catch Jessie, and ski with her, but I knew I needed to get it done in the first kilometer, because she was going to be on a mission,” she said. “I got darned close, but not quite close enough.”

Like Diggins, Bjornsen recognized that she would end up skiing alone. “I could tell right away I was going to be on a solo mission, and needed to really push hard to stay ahead of the group working together behind me,” she said. “I managed to stay ahead until literally the last downhill, and got passed by Krista, so lost one place, but I left the day pretty satisfied. It required digging deep those last kilometers. I was feeling pretty good for the first lap, but started to really burn for the last two.”

In the Tour de Ski rankings, Diggins is third, Sadie Bjornsen fifth and Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) 18th. Erik Bjornsen is 22nd. "The vibe is pretty amazing among our team right now," said Bjornsen. "To have a podium every day of the Tour is pretty exciting!"

“It’s really fun to be in podium position right now in the tour,” said Diggins. "But my plan, as always, is to just take it one day at a time and focus on each stage separately. If I can give my best effort each day, hopefully it all adds up well." 

An ongoing factor for the U.S. Ski Team has been ski preparation. "I was really proud of our wax tech team because the past two races have been extremely tricky waxing conditions with varying snow all over the course," said Diggins. "It was hard to pick skis but my technician (Jason) Cork was so calm and collected and got me through the pre-race testing."

The Tour now takes a short one-day break with athletes traveling to Oberstdorf, Germany for a classic sprint on Wednesday. “I’m really looking forward to a day off, and then some classic sprinting,” said Bjornsen.

The present plan is for all remaining U.S. athletes to start in Oberstdorf, with some dropping out after the two days and heading to a training camp in Ramsau, Austria. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage), who started Saturday, did withdraw before Sunday's classic race to continue to rest a sore foot.

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

Men's Tour de Ski Standings (after 3 of 7 stages)
Women's Tour de Ski Standings (after 3 of 7 stages) 

Men's World Cup Overall Standings 
Women's World Cup Overall Standings
 

Glasder, Hendrickson Head to Olympics

By Tom Kelly
December, 31 2017
Mike Glasder Sarah Hendrickson
Michael Glasder and Sarah Hendrickson celebrate their wins and tickets to PyeongChang. (Getty Images-Matt Stockman)

Ski jumpers Michael Glasder (Cary, Ill.) and Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, Utah) ended up with two things in common after Sunday's Team USA Olympic Trials for ski jumping. Both came into the event to put on a smile and have fun. Now both are heading to PyeongChang. Glasder and Hendrickson each won against very balanced fields in a winner-take-all competition. The remainder of the Team USA ski jumping squad nominations will be announced the week of Jan. 22.

A crowd of over 7,000 packed the Utah Olympic Park - the largest attendance of any event at the Park since the 2002 Olympics, bringing the weekend to nearly 11,000 for the Olympic Trials, which were televised live on NBC.

Both the men's and women's fields were among the tightest in history. Glasder took his win by a mere 1.4 points over Norge Ski Club teammate Kevin Bickner (Barrington, Ill.). Local favorite Will Rhoads (Park City, Utah) was third. All three went 97.5 meters or longer. 

Hendrickson, the only Olympian in the men's or women's field, took a solid win over Abby Ringquist (Park City Utah) with Nita Englund (Florence, Wis.) third. Nina Lussi (Lake Placid, N.Y.) was a strong fourth with the long ride of the day at 98.0 meters, crashing on her second and final jump. 

On the opening jump, Bickner jumped fourth putting it down to 98.5 meters but losing points on landing style but still taking the lead. Glasder was up next, matching Bickner’s 98.5 meters but gaining strong style points for his landing to move in front by a mere 1.5 points. Rhoads closed out the round soaring 95.5 meters, falling more than six points behind Glasder.

In a pressure packed second round, Rhoads pushed it down to 97.0 meters - moving into the lead but not likely enough to hold off his teammates. With the pressure on, Bicker came down and crushed the long ride of the day at 100.0 meters.

Now the pressure shifted to Glasder, final jumper of the day. The veteran soared down the hill, punching down at 98.0 meters - two short of Bickner, but with picture perfect style. As the scores came in, Glasder’s stylish landings won the day by the narrowest of margins.

“Everyone was pumped up - anyone on our team could have won,” said Glasder. “I was the lucky one.”

Glasder had a rough start to his season but was coming off two great competitions earlier in the week in Switzerland with two strong finishes at Continental Cups in Engelberg.

“I was relaxed, feeling good and feeling that my technique was heading in the right direction - it showed today,” he added. “I’m looking to build on this heading to the Olympics.”

Glasder began jumping at age five at the Norge Ski Club in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. “People ask me, ‘where are you from?’ When I tell them I’m from the suburbs of Chicago they say, ‘hey, but there are no mountains there.’” The more than century-old club looked to revitalize itself in 2003, buying a used ski jump from Ely, Minn. Since then, the club has been one of the hottest in the country with athletes like Glasder, Bickner and junior Casey Larson knocking at the door. 

The women’s field provided a pressure packed competition from the start. Jumping sixth in a nine-athlete women’s field, Lussi ignited the competition with a 98.5 meter first jump - longest of the day - to take the early lead. Hendrickson was next going 97.5 but nailing the style to move in front. Ringquist and England came next, but could not match Hendrickson, who took a 6.3 point margin over Ringquist.

In the second round, Englund soared 96.0 meters to challenge. Lussi came back with another long jump at 97.0 meters but lost her footing on landing and crashed. She was taken from the venue and was being evaluated by medical personnel. After a lengthy delay, only Ringquist and Hendrickson were left to go.

Ringquist punched it out to 91.0 meters to move ahead of Englund. Then it all came down to Hendrickson, the 2013 World Champion who has battled surgery after surgery since a training crash in the summer of 2013. She pushed out and flew 93.5 meters, far from long ride of the day but nailing a perfect landing to win both rounds on style points.

Tears flowed freely as she experienced what was certainly her most gratifying win since she took World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy in 2013.

“I never really get the opportunity to jump in front of a home crowd,” said Hendrickson. “For me, my goal was to have fun and smile today. When I got up today that was what I set my mind on. I love ski jumping and that’s why we are all out here.”

Hendrickson has endured years of pain and surgery since her 2013 training crash. And she had a rough opening to the World Cup season earlier in December. “When you show up on competition day you can’t think about the aches and pains and missed training days,” she said. “I’m really happy with how I managed it mentally.”

The high caliber of the U.S. women’s field was a factor that weighed on Hendrickson and others coming into the winner-take-all event. “Honestly, we had five girls who could have won today - it was anybody’s game,” she said. “But you can’t control what the others are doing. It was a difficult field today and I’m just glad I could compete today because four years ago I couldn’t.”

As thousands of spectators flowed up to the Utah Olympic Park Sunday morning, it brought back memories for Hendrickson of the Olympics 16 years ago. “I remember when I was seven years old and walked up to watch the men’s Olympic ski jumping event - that’s when I fell in love with it. I’m a result of the 2002 Olympic legacy that Park City and Salt Lake City has continued to develop for young athletes.”

With his Olympic spot now confirmed, Glasder, who arrived late Friday afternoon from Europe, will return on New Year’s Day to prepare for the final competitions of the prestigious Springertournee - the Four Hills Tournament. Hendrickson, meanwhile, will continue training at home in Park City before heading to the final World Cups before the Olympics in Japan.

RESULTS
Men's Ski Jumping Olympic Trials 
Women's Ski Jumping Olympic Trials 
 

Two Stages, Two Podiums - Bjornsen Follows Caldwell in Tour

By Tom Kelly
December, 31 2017

Two stages, two podiums. The U.S. Ski Team women continued their strong performances Sunday as Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) notched a career first Tour de Ski podium in the women's 10k classic in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Østberg took a convincing win over 2017 Tour de Ski champion Heidi Weng. Russia's Sergey Ustigov won his second straight for the men. 

The USA had five women and one man in the points. Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) was strong for the second straight day in seventh. Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.), on the podium in Saturday's opening freestyle sprint, was 21st, Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.) was 28th and Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vt.) was 30th. Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) was in the points for a second straight day in 27th in the men's 15k classic.

The Americans now have three women in the top seven in the Tour de Ski standings - a first in Tour history. Diggins held onto fourth, Bjornsen moved up to fifth and Caldwell stands seventh.

“Wow, what a dream day,” said Bjornsen. “That was one of my crazier experiences in ski racing.”

It was a tricky day of waxing with icy conditions and tough to kick with any wax combo.

“I decided before the race I was just going to get scrappy and make it work and never give up,” she added. “I had an awesome talk with my wax tech, JP, right before the start of the race, where he told me the most important thing that day was to trust what I do well, and never give up.”

Bjornsen had been running strong throughout the race, but didn’t get a full perspective until 7.5k when coach Matt Whitcomb screamed out to her that she was running second and had a chance to win.

“Suddenly, I had a fire lit under my butt, and I just gave every last bit for the last 2.5k,” said Bjornsen. “It was kinda fun not knowing what was happening, because it felt like a true surprise! A distance classic podium has been a dream of mine since I first started racing World Cup, so that was so fun to achieve that dream goal of mine today. Massive thanks to the team for great skis and congrats to our entire team for a collection of awesome races!”

Diggins echoed Bjornsen on the challenges of the classic track. “Today was such a weird and tricky day with the snow being totally different in different sections of the track,” said Diggins. “But I had no doubt that Sadie would crush it - she’s such a classic skiing machine and I couldn’t be prouder of her! She’s on fire!”

For the second straight day, Diggins had to dig deep into her gut to pull out a strong performance. “I was really proud of how I held it together out there,” she said. “This is not my kind of condition and it was really hard to find kick out there - I felt like I was running, herringboning and bounding up the hills! But just a few years ago a day like today would have wrecked my overall tour time and now I’m able to hold my technique together and keep it flexible as conditions change, so I’m really happy about that!”

In the men's 15k, Erik Bjornsen continued his strong season. "I’m satisfied with the start to the tour," he said. "I was hoping for a little better result in today’s 15k classic, but I can’t be too disappointed with a top 30 finish. I just couldn’t find my rhythm in those tricky conditions today. Glad the big sis could though, that was one exciting finish! Tomorrow should be another great opportunity, I’ll be starting around some big names!"

Action wraps up in Lenzerheide, the first of three stops in the seven-stage Tour, on New Years Day with a men's 15k freestyle pursuit and a women's 10k pursuit. The start of the pursuit will be seeded by results from Sunday's classic races, putting both Bjornsen and Diggins into great position to solidify their Tour standings.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow's skate pursuit," said Diggins. "I’m starting in a little bit of no-mans land but I love the chase and I’ll just put my head down and hammer!"

The Tour de Ski is being live streamed and broadcast daily on the Olympic Channel. The women's 10k pursuit will air on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA TV beginning at 5:00 a.m. EST Monday. The men's 15k classic will stream live at 7:00 a.m. EST.

RESULTS
Men's 15k classic
Women's 10k classic

Men's Tour de Ski Standings (after 2 of 7 stages) 
Women's Tour de Ski Standings (after 2 of 7 stages)