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Diggins Sweeps SuperTour Finals

By Tom Kelly
March, 28 2018
Sadie Bjornsen, Jessie Diggins, and Kikkan Randall celebrate following the women's 30k classic at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championship Tuesday. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)
Sadie Bjornsen, Jessie Diggins, and Kikkan Randall celebrate following the women's 30k classic at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championship Tuesday. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)

Olympic champion Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) of Stratton Mountain School made it a clean sweep at the SuperTour Finals in Craftsbury Common, Vt. On Tuesday. Diggins won the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championship 30k classic in a sprint to the finish victory over Alaska Pacific University Nordic Center’s Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.). It was Diggins’ seventh national title. APU’s Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) took the bronze.

Diggins, Bjornsen and Stratton’s Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) packed up early on in the season finale, skiing together from the start. On the third lap, Caldwell dropped back leaving Diggins and Bjornsen to battle for the second half of the race. Diggins took the win at the line by four-tenths of a second over Bjornsen.

“To get to race a 30k with Sadie out there today was just amazing, we had so much fun pushing each other,” said Diggins. “We didn’t really talk about it but we were going to keep pushing each other and duke it out at the end. Pushing each other is how we race fastest and we waited until the final few k’s to drop the hammer.”

Bjornsen concurred, “It was really fun out there today,” she said. “Jessie and I were switching the lead and hurting each other. It has been so fun to chase after her and it has brought me to a higher level. Today I was trying to outdo her and it came down to the line there and she got the win.”

The race was a bit bittersweet as teammates bid farewell to longtime ski racing colleagues Randall and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.).

“For the end of my career, I was hoping to go out on a high note and feel like I really raced hard,” said Randall, who took the bronze by a second over Caldwell. “I really wasn’t sure we were going to catch Sophie and she was right on my tails coming into the finish line. She is a championship sprinter and I wasn’t going to give an inch until we crossed the line.”

There were hugs all around for Stephen, who finished seventh. The longtime spiritual leader of the team, Stephen made her mark on the World Cup as one of the best hill climbers in the history of the Tour de Ski, as well as winning three U.S. titles. 

“Wow, my last race, I’m out of tears,” she said. “You just realize that you have grown up with these girls which makes me feel like somewhere between and big sister and a mom. I am so lucky to have been part of this group and I will miss these days a lot in the future.”

Across the board, the athletes were flying high on the atmosphere and quality of races at Craftsbury. “I can’t remember having this much fun at Spring Series and Craftsbury does such a great job,” said Bjornsen. “I haven’t had great classic skiing like that all season.”

The Spring Series wraps up with the men’s 50k national championship on Wednesday. The live streaming broadcast begins at 8:45 a.m. EDT with racing at 9:00 a.m.

RESULTS
Women’s 30k classic mass start
 

Alpine Director Patrick Riml Leaving U.S. Ski Team

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
March, 27 2018
Patrick Riml has led some of the most successful athletes in U.S. Ski & Snowboard history, including Mikaela Shiffrin. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)
Patrick Riml has led some of the most successful athletes in U.S. Ski & Snowboard history, including Mikaela Shiffrin. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

PARK CITY, Utah - U.S. Ski & Snowboard's Patrick Riml is leaving his post as alpine director after seven years. Riml, who served two terms with the U.S. Ski Team, played a key role in leading teams that produced some of the strongest elite results in history.

"Patrick's leadership was a key part the success of our alpine program over the past dozen years," said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief of Sport Luke Bodensteiner. “He led some of the most successful teams in our history, which included athletes like Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso, Andrew Weibrecht and Ted Ligety, as well as being part of the team that has helped to re-shape our alpine development efforts."

Riml first joined the U.S. Ski Team as a coach in 2001, rising to head women's coach in 2003. He oversaw the program during the rise of Olympic champions Mancuso and Vonn before leaving in 2008 to become alpine director in Canada. He returned to the USA in 2011 take on the role of alpine director.

"I'm proud of the contribution I have made to the U.S. Ski Team," said Riml. "But I also recognized the need for continued evolution of the sport in America to ensure that same success for the future." Riml did not have any immediate plans.

Bodensteiner said a search would be conducted immediately for a new alpine director. "Patrick has led an incredibly successful and sustained effort at the elite team level," said Bodensteiner. "We now have an opportunity to build on that as we look to establish a program that can re-establish and sustain that level of success over time.”

Hurt Wraps Up Season with GS National Title

By Megan Harrod
March, 26 2018
A.J. Hurt won her second national title at the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships with a victory in the giant slalom Monday. (Oliver Guy Photo @oliverguyphoto)
A.J. Hurt won her second national title at the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships with a victory in the giant slalom Monday. (Oliver Guy Photo @oliverguyphoto)

The Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships wrapped up on Monday with women’s giant slalom with A.J. Hurt (Carnelian Bay, Calif.) grabbing her second national title of the series.

Hurt, who skis for the National Training Group (NTG), won the alpine combined – her first career national title – last Wednesday. Hurt, who grew up skiing at Squaw Valley, made quite the impression this season with two NorAm victories and three FIS Ski World Cup starts.

“It’s always difficult [winning a national title],” reflected Hurt. “I knew I was capable if I skied my best, and that second run was definitely some of my best skiing all year, so that felt really good – not only for the result but just to finish the season off like that.”

Hurt was able to make up a significant amount of time from the mid-section to the finish line of both courses and won by a margin of 1.51 seconds over the University of Denver’s Andrea Komsic and Dartmouth College’s Foreste Peterson – who tied for second.

At a mere 17 years old, Hurt was also the fastest junior on the day, followed by an impressive showing from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Allie Resnick, who finished fourth overall and second among juniors.

The Tom Garner Regions Cup was awarded to the Western Region, who amassed 2,171 points over the Eastern Region’s 1,789 points, followed by Rocky Central with 1,347 points.

RESULTS
Women’s giant slalom

Ford Grabs Ninth National Title

By Megan Harrod
March, 25 2018
Tommy Ford won his ninth career national title in winning Sunday's giant slalom at the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships. (Oliver Guy Photo @oliverguyphoto)
Tommy Ford won his ninth career national title in winning Sunday's giant slalom at the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships. (Oliver Guy Photo @oliverguyphoto)

After a somewhat disappointing fifth-place finish in super-G earlier in the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships, Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.) walked away with his ninth career national title on Sunday in giant slalom.

Ford continues his end of season giant slalom dominance by earning what will be Ford’s third career title in the discipline. With three top-10 FIS Ski World Cup finishes under his belt on the season, including an eighth place at World Cup Finals in Are, Sweden, Ford finished off the season strong and with a smile.

In his first run, Ford took a commanding 0.71-second lead over the field, and it looked unlikely that anyone could catch him unless something went awry second run. Thankfully, it didn’t go awry, and though Ford lost some time in the middle of the course, he was able to find the gas pedal and, as a result, two tenths at the bottom split to come out with a 0.36-second margin of victory.

“I approached today’s race as I would a World Cup, and I gave it my all,” Ford said. “First run was really solid top to bottom, and a blast. The second run was slightly chattery at the top of the turn – saw some people looking like I felt in slalom – going straight and hard. That made it challenging to muster the energy to do a consistently fast run from top to bottom, and I knew I had to go hard because guys like Brian are coming up.”

Rounding out the podium was former N-UNI Team member and Dartmouth skier Brian McLaughlin in second and German-born CU Boulder athlete David Ketterer in third. George Steffey (Lyme, N.H.) was the top junior, finishing fifth overall in the giant slalom.

The U.S. Alpine Championships action wraps up on Monday with women’s giant slalom.

RESULTS
Men’s giant slalom

HOW TO WATCH
Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships
March 26

11:30 a.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 1, Sun Valley – U.S. Ski & Snowboard Live Stream
2:30 p.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 2, Sun Valley – U.S. Ski & Snowboard Live Stream
 

Stratton Mountain School Wins Hotly-Contested Team Relay

By Tom Kelly
March, 25 2018
Kikkan Randall leads Jessie Diggins in the final leg at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships team relay Sunday. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)
Kikkan Randall leads Jessie Diggins in the final leg at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships team relay Sunday. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)

Stratton Mountain School skied to gold in the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships relay Sunday at Craftsbury Common, Vt. Stratton successfully defended its 2017 title in a rematch with Alaska Pacific University Nordic Center, which took silver. Craftsbury Project Green Racing won bronze in the mixed gender, mixed technique event.

Last year Stratton upset APU in Fairbanks, Alaska with a close win. Sunday, Olympic champion Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) was matched up against PyeongChang teammate Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska) on the final leg with Diggins leading Stratton to a 13-second victory.

On the opening leg, Stratton’s Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) and APU’s Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) were in a dead heat. In lap two, APU’s Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) pulled out to a seven-second advantage over Stratton’s Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.).

On leg three, APU’s Scott Patterson (Anchorage, Alaska) put his team back in front over Stratton’s Paddy Caldwell (Lyme Center, N.H.). On the final leg, Randall and Diggins went head-to-head Diggins gaining the advantage and leading Stratton to the win.

“We knew it was going to be tough going against Stratton today based on how they were skiing all week and we knew it would be key getting a little time going into that last leg,” said Randall. “Scott gave us the gap and I was hopeful going into the last lap. I tried to put the pressure on, but Jessie caught me at about 2.5k. She had a bit more and pulled away to take the win. The team relay is such a great event and having three clubs on the podium just shows the depth of the team.”

The back-and-forth between APU and Stratton, with Craftsbury lurking, made for an exciting race for fans and the live streaming broadcast audience.

“We knew that APU and Craftbury were going to be tough,” said Caldwell. “Our goal was to keep it as close as possible for Jessie because we knew we had a really strong anchor leg. We are psyched.”

Recent snow, strong spectator crowds, and excellent courses have made it an important weekend of racing with more to come at Craftsbury. “The course here is amazing, they do such a great job here at Craftbury,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Development Coach Bryan Fish. “It is so exciting to get our World Cup athletes here racing head-to-head with everybody. It was a super competitive race and great fun to watch.”

Both U.S. and SuperTour titles will be on the line Tuesday and Wednesday with long distance races of L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships. The women’s race 30k classic on Tuesday with men going 50k on Wednesday. Streaming broadcasts begin at 8:45 a.m. EDT each day.

RESULTS
L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships - Relays

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
8:45 a.m. EDT - Streaming begins
9:00 a.m. EDT - Women's 30k classic mass start - national championship

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
8:45 a.m. EDT - Streaming begins
9:00 a.m. EDT - Men's 50k classic mass start - national championship

Streaming Locations
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Facebook
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Website

 

Marino Wins Quebec Big Air, Corning Wins World Cup Title

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
March, 25 2018
Julia Marino won the final World Cup big air vent of the season Saturday night in Quebec City (FIS)
Julia Marino won the final World Cup big air event of the season Saturday night in Quebec City (FIS)

Julia Marino (Westport, Conn.) won her second career FIS Snowboard World Cup big air Saturday night at the Jamboree Festival in Quebec City.

World Cup big air titles were awarded to Chris Corning (Silverthorne, Colo.) and Austria’s Anna Gasser, who both sat out the final competition of a long season. Corning, who also won the World Cup slopestyle title, claimed the overall World Cup title for the 2017-18 season.

In front of an huge crowd which had gathered at L’Îlot Fleurie to cheer for the top six female and best 10 male qualifiers, Marino earned her career's third World Cup victory with a score of 168.50. Canada’s Laurie Blouin was second and Loreanne Smans of Belgium snatched her first World Cup podium in third. In addition to her two World Cup big air victories, Marino also won a World Cup slopestyle earlier this season. Marino finished third in the World Cup big air standings, and seventh in the overall World Cup standings.

It's really cool to see how many people came to watch us and support us,” Marino said. “It's been real fun to dropping in to all of this big party. It was a smaller field of girls but it's still awesome to come out here and put down some runs and have a good time.”

In the men's event, Canada’s Max Parrot secured his career's sixth World Cup victory with an almost perfect 195.25. Switzerland's Jonas Boesiger was second and Canada’s Antoine Truchon, the 2012 Quebec winner, rounded out the podium in third.

In the women's standings, it was Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN) claiming the Snowboard overall World Cup title.

RESULTS
Women’s big air
Men’s big air

FINAL WORLD CUP STANDINGS
Women’s big air
Men’s big air
Women’s overall
Men’s overall

 

O’Brien, Roberts Crowned Slalom Champs

By Megan Harrod
March, 24 2018
Nina O'Brien won her third U.S. National title in three separate disciplines with her slalom victory Saturday in Sun Valley, Idaho (Oliver @oliverguyphoto // Oliver Guy Photo)
Nina O'Brien won her third U.S. National title in three separate disciplines with her slalom victory Saturday in Sun Valley, Idaho (Oliver @oliverguyphoto // Oliver Guy Photo)

Colorado natives Nina O’Brien (Edwards, Colo.) and Hig Roberts (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) snagged slalom national titles Saturday, while Sun Valley, Idaho lived up to its name featuring blue skies and sunshine to boot at the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships.

Burke Mountain Academy alumna O’Brien continued her dominance in slalom with her second victory in as many days, having emerged victorious in Friday’s super-G. This victory brings her national title count to three, as she was crowned 2015 giant slalom national champion as well.

“It feels really good”, reflected O’Brien on her first career slalom title. “I’ve been working on my slalom a lot this season so it’s nice to see a payoff. I was a little nervous coming into the second run but I’m glad I sent it and it worked out for me.”

Lila Lapanja from Team CLIF Bar Ski Racing was in the lead first run by just 0.03-seconds, so O’Brien knew she’d have to push it to get results. “I think chasing Lila was a good position to be in,” O’Brien said, “at the same time I knew Amelia (Smart) was super close behind me, so I knew I was going to have to push it to if I wanted to be on the podium or get the win.”

When asked if she could make it three in a row, O’Brien answered with a laugh, “I don’t know, I’m not going to jinx myself!” Canada’s Amelia Smart finished second, while Lapanja grabbed third. Nina O’Brien was the top junior again Saturday. 

On the men’s side, 2017 giant slalom national champion and Middlebury College graduate Roberts, who skied a full FIS Ski World Cup season – which can be quite the grind – noted that finishing off the season with a victory like this boosts the confidence.

“Today feels so good because I really wasn’t expecting this,” he said. “I’ve been focusing on GS more this year and slalom has been such a project for me, but I think that’s what makes it so rewarding for me.” 

Roberts, whose brother Murphy passed away in August of 2016, added “I’m always sending it for Murph. It’s a huge part of my story and my fight. Forever motivated by him…he’s in every turn.”

Rounding out the podium were Mark Engel (Truckee, Calif.) and AJ Ginnis (Vouliagmeni, Greece). River Radamus (Edwards, Colo.) was the top junior for the second day in a row, finishing fifth overall in the slalom.

The U.S. Alpine Championships action continues Sunday with men’s giant slalom, followed by women’s giant slalom on Monday.

RESULTS
Men’s slalom
Women’s slalom

HOW TO WATCH
Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships

March 25
11:30 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 1, Sun Valley – U.S. Ski & Snowboard Live Stream
2:30 p.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 2, Sun Valley – U.S. Ski & Snowboard Live Stream
12:00 p.m. - women’s slalom, Sun Valley - NBCSN

March 26
11:30 a.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 1, Sun Valley – U.S. Ski & Snowboard Live Stream
2:30 p.m. - Women’s giant slalom run 2, Sun Valley – U.S. Ski & Snowboard Live Stream

 

Diggins, Bjornsen Win SuperTour Freestyle Races

By Tom Kelly
March, 24 2018
Scott Patterson leads Erik Bjornson and Brian Gregg in the men's 15k freestyle Saturday at the SuperTour Finals in Craftsbury Center, Vt. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)
Scott Patterson leads Erik Bjornson and Brian Gregg in the men's 15k freestyle Saturday at the SuperTour Finals in Craftsbury Center, Vt. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)

Stratton Mountain School’s Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) picked up her second straight win, taking the women’s 10k freestyle mass start Saturday at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard SuperTour Finals in Craftsbury Common, Vt. Alaska Pacific University Nordic Center skier Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) took the men’s 15k win.

All of the events at Craftsbury are being broadcast live by U.S. Ski & Snowboard on its Facebook channel and USSkiandSnowboard.org.

Bjornsen battled Stratton Mountain School’s Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) and Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s Tad Elliott (Durango, Colo.) in a close race, winning by just 1.5 seconds.

Diggins also had a close race with Alaska Pacific University Nordic Center’s Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), winning by just over a second with APU’s Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) third.

The SuperTour Finals have served as a welcome home for the highly successful U.S. Cross Country Ski Team with big crowds showing up to cheer on their heroes.

“It is really, really cool to be here in Craftsbury and get to race against everyone in the U.S.,” said the Olympic champion Diggins. “The fans are amazing - they are cheering and then they send it off a jump and then they are cheering again.”

“It was a super fun day, great to be here at Craftsbury with all the American racers and spectators,” said Erik Bjornsen. “It was really fun to ski in a group of the nation’s best skiers, feel like skiing with a group of your buddies while pushing yourself super hard.”

“Everyone is psyched about the seasons we have had,” said Hamilton. “The skiing is amazing here, they have done an unbelievable job getting everything ready.”

While the national team athletes race all season long on the World Cup tour for the U.S. Ski Team and Team USA at the Olympics, the Finals is a time to put on their club colors.

“It so nice to come to a race and let the pressure down and enjoy racing for racing,” said Sadie Bjornsen. “I’m out here with all my teammates and we are competing against each other in our club teams, a super fun vibe. It’s so cool to see such a big crowd here at Craftsbury, all these kids that know what you have done this winter is awesome.”

Olympic champion Randall, who is skiing in her final event, echoed those sentiments. “I am really excited to be back here in Craftsbury and see everyone in the ski community. The conditions are beautiful and I am hoping to find the gas to put a down a few more events here.”

SuperTour distance and overall titles are still on the line with long distance events coming up Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation skier Kevin Bolger (Minocqua, Wisc.) leads the men’s overall with 336 points with APU’s David Norris (Anchorage, Alaska) close behind with 315. Norris has a clear lead in the distance standings.

For the women, APU’s Kaitlynn Miller (Anchorage, Alaska) has a strong lead over Craftsbury’s Caitlin Patterson (Anchorage, Alaska) with 408.5 points to Patterson’s 373. APU’s Rosie Frankowski (Minneapolis) leads the distance standings.

Sunday action shifts from SuperTour to the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships with the relay event. Live streaming broadcast starts at 8:45 a.m. EDT.

RESULTS
Women’s 10k mass start freestyle
Men’s 15k mass start freestyle

SuperTour Standings
 

Johnson, Wilson Win Dual Moguls National Championships

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
March, 24 2018
DMNationals
(L to R): Jaelin Kauf, Dylan Walczyk, Brad Wilson, Tess Johnson, Troy Murphy and Keaton McCargo celebrate their dual moguls podium finishes at the 2018 U.S. Freestyle Championships. (Lydia Wolter)

Coming off of her first World Cup win in dual moguls, Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.) skied to her first national title on Saturday while Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.) landed his second win of the weekend at the 2018 U.S. Freestyle Championships at Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire.

Johnson has consistently finished in the top five at Nationals for the past two seasons. She was finally able to break on to the podium with a 20-15 victory over teammate Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) Keaton McCargo (Telluride, Colo.), who won Friday’s moguls championships, claimed her second podium of the weekend with a third place finish.

Wilson skied strong through many tough duals. He found himself up against teammate Dylan Walczyk (Rochester, N.Y.) in the big final and took the win 21-14. Troy Murphy (Bethel, Maine) and Emerson Smith (Dover, Vt.) battled it out in the small final where Murphy took the win for third place.

With the 2018 U.S. Freestyle Championships wrapped up, the U.S. Ski Team moguls athletes look to begin preparations for the 2019 season.

RESULTS
Men’s Dual Moguls
Women’s Dual Moguls

McCargo and Wilson Crowned Moguls National Champions

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
March, 24 2018
MONationalsPodium
(L to R): Avital Shimko, Jesse Andringa, Keaton McCargo, Brad Wilson, Dylan Walczyk and Olivia Giaccio celebrate their podium finishes at the 2018 U.S. Freestyle Championships. (ID One USA)

Keaton McCargo (Telluride, Colo.) and Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.) took home moguls titles on Friday at the 2018 U.S. Freestyle Championships at Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire. It was McCargo’s second consecutive title and Wilson’s fourth-career title.

McCargo progressed through the day, qualifying sixth into finals before taking the win with a score of 84.15. Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athlete Avital Shimko was second with a score of 83.47 followed by Olivia Giaccio (Redding, Conn.) in third with a score of 82.89.

Wilson maintained his lead after posting the highest score in qualification. He took the win with an impressive 88.29. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Jesse Andringa was second with a score of 87.07 and Dylan Walczyk was third with an 85.91.

Action at Waterville Valley continues Saturday, March 24 with the men’s and women’s dual moguls championships.

RESULTS
Men’s Moguls
Women’s Moguls