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Final World Cup before PyeongChang

By Megan Harrod
February, 1 2018
Lindsey Vonn
Lindsey Vonn has won seven FIS Ski World Cup races over her career in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (Getty Images)

UPDATED 2-2-18: Due to weather conditions Friday, downhill training for the women's FIS Ski Alpine World Cup was canceled. The NEW program for Saturday is a morning downhill training run, followed by a one-run downhill from the super-G start. Thursday’s training run was also canceled due to snow and rain.

Downhill Training, Saturday, 03.02.2018 4:00 a.m. EST
Downhill 1-run, Saturday, 03.02.2018, 6:30 a.m. EST
Downhill, Sunday, 04.02.2018, 6:30 a.m. EST

While the men’s teams travel to PyeongChang, South Korea the women’s speed team has some unfinished business on the FIS Ski World Cup circuit in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany this weekend in the form of an exciting sprint downhill format on Saturday, followed by a classic downhill on Sunday.

Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.) is coming off a double-podium weekend of downhill racing in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy two weeks ago, along with a solid performance in Lenzerheide, Switzerland last weekend, where she found her stride and speed in the super-G portion of the alpine combined. Last year in what was just her second race back since returning from the most painful injury of her career, Vonn grabbed her 77th career victory in the downhill on the Kandahar track.

Vonn has a long history with Garmisch, having podiumed 10 times and won seven times. She spent a lot of time in Garmisch throughout the years with best friend and former German skier/rival Maria Hoefl-Riesch, having dinner at her home and celebrating the holidays.

Fans can get excited about the new sprint downhill format FIS is introducing – which will include two shortened runs of downhill. This format requires a different approach, which could favor skiers who have technical experience and the mindset to compete in two runs, versus the one-run format. Vonn emerged victorious in the last sprint downhill, which was in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria in January of 2016. Stacey Cook (Mammoth Lakes, CA) finished eighth.

Keep an eye out for Jackie Wiles (Aurora, Ore.), who just snagged her second FIS Ski World Cup podium in Cortina d’Ampezzo, when she finished third, sharing the podium with teammate Vonn. Also watch for Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.), who has been making steady progress in this comeback season on the road to PyeongChang. The women’s speed team is deep, fast and furious.


Garmisch Military Base
The women’s speed team continuing a tradition with a much-needed taste of home at their annual visit to the Garmisch military base.

The women’s speed team carried the torch passed on from the men’s speed team, continuing the tradition with a much-needed taste of home at their annual visit to the Garmisch military base. The crowd was huge and the women were stoked to sign autographs for young fans and hang with their families at the base. Vonn’s dog Lucy even came out to hang. The women also plan to watch the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Sunday at the military base before heading to PyeongChang to represent Team USA on the big stage.

See who to watch and where to catch all the action below.


  • Stacey Cook
  • Breezy Johnson
  • Alice McKennis
  • Alice Merryweather
  • Laurenne Ross
  • Lindsey Vonn
  • Jackie Wiles

All times EST

Saturday, Feb. 3
4:30 a.m. – Women’s downhill training run; Garmisch – Olympic Channel TV (LIVE)
6:30 a.m. – Women’s downhill, 1 run; Garmisch – Olympic Channel TV (LIVE)
10:30 p.m. – Women’s downhill, 1 run; Garmisch - NBCSN (same day delay)

Sunday, Feb. 4
6:30 a.m. – Women’s downhill; Garmisch – Olympic Channel TV (LIVE)
4:00 p.m. – Women’s downhill; Garmisch – NBCSN (same day delay)

Second Medal for Hailey Swirbul

By Tom Kelly
February, 1 2018
Hailey Swirbul
Hailey Swirbul skis to her second medal of the week at Junior Worlds in Switzerland.

Hailey Swirbul (Carbondale, Colo./Univ. of Alaska-Anchorage) skied to her second medal in three days at the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Goms, Switzerland. Swirbul won bronze in the skiathlon.

The medal is the third of her career, including last year's bronze in the team event. Swirbul has now won more Junior Worlds medal than any other American skier.

Swirbul, who came out of the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, is a 2016 graduate of Basalt High School near Aspen. She is now a freshman skiing for the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

The skiathlon is a combination of classic and freestyle skiing with a pit stop midway to change skis. It will be the opening event in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

Swirbul opened the Junior Worlds winning silver in the 5k classic. In the skiathlon, she was only seven-tenths of a second away from silver.

“The race was very challenging, but the courses played to my strengths,” said Swirbul, who battled snow conditions that made things even more challenging. “I knew that finishing speed would not be my strength, so I tried to secure my spot on the podium well before the finish straight. The classic leg did not spread out as much as I had predicted, so it was challenging to conserve energy while striding in a frantic group.”

While Swirbul is the conduit for the accolades, she is quick to put it into perspective for the U.S. program.

"I feel honored that I've been given this chance to show how competitive the US is in cross country skiing beyond our amazing World Cup team,” said a humble Swirbul. “I’ve been part of Scandinavia Cup trips where a top 30 performance was a notable success. Now, four top 20s in the World Junior skiathlon is on track to become a regular thing for our nation.

"I've seen first hand how the level of competition in skiing had risen for us over the past five years. Earning these two medals has proven to the rest of the world that we are a force to be reckoned with at all levels of this sport. I'm very grateful that things aligned for me on the days it really mattered here at World Juniors.”

She was quick to acknowledge the fast skis she had thanks to skilled technicians.

“I’ve received so much support from friends, family and the ski community to get here,” she said. “But my generation of skiing is just getting started, and I know I can expect big things out of my peers in the future! I feel so lucky to take part in this powerful era for cross country skiing in the United States.”

Gus Schumacher (Anchorage/Alaska Winter Stars) was the top U.S. man in 15th. Ben Ogden (Landgrove, Vt./Stratton Mountain School) was 18th. 

Men's 10k/10k Skiathlon 
Women's 5k/5k Skiathlon 

Eighteen Westminster College Students and U.S. Ski & Snowboard student-athletes named to Team USA

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 31 2018
Maddie Bowman
Maddie Bowman is one of 18 Westminster College 18 U.S. Ski & Snowboard student-athletes who will compete for Team USA in South Korea next month. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster College congratulates its 18 U.S. Ski & Snowboard student-athletes who will compete for Team USA in South Korea next month. All of campus will be watching and cheering them on as they pursue their athletic dreams. 

Westminster is proud to be an Official Education Partner of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the national governing body for competitive skiing and snowboarding. U.S. Ski & Snowboard nominated 18 Westminster students for the 2018 team last week. The athletes will represent the United States next month in events like giant slalom, moguls skiing, snowboardcross and Nordic combined. Athletes train at the Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, while studying 30 minutes away at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

Together, Westminster and U.S. Ski & Snowboard help national athletes achieve excellence in the classroom and on the slopes. More than 140 U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes have attended Westminster College since the partnership began in 2005. The average GPA for all Westminster U.S. Ski & Snowboard students is 3.6. While they all compete in snow sports, they’re individually earning degrees in and exploring varied passions like art, entrepreneurship, physics and biology. They balance intense training schedules and rigorous coursework with inspiring determination.

Megan McJames, three-time Olympian, amateur baker, Westminster junior and finance major
“I think the type of person that I am — and most athletes are — is a little type-A. We like to do our best at everything. When you’re pursuing your best in sports, those skills translate into school and vice versa.

As an athlete, school has been a great outlet for me to take a break from thinking about skiing all the time and realize there is other stuff out there. It has given me skills that translate into making me who I am.”

Abby Rinquist, ski jumper and Westminster art major
“I’m super grateful to get one-on-one time with professors who appreciate what I do. They’re all supportive of the dreams that I have as a student, and the dreams that I have as a person and an athlete.”

Faye Guilini, three-time Olympian, Grand Prix champ, Westminster junior and accounting major
“I was the kid who was in summer school a lot. It took me an extra year to graduate high school and I didn’t really see secondary education as an option. Then I made the national team and thought ‘if I can be the best at my sport, I can get through college.’ I started at Westminster and saw that these professors are willing to be there when you’re in South America or halfway around the world. That’s very beneficial. I have a 3.9 GPA, something I never thought I would have.”

2018 Team USA members from Westminster College

Facts about Westminster’s U.S. Ski & Snowboard Students:

  • Thirty-three U.S. Ski & Snowboard alums have graduated from Westminster
  • Currently, 52 student-athletes are attending Westminster
  • More than 140 student-athletes have taken classes at Westminster
  • Westminster students have competed in two previous Winter Olympic Games:
    • 2010 Vancouver
      • 14 students
      • One bronze
    • 2014 Sochi
      • 23 students
      • Two gold, one silver, one bronze
  • U.S. Ski & Snowboard students compete in a variety of competitions throughout the year, including X Games, FIS World Cups and Grand Prix events

Visit for more information.

Media Contacts:  Krista DeAngelis and Arikka Von, 801-832-2682
About U.S. & Ski Snowboard:

U.S. Ski & Snowboard is the Olympic sports organization based in Park City, Utah, providing leadership and direction for elite athletes competing at the highest level worldwide and for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders in the USA, encouraging and supporting all its athletes in achieving excellence wherever they train and compete. By empowering national teams, clubs, coaches, parents, officials, volunteers and fans, U.S. Ski & Snowboard is committed to the progression of its sports, athlete success and the value of team. One of the oldest and most established sports organizations worldwide, directly tracing its roots back to 1905, U.S. Ski & Snowboard receives no direct government support, operating solely through private donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to fund athletic programs that directly assist athletes in reaching their dreams.

About Westminster:
Westminster is a private, independent and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains. For more information, visit or follow WestminsterSLC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Double Medals at Junior Worlds

By Tom Kelly
January, 30 2018
Hailey Swirbul
Hailey Swirbul took silver in the 10k classic at the Junior World Championships in Goms, Switzerland.

Hailey Swirbul (Carbondale, Colo./Univ. Alaska-Anchorage) led a history-making day at the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Switzerland Tuesday. Swirbul took silver in the women’s 5k classic in Goms while Olympian Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, Wis./Flying Eagles Ski Club) won bronze in the 10k nordic combined championship in nearby Kandersteg. It was the first double medal day ever for the U.S. Ski Team at Junior Worlds.

Swirlbul, who was part of the women’s bronze-medal-winning relay team a year ago, was five seconds out of second at the halfway mark but came charging back in the last 1.5 kilometers to pick up silver.

“Hailey skied tactically really well,” said U.S. coach Bryan Fish. “We had to wait for the later starters to finish, however none of their intermediary splits were matching up and it became clear that she would be on the podium.”

Her finish was the best ever for a U.S. man or woman at Junior Worlds and she becomes the second American to win two career Junior Worlds medals - a mark Katharine Ogden set a year ago.

On the men’s side, Ben Ogden had an impressive seventh-place finish in the 10k classic. His finish matches the best ever for a U.S. man at Junior Worlds, a mark held by Andy Newell from 2003 in the freestyle sprint and Rob Whitney in the 10k classic in 1999. 

Loomis, who won silver at the Youth Olympic Games two years ago, picked up the first nordic combined medal since 2002 when Alex Glueck and Nathan Gerhart were second and third. It was only the fourth U.S. individual medal ever.

"Jumping was pretty good today, but I know I can improve," said Loomis. "Overall it's been consistently getting better and better so I'm happy with the direction things are going."

Loomis began the race 38 seconds behind the leader. Within the first few kilometers, a pack was formed with places third through seventh, and the chase was on. Loomis skied smart, jockeying for position when necessary and trading off the lead in the chase pack, but never going out of his comfort zone.

"It was definitely a really hard race," said Loomis. "I had some ground to make up after the jumping, but I was able to push hard and ski a really smart race and I'm very happy with the outcome."

"I was able to finish on the podium which was my goal for this race," added Loomis. "It was a really tough course, but the race organizers did a really good job of keeping the course maintained."

Action continues in Goms and Kandersteg throughout the week.

Injury Sidelines Nyman Prior to Olympics

By Megan Harrod
January, 29 2018
Steven Nyman
Steven Nyman will miss the upcoming 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea after suffering a knee injury in a downhill training run in Germany. (Getty Images)

Veteran downhiller Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah) suffered an injury in Thursday’s FIS Alpine World Cup training run in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, which means he will miss the upcoming 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea. Post-event assessments by a medical team in Garmisch confirmed that Nyman sustained an ACL tear on his right knee, which brings his season to an end.

Nyman will join teammate and Vail/Beaver Creek World Championship downhill silver medalist Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.), unfortunately, both cheering for Team USA from the sidelines. Ganong, also one of U.S. Ski & Snowboard's primary men's Alpine speed athletes, also suffered a torn ACL, at the World Cup event in Bormio, Italy in December. 

"We’re disappointed Steven Nyman cannot compete in the downhill as he brings great leadership to that team," said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief of Sport Luke Bodensteiner. "His place in the downhill will be taken by one of the many great athletes we have on our Olympic Team."

This is not the first time the dark, bumpy Kandahar track has ended Nyman’s season. Last year, he had a season-ending left knee injuryACL, MCL, and PCL tear – in Garmisch when he crashed into the safety netting. He battled his way back through a grueling rehab process and took a conservative approach to his comeback, starting his first World Cup in Val Gardena, Italy in December. Steadily building towards PyeongChang, Nyman snagged top three training run times and splits before finishing 15th in last weekend’s downhill in Kitzbuehel prior to returning to Garmisch.

Nyman, who had just been named to his fourth Olympic team, has 11 FIS Ski World Cup career podiums, including three victories at Val Gardena, Italy. With a third place under his belt at the Olympic test event at Jeongseon, Nyman was expected to be a contender in the downhill at the Olympics.

I was really looking forward to not only representing our country at my fourth Olympics but trying to contend for a medal,” Nyman reflected. “Unfortunately, a year to the day from my left knee injury, I’ve learned that I’ve completely torn the ACL on my other (right) knee. The good news is that this injury is much more straightforward than last year, and will be much easier to come back from.”

A leader on and off the mountain, Nyman will be missed in PyeongChang, says Head Coach Sasha Rearick. “This injury is a huge loss to the ski racing community of America and the U.S. Ski Team. He’s the leader of our family; he’s been the leader of the downhillers for a long time,” Rearick said. “I think we take a lot of pride in all of the work he has done, and the leadership he has shown to the team about how to work hard and take it step by step over a 12-month period and actually be in a place where he was ready to compete at the elite level.”

In contrast to last year, this year Nyman sustained a simple ACL tear, and none of the other ligaments or cartilage are injured. He will turn 36 in February during the Olympic Games, and he will celebrate a day early by watching his teammates ski the downhill in PyeongChang on February 11th. While his short-term focus is on cheering for his teammates in South Korea, Nyman will be back on the mountain as soon as he is physically able.

If all goes well I should be back on snow for regular summer training camps, and in full form by the start of next season,” Nyman promised. “My focus is now on next year’s World Cup season and the 2019 World Championships [in Are, Sweden]. I’ll be cheering loudly for my teammates and all the athletes in Korea, and I know the whole American Downhiller crew has the potential to be right in there. I’d, of course, like to thank my sponsors, coaches, teammates, friends, and family for all of their support. Go Team USA!”

Rearick echoes Nyman – and does not doubt for a second that he will return, and he will return stronger, “The whole team is rooting for Steven. We know he’s going to be back on the World Cup. We know he’s going to be back competing under the American flag. It’s going to be some time, but we’re looking forward to the moment he’ll be back training and racing at full speed with the team. We wish him the very best.”

Rearick continues to bring optimism into the Games with the rest of the American downhill squad, including two young athletes who have been stepping up: Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Cali.) and Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah).

“Steven paved the way for the guys. His spirit and his energy will be will be missed, but it is with us all of the time, and it has really inspired our two young downhillers, Bryce Bennett and Jared Goldberg,” noted Rearick. “Goldberg is showing us tremendous speed, skiing smart, clean, aggressive runs while Bennett has been showing consistency and his progress has been phenomenal. A big part of that is seeing the steps that Nyman made in coming back from his injury the last 12 months. Nyman has been helping both of these guys.”

Always thinking beyond himself and seeing the silver lining, Nyman wrote on Saturday after the race, “On another note, I’m super proud of Bryce! Crushed today. That didn’t look easy and he skied super well ¾ of the way down. Easily top 10 without the bobble.”

The future is bright for both Nyman and the downhillers, and Bennett and Goldberg will be two to watch in PyeongChang, not only according to Nyman, but also Rearick.

“Fortunately, the track in Jeongseon is one we’re familiar with, and we’ve gotten to train on it more than other teams, and Bennett and Goldberg are both skiing well,” assured Rearick. “The challenge for them will be to challenge each other as we go into the Games and support each other in a way that Steven supported them. Bode [Miller] and Daron [Rahlves] did it best – but we, as American downhill racers, pride ourselves on that family tie to support each other, challenge each other, and push each other.”

Believe in Steven. He will be back.


Ligety Returns to Podium in Garmisch

By Courtney Harkins
January, 28 2018

In the giant slalom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) stepped back on the podium in third place.

With nearly two years off due to injury, Ligety has struggled to put two clean runs together this season in his return to the FIS World Cup circuit. But after a solid training block with teammates Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.) and Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.) in Italy prior to Garmisch, Ligety was ready for action and crushed two strong runs in front of the cheering German fans. He finished third behind Austrian teammates Marcel Hirscher and Manuel Feller.

“It’s been really nice to finally be back on the podium,” said Ligety, whose last podium was at Beaver Creek in 2015. “It’s been a tough battle the last couple of years here with injuries and it’s nice to feel like I’m starting to ski better.”

Ligety has had success in Garmisch in the past—this was his third World Cup podium at the venue and he holds a gold from their 2011 World Championships. But the podium isn’t quite enough for Ligety, who is looking for his third Olympic gold next month. “There’s still some things to do,” Ligety continued. “It’s nice that we have a couple of weeks here before the giant slalom at the Olympics, so we can figure out those next steps. We’re still a little bit off and I have to find that next step and be really fast. I’m not going to sit here and be psyched on this—I’m going to move forward and keep working.”

Behind Ligety, Tim Jitloff (Reno, Nev.) finished 20th and Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.) was 27th. 

The U.S. men will not race in the Stockholm city event on Tuesday, and will instead train for the PyeongChang Olympics in two weeks. Downhill training starts February 8.

Men’s giant slalom

Shiffrin Hikes in Lenzerheide

By Courtney Harkins
January, 28 2018
Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin races the Lenzerheide slalom. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alain Grosclaude)

It looked like Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) was going to take her seventh FIS World Cup slalom win of the season in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, but made a mistake just before the finish and had to hike.

Shiffrin, who would have clinched the slalom World Cup crystal globe with a win or a second-place finish, led after first run by over six-tenths of a second. She built on the lead throughout her second run to over a second, but with the finish line in sight, Shiffrin made a mistake and couldn’t keep her line. She finished 27th.

Petra Vlhova of Slovakia won the race, with Frida Hansdotter of Sweden in second and Wendy Holdener of Switzerland in third. Resi Stiegler (Jackson, Wyo.) was the only other American in the second run, and finished 18th.

Shiffrin now takes a well-deserved break before the PyeongChang Olympics. Stiegler will race the Stockholm city event on Tuesday.

Women's slalom

USA Women: Two for Two in Seefeld

By Tom Kelly
January, 28 2018
Jessie Diggins
This is how you win a World Cup. Jessie Diggins beats World Cup leader Heidi Weng to make it a two-for-two victory weekend for the U.S. Ski Team. (Getty Images/AFP-Barbara Gindl)

Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) skied a brilliant race on fast skis to give the USA a victory sweep of the weekend following Sophie Caldwell's (Peru, Vt.) win in Saturday's freestyle sprint. The 10k freestyle mass start was a test event for the 2019 World Chanpionships in Seefeld, Austria. It was Diggins' first win of the season and set the stage for the team to head to PyeongChang next week for the Olympic Winter Games.

Three U.S. women cracked the top 14 with Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) eighth and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) 14th.

The U.S. men had one of their strongest days in recent history in distance racing. Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) was ninth in the men's 15k freestyle mass start with Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) 12th - both career bests and just seconds behind winner Dario Cologna of Switzerland.

Diggins had sat out Saturday's sprint to pace herself going into the Olympics. She came to the start line fresh and energized, engaging in the race from the start. She played a cat and mouse game with Weng and Norway's Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, mainly back in third to fifth. As they lapped back into the stadium on a long downhill, Diggins let her Salomon skis run and saw quickly she was much faster than the field. Coming into a sharp right corner, she ducked down inside Weng and Østberg to sneak into the lead. She held that spot, dropping back again for a period before making her move on a hill with about a kilometer to go. As the leaders hit the climb, Diggins attacked building a gap and widening it on the subsequent downhill. Raghild Haga then moved into the picture, joining Diggins and Weng in a finish sprint. But it was all Diggins as she took her fifth career World Cup win and first above 5k.

"What a fun race," she said. "Such a cool feeling, having the energy after sitting out Saturday’s race to then make a decisive move on that final brutal uphill. It was a hard course on which to break up the pack. So I stayed near the front and out of trouble, taking my turn to pull but also saving some energy knowing that it would likely come down to the last few kilometers like the men’s race did. I was confident in my skis and how I was cornering the big downhill, so I just put my head down and went for it."

Diggins won in similar style as Cologna had just a few hours earlier, admitting to watching the men and learning his strategy. But one of the keys were her skis. 

"I just had awesome skis today, and our techs did such a good job," she said. "We had some absolutely killer cheering out there as the men’s downhill team came out in full force. I can’t believe how awesome it was to hear them yelling on the side of the trail."

Sadie Bjornsen admitted that her brother Erik's performance in the morning gave her a boost. "I got my brother by one spot, which is a daily competition for the two of us," she laughed. "He set the bar high this morning. I am just so excited to see how well he did, and Simi as well. Those two have a bright future for the team sprint, I can't even wait to watch!"

Her eighth place finish was a career best in a 10k freestyle. "It was an exciting, and super fun final race before the Olympic Games," she said. "It was hot from the start on a really fun course here in Seefeld. I think the nature of the course kind of held the pack together a bit more, which always makes for a fun race. I felt really good out there, and was super happy with the day."

The men's race was pivotal for the USA.

"it was an incredible day," said Hamilton. "I’ve been wanting to do that for a while and today a whole lot of things just clicked. My fitness is great right now and it gives me so much confidence leading into Korea."

The rare mass start format provided an opportunity for new strategies and the course played to the U.S. strengths.

"I focused on skiing a smart race, staying relaxed on the climbs, and picking people off where I could," said Hamilton. "I think the downhills really played into my strengths, and my skis were absolute rockets. I was able to get past a few people on each long downhill on each lap, so moving up through the pack worked really well today."

Hamilton echoed the importance of the event for the team, with three in the points including Scott Patterson (Anchorage) finishing 27th.

"I’m so, so psyched for Scott and Erik today too - specially Erik with his first ever top 10 - and he earned that one today," said Hamilton. "And to have Scott in the points gives our whole men’s team a really good energy heading into Korea." 

Spirits were high across the U.S. Ski Team after its final race before PyeongChang. "It will be great to have two more weeks to rest, recover and come in sharp for these exciting races to come," said Sadie Bjornsen. "I am so excited to see our team on fire right now too. The vibe is great, the spirit is high, and we are so excited to take on the world in a few weeks here! Win or lose, I think this team is going to do something great! Now, let the games begin."

Diggins remained third in the FIS World Cup overall standings with Bjornsen seventh.

The team will train in Europe before heading to PyeongChang next week.

Men's 15k Freestyle Mass Start
Women's 10k Freestyle Mass Start 

Sprint Win for Sophie Caldwell

By Tom Kelly
January, 27 2018
Sophie Caldwell
Laurien Van Der Graaff of Switzerland and Sophie Caldwell celebrate after the Ladies FIS Cross Country Sprint World Cup on in Seefeld, Austria. (Getty Images/AFP - Barbara Gindl)

In an aggressive head-to-head battle, Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) put down some powerful skiing over three heats to tie for the win in the 2019 World Championship test event freestyle sprint in Seefeld, Austria. Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) joined her in the finals, finishing sixth. Swiss Laurien van der Graaf joined Caldwell for the win.

Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) was ninth to lead the U.S. men as Norway’s Johannes Høsflot Klæbo continued his domination.

“I was not expecting to take the win and didn’t realize I had tied for first until 20 minutes after the race had ended,” said Caldwell. “Any day in the final is a good day, any day on the podium is a good day, so of course I’m thrilled with a win.”

The short 1.1k flat course provided some intense skating action with Caldwell and Bjornsen in it across each heat. Caldwell found herself up against Norway's powerhouse skier Maiken Kaspersen Falla in every heat, taking down the Norwegian star in both the semifinals and finals.

“Maiken and I both chose the first heat, which I was pretty psyched with because I really enjoy skiing with her and I knew they would be fast heats,” said Caldwell. “She likes to lead and she’s a very clean skier, so my strategy was to follow her and have a strong finish. I got off to a slow start in my quarter final, but I was able to take the top corner well and move into second.”

Caldwell, who qualified fourth, was just .08 off Falla's pace in the opening heat - the fastest of the opening round by over two seconds. Bjornsen took a half second win in her heat.

Caldwell and Falla battled the entire way in the first semifinal heat with the American taking the win. Bjornsen was second with the pair advancing into the finals.

“After that opening heat I tried to have stronger starts to put myself into a good position,” she said. “I was feeling good all day and knew this was a course that suited my strengths, so I thought if I skied it well in the final I might have a shot at the podium.”  

Falla set a torrid pace in the title round, but Caldwell never left her tails. In a field sprint to the finish, Caldwell powered by Falla while van der Graaf came charging up the other side to grab a tie with Caldwell in a photo finish that could not be separated.

It was Caldwell's fifth career individual podium and second sprint win - one each in classic and sprint. For Bjornsen, it was her first appearance in a skate sprint final.

“It was extra special to be in the final with Sadie,” said Caldwell. “She is skiing so well in every discipline right now.”

Bjornsen clearly showed she was back to form after several weeks of recovery from the Tour de Ski.

“It was an incredible day out there today on the World Championship course for next year,” said Bjornsen. “It is fun to have our final preparation for the Olympics on our World Champs course for next year! I finally had some of my first good feelings since the Tour de Ski today, and had a ton of fun with it.”

Bjornsen had a strong qualifier and set a goal of getting out of quarter finals for the first time in two years in a skate sprint 

“The quarter finals went really well and my legs were feeling really good and strong,” she said. “In the semi's, I again felt good, but could feel some fatigue coming in for the final climb. I tried to recover as fast as I could, and stay positive for the finals to try to fight for a podium alongside Sophie.”

While the field was tightly packed in the final, Bjornsen just didn’t have the power on the final climb and finished sixth - a career best skate sprint.

The one-two punch of Caldwell and Bjornsen showed, once again, the depth of the women’s team going into the Olympics.

“Big huge congrats to Sophie for the win today,” said Bjornsen. “She is an inspiration, and one speedy teammate to look up to.”

Bjornsen’s appearance in a sprint final added yet another name to mix as a contender for the upcoming two-person freestyle team sprint in PyeongChang along with Diggins and Caldwell.

Seefeld is the site of the 2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. The sprint will be freestyle next year in Seefeld, with classic on tap at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. The short, flat sprint course is expected to be enhanced for the World Championships.

Bjornsen remained seventh in the FIS World Cup overall rankings, while Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.), who sat out the race, stayed in third. Diggins had planned to skip the freestyle sprint to pace herself going into PyeongChang. She is expected to compete in Sunday’s 10k freestyle mass start. The men will run 15k.

Women's sprint
Men's sprint

Shiffrin Seventh In Lenzerheide Giant Slalom

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 27 2018
Mikaela Shiffrin finished seventh in Saturday’s FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Alain Grosclaude)
Mikaela Shiffrin finished seventh in Saturday’s FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom - Alain Grosclaude)

Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) finished seventh in the final FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom before the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Lenzerheide, Switzerland Saturday.

Tessa Worley of France won, with Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg was second, and Slovenia’s Meta Hrovat picking up her first World Cup podium in third.

Shiffrin continues to lead the overall World Cup standings with 1,513 total points. Rebensburg is second with 714 points and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener is third with 702 points. Shiffrin also leads the overall World Cup slalom standings.

Up next, the women compete in the final slalom event prior to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games Sunday in Lenzerheide, followed by a city event in Stockholm on Tuesday.

Bennett Top American in Garmisch Downhill

Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.) led the American Downhillers in 16th on the Kandahar track in Saturday’s FIS Ski World Cup downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Tommy Biesemeyer (Keene, N.Y.) was 29th.

“Last week in Kitzbuehel I was pretty focused on the result,” Bennett said. “Today I had a good plan of what I wanted to ski, and a plan on how I was going to execute that technically, and that’s all I focused on and it was pretty solid.”

Swiss Beat Fuez took the win as Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr was second, followed by Italy’s Dominik Paris in third.

Up next, Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) will lead the U.S. men in giant slalom Sunday in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Women’s giant slalom
Men’s Downhill

All times EST
*schedules subject to change

Jan. 28
3:30 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 1; Lenzerheide –
4:30 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, run 1; Garmisch-Partenkirchen –
6:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, run 2; Lenzerheide – NBCSN
7:30 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, run 2; Garmisch-Partenkirchen – NBCSN