No Retina
XS Screen (480px)
SM+ Screen
SM Screen (768px)
SM- Screen
MD+ Screen
MD Screen (992px)
MD- Screen
LG+ Screen
LG Screen (1200px)
LG- Screen
XL+ Screen (1600px)

What do the 2019 FIS World Championships Mean to You? - Alex Deibold

By Andrew Gauthier
December, 23 2018

When the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships kick off Feb. 1, it will mark the first time since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games that Utah - The State of Sport - has hosted so many athletes for a World Class event. In this three-part series, we talk to a number of U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes expected to compete in the upcoming World Champs, and their thoughts on competing on home soil, in front of family and friends, the pressure to exceed expectations, and their overall view of what the World Championships mean to them.

Snowboard and Skicross at Solitude

Fifteen-year snowboardcross veteran and Sochi Olympic bronze medalist Alex Deibold (Manchester, Vt.) knows the World Champs are special. “Outside of the Olympics, I think it is the most prestigious and most important event we have,” he said. “Being able to call yourself a World Champion is a lifelong title. If you look at some of the names that have achieved that title, it really is pretty elite. The fact that it only happens every two years definitely adds some mystique and pressure to it and just makes it that much more special.”

As a Park City local, Deibold has an edge over his international competitors. “It’s something as simple as being in your own time zone that can be a huge advantage for sleep and preparation,” said Deibold. “Also diet. It sounds silly to some people, but just being able to have food you are used to and are comfortable with is just one of those small things that can definitely add to your success.”

Deibold believes Solitude Mountain Resort’s snowboardcross facilities play well to the team’s strengths and may offer a unique advantage. “I do think we really have a home-field advantage,” he said. “If the test event for us at Solitude was any indicator, we had a lot of success there. I was able to get on the podium and I really felt like I could have won that race. It was one of the first times in my career that I felt a little disappointed with a podium that wasn’t a win. For snowboardcross, the build and the style we have over here really suits our riders. Nate [Holland] and I were third and fourth. I really think we have an advantage, not only being at home but also with the style of course at Solitude.”

“The fact that we are having World Champs on home soil is a big advantage to us and it being in my backyard is even better. It will be great to have friends and family be able to come up, and watch, and support, and the fact that we have so much history and such a great community here, I think it’s really going to make it that much more special. World Champs is always an important event and it’s fiercely competitive and really prestigious, but the thought of being able to compete in an event like that at home… we are just so fortunate."

    - Alex Deibold, U.S. Snowboard Team

“But, you certainly have to be careful” Deibold continued. “Luckily I have been doing this a long time and I know it’s easy to get distracted and get pulled in a lot of different directions. People wanting to see you and spend time with you, whereas if you are overseas you just buckle down. But no, having them there is just a bonus, regardless of how things go. It will be great to have them here and have that support.”

Another common thread between the athletes and the World Championships is having a generally positive outlook on expected performance. “It’s a little too early in the season to say, but I think our team is riding as strong as it has in years,” said Deibold. “We have a really good group dynamic right now. There are some younger kids on the team that are pushing us to be better and there are some of us who are a little bit older with more experience so we have been guiding and leading. I feel really confident for the team going into the World Champs this year.”

On the snowboardcross side, Deibold mentions a very clear and focused rival. “As far as our main rival goes, the reigning world champ Pierre Vaultier from France, the two-time Olympic champion, is certainly the man to watch,” he said. “But there are a lot of different people from other countries riding well.”

Both domestic and international snowboard and skicross athletes will descend on Utah and converge at Solitude Mountain Resort to open World Champs Feb. 1-3 with snowboardcross, skicross, and mixed gender team snowboardcross. With three opportunities for podiums, these athletes will leave everything on snow.

All times EST
Preliminary broadcast schedule, subject to change
Streaming schedule TBA
*Same-day broadcast
**Next-day broadcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lake Placid World Cup Moguls Starts Awarded at U.S. Freestyle Selections

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 23 2018
Ali Kariotis, George McQuinn, Alex Jenson and Haims Kalman
Ali Kariotis, George McQuinn, Alex Jenson and Haims Kalman will join the National Team in Lake Placid in January

Moguls World Cup starts for Lake Placid were on the line at the 27th U.S. Freestyle Selections events held December 19-22, 2018, at Winter Park, Colorado. Three competitions took place over the four days: two moguls and one dual moguls event. Skiers from across the nation competed for FIS points, NorAm starts and the Lake Placid World Cup Starts.

National Team Jackets were awarded Friday, Dec. 21, after the second moguls event. Alex Jenson (Park City Ski and Snowboard Club) and Ali Kariotis (Olympic Valley Freestyle and Freeride Team) will be joining the women of the U.S. Moguls Team in Lake Placid. And on the men’s side, George McQuinn (Winter Park Competition Center Team) and Kalman Heims (Killington Mountain School) claimed their spots.

"The U.S. Selections in its 27th season still proves to be a proving ground for up and coming U.S. mogul skiers. A few surprises this week with our top finishers but the future looks bright!" said Konrad Rotermund, creator of U.S. Freestyle Selections. 

Men and women's moguls

Vedder, Jacobellis, Second in Cervinia SBX

By Andrew Gauthier
December, 22 2018
Holland and Vedder
Jake Vedder (black) and Nate Holland (yellow) at the Cervinia, Italy FIS World Cup. (Miha Matavz - FIS Snowboard)

Jake Vedder (Pinckney, Mich.) led the way for the U.S. Snowboardcross Team with his first career FIS Snowboard World Cup podium, finishing second in Saturday’s snowboardcross in Cervinia, Italy. In the women’s race, Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) pulled off her 51st World Cup podium performance, finishing second.

“My teammates were really encouraging me all day, and when I got to the bottom everyone just started tackling me,” Vedder laughed. “I couldn’t even believe what happened. I’m ecstatic to be here right now and it was a great day of racing. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Vedder, the 2018 Junior World Champion, came back from fifth position in the big final, taking the inside line late in the race to land on the podium to announced himself as a force on the World Cup stage with his second-place performance. Teammate Nate Holland (Sandpoint, Idaho) got tangled up midway through big final, but rebounded to finish fifth. Italian Emanuel Perathoner topped the podium with Germany’s Martin Noerl in third.

In the women’s race, it looked like Jacobellis would pull off the double victory following her win Friday to add to her all-time record in ladies’ SBX World Cup competition. Jacobellis opened up a huge gap between herself and the pack down the demanding Cervinia track.

However, back in the pack was Sochi 2014 Olympic gold medallist Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic, who kept her sights set on Jacobellis despite the seemingly insurmountable gap through the middle section of the course. Outpumping Jacobellis over the final roller stretch, Samkova edge Jacobellis by a board length at the finish line to claim her 11th career World Cup victory and her second podium in as many days after finishing runner-up to Jacobellis on Friday. Third place on the day went to Italy’s Michela Moioli, the reigning Olympic champion and 2017-18 crystal globe winner who earned her first podium of the young season on home soil.

With the runner-up result, and like Samkova earning a victory and second-place result the past two days, Jacobellis and Samkova are tied atop the FIS snowboardcross World Cup leaderboard through two events.

Both Jacobellis and Vedder achieved their minimum U.S Ski & Snowboard World Championship Team criteria with their respective podium results. Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, Mich.) also fulfilled his minimum 2019 World Championship Team selection criteria, finishing eighth.

U.S. Development Group member Stacy Gaskill (Golden, Colo.) finished in 12th; Anna Miller (Orem, Utah), Livia Molodyh (Hubbard, Ore.) and Danielle Steinhoff (Colfax, Calif.) finished 16th, 28th and 29th respectively.

The 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships snowboardcross program commences Jan. 31-Feb. 3 at Solitude Mountain Resort. Stay tuned for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard World Championships Team announcement to see what U.S. Snowboardcross Team members will compete in the biggest event to hit Utah since the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

Men’s Snowboardcross
Women’s Snowboardcross

Another Victory And A Huge Milestone For Shiffrin

By Tom Horrocks
December, 22 2018
Mikaela Shiffrin World Cup Win No. 50
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her 50th FIS Ski World Cup victory following Sunday's slalom win in Courchevel, France. (Getty Images/Agency Zoom - Christophe Pallot)

Skiing her best is the most important thing to Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.), but numbers, not so much. Saturday’s slalom victory may not have been her best skiing, but it resulted in a huge win - FIS Ski World Cup victory number 50 in Courchevel, France.

“I was trying as hard as I could not to focus on that today because it’s so distracting to think about those numbers for me and it’s always a mental battle just to focus on my skiing,” Shiffrin said. “I’m really happy, and maybe a bit lucky today with the win again. I was watching the first run - Petra (Vlhova, Slovakia) skied better than I did. I don’t know how I snuck away with the lead on the first run, but it was a big battle with Frida (Hansdotter, Sweden) second run, Petra second run, so I’m lucky and I’m grateful.”

And pretty darn fast too! Shiffrin took slim .04-second first-run over lead over Vlhova. In the second run, she dropped .04-seconds behind Vlhova at the second intermediate split. But in her typical fast-finishing fashion, Shiffrin hit the gas and edged-out Vlhova by .29 seconds for the victory. Hansdotter was third, at .37 back.

How big is her 50th career World Cup victory? Huge! Just look at the stats:

  • She is the youngest racer to ever win 50 World Cup races
  • She tied the great Italian racer Alberto Tomba on the all-time win list with her 50th World Cup victory
  • She has 35 World Cup slalom wins, which equals that of her childhood hero Marlies Schild, whom she now shares the record with for the most World Cup slalom victories
  • Her 50th World Cup win also launched her to a massive 501-point lead in the overall World Cup standings
  • She has won five World Cup races in a row, in four different disciplines (slalom, parallel slalom, giant slalom and super-G) in the last 21 days
  • She is tied with Marcel Hirscher for a record 14 wins in a calendar year

But again, these are just numbers that don’t necessarily motivate Shiffrin but do bring a smile to her face.

“I have to focus on my skiing and those numbers can be a really big distraction for me. It’s not really motivating, it feels more like pressure,” she said. “But now after the race, I can say it’s really an incredible thing, and I’m happy.”

Regardless of the milestones, Shiffrin admits that her success is not hers alone. It belongs to a solid team of supporters, and especially her coaches.

“Behind every athlete is such a big structure of people who are helping, sponsors, and family and friends, and especially the coaches,” Shiffrin said. “And for me when I’m looking at my coaches...I know that they have a one-thousand-percent belief in me. (Friday) and (Saturday) I believed in myself, but I could look at them and say ‘you did your job, now it’s time for me to do mine.’ It’s just the coolest feeling knowing our team is always working so hard. It’s not just me, it’s everybody...and they do their job so well and I’m really grateful for that.”

Paula Moltzan (Burlington, Vt.) may be racing in the shadow of one of the greatest racers of all time in Shiffrin, but the World Cup leader was pretty stoked to see her put down a career-best World Cup result in 15th place. In fact, Moltzan - who skis for the University of Vermont, in addition to representing America on the global stage - posted the fourth-fastest second run, just .16 behind Shiffrin.

“We saw that her skiing was really good in Killington (Vermont), and she always has this style that’s...really athletic,” Shiffrin said of Moltzan. “And today I was watching her second run and...I was thinking ‘that, was amazing, really nice skiing.’ She was smooth, she was accelerating, she was calm...and that’s super cool to see and I’m excited for her.”

Up next, the women’s World Cup circuit takes a few days off for the Christmas holiday, resuming Dec. 28-29 with giant slalom and slalom event.

Women’s slalom

Women’s World Cup

All times EST.
*Same-day delayed broadcast
**Next-day broadcast

Saturday, Dec. 22
2:30 p.m. - Women’s slalom, Courchevel, FRA - NBCSN-TV*

Sunday, Dec. 23
2:30 p.m. - Women’s slalom and giant slalom, Courchevel, FRA - NBC**

World Cup Victory No. 50

Fast Start lands Winters, Burns 1-2 in NorAm Cup Standings

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 22 2018
Cody Winters
Cody Winters grabbed a NorAm PSL Race to the Cup victory at Buck Hill. (Carrie Kizuka)

The alpine snowboard season is off and running with two of three Race to the Cup events taken place in December. Steamboat Springs, Colorado hosted the season-opener December 8-9, with Buck Hill, Minnesota, hosting December 14-16

Local Steamboat Springs athletes started off their season strong with Robert Burns (Mount Shasta, Calif.) and Cody Winters (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) taking first and second respectively in the parallel giant slalom (PGS) event on December 9th. On the women’s side, Lynn Ott (Bend, Ore.) just missed the podium in fourth place.

The action continued December 10th with a parallel slalom race (PSL) on the same slope. Local racers again finished strong with Burns scoring another win and Winters rounding out the podium in third. The U.S. women were shut out of the podium but came away with respectable places for Ott, Abby Champagne (Park City, Utah), and Kaiya Kizuka (Sinking Spring, Penn.) in fifth, sixth, and seventh place respectively.

The following weekend of racing in Buck Hill consisted of three days of PSL racing. On the first day of competition December 14th, Champagne was the top American finisher with a second place and her first podium of the season. Kizuka and Ott followed just off the podium in fourth and fifth respectively. Winters had a great day, snagging his first win of the season.

Saturday’s race found Kizuka on the podium in second, and Burns back on top with this season’s second victory.

The event finished up with the third PSL of the weekend on Dec. 16th,  where Champagne took home second place and her second podium of the weekend. Winters brought the heat again and demonstrated consistency and dominance earning his second victory of the season, and his fourth podium of the season.

After these five races, the Americans are looking good in the NorAm standings with Winters leading Burns by 55 points. On the women’s ranking Champagne is sitting in third as the highest American behind Kaylie Buck of Canada and Tsubaki Miki of Japan.

The next Race to the Cup event will be held in Holiday Valley, N.Y., February 28th - March 1st.

Race to the Cup events is the U.S. arm of the greater North American Cup tour which is hosted in partnership with Canada. The NorAm Cup tour gives upcoming athletes a chance to earn a World Cup spot for the following season and is, therefore, an important step in the athletic pipeline.

Dec. 8

Men’s PGS
Women’s PGS

Dec. 9
Men’s PSL
Women’s PSL

Dec. 14
Men’s PSL
Women’s PSL

Dec. 15
Men’s PSL
Women’s PSL

Dec. 16
Men’s PSL
Women’s PSL

Men’s NorAm Cup
Women’s NorAm Cup


Jacobellis Wins Season’s First World Cup

By Andrew Gauthier
December, 21 2018

Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) kicked off the 2018-19 snowboardcross season with a victory at the Cervinia, Italy, FIS Snowboard World Cup in race one of a two-race weekend event. This is the 30th career World Cup win for the defending FIS Snowboardcross World Champion.

The victory comes at a critical time with the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships right around the corner, and with the win, Jacobellis satisfy the minimum U.S. Ski & Snowboard World Championships Team Selection criteria of at least one top-eight World Cup result.

“It’s nice to grab a victory at the first competition, especially because I didn’t do that well last year,” said Jacobellis. “It was an X Games style course as far as the glide, the movement and passing strategies are concerned, which I think worked well with my experience. This kind of course can work with you or against you with drafts and gains, but the knowledge of how they work is critical to manage your position in the race. I learned this early on in the training session when I put myself behind the guys. I was actually ahead in my race, and knew drafting opportunities would make for passing on my left side, so I made sure I stayed left to close out that lane.

“This win is really nice and helps boost the confidence as these days I have a lot more wear and tear on my body,” she continued. “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing with my starts and not be afraid to get in the mix with the girls.”

American Anna Miller (Orem, Utah) was the next American in the ranks finishing 16th. For the men, it was a strong finish for U.S. Ski & Snowboard Development Group member Senna Leith (Vail, Colo.), who finished sixth overall right in front of U.S. Ski & Snowboard A Team member Nate Holland (Sandpoint, Idaho) in eighth. Leith and Holland would also satisfy the minimum U.S. Ski & Snowboard World Championships Team Selection criteria with top eight results. However, there is still opportunity for other U.S. athletes to shake things up with one more race to go in Cervinia.

Finishing right behind Holland was teammates Hagen Kearney (Norwood, Colo.) in ninth, Alex Deibold (Manchester, Vt.) 11th; Jake Vedder (Pinckney, Mich.) 15th; Mick Dierdorff (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) 17th; and Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, Mich.) 34th.

Strong performances from both the men and the women should create momentum into the second of the two-race event in Cervinia, with both qualifying and final rounds taking place  Saturday.

Men’s snowboardcross
Women’s snowboardcross

*Subject to change
All times in EST

Saturday, Dec. 22
5:40 a.m. - Men and women’s snowboardcross, Cervinia, ITA - & NBC Sports Gold

Shiffrin Speeds To Courchevel Giant Slalom Victory

By Tom Horrocks
December, 21 2018
Shiffrin Courchevel
Mikaela Shiffrin won her first FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom of the season Friday in Courchevel, France. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Christophe Pallot)

Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) keeps stepping on the gas, and the victories just keep adding up. On Friday in Courchevel, France, she won another FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom - her first of the season and the sixth of her career - to extend her overall World Cup lead to a massive 422 points.

Shiffrin rebounded from a .08-second first-run deficit to take a narrow .14-second win over Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg. Tessa Worley of France finished third at just .33 back. The top eight finishers were separated by just 0.93 seconds.

With heavy, wet, snow falling in the French Alps, Shiffrin had to choose when to step on the gas and when to back off Friday. The first run finish times clocked in at just past the minute mark, but with heavy snow continuing to fall, organizers pushed the start about ten gates down the mountain, effectively setting up a second-run sprint. With a pedal to the medal approach out of the start, Shiffrin separated herself from the rest of the field just three gates into the second run.

“The first run I was pushing really hard out of the start, because it’s so flat that you have to do that, but after the first couple of gates...I was skiing hard, but too much, and I could see that in the video,” Shiffrin said. “So the second run I was thinking, ‘push harder out of the start and go more direct in the first gates and then just let it go from there.’ I was trying to build up speed as quick as I could...I don’t know how fast it was, but I was pushing really hard, and farther than everybody else.”

It seems Courchevel, France has been kind to Shiffrin, as she won her third-straight victory at the venue. "I like it in France. And, it's starting to feel...more familiar for me," Shiffrin said with a giggle at the press conference, referring to her relationship with French giant slalom specialist, Mathieu Faivre. 

In the chase for her third-consecutive overall World Cup title, Shiffrin has won six races this season, including her fourth-straight start (two super-G, a parallel slalom and Friday’s giant slalom), and leads Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel by 422 points in the overall World Cup standings. She also leads the slalom and super-G standings, and is second in giant slalom and ninth in downhill.

Through the first six weeks of the season, Shiffrin has racked up some impressive results, in addition to a significant amount of travel and training time. Following her back-to-back victories in Saint Moritz, Switzerland, on Dec. 8-9, she took some time away from competition to rest and recharge her body, mind and soul as she heads into another solid stretch of races - seven over a 19-day stretch - which kicked off with a victory Friday. She was also able to dial in her giant slalom set-up and got a bit of slalom training in, up in Trysil, Norway. Up next, she’ll race the slalom Saturday in Courchevel ahead of a six-day holiday break before the White Circus resumes Dec. 28-29 in Semmering, Austria.

“Today was a great way to start this weekend...but I didn’t get a lot of slalom training the (past few days), so I’m just going to move my feet quick and see what happens (Saturday),” she giggled.

AJ Hurt (Squaw Valley, Calif.) and Tricia Mangan (Derby, N.Y.) joined Shiffrin in the first run and each showed promise with solid skiing, but couldn't hang on in the chatter and both DNFed. Paula Moltzan (Prior Lake, Minn.) and Nina O’Brien (San Francisco, Calif.) - who both scored points in the last World Cup slalom at Killington, Vermont - will also be starting in Saturday’s slalom.

Women’s giant slalom

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

Friday, Dec. 21
12:00 p.m. - Women’s giant slalom, Courchevel, FRA - NBCSN-TV*

Saturday, Dec. 22
4:30 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 1, Courchevel, FRA - & NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 2, Courchevel, FRA - Olympic Channel-TV, & NBC Sports Gold
9:45 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1, Madonna di Campiglio, ITA - & NBC Sports Gold
12:30 p.m. - Men’s slalom run 2, Madonna di Campiglio, ITA - Olympic Channel-TV, & NBC Sports Gold
2:30 p.m. - Women’s slalom, Courchevel, FRA - NBCSN-TV*

Sunday, Dec. 23
2:30 p.m. - Women’s slalom and giant slalom, Courchevel, FRA - NBC**

Christmas, New Year's Holiday Closure

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 20 2018
Holiday Closure

Please note that U.S. Ski & Snowboard offices will be closed on Monday, December 24th and Tuesday, December 25th for the Christmas Holiday. Our offices will also be closed on Monday, December 31st and Tuesday, January 1st for the New Year's Holiday.

 Normal business hours will resume on Wednesday, December 26th and Wednesday, January 2nd  8:00 AM - 5:00 PM MST.  U.S. Ski & Snowboard's website will not be affected by this closure.

Season’s Greetings!

First World Cup Podium for Hess

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
December, 20 2018
Hunter Hess
Hunter Hess picked up his first FIS Freeski World Cup podium, finishing third in Secret Garden, China, Thursday. (FIS Freestyle - Mateusz Kielpinski)

Hunter Hess (Bend, Ore.) put down two solid runs in the finals at the FIS Freeski Word Cup halfpipe at Secret Garden, China, to finish third and earn his first World Cup podium. Canadian Simon D’Artois was first and Olympic bronze medalist Nico Porteous from New Zealand finished second.

"I’m beyond stoked to be up on the podium at a World Cup," said Hess. "I’ve been working towards this for a while now. It was nice to get a taste. This definitely fuels the fire for me to work for more. I was honored to be standing up there with Nico and Simon. They killed it and were riding well all week. Hope to keep this momentum moving forward."

American Cassidy Jarrell (Aspen, Colo.) finished in seventh, while U.S Freeski Rookie Team member Jaxin Hoerter (Breckenridge, Colo.) finished in ninth, landing all three of his runs top to bottom. 

Hess has been slowly climbing the freeski competition ladder over the past few seasons. Over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Hess earned a handful of FIS level podiums. In 2017, Hess continued the progression claiming three Nor Am podiums. Finally, Hess will close out 2018 with two Nor Am podiums and his first ever World Cup podium. Safe to say Hess is on an upward trajectory.

For the women, U.S. Freeski Rookie Team member Abigale Hansen (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) finished fourth. Kexin Zhang of China finished first, Canadian Rachael Karker finished second earning her second and Fanghui Li from China finished third.

The FIS Freeski World Cup circuit continues Jan. 10-12 in Font Romeu, France with men and women's slopestyle.

Men's halfpipe
Women's halfpipe

Hunter Hess Takes Third

Ford, Ligety Battle For Top 15 in Saalbach GS

By Tom Horrocks
December, 19 2018
Tommy Ford Saalbach
Tommy Ford finished 14th in Wednesday's FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Saalbach Austria. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Hans Bezard)

Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.) likes to keep things simple. But Wednesday’s FIS World Cup giant slalom in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austra, was anything but simple as Ford had to fight for his 14th-place finish on a long and challenging track. Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) was right behind in 15th.

“I felt like I was skiing well, moving well,” Ford said following his second run. “But halfway down, I really just ran out of gas and had to scrap it together.”

Ford’s simple approach to the start of the season has resulted in consistent results lately, including career-best back-to-back results coming into Wednesday’s race - fifth Sunday in Alta Badia, Italy, and sixth in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 12. In fact, Ford has finished in the top 16 in every World Cup giant slalom contested so far this season. But the training and racing load caught up with him Wednesday.

“I’ve been psyched with my consistency the past couple weeks...and these races packed together, I wasn’t quite recovered and fast enough on this long course,” he said.

Wednesday’s course was arguably the most difficult course the athletes have faced on the World Cup circuit so far this season. Overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria struggled on the Schneekristall-Zwölfer Course and finished sixth, his worst giant slalom result in more than two years. However, Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec aggressive style certainly suited him well as he took his first World Cup victory. Switzerland’s Loic Meillard posted his first career World Cup podium in second; followed by Mathieu Faivre of France in third.

There’s no rest for the weary as the World Cup circuit continues with a pair of slalom events before the Christmas break. The men will compete in slalom Thursday in Saalbach, then travel to Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, for slalom Saturday.

In the meantime, it’s back to “trusting what we have been doing in training and not over-complicating things on race days,” Ford said. “Just trusting that the skiing is good and what we have been doing in training works.”

Men’s giant slalom

Men’s overall World Cup


Merryweather, Ross Struggle in Val Gardena Super-G

Alice Merryweather (Hingham, Mass.) and Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.) struggled in Wednesday’s FIS Ski World Cup super-G in Val Gardena, Italy, which was a rescheduled event from Val d’Isere, France.

Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec won for the second-straight day, proving she is fully recovered from a knee injury that sidelined her all of the 2017-18 season. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was second, followed by Austria’s Nicole Schmidhofer in third. Merryweather was 37th and Ross was 39th.

Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.), who did not compete Wednesday, still holds the lead in the World Cup super-G standings by 25 points over Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel, who finished fifth Wednesday. Shiffrin also leads the World Cup slalom standings and has a massive 330 point lead in her quest for a third-straight overall World Cup title.

Shiffrin will be back in action when the women’s World Cup circuit continues Friday and Saturday with giant slalom and slalom events in Courchevel, France. Last year she swept the Courchevel series, with wins in both giant slalom and parallel slalom.

Women’s super-G

Women’s overall World Cup

All times EST.
*Same-day delayed broadcast
**Next-day broadcast

Thursday, Dec. 20
4:00 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1 - Saalbach-Hinterglemm, AUT - & NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2 - Saalbach-Hinterglemm, AUT - Olympic Channel-TV, & NBC Sports Gold

Friday, Dec. 21
4:30 a.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 1, Courchevel, FRA - & NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 2, Courchevel, FRA - Olympic Channel-TV, & NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 2, Courchevel, FRA - NBCSN-TV*

Saturday, Dec. 22
4:30 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 1, Courchevel, FRA - & NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 2, Courchevel, FRA - Olympic Channel-TV, & NBC Sports Gold
9:45 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1, Madonna di Campiglio, ITA - & NBC Sports Gold
12:30 p.m. - Men’s slalom run 2, Madonna di Campiglio, ITA - Olympic Channel-TV, & NBC Sports Gold
2:30 p.m. - Women’s slalom run 2, Courchevel, FRA - NBCSN-TV*

Sunday, Dec. 23
2:30 p.m. - Women’s slalom and giant slalom, Courchevel, FRA - NBC**