First off, can we talk about yesterday?! I’m still in awe. Jaw-dropping historical performance by the boys at Birds of Prey. Add on top of that #LV69 up in Lake Lindsey. What an incredible day. I love my job every day, but it’s days like yesterday that make me IN love with my job and fall deeper and deeper for this beautiful sport. A historical day at Birds of Prey, with 4 men in the top 11 – our best ever super G result as a team. 5 in the points. SO. MUCH. DAMN. FUN.
The Scoop: Onward and upward…to today! 5 times. That’s how many victories The Ligety Show has had on this track…straight. Will he snag his 6th today?! I’m a kid in a candy shop! The course set looks good, but it’s a bit offset. The guys will have to be charging and working all the way to the bottom.
But today, my friends, there’s another show in town…and it’s called The Shiff Show. It’s Mikaela Shiffrin’s speed debut today in Lake Louise. How exciting is this?! When asked about her speed debut, she said, “I’m going to be attacking as much as I can,” Shiffrin said at her victory press conference in Aspen. “I am really excited to see what World Cup speed is all about. I’ll try to learn as much as I can from the other U.S. girls and from Lindsey and our coaches. I’m really excited. I like super G a lot, so I’ll be going for it. I just don’t know exactly where that will put me.”
Beaver Creek, CO – Men’s Giant Slalom
- Start time: 1st run 9:45, 2nd run 12:45.
- U.S. Starters: Ted Ligety (4), Tim Jitloff (12), Tommy Ford (42)…and then those Dartmouth boys holding down the 50+ fort with Michael Ankeny (50), David Chodounsky (51), and Andrew Weibrecht (62).
- Ok, let’s talk about that Mr. GS, shall we?! For the record…he doesn’t really dig the name “Mr. GS” and has said often that he’d like to be known as a powerhouse among multi disciplines, with the overall being an ultimate goal. His four successive World Cup (excluding 2015 World Champs’ gold here) wins at Birds of Prey equals the record of winning a specific men’s World Cup event at least four times in a row at the same venue as one of his childhood ski heroes, Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark between ’79 and ’82. On top of that, Ligety has won 24 GS World Cup races, second most among, behind Stenmark, who won almost twice the amount of races with 46. Okay, so there’s no wonder why Ted is called “Mr. GS,” but you can see after his performance yesterday that he’s more than worthy of a broader title.
- Last year here Daver scored his first World Cup GS points, skiing from bib 66 to 17th. He was stoked and GOSH, that was fun. Keep an eye out for that Tommy Ford today. He grabbed a great result yesterday, landing in 28th and grabbing points and he’s been smoking lately, with back-to-back GS NorAM victories at Copper Mountain, with an impressively stacked field (aka he beat Fritz Dopfer, folks).
- Horse is having a great weekend and he’s joining those #USTechNerds today for some fun. He had a great prep camps this summer with tech, and Head Coach Sasha Rearick is excited about how he’s skiing.
- Michael Ankeny is a Minnesota boy, and he’s one of the most genuine guys I’ve met. Naturally. Love the midwest! Central Nation (ski ya later, Brewster!) pride. Guess what?! This is his World Cup GS debut, and he told me after inspection that the course is awesome and they’ll be working all the way down. Mikey likes it!
Who’s in the Hunt: Want to know something else that’s wild?! Of the last 27 Giant Slalom World Cup races, only four were not won by Ligety or Marcel Hirscher. WAIT. Seriously?! Yep, that’s right.
Of these four races, Alexis Pinturault (5) won two and Henrik Kristoffersen (lucky number 7) and Felix Neureuther (6) won one. I caught up with Felix last night at dinner. He was in a three-way tie for sixth at Soelden. He started bib 6 then too. What’s with all the 6’s?! Today, I like him for a podium. he’s my favorite guy on the circuit – just an all-around stand-up guy. Marcel Hirscher (2). This guy is dominant. And consistent to boot. Hirscher has finished in the top 4 in each of the last 20 Giant Slalom World Cup races and has only been outside the top 10 once in the last 34 World Cup Giant Slalom races he participated in (16th in Adelboden, Jan. 2013). He finished third in the season opener at Soelden behind Ligety and France’s Thomas Fanara (3)…so today he’ll be pushing, pushing, pushing for the W. And he has confidence after his performance yesterday – his first super G victory. I asked him if the course was “crushable” during inspection today. He said, “I hope.” Man of few words. Fanara has yet to win a World Cup. Watch for Fritz Dopfer (1) and that Italian Roberto Nani (15) too. Oooooooh, this is exciting, right?! Yep.
Lake Louise – Women’s Super G
- Start time: 11am local time
- U.S. Starters: Laurenne Ross (12), Lindsey Vonn (21), Stacey Cook (23), Mikaela Shiffrin (32), Anna Marno (35), Alice McKennis (38), and Abby Ghent (43).
- It’s not all about downhill at Lake Louise for Vonn, of her 17 victories at the venue, three of them have been super G victories. Her seven podium finishes in Lake Louise are already an outright record among men and women in the super G. Vonn can win the Lake Louise Super G a record four times as she is currently tied with Renate Götschl and Katja Seizinger with three wins.
- Mikaela is enjoying speed, and the vibe of the team as a whole has been excellent. In a recent Copper FIS DH with a hearty field, Shiffrin landed in 10th, ahead of the veteran Liz Georgl. This is what she had to say: "The second race [of the Copper FIS downhill series] was really good, it just takes me a little bit to understand exactly how straight I can go. Super G is a little different…so maybe I’ll have a better shot at super G than downhill. We’ll see. I’m excited.”
- Stacey didn’t have a great day yesterday, but she’ll be looking for speed today. She’s staying positive and of course she loves Lake Louise.
Who’s in the Hunt: Things will start to get really interesting around bib number 20, when Lara Gut runs…follow that up with Vonn, and then Austria's Liz Goergl (22), who – after last season – has decided to keep her focus on speed events. Gut won the super G last year, and also won in 2013 and can equal Vonn’s record by winning the Super G in Lake Louise three times in a row as Vonn was victorious in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Cornelia Huetter (17) was 4th last year in the Super G standings and she’s has a great chance to get in there today.
TV and Live Streaming Schedule (times EST):
1:00 p.m. - Women's SG, Lake Louise - NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
5:00 p.m. - Men's GS, Beaver Creek – NBC and NBC Live Extra - LIVE STREAM
8:30 p.m. - Women's SG, Lake Louise, Universal HD
MY UPCOMING SCHEDULE: Heading to Euroland on Wednesday for four months straight. I can HARDLY wait. Val D’Isere next…and here’s the rest of my schedule for the winter.
Last but not least, WE’RE ON SNAPCHAT! Find us and follow us to get the behind-the-scenes from the road all winter long: @usskiteam!
Wearing the lucky muscle leggings today. Sad to be leaving the Beav today…can’t believe it’s coming to an end. Kudos to the entire organizing staff and the incredible volunteers in the Talon Crew for all that you guys have done to pull off yet another amazing event. As Ted Ligety said, you guys are “second to none.”
Ski in Peace,