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U.S. Snowboard Team Athletes Poised for Kreischberg World Cup

By Andrew Gauthier
January, 8 2019
Ryan Stassel in Austria.
Ryan Stassel at the 2017 Kreischberg FIS World Cup. (FIS Snowboard - Miha Matavz)

Five U.S. Snowboard Team athletes and two more American athletes are headed to Kreischberg, Austria this weekend to compete in their second FIS Snowboard World Cup slopestyle Saturday and Sunday.

After the first slopestyle World Cup in Secret Garden, China, U.S. Pro Team athletes Lyon Farrell (Haiku, Hawaii) and Ryan Stassel (Anchorage, Alaska) are sitting in fifth and sixth respectively in the FIS Snowboard World Cup slopestyle standings. After making finals in Secret Garden, Stassel and Farrell will be looking for a spot on the podium in Austria.

“I’m really looking forward to Kreischberg,” said Stassel. “The last two events I did there, I ended up on the podium, so I’m hoping to keep that good competition juju going.”

In addition, following a second place in slopestyle at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colorado, Chris Corning (Silverthorne, Colo.) is searching for his first World Cup slopestyle podium of the season to compliment his strong early-season big air results, including a victory Cardrona, New Zealand, and second in Modena, Italy.

Other U.S. Snowboard athletes set to compete include Sean Fitzsimons (Hood River, Ore.) and Judd Henkes (La Jolla, Calif.). Americans Grant Giller (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Will Healy (Riverside, Conn.).

Kreischberg, Austra was home to the 2015 FIS Snowboard World Championships where Stassel was crowned World Champion in slopestyle and his teammate Kyle Mack (West Bloomfield, Mich.) earned third-place. With strong historical performances in Kreischberg, U.S. Snowboard Team athletes are ready for competition to commence in Austria.

HOW TO WATCH
*Subject to change
*All times EST

Snowboard
Saturday, Jan. 12

6:30 a.m. - Men and women’s slopestyle - Kreischberg, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
 

Tuesday Night Lights in Flachau

By Megan Harrod
January, 7 2019
Mikaela Shiffrin Flachau
Mikaela Shiffrin competes under the lights at Flachau in 2018, where she's been crowned "Snow Space Salzburg Princess" three times before. (Erich Spiess-AFP/Getty Images)

The White Circus moves onward, from Zagreb, Croatia to Flachau, Austria for the highly anticipated night slalom under the lights. So, we move from “Snow Queen” to “Snow Space Salzburg Princess,”—a title Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) has enjoyed three times before, in 2013, 2014 and 2018.

Shiffrin will look to sparkle once again under the lights at Flachau, in front of 15,000+ screaming and glühwein-imbibing Austrian ski fans, foaming at the mouth to see the best female slalom skiers in the world take on the Hermann Maier FIS World Cup run. This is Austria, my friends, where skiing is a religion and ski racers are gods and goddesses. Floodlights will fall upon the slope named for the legendary Maier, and the best will be crowned princess, and take home the largest prize purse on the FIS Ski World Cup circuit for women. 

Shiffrin's got a target on her back, and it's not just Slovakia's Petra Vlhova that's aiming for her. Vlhova has finished second to Shiffrin in all five slalom events this season. She laid down the fastest time in Saturday evening's second run at Zagreb, Croatia by a mere .09 seconds, but with a blazing fast first run with a 1.34-second lead—there was no chance for Vlhova, despite a massive mistake by Shiffrin in the middle of the course. Sweden's Frida Hansdotter loves Flachau, and has two victories on the track. And then there's the Swiss, Wendy Holdener, who collected 19 World Cup podiums in slalom, but has yet to claim her first victory. This is currently the record for most World Cup podiums in a single event without winning. That's a hard one to swallow, and to say she wants the victory badly would be a gross understatement. 

Last year in Flachau, Shiffrin found herself in an unfamiliar position—second to Austrian Bernadette Schild, who was perfectly poised to become a hometown hero under the lights. In fact, Shiffrin trailed Schild by a .37-second margin going into second run—which is a massive deficit for Shiffrin and something she was definitely not used to. Though it may be challenging to have a target on your back, it's even more concerning if you're the one Shiffrin is aiming for...and Shiffrin used that as motivation to beat Schild by a whopping 1.31 seconds, and therefore the victory by .94 seconds overall. Wow. Talk about domination. 

Shiffrin is fully aware that she has some stiff competition this season, and you'll want to pay close attention, as she will be gunning for it Tuesday night, under the lights. What's on tap for Shiffrin Tuesday night?

Shiffrin Statistics - Flachau (courtesy of Gracenote Olympic/International Ski Federation):

  • Mikaela Shiffrin has won the last seven World Cup slalom races. She could equal the all-time women's record of eight successive slalom victories in the World Cup, set by Vreni Schneider from 1988 to 1989 and equalled by Janica Kostelic from 2000 to 2001.
  • Shiffrin has won a women's record 37 slalom events on the World Cup. On the men's side, only Ingemar Stenmark (40) has won more World Cup slalom events.
  • Shiffrin has won 12 of the last 13 World Cup slalom races, with the only exception the race in Lenzerheide (28 January 2018) where she failed to finish her second run (winner Petra Vlhová).
  • Shiffrin can become the third woman to win the first six slalom races of a World Cup season after Kostelic (first 8 in 2000/01) and Schneider (all 7 in 1988/89).
  • Shiffrin has collected 52 World Cup race wins in total, seventh most all-time. Schneider (55) and Hermann Maier (54) are in fifth and sixth place respectively.
  • Shiffrin has won three World Cup races in Flachau (all slalom), a joint record among men and women, alongside Janica Kostelic.
  • Shiffrin has claimed seven World Cup slalom victories in Austria, equal to Schneider and only trailing Marlies Schild (9) for most among women.
  • Shiffrin has won 10 World Cup races in total in Austria, one shy of the women's record of 11 held by Schild, Lindsey Vonn, Renate Götschl and Annemarie Moser-Pröll.
  • Shiffrin has claimed 20 podium finishes in ladies' World Cup events in Austria, one fewer than record holders Götschl and Moser-Pröll (21).

Joining Shiffrin in Flachau will be Paula Moltzan (Prior Lake, Minn.), who also skis for the University of Vermont, and has shown some significant promise this season. Not only has Moltzan scored in Killington (17th place), Vermont and Courchevel, France (15th), but she also laid down the 12th fastest run on Saturday in Zagreb before straddling and DNFing second run. Hailing from the Buck Hill, and coached as a young athlete by the legendary Erich Sailer, Moltzan became the first American woman to win slalom gold at World Junior Championships, in 2015 at Hafjell, Norway. Guess who else was in that race? None other than Vlhova. Moltzan is extremely happy to be skiing on the collegiate circuit, but also really enjoying being back on the World Cup again. Fun fact: Moltzan scored her first World Cup points in Flachau in January of 2016, finishing 25th. 

"It's been really fun to be here—the U.S. Ski Team has been really helpful at the races, integrating me into their program, which has been really nice and a huge help for me," Moltzan said after second run in Zagreb. "I'm pretty excited to be heading back to by college team [University of Vermont] and keep on racing back in the U.S. One more [in Flachau], first, before we head back—and I'm hoping to make that the best one."

Catch all of the action on NBC Sports Gold. See who to watch and where to catch all the action below.

STARTERS
Paula Moltzan
Mikaela Shiffrin

START LIST
Women’s Slalom

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST.

Tuesday, Jan. 8
12:00 p.m. - Women’s slalom run 1 - Flachau, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
2:45 p.m.  - Women’s slalom run 2 - Flachau, AUT - NBC Sports Gold

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.

Shiffrin, Vonn Highlight NBC Sports Gold Coverage This Week

By Tom Horrocks
January, 7 2019
Vonn St. Anton
Lindsey Vonn has announced that she’ll start alongside her U.S. Ski Team teammates Laurenne Ross and Alice Merryweather in St Anton, Austria, this weekend. (Getty Images - Mitchell Gunn)

Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) is back in action to kick off the first full week of 2019 World Cup action with a Tuesday evening slalom in Flachau, Austria. NBC Sports Gold will offer exclusive live streaming as Shiffrin goes for her eighth-straight World Cup slalom victory at 12 noon EST for the first run, and 2:45 p.m. EST for the second run.

The first speed events of the season for the women are also scheduled for this weekend in St. Anton, Austria, and Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.), has announced that she’ll start alongside her U.S. Ski Team teammates Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.) and Alice Merryweather (Hingham, Mass.). However, all are anxiously watching the weather forecast closely as snow is expected throughout the week. NBC Sports Gold will offer exclusive live streaming of both the downhill and super-G this weekend.

Though she is the current leader in the World Cup super-G standings, Shiffrin has stated she will not race in this weekend’s super-G and downhill in St. Anton, but does plan to return to speed next weekend in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

On the men’s side, giant slalom and slalom events are scheduled for Adelboden, Switzerland, Saturday, and Sunday. Leading the U.S. Ski Team will be Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt.), Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) and Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.). The Olympic Channel will broadcast the second run both days, with live streaming of the first and second runs available on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold.

Fresh off the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships, newly crowned classic sprint champion Ida Sargent (Craftsbury, Vt.) joins Julia Kern (Waltham, Mass.), Hannah Halvorsen (Truckee, Calif.) Hailey Swirbul (El Jebel, Colo.), and Sophie Caldwell (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) for this weekend’s FIS Cross Country sprint and team sprint events in Dresden, Germany.

On the men’s side, Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.), Kevin Bolger (Sun Valley, Idaho), Erik Bjornsen (Anchorage, Alaska) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.) for sprint action in Dresden. Both days will be streamed live on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold, with daily recaps broadcast on the Olympic Channel. The L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships also wrap up Tuesday in Craftsbury, Vt., with the freestyle sprint. Live streaming begins at 8:45 a.m. EST.

Freestyle kicks back into action with a FIS Freestyle World Cup moguls in Calgary, Canada, their first competition of the new year. Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.), hot off back-to-back first-place finishes in Thaiwoo, China, will be wearing the yellow leader's bib and leading her team into Saturday’s competition. The event will be broadcast live on the Olympic channel and streamed live on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold at 3:30 p.m. EST Saturday.

Font Romeu, France, is hosting the first FIS Freeskiing World Cup slopestyle of 2019, and U.S. Freeski Team members Maggie Voisin (Whitefish, Mont.), Devin Logan (Manchester Center, Vt.), and 2018 Olympic slopestyle silver medalist Nick Goepper (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) are scheduled to compete. Live streaming will be available on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold, with a recap show airing on the Olympic Channel at 2:00 p.m. EST Saturday.

Chris Corning (Silverthorne, Colo.) leads the way for the U.S. Snowboard Team as the FIS Snowboard World Cup circuit continues with a slopestyle event in Kreischberg, Austria, Saturday and Sunday that will stream live exclusively on NBC Sports Gold.

FIS Ski Jumping World Cup continues for both the men and women this weekend, with the men competing in a pair of HS135 events in Val di Fiemme, Italy, and the women competing in two HS137 events in Sapporo, Japan.

Kevin Bickner (Wauconda, Ill.) will be the lone USA Nordic representative in Italy, while current Nordic Combined Continental Cup leader Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, Vt.) will be joined by Nita Englund (Florence, Wis.) and Nina Lussi (Lake Placid, N.Y.), who returns to international competition following a knee injury at last year’s Olympic Trials. OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold will provide live streaming of both events, with a recap show airing on the Olympic Channel Saturday and Sunday.

Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) continues to build form heading into this weekend’s FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Val di Fiemme, Italy, featuring a pair of individual events and a team event. Fletcher, who posted the fasted 10k freestyle skate in last Sunday’s World Cup, will be joined by USA Nordic teammates Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, Wis.) this weekend in Italy. All events Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be streamed on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold.

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

ALPINE
Tuesday, Jan. 8

12:00 p.m. - Women’s slalom run 1 - Flachau, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
2:45 p.m.  - Women’s slalom run 2 - Flachau, AUT - NBC Sports Gold

Saturday, Jan. 12
4:15 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 1 - Adelboden, SUI - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. - Women’s downhill - St. Anton, AUT  - NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 2 - Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

Sunday, Jan. 13
4:15 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1 - Adelboden, SUI - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. - Women’s super-G - St. Anton, AUT  - NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2 - Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

CROSS COUNTRY
Tuesday, Jan. 8

8:45 a.m. - U.S. Cross Country Championships freestyle sprint - Craftsbury, Vt. - U.S. Ski & Snowboard Streaming

Saturday, Jan. 12
7:15 a.m. - Men and women’s sprint - Dresden, GER - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. - Men and women’s sprint - Dresden, GER - Olympic Channel-TV*

Sunday, Jan. 13
6:40 a.m. - Men and women’s team sprint - Dresden, GER - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. - Men and women’s team sprint - Dresden, GER - Olympic Channel-TV*

Monday, Jan. 14
12:00 a.m. - Men and women’s team sprint - Dresden, GER - NBCSN**

FREESKIING
Saturday, Jan. 12

4:20 a.m. - Men and women’s slopestyle - Font Romeu, FRA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
2:00 p.m. - Men and women’s slopestyle - Font Romeu, FRA - Olympic Channel-TV*

FREESTYLE
Saturday, Jan. 12

3:30 p.m. - Men and women’s moguls - Calgary, Alberta - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

NORDIC COMBINED
Friday, Jan. 11

3:55 a.m. - Men’s HS135 - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
7:25 a.m. - Men’s 10k - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

Saturday, Jan. 12
3:55 a.m. - Men’s HS135 - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
8:05 a.m. - Men’s team sprint 7.5k - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

Sunday, Jan. 13
3:55 a.m. - Men’s HS135 - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
8:25 a.m. - Men’s 10k - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

SKI JUMPING
Friday, Jan. 11

11:55 a.m. - Men’s HS135 qualifying - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

Saturday, Jan. 12
2:20 a.m. - Women’s HS137 - Sapporo, JPN - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
9:55 a.m. - Men’s HS135 - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
10:30 a.m. - Women’s HS137 - Sapporo, JPN - Olympic Channel-TV*
5:00 p.m. - Men’s HS135 - Val di Fiemme, ITA - Olympic Channel-TV*
7:50 p.m. - Women’s HS137 - Sapporo, JPN - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

Sunday, Jan. 13
10:55 a.m. - Men’s HS135 - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
10:30 a.m. - Women’s HS137 - Sapporo, JPN - Olympic Channel-TV*
5:00 p.m. - Men’s HS135 - Val di Fiemme, ITA - Olympic Channel-TV*

SNOWBOARDING
Tuesday, Jan. 8

12:45 p.m. - Men and women’s parallel slalom - Bad Gastein, AUT - NBC Sports Gold

Wednesday, Jan. 9
7:00 a.m. - Men and women’s team parallel slalom - Bad Gastein, AUT - NBC Sports Gold

Sunday, Jan. 13
6:30 a.m. - Men and women’s slopestyle - Kreischberg, AUT - NBC Sports Gold

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.

Blunck, Shiffrin Nominated for Team USA Awards - December

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 7 2019
Mikaela Team USA Awards
Mikaela Shiffrin became the first athlete - male or female - to win in all six currently contested alpine disciplines in December. (Martin Rauscher-SEPA.Media/Getty Images)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee has announced finalists for the Team USA Awards, Best of December, which recognize the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes from last month. U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and Colorado natives Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) and Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, Colo.) have each been nominated. 

Shiffrin was nominated for Best Female Athlete of the Month, as a result of her outstanding achievements on the FIS Ski World Cup throughout the month of December, namely winning six world cup races across four different disciplines, and becoming the first athlete – male or female – in the history of the sport to win in all six alpine disciplines.

Blunck, nominated for Best Male Athlete of the Month, won the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe in Copper Mountain, Colorado, and secured a second-place finish in the inaugural modified halfpipe at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colorado.

A total of 10 sports – including alpine skiing, bowling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, long track speedskating, Para Nordic skiing, rugby sevens, sled hockey, swimming and taekwondo – are represented among the 13 finalists across men’s, women’s and team categories. The finalists’ collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes year-round. 

Fans can vote for Shiffrin and Blunck through midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 8 on Team USA's website.

Patterson, Norris Win U.S. Distance Titles

By Reese Brown
January, 6 2019
Men's Start
Men's 30k start at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)

Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury, Vt.) won the women’s 20k freestyle and David Norris (Fairbanks, Alaska) won the men’s 30k freestyle at the L.L. Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vermont, Sunday.

Patterson led the large women’s field out of the start and emerged on the second lap with second place finisher Rosie Frankowski (Minneapolis, Minn.), with the two exchanging leads occasionally. Part way through the second lap, Patterson moved to the front and maintained the lead into the finish. Jessica Yeaton (APU / Australia) was third for the day with Hailey Swirbul (APU / El Jebel, Colo.) being the third American.

“It was great to be skiing here on my home trails as I know these downhills so well and had great skis thanks to my techs,” said Patterson. “It was my focus to ski really smoothly and I worked the transitions, worked the downhills and just smoothly skied away. Today was a really fun race.”

The men battled the entire six-lap race with a lead group of three developing midway into the race.  The group worked together with many lead changes until Norris cracked the group on the final big climb not far from the stadium.  Kyle Bratrud (SMST2 / Eden Prairie, Minn.) was second with Scott Patterson (APU / Anchorage, Alaska) in third.

“There were several lead changes throughout the race and with about one k to go I went to the front and put in a 45-second hard push,” said Norris. “When I checked over my shoulder and saw that I had a little clearance and I figured I committed so I had to push all the way to the line.”

The Championships head into their second rest day and finish on Tuesday with a freestyle sprint.

RESULTS
Men’s freestyle 30k
Women’s freestyle 20k

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST

Tuesday, Jan. 8
8:45 a.m. - U.S. Cross Country Championships freestyle sprint - Craftsbury, Vt. - U.S. Ski & Snowboard Streaming

Diggins Digs Deep to Finish Sixth in Tour de Ski

By Tom Horrocks
January, 6 2019
Diggins
Jessie Diggins climbs the final stretch in stage 7 of the FIS Cross Country World Cup Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, Italy, Sunday. (Getty Images/Action Plus - Pierre Teyssot)

Jessie Diggin (Afton, Minn.) dug deep into the pain cave and wrapped up the FIS Cross Country World Cup Tour de Ski in sixth overall following the brutal 7th stage climb up the famed Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme - well known to be the toughest race of the entire season.

“Today, like yesterday, my body was feeling run down and incredibly tired,” Diggins said after finishing sixth in the stage that averaged 12-percent, with a few pitches reaching 28-percent. “But I was proud of my effort and for never giving up, fighting my way up that crazy mountain! It’s really hard to describe the bone-deep tired feeling you get when you’ve been pushing your body so hard for so long, and it’s insane how painful it is when you finally reach the top of the final climb. It’s also one of the most satisfying feelings in the world because you know you’ve just done something so amazingly hard.”

After winning the 6th stage of the Tour de Ski on Saturday, Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Østberg held a 53-second lead over Russian Natalia Nepryaeva heading into the final stage. Østberg held off Nepryaeva for the stage win to secure the overall Tour de Ski title. Russia’s Anastasia Sedova was third.

Competing in seven races over a nine-day stretch is a true athletic achievement and the rewards list goes well beyond just finishing. For Diggins, the hard work she put in to reach this point of the season is not only mentally satisfying but physically she packed her bank of fitness, which will pay dividends the rest of the season.

“What I really wanted to get out of the Tour in the big picture was the fitness boost that I get every year from doing something so incredibly hard and then resting and recovering well,’ she said. “So for the next 13 days, my focus will be on resting up, enjoying my time with my family in Seefeld, and then preparing for Otepää (Estonia). I’m skipping Dresden (Germany) to make sure I absorb all the Tour races well, but I’m excited for the rest of the season, and super excited to cheer on our sprinters!”

Mentally, Diggins leaves the Tour satisfied with everything she left out on the track.

“The older I get, the easier it is to remember to look at the big picture and remember that what makes a “good” race is determined by factors you don’t see on the results board,” Diggins said. “And for me, I was really proud of this tour because I had a lot of “good” races where I raced with grit, determination, and fought like crazy to do the very best I could with what I had in my body.”

In the men’s race, Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo won the 7th stage to secure the overall title and the record as the youngest Tour de Ski winner in history. Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov finished second and Norway's Simen Hegstad Krüger was third. Ben Lustgarten was the only American still in the Tour finishing all seven stages.

RESULTS
Men’s 9k hill climb
Women’s 9k hill climb

STANDINGS
Men’s Tour de Ski - through 7 of 7 stages
Women’s Tour de Ski - through 7 of 7 stages

Shiffrin Crowned Snow Queen Once Again in Zagreb

By Tom Horrocks
January, 5 2019
2019 Snow Queen Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her fourth Snow Queen title in Zagreb, Croatia, Saturday. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Christophe Pallot)

Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) is back to her old ways again - winning slalom races by more than a second!

For the fourth time in her career, Shiffrin was crowned the “Snow Queen” following her FIS Ski World Cup slalom win in Zagreb, Croatia, Saturday. This was also her seventh-straight World Cup slalom win and her 37th career slalom victory. And once again, she defeated Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who settled for second for the fourth time this season; and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener who rounded out the podium in third.

Shiffrin’s 1.25-second margin of victory is her largest since she defeated Holdener by 1.58 seconds on March 17, 2018, in Are, Sweden. In the two World Cup slaloms leading up to Zagreb, Vlhova was second at just .29-seconds back in Courchevel, France, and Semmering, Austria. But Saturday, Shiffrin demonstrated why she is indeed the best skier in the world, especially on a hard, fast track.

“It’s the perfect track to be aggressive,” said Shiffrin, who also won seven-straight slalom races in 2016. “I just tried to do my best, and the surface was perfect, so it’s easier to be really aggressive.”

Shiffrin took a 1.15-second first-run lead over Holdener. In the second run, Vlhova put the pressure on both Holdener and Shiffrin with a flawless run. With Vlhova sitting in the hot seat, Shiffrin opened up a 1.36-second advantage at the first interval and was well on her way to victory before a small bobble cost her 0.51 seconds. But in typical Shiffrin fashion, she shifted gears and pulled back time for her 52nd career World Cup win.

“I had a scary moment in the middle there, but actually the second run was really cool because I was aggressive,” Shiffrin said. “I was really pushing. I had this mistake, but after that, I was fighting back again. I wasn’t skiing to protect something today.”

Paula Moltzan (Burlington, Vt.) started 28th in the first run and finished 12th. She was well on her way to a career-best result in the second run but cut a gate too tight near the finish, straddled, and DNF’d.

The women race slalom again on Tuesday in Flachau, Austria, followed by a speed series in

St. Anton, Austria, Jan. 10-13 and giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy, Jan. 15. After competing in six events over the past 15 days, Shiffrin is balancing training and rest, while working on her race plans heading into the World Championships in Are, Sweden, Feb. 4-17.

“It’s a little bit up in the air right now,” Shiffrin said of her upcoming race plans. “After Oslo, I was thinking ‘I’m pretty tired,’ and coming (to Zagreb) I felt pretty good today. But it’s difficult to manage the energy. So my plan is to do Cortina (Italy) - all the races. But I’m not sure if it’s going to work out. Basically, I’m going to decide about that after Kronplatz and see how the training goes.”

Shiffrin leads the overall World Cup standings by 496 points over Vlhova. She also leads the slalom and super-G standings and is third in the giant slalom standings.

RESULTS
Women’s slalom

STANDINGS
Women’s World Cup overall

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST

Sunday, Jan. 6
6:15 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1 - Zagreb, CRO - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
9:30 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2 - Zagreb, CRO - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

Tuesday, Jan. 8
12:00 p.m. - Women’s slalom run 1 - Flachau, AUT - NBC Sports Gold
2:45 p.m.  - Women’s slalom run 2 - Flachau, AUT - NBC Sports Gold

Saturday, Jan. 12
4:15 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 1 - Adelboden, SUI - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. - Women’s downhill - St. Anton, AUT  - NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 2 - Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

Sunday, Jan. 13
4:15 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1 - Adelboden, SUI - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. - Women’s super-G - St. Anton, AUT  - NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2 - Adelboden, SUI - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
 

Diggins Sixth in Tour de Ski With One Stage Remaining

By Reese Brown
January, 5 2019
10k Mass Start
Noway's Oestberg skiing to the win in stage six of the Tour de Ski (Getty Images - Trond Tandberg)

Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) limited her loses in Saturday’s sixth stage of the FIS Ski World Cup Tour de Ski, a 10k classic in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Norway’s Ingvild Flugstad Oestburg, who leads the Tour, went out strong and led the entire race Saturday for her third stage win.

“I was really proud of how I raced today,” said Diggins, who finished seventh, one minute, 19 seconds off Oestburg’s winning time. “My body just totally ran out of gas on me but I never gave up and never stopped pushing myself as hard as I could go. My skis were really competitive and I’m so proud of our team for working so hard. This far into the tour you never know how your body will react, but all you can do is race as hard as possible, and that’s my plan going into tomorrow.”

Russians Natalia Nepryaeva was second and Anastasia Sedova was third.

“Today was definitely not the day we were hoping for, but not a disaster,” said U.S. Cross Country Team Head Coach Matt Whitcomb. “Every day this late in the Tour is a wildcard. Jessie did everything she could to limit her losses, but in the end, she dropped in the overall to sixth. One thing to know about Jessie is she never puts a limit on what she can do. We are all looking forward to Sunday’s hill climb.”

The men’s race was won by Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, in second was Italy’s Francesco De Fabiani with Alexander Bolshunov of Russia in third. Klaebo continues to lead the Tour.

The Tour wraps up on Sunday with the grueling 9k hill climb up the famed Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme.

RESULTS
Men’s 15k
Women’s 10k

STANDINGS
Men’s Overall (through 6 stages)
Women’s Overall (through 6 stages)

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST

Saturday, Jan. 5
2:00 p.m. - Tour de Ski Stage Stage 6 men’s 15k mass start - Val di Fiemme, ITA - Olympic Channel-TV*

Sunday, Jan. 6
7:00 a.m. - Tour de Ski Stage Stage 7 women’s hill climb - Val di Fiemme, ITA - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
9:15 a.m. - U.S. Cross Country Championships mass start - Craftsbury, Vt. - U.S. Ski & Snowboard Streaming
8:45 a.m. - Tour de Ski Stage Stage 7 men’s hill climb - Val di Fiemme, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
2:00 p.m. - Tour de Ski Stage Stage 7 men’s hill climb - Val di Fiemme, ITA - Olympic Channel-TV

Tuesday, Jan. 8
8:45 a.m. - U.S. Cross Country Championships freestyle sprint - Craftsbury, Vt. - U.S. Ski & Snowboard Streaming

Will Shiffrin Be Crowned Snow Queen Once Again?

By Megan Harrod
January, 4 2019
Shiffrin Snow Queen 2018
Will Mikaela Shiffrin be crowned "Snow Queen" for the fourth time?! (Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

The White Circus has moved from Oslo, Norway, to Zagreb/Sljeme, Croatia, where FIS Ski World Cup athletes will compete under the lights for the “Snow Queen Trophy.” I don’t know what it is about Zagreb, it’s just kind of...special. There’s just something about it.

It could be the fact that it’s an event in a city, but it’s not a “city event.” That’s unique. One of the best Christmas markets in Europe still lines the streets and the smells of sausages and mulled wine fill our nostrils. It could be that the all of the teams - both men and women - stay in the same hotel and the race organizers work together with the city to shut down the main road and the entire World Cup circuit caravans up to the hill in a police-escorted convoy. It could be that the second run is under the lights. Or that the winner sits in a throne and is crowned “Snow Queen.” You get the drift - like a magical unicorn, it’s one-of-a-kind. To put it most simply, this city sparkles and Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) has sparkled three times here, crowned queen in 2013, 2015 and 2018.

Shiffrin kicked off the new year in Oslo with a second place finish, propelling her to 1,114 points in her quest for her third consecutive overall title. That’s 446 more points than Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, in second. To give that lead more context, and as Barry Svrluga from the Washington Post wrote in a recent article entitled, “The world’s most dominant athlete at the moment is 23 years old, and getting better”:

Here, then, are Mikaela Shiffrin’s eight most recent results on the World Cup alpine ski circuit: first, first, first, first, first, fifth, first, second. The gap between Shiffrin and the skier in second place in the World Cup’s overall standings, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, covers the gap between Vlhova and Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, who is in — get this — 14th.

It seems that every weekend there is a new record to break, and Shiffrin is showing her dominance week in and week out. In Semmering, Shiffrin won her 36th World Cup slalom race, breaking the ladies' record of 35 set by her childhood idol Marlies Schild. That gave her 15 wins in the calendar year — the most for any athlete ever — male or female. Tomorrow, she could win her seventh successive World Cup slalom race. As Shiffrin has said, she’s not motivated by the numbers, but let’s talk about them anyway.

Here’s the rundown of what’s on tap for records tomorrow (courtesy of FIS and Gracenote Sports):

  • Among men and women, only Ingemar Stenmark (40) has won more World Cup slalom events than Shiffrin (36).
  • Shiffrin has won 51 World Cup races, seventh most all-time. Vreni Schneider (55) and Hermann Maier (54) are in fifth and sixth place respectively.  
  • Shiffrin could equal her personal record winning run of seven successive World Cup slalom wins, set in 2016. The only women on more successive wins are Vreni Schneider (8, 1988-1989) and Janica Kostelic (8, 2000- 2001).  
  • Shiffrin could become the fourth woman to win a World Cup slalom race in eight different calendar years, after Marlies Schild (10), Vreni Schneider (10) and Pernilla Wiberg (8).
  • Shiffrin has won 11 of the last 12 slalom races on the World Cup, with the only exception the race in Lenzerheide on 28 January 2018 where she failed to finish her second run (winner: Petra Vlhová).
  • In her last 33 appearances in a World Cup slalom race, Shiffrin has recorded 27 first places, two second-place results, two third places, and two DNFs.  
  • Shiffrin has claimed three World Cup victories in the slalom in Zagreb, in 2013, 2015 and 2018. She has only claimed more World Cup slalom victories in Åre (4).
  • Only Schild (4) has won more among women in the Croatian ski resort than Shiffrin (3).

Taking all of this into consideration, Shiffrin is the clear favorite for tomorrow, but Slovakia’s Vlhova, Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter, and the Swiss Wendy Holder are all skiing fast and gunning for Shiffrin. “Of course I like the track here [in Zagreb], I’ve had some great races here, but I’ve also had some difficult races here,” Shiffrin said prior to bib draw at the “Ice Park” in King Tomislav Square Friday night, where athletes ice skated to their bibs. For Saturday, it’s just full focus and full aggression and we’ll see how it goes. It’s easy to lose momentum when you have a couple of days off [over the holiday]; right now it’s important to be really focused and maintain the energy so I can fight hard. And I think it’s going to be a fight tomorrow.”

Mikaela Shiffrin Atop The Zagreb Throne
Mikaela Shiffrin and team laugh after Shiffrin struggles with her champagne bottle atop the throne in 2018. (Cristophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)


After scoring in two consecutive World Cups, with a 17th in Killington, Vermont and her first top 15 (15th) in Courchevel, France, Paula Moltzan (Prior Lake, Minn.) — who also skis for the University of Vermont — will look to lay down some fast skiing once again here in Zagreb. Moltzan will also be starting in Flachau, Austria on Tuesday, where she scored her first World Cup points in 2016. The track in Zagreb is hard and icy, but Moltzan skied on ice in the midwest and crushes it in the east coast at university races, so she thrives in these conditions and is looking forward to tomorrow’s race.

On the men’s side, Mark Engel (Salt Lake City, Utah) will be holding down the fort for the Americans, while River Radamus (Edwards, Colo.) and Luke Winters (Gresham, Ore.) compete in the NorAm series in Canada.

Catch all of the action on NBC Sports Gold and the Olympic Channel, so make sure to tune in. See who to watch and where to catch all the action below.

ZAGREB STARTERS
Mark Engel
Paula Moltzan
Mikaela Shiffrin

START LIST
Women’s Slalom

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

Saturday, Jan. 5
7:00 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 1 - Zagreb, CRO - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 2 - Zagreb, CRO - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com& NBC Sports Gold

Sunday, Jan. 6
6:15 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1 - Zagreb, CRO - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
9:30 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2 - Zagreb, CRO - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold

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.

Sargent, Saxton Win U.S. Classic Sprint Titles

By Tom Horrocks
January, 4 2019
Women's podium
Ida Sargent (center) won classic sprint Friday at the L.L.Bean U.S Cross Country Championships at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vermont. Julia Kern (left) was second and Hannah Halvorsen was third. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)

Ida Sargent (Craftsbury Green Racing Project / Craftsbury, Vt.) and Julien Locke (Black Jack Ski Team / Canadian National Ski Team) skied to classic sprint victories the 2019 L.L.Bean U.S Cross Country Championships at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vermont, Friday. Ben Saxton (SMST2 / Stratton Mountain, Vt.) finished second and was the top American in the men's race.

Sargent skied to her first national title as sunshine and outstanding snow conditions greeted athletes for the second day of the Championships. After posting the fastest qualifying time, Sargent cruised through quarterfinal round. In the semifinals, she narrowly defeated Kaitlynn Miller (Craftsbury Green Racing Project / ) and a hard-charging Hannah Halvorsen (Alaska Pacific University / Truckee, Calif) in the three-up sprint.

In the finals, Sargent skied alone to the line for the victory as Halvorsen and Julia Kern (SMST2 / Waltham, Mass.) sprinted for the final two podium positions with Kern just taking second by inches.

In the men’s race, Saxton entered the heats as the top qualifier while Locke ninth. However, Locke easily cruised through his quarter-final and semi-final heats to advance to the finals, while Saxton won his quarterfinal heat and finished second in the semifinals to advance to the final race of the day.

Locke skied away from the fields midway through the finals and cruised to victory as Saxton held off Logan Hanneman (APU Nordic Ski Center) down the stretch to take the U.S. title.

Kendall Kramer (NSCF-FXC) and James Kitch (Harvard University Ski Team) each won their respective junior women and men’s national titles.

RESULTS
Men and women’s classic sprint
Junior men and women’s classic sprint

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST

Sunday, Jan. 6.
9:15 a.m. - U.S. Cross Country Championships freestyle mass start - Craftsbury, Vt. - U.S. Ski & Snowboard Streaming

Tuesday, Jan. 8
8:45 a.m. - U.S. Cross Country Championships freestyle sprint - Craftsbury, Vt. - U.S. Ski & Snowboard Streaming