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Bryan Fletcher Takes Olympic Spot

By Tom Kelly
December, 30 2017
Bryan Fletcher celebrates his win in the Olympic Trials to claim his second Team USA Olympic berth. (Getty Images-Matt Stockman)

Veteran Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) came from nearly a minute-and-a-half back after the jump to take victory in the Olympic Trials at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City Saturday, earning a spot on the 2018 Olympic Team. Fletcher caught jump leader Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, Wis.) on the fourth of five laps, outdistancing Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, Wis.) by 12.8 seconds with Ben taking fourth. 

A huge crowd over 3,000 packed the Olympic venue for the mid-morning jump and early-afternoon cross country. The event will be integrated into the NBC show live from the Olympic Trials ski jumping Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Ben Loomis had taken a huge lead with a towering jump Saturday morning, starting the cross country 56 seconds ahead of his brother Adam. Bryan Fletcher ended up with the fastest time in cross country, 38 seconds faster than brother Taylor.

It will be the second Olympics for Bryan Fletcher, a childhood cancer survivor. His brother Taylor, who is seeking to make his third Olympic team, ended up fourth. The full list of Olympic team nominations will be announced the week of Jan. 22. Others can qualify for the team based on international results.

Tricky wind for the morning jump caused challenges for some and opportunities for others. Jumping sixth, Adam Loomis put down an impressive 89.5 meter effort to score 109.1 points. Next up was Taylor Fletcher, one of the pre-event favorites, who was only able to push it out to 80.5 meters. Ben Loomis jumped next with a towering 92.5 meter effort - longest ride of the day - to move into the lead. Only Bryan Fletcher remained with the eventual competition winner dropping into fifth at 86.5 meters.

The grueling cross country course was set at the base of the jumps, with a pair of lollipop-shaped loops partially up each of the two jumps, followed by a terrifying series of downhill switchbacks. The 2k course then climbed back up into the stadium with athletes making five laps.

Ben Loomis went out all alone with brother Adam 56 seconds behind, followed by Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs) and Bryan Fletcher. 

On the first lap, Bryan Fletcher began quickly closing the gap, catching Berend and Good.

“My strategy was to attack early,” said Bryan Fletcher. “I knew if I could catch those guys I had a chance to move up.”

Ben Loomis held his own early in the race. Bryan Fletcher and Adam Loomis hooked up on lap three, getting leader Ben Loomis into their sights. The trio came together late in the race, skiing together for a lap.

While Bryan Fletcher had caught the Loomis brothers, he also knew the race wasn't over. "I would never underestimate those guys," he said. "The level of the team has risen dramatically this year - both on the jumps and cross country. I knew any of those guys were a threat."

On the final lap, Bryan Fletcher made a move to create a small gap but still wasn't sure where he stood with the Loomis brothers.  "When we were skiing together I felt they had fresher legs than I did. I had to play my card in attacking early. Once I had the gap, it was everything I could do to hold it. If it was another 500 meters they might have taken me."

Brother Taylor was disappointed but knew that bridging nearly a two minute gap in a 25 minute race would be tough. "I just didn't have the fire in my legs today," he said after the race.

The win iced an Olympic Team spot for Bryan Fletcher just two weeks after he put himself into strong selection position with a top-10 finish in a World Cup in Ramsau, Austria. Next weekend’s scheduled World Cup in Estonia has been canceled, leaving only three individual World Cups remaining before the end of Olympic selection. 

All of the athletes were a bit in awe of the huge crowds gathered at the Utah Olympic Park. "Part of the reason I was so nervous is that there were so many people out there," said Bryan Fletcher. "In the U.S. this was a real treat for us - so many people out there supporting my teammates and I. We wanted to thank them by putting on a good show. It’s really special to compete on home snow with friends and families cheering us on. It definitely helped me."

Bryan Fletcher indicated he and coaches would discuss his plans now leading up to PyeongChang, while other athletes will be heading for Val di Fiemme, Italy and Chaux-Neuve, France in hope of picking up additional team quota spots for PyeongChang.

RESULTS
Ski Jumping Results 
Official Final Results 
 

Caldwell Opens Tour de Ski in Second

By Tom Kelly
December, 30 2017

A sea of Swiss flags waved proudly as Laurien Van Der Graaf broke away in the finish to take her first career win over American Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.), who was second in the Tour de Ski opener at Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) broke a pole mid-race and finished fifth in the freestyle sprint. It was a strong overall day for the U.S. Ski Team with five U.S. women and three men qualified into the heats. Sergey Ustugov of Russia won for the men.

Diggins qualified second with Caldwell third as four U.S. women cracked the top 15 coming into the heats. Course conditions were soft with freshly fallen snow and temperatures just below freezing.

In the opening quarter-final, Caldwell took the win with Rosie Brennan (Park City, Utah), who qualified 15th, finishing third. Diggins advanced in the second heat with Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vt.) fourth. Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), qualifying 13th, was in the mix in the third heat before getting boxed out and losing momentum, finishing third. Bjornsen ended up 14th, Brennan 15th and Sargent 20th.

The finish was Caldwell's best ever in a freestyle sprint. “I really like this sprint course and I was psyched to have some good feelings today,” said Caldwell. “It's a tricky course because it's at altitude, so pacing is important.”

Caldwell’s strategy was to ski smoothly start to finish, saving pop for the finish stretch. In the finals, Caldwell was in the mix from the start. “I got a little tired in the final stretch, but was thrilled with second place,” she said. “Our techs did an incredible job with skis and my tech and I chose a pair that felt like they were climbing really well.”

Diggins showed some truly gutsy performances across the heats - snapping poles in both the quarterfinals and finals due to the fierce pack racing. “I was really proud of how I skied today,” said Diggins. “I raced with guts and never, never, never gave up. My fitness is definitely there and ready for a good tour. It feels good to feel strong, and not tired! Wow!” 

Not far out of the start in the opening heat, another athlete kicked into the tip of Diggins’ pole just as she had planted all her weight on it, so it shattered. Technician Eli Brown came running, throwing a replacement pole like a javelin but couldn’t reach Diggins. What was most impressive was that she stayed in contact with the pack for nearly a hundred meters before Coach Matt Whitcomb reached her with a replacement. Diggins then hammered up through the field to get back into contention.

In the final, Diggins’ was in the heart of the pack rounding a corner when Van Der Graaf contacted her pole and it broke. While she got a replacement quickly, it took her out of the prime racing line and with only 700 meters to go, there wasn’t enough time to catch the pack.

“It wasn’t the fault of my Swix poles at all,” said Diggins. “If a pole gets kicked when under weight, it’s going to shatter to pieces.”

“I worked hard on my sprinting all summer in hopes of being able to be more competitive in Tour events,” said Brennan, whose 15th was a career-best sprint finish. “So I am thrilled to have a strong result to back my summer training. Christmas break is always challenging because it's not all that long and it's a hard balance of rest and training. I managed to stay healthy over the holidays so I think this result lets me know I did a good job with  my training and my fitness is still good.”

Three U.S. men made the heats but were unable to advance to the semi-finals. Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.), a past winner in Lenzerheide, was 15th, Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.), skiing in his eight Tour de Ski, finished 20th and Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) was 25th.

“This result definitely gives me a boost of confidence going into another race I love in Oberstdorf,” said Caldwell. “It was also really fun to ski some heats with Jessie today. We train with each other all summer and fall, so it's always fun to be racing well together. I'm very impressed with her result, especially since she broke two poles. I have no doubt that today could have been a podium day for her as well.” 

Saturday’s opener was the first of seven stages in nine days for the Tour de Ski. Sunday’s race will move over to classic distance racing. The entire Tour de Ski will be streamed live by the Olympic Channel with broadcast coverage of all women’s races on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA TV.

RESULTS
Men's Freestyle Sprint 
Women's Freestyle Sprint 

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
*schedules subject to change

Dec. 31
4:30 a.m. – Men’s 15k mass start – Olympic Channel TV
9:00 a.m. – Women’s 10k – Olympic Channel TV

Brothers Fletcher to Battle it Out for Olympic Spot

By Tom Kelly
December, 29 2017
Olympic Trials Stadium
The nordic combined course will wind through the jump stadium five during Saturday's Olympic Trials.

Call it brotherly love now, but come Saturday Bryan and Taylor Fletcher are expected to battle it out head-to-head for a spot on the 2018 Olympic Nordic Combined Team and a $10,000 winner-take-all payout. The Olympic Trials for nordic combined kick off a weekend of events at Park City’s Utah Olympic Park.

A field of nine athletes will be vying for one nordic combined team spot with ski jumping beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the 10k cross country at 1:00 p.m. It’s free for spectators.

Despite being brothers, the Fletchers each want the win. “It’s an interesting dynamic.,” said Bryan.  “We’re each working together to be the best each of us can be. But we also know that the two of us are ultimately gunning for the line. I might keep a few tactics to myself.”

Brother Taylor, acknowledged as one of the top nordic combined cross country skiers in the world, summed up the grueling five-lap course simply: “It will be deadly. I hope we all stay on our feet on the downhills as they are very fast.”

The two kilometer course is situated in the jump stadium with the start and finish in the outrun. Spectators will see the athletes five times. The stadium is the high point of the course which screams down a twisty turn set of downhills - including a few near-180-degree corners - before a long, gut wrenching climb back up.

A key for Taylor will be how he jumps Saturday morning. ”My jumping is still not where I am wanting it to be but is very close to being competitive,” he said. “I am looking for one solid jump tomorrow and I think the rest will end up on track.”

Brother Bryan is in an interesting position seeking to make his second Olympic team (Taylor is shooting for his third). A top 10 World Cup finish in Ramsau, Austria has put him into team qualifying position. “That doesn’t change my approach at all,” he said. “Theres a lot of money on the line. And nothing’s guaranteed for Olympic selection - other athletes could get top 10s, too.”

While Saturday’s winner will get a trip to PyeongChang, the remainder of the team will be announced the week of January 22.

Both the Fletchers also know full well that their position is not secure. According to Bryan, the entire team is skiing at a high level right now. In Friday’s jump training, Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, Wis.) led both rounds. Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Stephen Schumann (Park City, Utah) also looked strong in training jumps.

The event will be televised on NBC, airing Sunday beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Snow to Greet Tour de Ski Opener

By Tom Kelly
December, 29 2017
lenzerheide tour de ski
Snow blankets Lenzerheide for the final Tour de Ski training session.

It's a winter wonderland in the Swiss canton of Graubunden with more snow expected overnight as the 12th edition of the Tour de Ski gets set to start on Saturday in Lenzerheide. A strong U.S. Ski Team contingent of 11 athletes, including four past stage winners, is expected on the starting line for the opening freestyle sprint.

A huge crowd turned out for the team presentation Friday night. Thousands are expected in Lenzerheide over the weekend for three straight days of racing.

The USA is expected to be strong in Saturday's skate sprint including Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) for the women, along with Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.) for the men. Randall is still wearing a boot to protect a sore foot but is having no issues skiing.

"The venue looks great now - good snow, and the courses are well set for the sprint and distance races," said U.S. Ski Team coach Jason Cork. "There is some additional snow forecast for tomorrow’s skate sprint, which could make things a bit messy." Skies are expected to clear with warmer temperatures for Sunday's classic distance races. Monday will be a skate pursuit.

"We do expect it to be a little warmer on Sunday for classic races, but not too crazy to make waxing tough," added Cork. "The team is all healthy and looking forward to getting things rolling. And the wax truck will make a huge difference in labor this year." 

A lot has changed since the Tour de Ski began in the 2006-07 season and even since the U.S. Ski Team sent a lone one-person team to the Tour for the first time in 2010. 

"When I first raced the Tour de Ski there was one athlete, one coach, one technician sitting three across in a cargo van," said Newell, who will be skiing in his eight Tour. "Now we have one of the most competitive teams and one of the most competitive waxing rigs. The waxing truck was designed for high stakes, high stress, back-to-back racing like we have during the Tour. We are all motivated to come together as a professional unit and show the world what we can do."

Newell blazed the way starting in the 2010 Tour. A year later, Kris Freeman was seventh overall for the men with Randall 21st. Since then, Randall, Diggins and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.) have all posted top-10 Tour finishes. Diggins was fifth a year ago, match the American best result of Stephen.

Over the past eight years, four Americans have won stages - Diggins, Randall, Hamilton and Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.). 

The entire Tour de Ski will be streamed live on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel mobile app. Saturday's opening sprint will be televised live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA TV.

Shiffrin Third In Lienz GS

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 29 2017
Shiffrin Lienz 12-29-17
Mikaela Shiffrin finished third at the FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Lienz, Austria, Friday. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Laurent Salino)

LIENZ, Austria (Dec. 29, 2017) – In one of the tightest finishes on the FIS Ski World Cup circuit this season, Italy’s Federica Brignone edged out Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg and Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) by just 0.08 seconds to win Friday’s giant slalom in Lienz, Austria.

In finishing third, Shiffin picked up her ninth podium result of the season and maintained her overall World Cup lead over Rebensburg. However, with her second-place finish, Rebensburg moved into the overall World Cup giant slalom lead by 13 points over Shiffrin.

Up next, the women compete in a city event in Oslo, Norway on New Year’s Day, followed by a night slalom in Zagreb, Croatia on Jan. 3.
 

Cochran-Siegle Leads Three Americans Into Top 20

Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt.) led three Americans into the top 20 in Friday’s FIS Ski World Cup alpine combined event in Bormio, Italy.

Alexis Pinturault of France won Friday’s race, Italy’s Peter Fill was second, followed by Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud in third.  Cochran-Siegle was 14th, followed by Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah) in 15th and Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.) in 19th.

“When I kicked out of the start gate, I wasn’t able to let it go as much,” said Cochran-Siegle, who tweaked his knee earlier this week in downhill training. “But there is some good that I am able to take away from this race, and some things I still need to work on.

“I think it’s good that we’re all in the points and we can move forward from today,” he added. “But we also have a lot of work to do as well.”

Italy’s Dominik Paris, who won Thursday’s downhill, took the lead early after posting the top time in Friday’s downhill portion of the alpine combined. He was well on his way to his second-straight World Cup victory until he straddled a gate toward the bottom of the afternoon slalom course.

Up next, the men compete in compete in a city event in Oslo, Norway on New Year’s Day, followed by a night slalom in Zagreb, Croatia on Jan. 4.

RESULTSRESULTS
Women’s giant slalom
Men’s alpine combined

HOW TO WATCH
Dec. 29
12:00 p.m. – Women’s giant slalom; Lienz – NBCSN (same day delay)

Jan. 1
10:00 a.m. City event; Oslo - Olympicchannel.com

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

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

World Cup Victory No. 36 For Shiffrin

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 28 2017
Shiffrin Lienz 12-28-17
Mikaela Shiffrin built a 1.14-second first-run lead in Thursday’s FIS Ski World Cup slalom in Lienz, Austria. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Laurent Salino)

LIENZ, Austria (Dec. 28, 2017) – In her classic dominating style, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) built up a huge advantage on her first run, then charged in the second to win her 36th career FIS Ski World Cup race on a rutted slalom track in Lienz, Austria, Thursday.

“They did a really great job preparing (the course) after the rain and the snowfall. It was not easy, but it was a pleasure to ski,” Shiffrin said following her 27th career World Cup slalom victory.

Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener was second, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter in third. Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, Wyo.), whose father Pepi – the 1964 Olympic slalom gold medalist - grew up in Lienz, was 25th.

Shiffrin, who scored her first World Cup podium in slalom in Lienz in 2011, skied to a 1.14-second first-run advantage over Hansdotter. In the second run, she charged the top portion of the course, throttled back a bit in the steep middle section and then in classic Shiffrin style, charged to the finish to win by 0.89 seconds.

“There were some spots where I felt like I was going forward really well, and then there were some mistakes and spots where I was taking it easier,” Shiffrin said. “I just wanted to make sure I got to the finish.”

With her victory, Shiffrin extended her overall World Cup lead to almost 400 points over Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg. She also leads the overall World Cup slalom, giant slalom and downhill standings.

Up next, the women race giant slalom Friday in Lienz.

Bennett Leads American Downhillers in Bormio

Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.) finished 16th in Thursday’s FIS Ski World Cup downhill in Bormio, Italy to lead three Americans into the top 25.

Dominik Paris of France edged out Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal by 0.04 second for his eighth World Cup downhill victory. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud was third. Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah) was 18th and Wiley Maple (Aspen, Colo.) was 24th.

The men race an alpine combined Friday in Bormio.

RESULTS
Women’s slalom
Men’s downhill

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
*schedules subject to change

ALPINE
Dec. 28
12:00 p.m. – Women’s slalom; Lienz – NBCSN (same day delay)

Dec. 29
4:30 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 1; Lienz – olympicchannel.com
5:30 a.m. – Men’s combined - downhill; Bormio – olympicchannel.com
7:00 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 2; Lienz – Olympic Channel TV
8:30 a.m. – Men’s combined - slalom; Bormio – Olympic Channel TV
12:00 p.m. – Women’s giant slalom; Lienz – NBCSN (same day delay)
 

 

World Cup Back in Action in Bormio, Lienz

By Megan Harrod
December, 27 2017
Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin looks to build upon her overall World Cup lead with slalom and giant slalom events this week in Lienz, Austria (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Christophe Pallot)

With the Christmas holiday behind us and turkey, Glühwein and sugar cookies in our stomachs, we turn our focus to the FIS Ski World Cup in Bormio, Italy for the American Downhillers and Lienz, Austria for the women’s tech team.  

The men return to Bormio after a holiday break in Livigno, Italy and Patsch, Austria—where RodelFest 2017 took place. The men’s speed team, as well as Resi Stiegler (Jackson, Wyo.), Tricia Mangan (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Nina O’ Brien (Edwards, Colo.) snagged some rodels and hit the rodel track to celebrate Christmas Eve. Prior to their break, they trained here in Bormio for two days, so this track is familiar, and they’re feeling good. Noticeably missing will be veteran and team leaders Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah) and Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), who both will sit this one out and rest, with their eyes on the prize - PyeongChang in February.

The training results are proof in the pudding that the American Downhillers are feeling comfortable here in Bormio, as Tommy Biesemeyer (Keene, N.Y.) had the seventh fastest time from bib 53, leading six Americans into the top 24. No surprise that the Italians - Peter Fill and Christof Innerhofer - paved the way, followed by the Austrians Mathias Mayer and Hannes Reichelt on the first and only downhill training run. The World Cup has taken a bit of a hiatus from Bormio and returns to this classic Stelvio downhill slope for the first time since December 2013. Of course, it's no surprise that Attacking Viking Aksel Lund-Svindal is the reigning champ on this track. Wednesday’s downhill training run was canceled due to heavy snowfall, and the snow continues to fall, descending upon beautiful old town Bormio. Cross your fingers.

Over in Lienz, Austria, the weather is rough and the rain is falling. Mother Nature plans to transition to snow soon, which the organizers anticipated in advance and changed the schedule to run slalom on Thursday and giant slalom on Friday. Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) headlines the tech crew and comes into Lienz looking to build on her already large overall World Cup lead of 291 points over Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg.

Shiffrin is on a three-race win streak and has amassed 35 victories in her career—including four across four disciplines in this young season (slalom, downhill, giant slalom and parallel slalom). Lienz is also a bit of a second home to veteran Stiegler as it is her father’s hometown. For those of you who don’t know, her father is Austria’s legendary Pepi Stiegler, the 1964 Olympic slalom gold medalist.

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

WOMEN’S STARTERS (Lienz, AUT)
Slalom
Mikaela Shiffrin
Resi Stiegler
Nina O’Brien
Tricia Mangan

Giant Slalom
Mikaela Shiffrin
AJ Hurt
Tricia Mangan

MEN’S STARTERS (Bormio, ITA)
Downhill
Travis Ganong
Bryce Bennett
Jared Goldberg
Tommy Biesemeyer
Wiley Maple
Florian Szewbel*
Sam Morse
Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Drew Duffy

Alpine Combined
Bryce Bennett
Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Jared Goldberg
Drew Duffy
Sam Morse**

*First World Cup Start
**First World Cup Start in Discipline

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST 

Dec. 28
4:30 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 1; Lienz –
olympicchannel.com
5:30 a.m. – Men’s downhill; Bormio – Olympic Channel TV
7:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 2; Lienz – Olympic Channel TV
12:00 p.m. – Women’s slalom, run 2; Lienz – NBCSN (same day delay)

Dec. 29
4:30 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 1; Lienz –
olympicchannel.com
5:30 a.m. – Men’s combined - downhill; Bormio – olympicchannel.com
7:00 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 2; Lienz – Olympic Channel TV

8:30 a.m. – Men’s combined - slalom; Bormio – Olympic Channel TV
12:00 p.m. – Women’s giant slalom; Lienz – NBCSN (same day delay)

RESULTS
Men’s Downhill Training 1

START LISTS
Men’s Downhill
Women’s Slalom

 

U.S. Athletes Wrap Up 2017 With Olympic Trials, World Cup Events

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 27 2017
Tommy Biesemeyer finished seventh in Tuesday’s FIS Ski World Cup downhill training run in Bormio, Italy.
Tommy Biesemeyer finished seventh in Tuesday’s FIS Ski World Cup downhill training run in Bormio, Italy. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Christophe Pallot)

The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team has a few more competitions to wrap up before heading into the New Year. 2017 was a fantastic year for all of the athletes, and they’ll be calling on all the medals, podiums and globes they’ve won to propel them to Best in the World finishes in 2018 at the Olympic Winter Games.

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.

U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Ski Jumping & Nordic Combined
Members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic team are going to be determined this week at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in ski jumping and nordic combined. Athletes will compete at the 2002 Olympic venues at the Utah Olympic Park with nordic combined on Dec. 30 and ski jumping on Dec. 31. Winners in each event will go on to represent Team USA at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, Utah) is the only 2014 veteran seeking a repeat berth on Team USA. National champions Nita Englund (Iron Mountain, Mich.) and Nina Lussi (Lake Placid, N.Y.) will also be looking to make their first Olympic team, as will Tara Geraghty-Moats (W. Fairlee, Vt.). The men’s ski jumping Olympic team spot will be hotly contested between a group of rising stars in the sport, including Kevin Bickner (Wauconda, Ill.) and Will Rhoads (Park City, Utah). 2014 Olympians Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) will be the favorites in nordic combined.

FIS Women’s Ski World Cup - Lienz, AUT
The women’s tech team will race a slalom and giant slalom Dec. 28-29. This week’s TV schedule includes live coverage on Olympicchannel.com and a rebroadcast of both races on NBCSN. Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) will once again be leading the charge as she looks to add to her current overall lead and 35 World Cup wins.

FIS Men’s Ski World Cup - Bormio, ITA
The men’s tour has landed in Italy for a downhill and alpine combined Dec. 28-29. The U.S. will have nine athletes in Thursday’s downhill, including Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.), and Tommy Biesemeyer (Keene, N.Y.) - who was seventh in Tuesday’s training run. Wednesday’s downhill training run was canceled due to snow. Friday’s alpine combined will feature downhill followed by a slalom. Combined starters include Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.), Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt.), Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah), Drew Duffy (Warren, Vt.) and Sam Morse (Sugarloaf, Maine).

FIS Cross Country World Cup - Tour de Ski, Lenzerheide, SUI
The grueling, seven-stage Tour de Ski kicks off this weekend, Dec. 30 - Jan. 1. The tour will cover three stops in three nations over a nine-day period before the Sunday, January 7 finale. The opening in Lenzerheide includes a freestyle sprint, followed by classic distance racing and a freestyle pursuit. U.S. athletes selected to compete include Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash), Paddy Caldwell (Lyme, N.H.), Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.), Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.), Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), Rosie Brennan (Park City, Utah), Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.), Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.), Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska), Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vt.) and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.).

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

ALPINE
Dec. 28
4:30 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 1; Lienz – olympicchannel.com
5:30 a.m. – Men’s downhill; Bormio – Olympic Channel TV
7:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 2; Lienz – Olympic Channel TV
12:00 p.m. – Women’s slalom, run 2; Lienz – NBCSN (same day delay)

Dec. 29
4:30 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 1; Lienz – olympicchannel.com
5:30 a.m. – Men’s combined - downhill; Bormio – olympicchannel.com
7:00 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, run 2; Lienz – Olympic Channel TV

8:30 a.m. – Men’s combined - slalom; Bormio – Olympic Channel TV
12:00 p.m. – Women’s giant slalom; Lienz – NBCSN (same day delay)

CROSS COUNTRY
Dec. 30
7:00 a.m. – Men’s and women’s sprints – Olympic Channel TV

Dec. 31
4:30 a.m. – Men’s 15k mass start – Olympic Channel TV
9:00 a.m. – Women’s 10k – Olympic Channel TV

Jan. 1
4:30 a.m. – Women’s 10K pursuit – Olympic Channel TV
7:00 a.m. – Men’s 15k – Olympic Channel TV

SKI JUMPING
Dec. 31
1:00 p.m. – Men’s and women’s ski jumping – NBC (streaming at nbcsports.com)
 

Olympic Spots On the Line in Utah

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 22 2017
The winners of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials will earn an automatic spot to their respective Olympic teams. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

PARK CITY, Utah (Dec. 22, 2017) – Three more skiing athletes nominated to the 2018 U.S. Olympic team will be determined next week at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in ski jumping and nordic combined. Athletes will compete at the 2002 Olympic venues at the Utah Olympic Park with nordic combined on Dec. 30 and ski jumping on Dec. 31. Winners in each event will go on to represent Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang Feb. 9-25.

After making their Olympic debut in 2014, a talented group of athletes will be looking to qualify for the second-ever women’s U.S. Olympic Ski Jumping Team. Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, Utah) is the only 2014 veteran seeking a repeat berth on Team USA. National champions Nita Englund (Iron Mountain, Mich.) and Nina Lussi (Lake Placid, N.Y.) will also be looking to make their first Olympic team, as will Tara Geraghty-Moats (W. Fairlee, Vt.).

The men’s ski jumping Olympic team spot will be hotly contested between a group of rising stars in the sport. Kevin Bickner (Wauconda, Ill.) is coming off the best season by a U.S. jumper in over a decade, including the setting of a new American distance record, while local Will Rhoads (Park City, Utah) will be looking to make a statement on his hometown hill. Rhoads, who scored his career first World Cup points earlier in December, has been dominant at the Utah Olympic Park with three U.S. titles there the past three seasons.

2014 Olympians Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) will be leading the charge in nordic combined. Bryan Fletcher is coming off his best weekend in several years on the World Cup tour including a top-10 finish. The event will feature a single jump on the Utah Olympic Park's HS100-meter hill followed by a 10k cross country race on trails at the base of the jump, engineered to keep the event compact for spectators and television.

NBC Sports Group will broadcast the Trials nationally, including live coverage of Sunday’s ski jumping events on NBC.

Park City-based U.S. Ski & Snowboard is producing the event in concert with the United States Olympic Committee and the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation with support from the Utah Sports Commission and Park City Chamber and Visitors Bureau. The Trials are an excellent representation of the positive legacy from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The Utah Olympic Park remains as both a prominent venue for elite athlete training and as a base for programs to bring youth into winter sport.

General admission of the event is free, and VIP tickets can be purchased online at utaholympiclegacy.org. For more information on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in ski jumping and nordic combined, visit usskiandsnowboard.org.

 

2018 U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM TRIALS - SKI JUMPING & NORDIC COMBINED
Event Schedule (times MST)
*subject to change

Nordic Combined – Saturday, Dec. 30
8:30 a.m. – Venue open to public
9:40 a.m. – HS100 Trial Jump
10 a.m. – HS100 Competition Jump
1 p.m. – 10k Race
1:45 p.m. – Awards

Ski Jumping – Sunday, Dec. 31
10:35 a.m. – Men’s Trial Jump
10:40 a.m. – Women’s Trial Jump
11:20 a.m. – Men’s Competition Jump 1
11:30 a.m.  – Women’s Competition Jump 1
11:50 a.m.  – Men’s Competition Jump 2
12:00 p.m.  – Women’s Competition Jump 2
12:20 p.m. – Awards

Broadcast & Streaming Schedule (times EST)
Dec. 31 – 1 p.m. – Men’s and women’s ski jumping – NBC

Kauf Lands Back-to-Back Podiums

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 22 2017

THAIWOO, China (Dec. 22, 2017) – Coming off a win on Thursday, Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) skied to another top result, landing a second-place finish on day two of competition at Thaiwoo Resort. With the two-podium weekend, Kauf retains the yellow World Cup leader’s bib and has met objective criteria to be nominated for the 2018 U.S. Olympic mogul team.

Kauf skied confidently throughout qualifications and finals, posting the highest scores in each round. She was the last competitor down the course once again in the super finals, putting down a clean, fast run and missing out on first place by only 0.8 points.

"Going into today, I knew I could be on the podium again with my run," said Kauf. "I just repeated in my head, 'ski your run,' and it settled my nerves a little. It's absolutely incredible to take home two podiums. I'm so happy to go home for a little break and come back in January still wearing the yellow bib."

"Jaelin introduced herself to the world this week," said U.S. Ski Team head moguls coach Matt Gnoza. "It's great to see all the work she put in during the prep period pay off. She proved she's one of the fastest mogul skiers and, with this week's performance, she has proven that she can dominate in both singles and duals."

Kazakstan’s Yulia Galysheva, who finished second to Kauf on Saturday, took home the win. Canada’s Andi Naude was third. The top U.S. women included 17-year-old Olivia Giaccio (Redding, Conn.), who posted her best result of the season so far, advancing to the super finals and finishing sixth. Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.), Keaton McCargo (Telluride, Colo.) and Nessa Dziemian (East Hampstead, N.H.) finished eighth, 11th and 15th respectively.

On the men’s side, U.S. skiers Troy Murphy (Bethel, Maine) and Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.) both advanced to the finals but were unable to break into the super final, finishing eighth and 10th respectively. Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury secured his 45th career World Cup win followed by Kazakstan’s Dmitriy Reikherd in second and Australia’s Matt Graham in third.

The FIS Freestyle moguls World Cup tour takes a break for the Holidays before resuming on Jan. 6, 2018 in Calgary, Canada.

RESULTS
Women’s moguls
Men’s moguls