OMG OMG OMG! How impressive was yesterday? Between Mikaela’s historic win at Aspen, Resi’s incredible comeback top 15 finish and Travis Ganong’s 3rd place up at Lake Louise, yesterday was a busy day and we’re proud to be Americans. It had been a high and dry 34 years, with no American standing atop the Audi FIS Ski World Cup podium at Aspen since Tamara McKinney won in 1981. Shiffrin didn’t just break the record – she absolutely CRUSHED it, winning by a massive 3.07 second margin. She stood on top of the podium with Tamara McKinney yesterday – what a beautiful sight –two class-act women sharing a historical moment. Atle Skaardal, World Cup Chief Race Director, noted that the margin yesterday was bringing us back to Stenmark’s time. Indeed. That’s legend-status.
Want to know something else that’s cool? This man and his wife came to watch the race yesterday, and along with him he brought McKinney’s signed bib from her 1981 World Cup victory. He was just 9 years old when he grabbed that signature. And he kept the bib. Love stories like that. Check out what Mikaela had to say after she won.
It was Resi Stiegler, though, that really WOWED me. Her skiing on the top section was beautiful and aggressive…ACL and meniscus tear last season?! Couldn’t tell. She looked at me with excitement after her run and exclaimed, “That was my best comeback finish in my career!” If you watched her yesterday, you’ll see why she has reason to be excited.
The Scoop: Sure, yesterday was exciting, but today’s a new day. And you better believe Frida Hansdotter and Veronika Velez Zuzulova aren’t going to let a margin like that happen again. But it’s not up to them, is it?! Targets on Shiffrin’s back…those girls want to close the gap. It’s going to be another beautiful day in Aspen. And the snow conditions and weather up in Lake Louise have been incredible. Head Coach Sasha Rearick told me last night that the boys were all a bit nervous – even Travis – but now that they’ve got that first race behind them they’ll be ready.
Aspen, Colorado - Women’s Slalom
- 1st Run Start time: 10:00am MST. 2nd Run: 1:00pm. The first run set looks good…the snow is grippy and money like yesterday. I got the course report from Steve Porino’s 10-yr-old daughter today: “It’s icy!” But, in all seriousness…I caught up briefly with Schlep, Lila and Dykster after inspection and they all said it was nice. Should be fun.
- U.S. Starters: Mikaela Shiffrin (bib #4), Resi Stiegler (19), Paula Moltzan (32) and Lila Lapanja (bib 56). Team Mexico’s Sarah Schleper will run bib 67 today. ¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw! RAWR!
- Head Women’s Coach Paul Kristofic addressed the team last night at our meeting, “What you did today…you showed the rest of the world what’s possible to do out there. We’re pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in this sports, so congratulations on an amazing day. And Resi, to come back from an injury and ski the way you did today…you had some really fast, impressive splits. It is an incredible opportunity we have as a team to be pushing boundaries.” Patrick Riml echoed these sentiments and added, “It’s great to see the team together and the effort as a group. Really cool.”
- As Mikaela noted at last night’s award ceremony, “If you feel like you left something on the hill, then you don’t deserve to be on the podium.” She’s taking risks and didn’t let Friday’s race stop her from pushing it yesterday. She also mentioned how fun it was to see her teammates skiing so fast, including Resi and Paula, and the fact that Lila has those first World Cup race jitters out of the way. BUCKLE UP, my friends, It’ll be another exciting day in Aspen.
Who’s in the Hunt:
The usual suspects Veronika Velez Zuzulova (1) and Frida Hansdotter (3) are going to be gunning for that top position. Sarka Strachova (5), too. Keep an eye on Maria Pietilae-Holmner (2), Nastasia Noens (8), Wendy Holdener (6)…and those Canadians again. I’ve got Marie-Michele Gagnon (11) “Mitch” for a top 5 today. She has to be motivated by boyfriend Travis’ finish yesterday. Teammate Erin Mielzynski will start 15. And why not, let’s throw an Austrian in there…they had an uncharacteristically rough day yesterday, so I think today that feisty Michaela Kirchgasser (14) will throw down today. I like her.
Lake Louise – Men’s Super G
- GO time: 11:00 MST
- U.S. Starters: Travis Ganong (bib 5), Andrew Weibrecht (12), Drew Duffy (40), Wiley Maple (42), Steven Nyman (44), Bryce Bennett (55) and Marco Sullivan (59).
- Travis is stoked to have stolen the American Downhiller vest back. But will he keep it for long, or will Weibrecht steal it back today?! Super G results count too, and I’m eager to see whose hands the coveted Levi’s denim vest will end up in today. This is what he had to say say yesterday, "Steve Nyman last year, he ended with the (American Downhiller) vest after World Cup Finals. So that was my goal all summer was to get the vest back, and I think I got it today so I have the American Downhiller vest back for this week at least. Hopefully next week my teammates are knocking at the door with me. I’d be proud to hand it off to the next guy or hold onto it for another week.”
- Weibrecht was flagged off course yesterday, but ended up grabbing some World Cup points in DH with a 24th place finish. But today’s Warhorse’s day. He loves Super G and he’ll rip. As Head Coach Sasha Rearick recently told Ski Racing, “Weibrecht has been skiing better and better the last three years, more consistent…In the last three years, he’s probably won run three, four and five – now he’s winning run one and two.” As Rearick noted, Weibrecht has fine-honed his inspection skills, and is better able to anticipate speed and terrain factors. He’s also skiing much more compactly and balanced than in years past, mitigating his tendency for the highlight-reel-worthy recoveries for which “Warhorse” has been known throughout his career.
- See what Nyman had to say after his first World Cup downhill of the season. He tied for 16th, among his best finishes at Lake Louise…not too shabby, and he can only build from there!
- World Cup newcomer Drew Duffy is the reigning Super G National Champion (remember when he snuck in front of Nyman at U.S. Alpine Champs in Sugarloaf last season?!)…and now that he’s got his first race jitters out of the way, it’ll be fun to see how he progresses through the season with the big dogs. Former teammates Ronnie and Bryce are – no doubt – watching from above.
Who’s in the Hunt: Simply put, the Attacking Vikings. Aksel Lund Svindal (19) has won the Super G World Cup on five occasions and is looking to surpass Hermann Maier in winning a record sixth crystal globe in this discipline. Svindal has won 12 World Cup races in the Super G, second most behind Maier, who has won double the amount of races (24). He’s fresh off the big W yesterday, and he’s full of confidence. But the target’s on his back from his own teammate - literally, because Kjetil Jansrud (20) will start immediately after Svindal. Jansrud made some mistakes in yesterday’s downhill and that’s bound to fuel him for today. In Copper at the start of downhill training last week, I may have told Jansrud he was a Norwegian God on skis…to which Svindal replied, “Geez, I’m gone for a year, and a lot has changed!” I do believe he proved yesterday that he’s back and he’s the still the boss. Jansrud won last year’s Super G. Watch him today. That’s all I got. I’m just talking about those Norwegians today.
Ski In Peace,