U.S. ALPINE SKI TEAM NEWS

Ligety 4th in GS with Scorching 2nd Run
Miller 15th, Jitloff 18th in first worlds

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 14) – A year ago Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) celebrated Valentine’s Day by winning gold in the Olympic combined event in Italy; Wednesday, he produced the third-fastest final run but was bumped off the giant slalom podium by the last racer in the top 30 to finish fourth at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Championships. Downhill champion Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won his second gold of the championships, this time in 2:19.64.

NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com are providing live coverage of every race through the end of the championships Sunday. There also is live interval timing available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.

Swiss skiers Daniel Albrecht – the surprise super combined gold medalist a week ago and veteran teammate Didier Cuche – completed the podium. Ligety was seven-hundredths away from a medal. (At the VISA Birds of Prey GS at Beaver Creek, CO, in December, Svindal was second with Ligety third and Cuche fourth.)

The first run was staged in zero-degree weather under cloudy skies; by the second run, sunshine broke through at the top of the Olympia course, but the lower sections stayed in flat light. The temperature climbed into the low 20s.

“I’m happy I skied well but super disappointed I was fourth, especially by seven-hundredths,” Ligety said. “I made a couple of little mistakes in there – those cost me, for sure. It’s bittersweet.”

Wild second run brought Ligety close
He struggled through his first run and then had a bit of a rodeo ride as he closed in on the podium, only to be denied by Albrecht.

“The snow was definitely grippy,” he said, pointing to a free-ski session on the race hill Tuesday “when a lot of the guys were trying to figure out their [equipment] setups because they were bouncing around a lot.

“I felt I was set-up with my skis and everything, so it was just a matter of performing, and the first run wasn’t that good. I was having trouble finding the clean edge,” Ligety explained. “Yeah, that second run was [aggressive], but I was going for it, though. That’s what you have to do in these situations.”

Despite the speed, there were a couple of places where Ligety had to slap on the brakes to stay under control “and that definitely cost me a little…and I skied okay on the bottom again. It’s a tough run to look back on.”

“Fourth is always a disappointment,” said Men’s Head Coach Phil McNichol. “And it’s disappointing when you’re used to being the team that steps up at big times, but it didn’t happen this time.”

Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH), sixth in the first run, was 15th after a mistake-filled second run with Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) 18th in his first World Championships race. Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) finished 37th after slowing down when he snapped a ski pole on his second run.

World Cup rookie Jitloff shines
Jitloff, coming back from reconstructive surgery on his left knee (which he spotlights with a “Thanks Dr. Orr” label on his helmet in thanks to Dr. Terrence Orr, a U.S. Ski Team surgeon from Lake Tahoe), showed no intimidation on the big stage. He said he learned from competing in the night slalom at Schladming, Austria, two weeks earlier with a crowd of 50,000 or more in the wild, fishbowl atmosphere.

“I really learned. I broke down mentally when I got into that atmosphere – so many people and such an intensity for the race,” Jitloff said. “But I learned from that, so I came into here and just was able to get that mentality I have when I train. I’m just relaxed….

“It’s a privilege to just come here and display what I like to do.”

Said McNichol, “We had some good stuff going on out there and we got really close, but we fell a little short. It was a good performance, certainly form Ted – an outstanding second run. Bode had a bunch of mistakes on that second run and you just can’t let down at all, you have to be in full-on attack mode, right to the bottom…

“Timmy Jitloff showed speed and this certainly should give him some confidence in his next World Cup GS [March 3] in Kranjska Gora [Slovenia]…and he just keeps improving his overall World Cup approach. Jimmy had some bad luck on that second run. So, now we regroup and come back at ’em Saturday in slalom.”

The next men’s race is the slalom and the championships conclude Sunday with the team event – up to six skiers taking two men’s and two women’s runs in downhill and two men’s and two women’s runs in slalom.

2007 FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
Olympia course
Are, SWE – Feb. 14, 2007
Men’s Giant Slalom
1. Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 2:19.64
2. Daniel Albrecht, Switzerland, 2:20.12
3. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 2:20.56
4. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 2:20.63
5. Alberto Schieppati, Italy, 2:20.72

15. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH, 2:21.65
18. Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV, 2:22.23
37. Jimmy Cochran, Keene, NH, 2:26.88

 

Mancuso Set for Women’s Night GS at Worlds
Stiegler, Ludlow, Kelley will also start

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 12) – Olympic giant slalom champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) leads the U.S. Ski Team foursome Tuesday night in the first under-the-lights GS at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The first run begins at 11 a.m. ET and the second run is scheduled to get underway at 2 p.m. ET, which is ideal timing for U.S. Ski Team fans following the live coverage on NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com who are providing live coverage of every race through the end of the championships Sunday. There also is live interval timing available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.

Joining Mancuso – bronze medalist in GS at the 2005 Worlds before earning gold last February at the Olympics in Italy – will be Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY), Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA) and, competing in her first World Championships race, Jessica Kelley (Starksboro, VT).

“Julia’s ready. She’s got her game-day face, got her big-race attitude…and if the others can bring into the race what they’ve been doing in training, we could have some pretty impressive results,” tech Head Coach Chris Knight said Monday night.

“They’ve been fast in training,” Knight said. “Nothing worries me about [the course]. It’s perfect. I think after 92 girls you could probably have the fastest time down it – it’s that dense and hard snow. It won’t really get rutted up.”

Mancuso starts No. 3 – after Canadian Gen Simard and Sweden’s unstoppable Anja Paerson, who is chasing her fourth gold medal of the championships. Ludlow runs 28th with Kelley 33rd and Stiegler starting No. 48.

The weather forecast for Are, which was plagued by sub-zero cold and changing weather with a meteorological inversion through its first week, is for limited cloud cover “but with those lights, it won’t be a problem. It’s like day up there,” Knight said. Just to be sure, after training GS during the day, U.S. women free-skied the race hill late Monday after dark fell.

Meanwhile, the men race GS Wednesday. The first qualification race in Worlds history was held Monday. The top 25 skiers from a field of 101 were to be added to the top 50, according to the World Cup Start List for GS, a ranking which includes results from the previous 365 days. Because of the sheer logistics of oversize fields, FIS also implemented a qualification race Thursday for the men’s slalom.


Four U.S. to Start Giant Slalom
Kildow leads medals plaza dancing

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 12) – When the blockbuster field of 151 men’s giant slalom entries was winnowed to the top 50 skiers, according to the World Cup Start List, all four U.S. Ski Team athletes easily made it into the top group.

Racing Wednesday: former GS world champion and 2002 Olympic GS silver medalist Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH), Olympic combined gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT – whose first World Cup victory came last March in a GS in South Korea, Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) and Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV), who was 37th in the final grouping.

Make that three new events this year at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships – the super combined, the men’s giant slalom qualification race Monday (leading to Wednesday’s GS) and now a men’s slalom qualification Thursday in advance of the men’s SL Saturday, the final individual race at Worlds.

Men’s Race Director Guenther Hujara said 189 men had registered to compete in the slalom, forcing FIS to create a format to reduce the size of the slalom field, too. Otherwise, there would be too many racers competing. They still compete, they still race at the championships, Hujara said, but if they don’t qualify for the championship stage Wednesday, then they don’t qualify and don’t race.

One obvious problem with a huge field is how unwieldy it becomes and how beaten down – and unfair – course conditions can be for the last racers.

Double-silver medalist Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) again got major cheers – not on the level of triple-gold, national heroine Anja Paerson, of course – at the awards ceremony Sunday night. When the downhill medals had been presented and music started playing, Kildow spontaneously led off the swinging and swaying on-stage for perhaps 30 seconds with the emcee and the other two medalists, Paerson and Austria’s Nicole Hosp.

At one point, the taller Kildow and the less-tall Paerson were bumping hips and leading the hand-clapping while the crowd cheered and clapped enthusiastically.

Sweden’s Patrik Jaerbyn, the downhill bronze medalist, made certain during the post-race press conference, where he became the oldest skier (38) to medal at a World Championships, to thank the U.S. Ski Team and Norway’s team for inviting him to train with them when he was dropped in 2003 by the Swedish team.

“Without those two [teams],” Jaerbyn said, “I’d probably not be sitting here” telling journalists about his medal performance.

U.S. Men’s Head Coach Phil McNichol said, “That’s generous of Patrik. He was a good addition for us at different times, training with us last November at Copper Mountain [CO] and in Portillo in previous years.

“He came to us – we’ve done things with the Norwegians and Swedes, and we certainly knew him…and he paid his own bills, covered his own expenses, and we gave him someone to train with. Sometimes he had a trainer, sometimes he didn’t…he’d prepare his own skis, and all that.

“He’s always been fast, always had good pace, and as we figured, he was a great addition to what we were doing,” McNichol said. “I wouldn’t just have everyone join us, but we knew him, knew he’s such a good guy…and I think it was definitely to our mutual benefit, and for him to get the medal was awesome.”


Kildow Streaks to Silver in Worlds Downhill
U.S. Ski Team earns 3rd medal; 2nd for Kildow

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 11) – No-nonsense Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) produced the fastest time on the lower half of the downhill course to earn her second silver medal of the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. It was the third silver medal in three women’s races for the U.S. Ski Team as she finished second behind bulletproof Anja Paerson of Sweden. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) was 10th.

It’s the first U.S. medal in women’s downhill at a World Championships since Hilary Lindh won the DH in Sestriere, Italy, in 1997, a year after Picabo Street won gold at the ’96 Worlds in Sierra Nevada, Spain (with Lindh as bronze medalist). The three women’s medals in Are matched the U.S. total at Worlds from 1996, 1985 and the 1960 Olympics, which doubled as World Championships in that era.

NBC will have downhill coverage Saturday Feb. 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET. In addition, NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com are providing live coverage of every race through the end of the championships on Feb. 18. There also is live interval timing available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.

Paerson, whose first World Cup victory came at Mammoth Mountain, CA, before the 1998 Olympics, picked off her third straight gold medal, winning in 1:26.89 with Kildow timed in 1:27.29. Nicole Hosp of Austria was third (1:27.37). Mancuso’s time was 1:28.09 with Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) 15th and Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) 16th.

Kildow: “I knew I had to fight”
“I had such a big mistake at the top. I knew I had to fight all the way to the finish,” Kildow said. “I went as straight as I could and made up a lot of time. I pretty much went off the edge. I caught air and almost crashed and then just fought back…

“I wanted it a lot today, so I was going probably too straight. I was going across the hill toward the fences. It’s probably not the fastest line…

“If you’re trying to win you know you have to risk everything,” she told a press conference. “I pretty much just threw reason out the window. I turned my brain off after that mistake and just went for it, I was pretty much on auto-pilot at that point.”

Kildow, 22, who came into the championships with seven World Cup wins but without a medal at the Olympics or Worlds level, had said, “At Worlds, it’s all about the medals. Fourth place doesn’t count.” Her second silver in five days, she told a press conference, “makes me really happy.”

Mancuso trying for “something special”
After she took silver in the super G last Tuesday, Kildow said that relieved pressure for her and she was skiing confidently, so she was looking for more podium performances. Mancuso was silver medalist Friday in the super combined, and Kildow’s performance Sunday may have set the stage for Mancuso – the Olympic giant slalom champion – to do well Tuesday night in GS.

“I’m ready for the GS,” Mancuso said. “I knew to beat Anja I was gonna have to go for something special. I wasn’t looking just at the podium, so I charged but it just didn’t work out for me…

“I was ready in the start,” Mancuso said, but she made mistakes all the way down her run. “My game wasn’t all together.”

Coach: Staying cool helped Kildow ski hot
Women’s Head Coach Patrick Riml was delighted with Kildow’s medal – “If you were to say at the beginning of the championships we’d win a medal in every event, it would be kind of wishful thinking – but I’m perhaps even more impressed with her poise and focus after her big mistake as she came into the mid-section of the 2.24K WM Strecke.

“She kept rocking and made up some time. It was impressive,” the coach said. “If you look at the [timing] splits, Lindsey was third, 26th were she made that mistake, and then first, first, first the last three splits. She attacked. I was really impressed she didn’t try to cut corner and kept pushing all the way down.”

He also was pleased at having all four U.S. women in the top 20. “You always want everyone up there, but that’s not realistic,” Riml said. “Jules and ‘Clarky’ and Stacey all had some good sections, and did some good skiing.”

The next women’s race is Tuesday with the final run of giant slalom under the lights. The U.S. foursome will be Mancuso, Jessica Kelley (Starksboro, VT), Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) and Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA).


Miller Seventh in Foggy Worlds Downhill

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 11) – Defending champion Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) led going into a fog bank in mid-course Sunday but finished seventh in the downhill at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships as Norway’s Axel Lund Svindal charged to the gold medal.

NBC will have downhill TV coverage Saturday, Feb. 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET. In addition, NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com are providing live coverage of every race through the end of the championships on Feb. 18. There also is live interval timing available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.

Canadian Jan Hudec took silver and national favorite Patrik Jaerbyn, who – at 38 – became the oldest skier to medal at a World Championships, earned the bronze. Steven Nyman (Provo, UT), finished 21st after going down on his hip at one point, but willed himself out of a possible crash and heroically made it back on-course.

“I couldn’t see a thing,” Miller said after finishing in 1:45.95. Svindal, taking advantage of clear weather all the way through his run, had a time of 1:44.68. The downhill, postponed from Saturday by fog and poor visibility, was started 15 minutes late and halted several times as clouds moved in and out on the course.

“You can’t compete in something like that,” Miller added.

He took the lead at the top by 0.01 and then tore into a foggy, flat light section and lost the lead for good. “I couldn’t see … and I just got really back, and you can’t ski like that,” he explained.

Warmer weather creates problems
“I feel on these hills I’m able to compete or beat anyone in the world,” Miller said. “The fact it doesn’t happen, like I said, you can always go back and look at reasons why it doesn’t happen, and that’s what we’ll do – and have been doing. But in this case, a lot of the main reasons are nothing I could control, anyway, so it’s hard to get bummed out about it…”

After almost a week of sub-zero cold, the temperatures have moderated in the last two days, and with temperatures in the teens Fahrenheit, clouds of fog have rolled on and off the course, creating delays. Saturday, neither the women’s DH training run nor the men’s race were staged, forcing organizers to roll the men’s DH back a day to create the second doubleheader of the worlds, despite the intermittent fog in the morning.

“It had a huge impact,” Miller explained. “Anywhere else on the course you can manage it easier. On the very top, it’s just more gliding turns and not as much terrain, but that one section where fog was has four or five technical, hard turns…

“It’s the part where I need to separate myself from the rest of the field because even though I’ll always be in tough, be close up top, or ahead, that middle part is where it makes the hugest difference. There’s only one section – five or six turns, off the flat and down to just below the Russi jump [just above the final pitch]…and if you can’t see anything, you can’t be aggressive down there.

“There are too many guys right now who can ski, so to think you can come in there with no visibility when other guys are coming in with great visibility, you just can’t compete with that,” he said.

No second self-administered gift for Nyman
“I gave myself an early present,” Nyman said, by winning a DH Dec. 16 “in Val Gardena [Italy], but I couldn’t pull off an early birthday present.” He turns 25 Monday.

Men’s speed Head Coach Chris Brigham said, “It was a great race, just not our day. Steven and Bode skied well and had a big race, but Bode had that flat light and…well, that was the nature of the day. Steven had a big mistake up top and then on that fallaway, but he also had some outstanding sections.

“Aksel skied great, the Canadians had a great day…and what can you say about Patrik? He’s 38 and medals at home. And we had higher expectations for these three races, but didn’t deliver.”

The next men’s race is the giant slalom Wednesday. The four U.S. starters will be Miller, Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) and Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV).

2007 FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
Olympia course
Are, SWE – Feb. 11, 2007
Men’s Downhill
1. Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 1:44.68
2. Jan Hudec, Canada, 1:45.40
3. Patrik Jaerbyn, Sweden, 1:45.65
4. Erik Guay, Canada, 1:45.67
5. Ambrosi Hoffmann, Switzerland, 1:45.68

7. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH, 1:45.95
21. Steven Nyman, Provo, UT, 1:46.86
28. Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:47.58
30. Scott Macartney, Redmond, WA, 1:47.66


Ladley, Beerman Win Revolution Tour Halfpipe
Second straight victory for Ladley

MT. BACHELOR, Ore. (Feb. 10) – U.S. Snowboarding rookie team rider Matt Ladley (Steamboat Springs, CO) captured his second consecutive Chevrolet Revolution Tour victory Saturday winning the men’s halfpipe contest at Mt. Bachelor with Stratton Mountain School rider Elizabeth Beerman (Weston, VT) topping the women’s event.

Also on the men’s podium again was Ross Baker (Reno, NV), who was third in the opening event at Copper Mountain, CO with Brennen Swanson (Stillwater, MN) in third. Another SMS rider Brooke Shaw (Bantam, CT), who won Friday’s snowboardcross event landed on the women’s podium again with second followed by Kaitlynn Farrington (Bellevue, ID)

With over 75 competitors vying for a share of the $10,000 overall tour purse, riders were able to compete on a halfpipe cut by Pat Malendoski, shaper of the 2002 Olympic pipe and the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix, which stopped at Mt. Bachelor last weekend.

“It was definitely a good pipe and tons of fun,” said Beerman, a sophomore at SMS who stomped a run that included a backside 540, frontside 540 and a frontside 720. “The Revolution Tour is cool for kids who want to make it to the elite level – that’s what I’m hoping for.” She was also on the podium in Copper with third in both slopestyle and SBX and credits “being able to snowboard everyday” at SMS as the best preparation possible for competing in the Revolution Tour.

Up for grabs are starting slots for the 2008 Grand Prix, the Junior World Championships team, the US Open and the State Farm U.S. Snowboard Cup, a World Cup competition scheduled for March 10-11 in Lake Placid, NY. Top finishers from the tour also receive an invitation to U.S. Snowboarding’s Project Gold, an opportunity to ride with U.S. Snowboarding at their annual summer camp.

Revolution Tour podium finishers will also receive points towards winning the overall Ticket to Ride World Snowboard Tour (TTR), the largest culmination of independent Freestyle events across the globe.

The Mt. Bachelor event wraps up Sunday with slopestyle before moving on to Spirit Mountain, MN next weekend for the tour’s third stop.

2007 CHEVROLET REVOLUTION TOUR
Mt. Bachelor, OR – Feb. 10, 2007
Halfpipe
Men
1. Matt Ladley, Steamboat Springs, CO
2. Ross Baker, Reno, NV
3. Brennen Swanson, Stillwater, MN

Women
1. Elizabeth Beerman, Weston, VT
2. Brooke Shaw, Bantam, CT
3. Kaitlynn Farrington, Bellevue, ID


Are Notes: Sullivan, Ready to Roll in DH

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 10) – Race courses at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Championships empty into the same finish area just across the road from Lake Are. Envision a V – the men’s course forms the 2.92K Olympia course lefthand side of the letter while the women’s 2.24K WM Strecke is the right side of the V. The women’s slalom and GS courses are a third route, forming a shorter line just inside the speed run; the men’s tech courses start lower on Olympia.

Are was to have been the alpine venue when Ostersund bid multiple times for the Winter Olympics in the Eighties and Nineties, losing to Lillehammer (Ostersund was runnerup in the balloting), Nagano (third) and Salt Lake City. More recently, there also was an unsuccessful bid to host the 2014 Games. Sweden hosted the 1912 Summer Olympics but never has hosted a Winter Games.

The men’s speed course in Are was to have been the Olympic – hence, Olympia – run. The women’s new DH course is named for these championships, Weltmeisterschaften in German, WM almost everywhere else in Europe; Strecke is Swedish for track.

Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) missed the super G because he had what appeared to be a pulled muscle, which may have been caused by heavy coughing spasms. Taking off that race and resting while the super combined was run has helped the two-time Olympian back to some stronger measure of health and he’s anxious to compete in the downhill.

“I’m feeling better,” he said. “It’s just going to take some time to get over…but I can race. That’s what I came here for.”

The super combined is not the only new event on the World Championships menu in Are. Monday, there will be the first qualification race for the men’s giant slalom. International Ski Federation President Gian Franco Kasper explained in a pre-championships press conference the qualifying had become necessary because 140 athletes had indicated they would be running GS, creating a huge field, which would take overly long times to run.

Under the qualification format, the top 50 entries on the World Cup Start List, which tracks results over 365 days, get an automatic ticket. Thus, with each nation allowed four starters (plus Austrian getting an extra spot because Hermann Maier is the reigning GS world champion), the 50th guaranteed start spot could go to an athlete ranked well beyond No. 50.

Once that field of 50 is determined, the remaining entries will take two runs of GS and the top 25 skiers will get a start slot Wednesday in the men’s GS.


Mancuso Boots Opponents
Miller looks to defend downhill title

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 9) – While skis get much of the credit, ski racers will tell you an athlete’s boots are at least as important, if not more important. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) re-emphasized that point Friday when she switched boots after the downhill and before the slalom – and became silver medalist in the inaugural super combined at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

Mancuso, the Olympic giant slalom champion, considers slalom her weakest event – but she has to ski it in the super combined, which blends a downhill with one run of SL. As she trained slalom after finishing third in the downhill, Mancuso – who won a super combi Jan. 14 in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, decided she needed to switch to her giant slalom boots so she would feel better running SL gates.

In the zero-degree weather, two runs of slalom training convinced her to change to her GS boots. “I couldn’t get them [the SL boots] off. They were so stiff,” she said. “It was the worst warmup I’ve ever had.

“I was, like, ‘I need to do something different,’ so I went back and got my GS boots. My one day of slalom I’ve skied since [winning a super combi Jan. 14 in] Altenmarkt was yesterday – on my downhill boots. It felt pretty good, so I figured I better go back on my softer boots.”

When she tried her GS boots, a little softer than her slalom boots – but still rigid in the bitter cold, they felt perfect.

“Here it’s so cold, it doesn’t really matter what you ski on. No matter what,” Mancuso said, “your boots are gonna be stiff.” But not so stiff she couldn’t walk onto the podium.

Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) will be joined by three of his Olympic teammates Saturday in downhill as he tries to defend the gold medal he won at the 2005 World Championships in Bormio, Italy. He led the DH front end of the super combined Thursday before fading in the one-run slalom to finish sixth.

Also racing for the U.S. Ski Team: Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) and Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) – Miller’s teammates on the 2002 and ’06 Olympic Team – and another ’06 Olympian, Steven Nyman, who was ninth Thursday in super combined (fourth in the DH phase) and 12th Tuesday in super G.

Count Mancuso among those who aren’t surprised by Anja Paerson’s dominating skiing at these championships. Paerson won the super G Tuesday with Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) taking silver, led Thursday DH training run – with Kildow second, led the downhill portion of the super combined Friday (again, with Kildow runnerup) and cruised through the slalom run to win super combined gold (with Mancuso in second place).

“No, it’s not a big surprise,” Mancuso said when asked about Paerson’s double-gold racing. “She’s proven once again she’s a performer. And it’s pretty cool to be [so successful] at home…and I’m cheering for her.”


Peterson, Mancuso USOC Athletes of Month

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 14) – Alpine ski racer Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), who strung together a U.S.-record five consecutive World Cup top-3s, and Jeret “Speedy” Peterson (Boise, ID), who set two aerials records in winning a World Cup contest, have been selected as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s male and female Athlete of the Month for January. Both are two-time Olympians.

Mancuso, 22 and the reigning Olympic giant slalom gold medalist, who is having a breakout season, came up with five podiums in a row, including two World Cup victories. Her podiums streak eclipsed a U.S. record that had stood since 1983.

Peterson, 25 and the 2005 World Cup aerials champion, won two World Cup aerials events in 24 hours at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, UT, nailing the toughest jump in his sport, his signature ‘Hurricane,” which includes five twists and three flips. In a raging snowstorm Jan. 11, Peterson not only stuck the landing on his Hurricane but set records for highest one-jump score and highest points in an aerials meet. His second win gave him the World Cup aerials points lead.


Mancuso 5th in Worlds Night Giant Slalom

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 13) – Olympic champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) led the first run of giant slalom Tuesday at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, but had problems on her second run to finish fifth in the first night GS in Worlds history. Nicole Hosp won the first gold medal of the championships for Austria after posting the fastest second run.

NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com are providing live coverage of every race through the end of the championships Sunday. There also is live interval timing available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.

Hosp’s winning time of 2:31.72 was just one-hundredth of a second faster than teammate Michaela Kirchgasser, who finished fourth after being 19th in the first run. Maria Pietilae-Holmner gave Sweden another medal at the championships, finishing second (2:32.57) and Italy’s Denise Karbon was bronze medalist (2:32.69).

Anja Paerson of Sweden, who had won the first three women’s races of the championships, saw her bid for a fourth gold disappear midway through the second run when she crashed coming around a GS gate while leading by more than a half-second.

Conditions changes mouse-trapped Mancuso
Mancuso, who was silver medalist in super G and super combined, said she was calm between runs, returning to the U.S. Ski Team’s hotel nearby for a light meal before she tried to make her first-run lead hold up for a medal. But more than three hours after starting No. 3, she was surprised by the change in the snow surface.

“I was surprised with how fast my first run was, so I was feeling confident going into the second run but then the set was a little tighter and everything was a little more demanding and I wasn’t quite ready for that,” she said.

“The snow wasn’t what I expected,” Mancuso said. “It was a lot rougher; it was kind of bumpy at the beginning [of her final run] and I just didn’t have the timing right…

“It held up but it was definitely rougher for the later numbers,” she said. Having led the first run, Mancuso ran 30th for the second. Temperatures were in the low 20s.

Competing under the lights in the first night GS of any Worlds “was a lot of fun” but she said she was tired, which apparently siphoned some of her energy as she made mistakes from the start. In a championships where the first three days were postponed race days and cold has been a factor, Mancuso said she would have preferred to have raced in a shorter time frame.

Coach: Mancuso needs a break
“It’s almost easier, I think, when you bang ’em out, like, race after racer, four in a row, and you’re having the days off in between,” she said. “It was just too much for my body.”

Women’s Slalom/GS Head Coach Chris Knight was at a loss for words in describing the second-run letdown. “I’m not sure what to say. I think maybe they were trying too hard on that second run. That second course was a tighter course [i.e., less distance between the gates] and there was more moving across the fall line, which was difficult but not a problem if you were ready. Look at what Hosp and Kirchgasser did with it.”

He said Mancuso’s fatigue wasn’t a real surprise. “She’s only had one day off since we got here and she’s been on the go all the time. She needs some time off, needs a break.”

Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA) was 29th with Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) 35th and Jessica Kelley (Starksboro, VT) 36th.

Ludlow was 24th on the first run “and I tried to have the fastest second run. That’s what I had to do … I was hoping for a top 10, or to be top in the top six.”

The next women’s race will be the final individual event, the slalom Friday – again, at night – with the coed team event Sunday.

2007 FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
Gaestrappet course
Are, SWE – Feb. 13, 2007
Women’s Slalom (Night race)
1. Nicole Hosp, Austria, 2:31.72
2. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, Sweden, 2:32.57
3. Denise Karbon, Italy, 2:32.69
4. Michaela Kirchgasser, Austria, 2:32.87
5. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 2:32.96

29. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 2:35.68
35. Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY, 2:38.08
36. Jessica Kelley, Starksboro, VT, 2:38.13

Mancuso Eyes World Cup Title Will skip Sunday’s team event

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 13) – Silver medalist Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), who remains in the hunt for the World Cup overall title, will head home from the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in a day or two and skip the team event concluding the championships so she can get some rest before heading into the final 11 World Cup races of the season.

“Julia’s still got a chance at the overall, so she’s got to get some rest,” Women’s SL/GS Head Coach Chris Knight said Tuesday night after Mancuso, the Olympic giant slalom gold medalist a year ago, finished fifth in the championship GS. She was GS bronze medalist at the 2005 Worlds in Bormio, Italy.

“I’m going home in a couple of days,” Mancuso said. “I need a break [so I’m ready] for the rest of the season. This was basically a really tough couple of weeks for me.”

She had been expected to race Sunday in the team event where four athletes from up to six skiers – three men, three women – race two runs of downhill and two runs of slalom. The U.S. Ski Team was fourth two years ago in the inaugural event.

Former GS world champion Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) leads three teammates Wednesday in the men’s GS title race. Miller will be skiing with Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) and Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV), who will be racing in his first World Championships event.

“Everyone’s healthy. At this point in any season, athletes are a little dinged,” Men’s SL/GS Head Coach Mike Morin said as Cochran and Jitloff arrived after a few days of training elsewhere in Sweden. “But these are Worlds and we’ve had some good training, and they’re looking to race.”

Several thousand fans turned out in the biting cold Saturday night to watch the dual moguls exhibition on a slope above downtown Are. Reigning moguls world champion Nate Roberts (Park City, UT), the lone American competing, was second behind World Cup moguls leader Guilbaut Colas of France in the men’s final while Former Olympic and World Championships gold medalist – and World Cup champion Kari Traa of Norway defeated Italy’s Nancy Scanzio.


Miller 6th, Nyman 9th in Super Combined
Ligety shows true sportsmanship

AE, Sweden (Feb. 8) – Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) led the downhill but finished sixth overall with Steven Nyman (Provo, UT) in ninth as super combined debuted at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Daniel Albrecht of Switzerland won the race, while Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), who was given a second start after two course workers got in his way during the final pitch of the slalom, skied out on his re-run.

Albrecht, the surprise gold medalist, finished with a time of 2:28.99 for a downhill and one run of slalom. Benjamin Raich of Austria, the defending champion, was silver medalist (2:29.07) and Marc Berthod, another Swiss, was third.

Miller led the downhill at mid-day under a brilliant sun on the 2.8K (1.9-mile) Olympia speed run but lost speed at the bottom under the lights in the slalom to finish in 2:29.97. Nyman, top American Tuesday when he was 12th in the super G and fourth Thursday in the super combi’s DH, was ninth overall in 2:30.18; T.J. Lanning (Park City, UT) finished 21st, moving up 19 places with the 14th-fastest slalom run.

Ligety was barreling down the last pitch in slalom when, about six gates from the finish, two course workers – one right in front of Ligety and the other just below him on the slope – couldn’t get out of the way in time. He was forced to stop and, after shaking hands with the closest course worker when he came over to apologize for his foulup, was given a re-run, but skied off course just above the final pitch.

A healthy Nyman beginning to sparkle
Nyman, who spent parts of three years recovering from injuries after winning slalom gold and combined silver at the 2002 Junior World Championships, was amped with his result. A World Cup winner (DH – Val Gardena, Italy, in December) this season, he broke into laughter as he talked with reporters about falling in the finish area at the end of his run through the 56-gate SL course despite losing time on the flat section at the finish.

“I didn’t embarrass myself at all,” he said. “That was redemption – I just started my slalom a couple of days ago. I just put my mind to it and things are starting to come around, but I don’t have the race mentality back yet. The inspection [skill], the comfort isn’t really there, but I’m so stoked…

“And I almost made it to the bottom,” he said with a big smile. “It’s dead flat at the bottom. I lost a lot of time at the bottom, and then to see I was 1.1 out…

“I’m stoked with what I got out of the downhill and really stoked with the way I’m skiing slalom now. I don’t know – maybe I’ll race slalom at the end” if the coaches need one more gate-runner.

In the late-day cold, the course stayed rock solid.

Coach: “You have to let it go…
“It was another tough day,” Head Coach Phil McNichol said. “I was surprised Bode lost as much time. He didn’t make any big mistakes but he was hanging on at the end, and you can’t just hang on. You have to let it go at the bottom, and he didn’t.

“Ted was just too far out in the downhill…and Nyman was impressive. I thought he had a really good downhill and was pretty solid in slalom until he lost time at the bottom,” McNichol said. “And T.J. was firing in slalom. No complaints on his effort.”

The men have another downhill training run Friday before running downhill Saturday. Miller is the defending DH champion and will be joined by Nyman, Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA).

2007 FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
Olympia Course
Are, SWE – Feb. 8, 2007
Men’s Super Combined (DH/1-run SL)
1. Daniel Albrecht, Switzerland, (7/5) 2:28.99
2. Benjamin Raich, Austria, (14/1) 2:29.07
3. Marc Berthod, Switzerland, (10/4) 2:29.23
4. Didier Defago, Switzerland, (6/10) 2:29.50
5. Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, (2/18) 2:29.59

6. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH, (1/21) 2:29.97
9. Steven Nyman, Provo, UT, (4/19) 2:30.18
21. T.J. Lanning, Park City, UT, (40/14) 2:32.47

DNF-SL:
Ted Ligety, Park City, UT


Upcoming U.S. Ski & Snowboard TV Schedule
February 7, 2007 (All times EST)

Watch NBC this weekend as it televises the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix and the Paul Mitchell Progression Session from Mt. Bachelor, Oregon. Steve Fisher, fresh off his X Games victory, is on a hot streak winning for the second time in a week and leading a U.S. Snowboarding sweep of the men’s podium.

Watch the Alpine World Championships LIVE!
Tune in to the FIS Alpine World Championships (Feb. 3-18) from Are, Sweden, as NBCSports.com and Mediazone.com bring exclusive coverage of Worlds to the U.S. with LIVE web streaming of each race, plus on-demand following the competitions.

The powerful duo of Lindsey Kildow, still savoring her SG silver medal from Tuesday, and Julia Mancuso, 2005 two time bronze medalist all are gunning for medals at the biggest international competition outside of the Olympics. Watch Bode Miller as he attempts to medal again in his fourth World Championships, winning double gold in 2003 and 2005 and Steven Nyman coming off his 12th place finish in the Men’s Super G.

Check out live coverage at NBCsports.com!

Upcoming TV Schedule:

NBC Sports

Sunday, Feb. 11
2:30 p.m., Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix, Mt. Bachelor, OR

Alpine World Championships LIVE

Thursday, Feb. 8
Men’s super combined (6:30 a.m. downhill, 10:30 a.m. slalom)

Friday, Feb. 9
Women’s super combined (6:30 a.m. downhill, 10:30 a.m. slalom)

Saturday, Feb. 10
Men’s downhill (6:30 a.m.)

Sunday, Feb. 11
Women’s downhill (6:30 a.m.)

Tuesday, Feb. 13
Women’s giant slalom (11 a.m. 1st run, 2 p.m. 2nd run)

Wednesday, Feb. 14
Men’s giant slalom (4 a.m. 1st run, 7 a.m. 2nd run)


Are Notes: Super Combi Slot Open for Men
Downhill training set for Wednesday

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 6) – After three days of waiting, then a super G doubleheader of racing to open the competitive side of the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, it’s back to training Wednesday for the men and women as they’re scheduled for their first training runs on the speed courses above Lake Are – the Olympia track for men, the WM Strecke for women. Downhills are set for the weekend – men on Saturday, women the next day.

U.S. fans can follow World Championships coverage live. NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com will team up for live coverage of every race during the World Championships, which run until Feb. 18 in Are. In addition, live interval timing is available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.

The schedule calls for the women to train first, starting at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET), with the men starting at 12:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. ET). Thursday – as the men compete in super combined, the women will train at 10 a.m. (4 a.m. ET) and the men will run their DH at 12:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. ET) followed by one run of slalom at 4 p.m. (10 a.m. ET).

Friday, it’s the men training at 10 a.m. (4 a.m. ET) and the women running super combi at 12:30 and 4 p.m. (6:30 and 10 a.m. ET).

Course crews were working through the night again – “They’ve done an incredible job every day,” super G silver medalist Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) said – to modify both course, pushing acres of snow around the top of the men’s course and reducing the size of a mid-course jump for the women.

“They’ll build the jumps for the downhill tonight,” Steven Nyman (Provo, UT) said after producing the top U.S. men’s finish in super G (12th) in the windless but bitter cold. Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA), who tied for 31st, said the snowdrifts at the top of the course were more than five meters (over 15 feet) in some places.

Women’s SG champion Anja Paerson – as have U.S. coaches and athletes at every opportunity – made it a point to praise and thank the course workers during her press conference: “It’s easy enough for us to come down and talk about the snow, but I don’t think we have any idea the effort that goes into preparing the course,” she said.

The fourth spot in the men’s combined will be filled following the men’s DH training, Head Coach Phil McNichol said. Olympic combined gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) will be joined by Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH), the 2003 combined champion and Steven Nyman (Provo, UT), plus one more determined by sunset Wednesday.

The super combi lineup Friday for the U.S. women: Kildow, Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) and Kaylin Richardson (Edina, MN).

The Vail Valley Foundation, which organized the 1989 and ’99 World Championships – and was upended for the ’09 championships, has two representatives on-site: Terry Brady, VP/Operations, and media czar John Dakin are making the rounds, eyeballing what’s going on and comparing notes with how the VVF, which also does such a blue-ribbon job of running the VISA Birds of Prey World Cup each winter, handles things.

Three men are handling public address announcing at the championships – two Swedes and former freeskiing world champion Chris Davenport of Aspen, CO. Davenport, the 1996 and 2000 world extreme skiing champ, has an extensive resume which includes PA duty at World Cup races in Aspen and Beaver Creek, CO.


Kildow Storms Worlds Super G for Silver
Mansuco sixth, Ludlow ninth in Are

MEDIA NOTE: Lindsey Kildow will be available at 2 p.m. ET (noon MT) for a teleconference, dial 800.311.9410 from the U.S. or internatinal toll free at 334.323.7224, passcode is SKIING. *Please note this teleconference call is intended for working media, it may be recorded and please mute cell phones while not asking a question and/or secure a quite setting to limit background disturbances insuring good sound quality for all participants.

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 6) – Two-time Olympian Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) buried memories of previous big-race frustrations Tuesday, storming to a silver medal in super G run, while leading three U.S. women into the top 10 of the first women’s race of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) was sixth and Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA) ninth.

The two-time Olympian will be back in action Friday with super combined, which is preceded by the men’s race on Thursday. NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com will team up for live coverage of every race during the World Championships, which run until Feb. 18 in Are. In addition, live interval timing is available at http://livetiming.usskiteam.com.

“It’s my first medal and this is a HUGE monkey off my back,” Kildow said as she was pulled through various media interviews in the finish. “I was calm today and just stayed relaxed. I didn’t ski the best run of my life, but it was a good one.”

Kildow, conducting interviews in English and German, said, “To have it on the first day of the championships is great. I’m glad to start this way…to get a medal right away.”

She missed the 2003 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, after injuring a hip in an early season downhill crash at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. At the 2005 Worlds in Bormio, Italy, she had two fourth-place results and at the ’06 Olympics, Kildow took a nasty training spill, which hospitalized her overnight; she returned to race four times but her best showing was seventh.

Swedish star Anja Paerson won in 1:18.85 with Kildow taking silver in 1:19.17. Renate Goetschl of Austria was the bronze medalist (1:19.38). Mancuso, who launched off a jump and landed on one ski at a gate in the middle section, had a time of 1:19.63 with Ludlow ninth in 1:20.08 and Kirsten Clark, SG silver medalist at ’03 Worlds, tied for 20th (1:21.24).

Kildow anxious for next two races
Kildow said she lost some time when she went wide and off a jump in mid-race, but she was more than happy with the silver medal. “Now I’m just looking forward to the downhill [Sunday] and the combined [Friday]. …I wasn’t thinking about the outcome, just skiing,” she said.

“I was trying to think about skiing and not the pressure to get a medal. I was relaxed and determined,” she told a packed gathering of print and broadcast journalists. She picked Paerson to win, Kildow said, because she skipped the final races before Worlds so she could relax. “I knew when she didn’t come to San Sicario [where Kildow won the final race, a super G Jan. 28 in the Italian resort town] she would be so tough to beat.”

Winning that last race, Kildow said, gave her additional confidence and she tried to bring that feeling to Are. “For me, it’s relief…and satisfying,” she said. Before their start, she and Goetschl chatted and the Austrian said she had eight Olympic and World Championships medals “but this is my first…”

The difference between 2005 Worlds (and two fourths)(plus fourth in the team event) and ’07? “I’m more sure of myself,” Kildow said.

“It was definitely a little haggard up there,” added Mancuso. “I don’t know why I always have to catch more air than everyone. Maybe I need to practice that.”

She said shin problems bothered her “but I tried to push through it mentally … I tried to tell myself it didn’t matter, but it still hurt.”

Ludlow: “I can ski with these girls…”
Ludlow, a Dartmouth College student when not training or or racing with the U.S. Ski Team, said, “I haven’t had the results I wanted so far this year and I just tried to lay down a super aggressive run and tuck a lot,” she said.

“I’m capable to being in the very top. I just need some momentum, like these girls who have been getting podiums every race. I just don’t have that kind of momentum behind me, but I know I’m a good enough skier.”

Kildow echoed that at her press conference, saying, “If there’s one thing about Libby, it’s that she’s a hard worker. I respect her so much.”

Having races postponed since Saturday “was a little bit of a vacation,” Ludlow continued. “Yesterday I skied a ton; it was kind of bad weather but I took so many runs, and I got to ski on the hill – I got five runs on the race hill.”

Women’s Speed Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser said thee top-10s were good and one in the top two “is even better” as the women got off to a fast start after the weather delays. The super G originally was scheduled for Sunday before howling winds and drifting snow forced the 48-hour postponement.

“I don’t think that Lindsey lost any time off the jump because she was carrying a lot of speed, but they’re going to shave it for the downhill because the women would be going too far. For a super G, that was a huge jump but for a downhill, it never would be right,” he said.

“Lindsey came in and charged, and just did a great job. Jules definitely lost some time off the jump…and then Libby was absolutely fantastic. She executed really well; I’m totally psyched with her race,” Hoedlmoser said.

The women train downhill Wednesday and the next women’s race is the super combined Friday. Start time is 6:30 a.m. ET for the DH, 10 a.m. ET for the slalom portion.

2007 FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
WM Strecke (World Championships Course)
Are, SWE – Feb. 6, 2007
Women’s Super G
1. Anja Paerson, Sweden, 1:18.85
2. Lindsey Kildow, Vail, CO, 1:19.17
3. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 1:19.38
4. (tie) Britt Janyk, Canada, and Nicole Hosp, Austria, 1:19.44 each

6. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 1:19.63
9. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 1:20.08
20T. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 1:21.24


Worlds Begin with Super G: Nyman 12th

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 6) – Steven Nyman (Provo, UT) survived stepping on his ski in mid-race to finish 12th Tuesday in super G as the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships opened in sunshine and biting cold. Defending champion Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) was 24th.

The race originally was to have begun the men’s schedule Saturday, but high winds and snow Saturday and again Monday forced two postponements. Tuesday, it began on schedule in six-degree (F.) weather.

Italy’s Patrick Staudacher was the surprise winner in 1:14.30 on a 1.82K course, which began from a lowered start. Nyman’s time was 1:15.20 with Miller finishing in 1:15.64.

Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA), who was named to replace Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) when he suffered a strained muscle, and Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) tied for 31st with T.J. Lanning (also Park City) 34th.

Taking chances hurt Miller’s title defense
Miller, running 29th, called it “a very challenging course” and said he hurt his chances to defend his title from the 2005 championships “because I was taking too many risks.”He was 0.12 back at the first interval and never got closer.

“The slope was actually pretty good. I had a very small chance of winning,” Miller said.

“That’s how racing goes. I risked it all and I lost.”

On a sharp, righthand turn where the course went from pointing downhill to a cutting side-hill for one vital gate, Nyman appeared to slide his right ski atop his left but quickly righted himself and kept attacking.

With the weather so poor, the athletes never got to train on the course. After training slalom Monday in preparation for Thursday’s super combined, Nyman said with a smile that he was a little surprised to find he remembered how to turn.

Nyman says cold dried out snow
“Everything turned out really well today. The cold temperatures [during the night] just sucked the moisture out of the snow and we had an excellent surface,” Nyman said, adding, “It was probably was fair a race as you could get…

“The top was awesome and the bottom was awesome but that little bit in the middle [with some side-hill] was my one little mistake. … We haven’t trained in a while and it’s tough to get that feeling back” but the winner of a downhill in Val Gardena, Italy, before Christmas said he was pointing to Saturday’s downhill.

Head Coach Phil McNichol said, “Steven had a good race, a good start for him but, on the whole, the guys skied under what they can do. They’re capable of a lot more, so we have to pick things up from here.

“Bode had a couple of small mistakes at the top and had a bigger one at the bottom, and in super G there’s just no room for any of that,” McNichol said.

The men train downhill Wednesday and race super combined – a downhill plus one run of slalom – Thursday.

2007 FIS ALPINE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Olympia course
Are, SWE – Feb. 6, 2007
Men’s Super G
1. Patrick Staudacher, Italy, 1:14.30
2. Fritz Strobl, Austria, 1:14.62.
3. Bruno Kernen, Switzerland, 1:14.92
4. (tie) Didier Cuche, Switzerland, and Christoph Gruber, Austria, 1:14.93 each

12. Steven Nyman, Provo, UT, 1:15.20
24. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH, 1:15.64
31. (tie) Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) and Scott Macartney, Redmond, WA, 1:15.98 each
34. T.J. Lanning, Park City, UT, 1:16.16


Are Notes: Macartney Replaces Sullivan in SG
Race director optimistic for Monday

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 4) – Two-time Olympian Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) was named Sunday to replace Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) in the men’s super G, which is scheduled to be the first race of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) is the defending world champion.

U.S. fans will be able to follow World Championships coverage live beginning Monday with the rescheduled men’s super G. NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com will team up for live coverage of every race during the World Championships, which run until Feb. 18 in Are.

The SG originally was to be held Saturday but high winds and snow forced a 48-hour postponement to Monday at 6:30 a.m. ET. The women’s super G, originally scheduled for Sunday, was pushed back two days because of continued high winds plus a mix of rain followed by blowing soft snow, which buried parts of the course, including the tops of safety netting.

Guenther Hujara, the men’s tour race director, said organizers were considering using the men’s backup start, farther down the race 2.2K Olympia course, if workers were unable to clear snow all the way to the top of the course. Hujara said he was “very optimistic” the race would be run, from at least the lower start.

Head Coach Phil McNichol said Sullivan, also a two-time Olympic racer, may have torn a muscle because of heavy coughing in the last day or two, and it was painful for him to breathe. He was scheduled to have an X-ray, but because of the pain, McNichol picked Macartney – a Dartmouth College graduate – to fill Sullivan’s place in the starting lineup.

The U.S. Ski Team will have five starters in the super G – Miller, Macartney, Steven Nyman (Provo, UT), T.J. Lanning (Park City, UT) and Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety (also Park City). The men’s super combined – a downhill and one run of slalom – is scheduled to make its debut at Worlds Thursday.

When the race was postponed Sunday morning, the U.S. women’s team took some down time and then regrouped for a volleyball game against the coaches. “Athletes won, of course,” said Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO), who has won a super G this season and stands second in World Cup SG points.

Kildow, who rooms with Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA), said she also went to a grocery store to buy Mexican food for the evening meal rather than dine at the team’s hotel, noting she was playing chef. She relaxed and savored a “pretty boring” day before the championships heat-up in the coming week, she said.

Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), who also has won a super G this winter and is No. 4 in the World Cup standings, said she got some extra sleep and found time during the day to get in some powder skiing, which put a smile on her face.

Super Bowl XLI in Miami was not of prime importance for U.S. Ski Team members. No one seemed certain where they might be able to watch the game between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears.

Mancuso said she’d watch the Super Bowl when the San Francisco 49ers return – “and that may be a while” – while Kildow said she wasn’t particularly interested since the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings weren’t playing.


Kildow, Mancuso Ask, “What Pressure?”

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 4) – Olympic champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) and Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) say their recent World Cup success, including three victories apiece, doesn’t increase pressure for similar success at the FIS Alpine world Ski Championships. And they feel one or more teammates could stage her own breakthrough at Worlds.

In a brief press conference Sunday night, following a day in which the women’s opening race, a super G, was postponed two days because of continuing weather problems, the two U.S. stars shrugged off any concern about pressure.

“I think, for me, there’s not as much pressure this year,” said Kildow, who won a super G last Sunday (Jan. 28) on the 2006 Olympic speed run in San Sicario, Italy. In 2005, she was a pre-Worlds medal favorite and had two fourth-place results.

“I think I’m skiing well and I have a lot of confidence in myself, so I’m not really concerned about the pressure,” Kildow said. “I think I learned a lot over the last couple of years, at the Olympics and the last World Championships. The more [expectations] you put on yourself, the more pressure you put on yourself, the harder it is to succeed…so I’m just gonna try to have fun.”

Mancuso points to teammates
Mancuso, who was a surprise double-medalist at the 2005 Worlds with bronze in super G and giant slalom, said the women’s team has plenty of talent, so she and Kildow aren’t the only ones to watch. Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME), for instance, was super G silver medalist at the 2003 championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

“Big events, I always look at it as an opportunity to shine and it’s never about pressure,” Mancuso said. It’s always about opportunity…

“I think it’s just awesome what our team is doing. I think, all around, we’re skiing really well, the women’s team and the men’s team. I think going in we have a lot of confidence. As soon as we get some races going here, we’ll be proving a lot of good things.

“We’ll just be proving ourselves to everyone,” Mancuso said.

“I think our team is so strong anything is possible on any day,” Mancuso said. “Resi [Stiegler – Jackson Hole, WY, and Mancuso’s roommate in Are] is skiing really well, and ‘Clarky’ and Stacey [Cook – Mammoth Mountain, CA] have had really great results, so anything can happen. Libby [Ludlow – Bellevue, WA] also is doing well.

“We’re all just as fast in training, so who knows what can happen on race day?”

Bad weather? No problem for Kildow
The bad weather doesn’t trouble Kildow, she said. “My first World Cup podium [third in a downhill Jan. 18, 2004 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy] was when it was snowing and kind of bad weather conditions, so I’m kinda confident when it’s bad weather. …

“Sometimes when the weather gets bad, some girls back off a little bit. For me, I know when I give a little bit extra, I can really gain time and gain speed on the other athletes.”

Mancuso said, “When the countdown from 10 goes off and you’re standing in the start gate, it really doesn’t matter what time it is or what the weather is like. You just always have to be ready in racing.

“It’s an outdoor sport and it’s always exciting and fun, no matter what.”


Stiegler Trains for Are with Europa Cup Win
Duke surprising seventh in slalom

BISCHOFSWIESEN, Germany (Feb. 3) – Olympian Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) gave herself a nice tuneup for the FIS Alpine World Championships in Sweden by winning a Europa Cup slalom with the fastest second run and finishing third the next day in soft snow.

Despite starting 27th on her second run Friday night, Stiegler – fourth in the first run – stormed through collapsing conditions to win with a total time of 1:50.85. Slovakian World Cup veteran Veronika Zuzalova was second in 1:52.01 with Hailey Duke (Boise, ID), in her first Europa Cup, starting 56th and finishing a stunning seventh (1:52.48).

“They were really tough conditions,” U.S. women’s SL Head Coach Chris Knight said. “Six World Cup top-seed girls were in the field, and the snow was breaking down. We had grass coming through on the second run and had to keep repairing it…but Resi was on fire. It was a turny second course, wound up being 10 seconds slower than the first run, so it was extremely tough, but the girls handled it well.

“Resi really stayed over her skis and let ’em go. It was impressive…and this should give her some good confidence, especially with the super combined on Friday” in Are, Sweden. Knight added Duke “was just awesome. She came off NorAms, was off the plane only a day, had a day of training and in her first Europa Cup is seventh…out of 56th start and into 24th on that first run. Just amazing…and then she took advantage of starting seventh in the second run, had some okay conditions although it was such a longer course and laid one down, just going for it and making the most of her opportunity. I like the way she skis.”

Duke, 21 and a member of the Park City Ski Education Foundation program in Utah, is in her second season of racing in Europe.

Saturday, Zuzulova held off Stiegler to win the second slalom of the weekend. Her winning time was 1:34.53 with German Kathrin Hoelzl second (1:35.45) and Stiegler – again posting the fastest second run – in third place at 1:35.61. Kaylin Richardson was 12th and defending NorAm slalom champion Sterling Grant (Amery, WI) 14th.


Ligety Rips Schladming Slalom 2nd Run

SCHLADMING, Austria (Jan. 30) – Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) turned-in the fourth-fastest final run Tuesday night and finished 17th in the final World Cup race before the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships begin in Are, Sweden. Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) was 25th.

Benjamin Raich of Austria won with a two-run time of 1:42.55 to win the third slalom in four days for on the men’s tour; he moved into second place overall. Jens Byggmark of Sweden, who won both slaloms in Kitzbuehel over the weekend, was second.

Ligety was 28th in the first run and took advantage of the early second run start, going third. He had the fourth-fastest final run, which enabled him to climb 11 spots to 17th overall with a total time of 1:46.27. Miller, who is No. 4 in the overall points, survived a couple of mistakes on his second run and finished in 1:52.15.

The World Championships begin Saturday with the men’s super G; Miller is the defending champion from 2005 in Bormio, Italy. U.S. fans will be able to follow World Championships coverage live beginning Saturday. NBCSports.com and MediaZone.com will team up for live coverage of every race during the upcoming Feb. 3-18 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships from Sweden.

ALPINE MEN’S WORLD CUP
Schladming, AUT – Jan. 30, 2007
Men’s Slalom (Night race)
1. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 1:42.55
2. Jens Byggmark, Sweden, 1:42.93
3. Mario Matt, Austria, 1:43.15
4. Marc Berthod, France, 1:44.48
5. Giogrio Rocca, Italy, 1:44.52

17. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 1:46.27
25. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH, 1:52.15

DNF-2:
Jimmy Cochran, Keene, NH

Did not qualify for 2nd run:
Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, WA; Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV

DNF-1: Roger Brown, Norwich, VT


Kildow Conquers San Sicario Speed Run in SG
Wins career seventh World Cup

SAN SICARIO, Italy (Jan. 28) – Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) led all the way Saturday to win her third World Cup race of the season, a super G, as she conquered the Olympic speed run where she crashed last year. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) was eighth. “I ‘finished business’ here,” Kildow said.

WCSN.com will broadcast same-day video streaming at 4 p.m. ET.

Kildow, who was second Friday in the first of two super Gs on the Olympic speed track, had a winning time of 1:30.06 with World Cup leader Renate Goetschl of Austria – who won Friday and then Saturday in downhill – finishing second in 1:30.23. Kildow previously won downhills in Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies and Val d’Isere, France.

Mancuso finished the 2.3K Fraiteve Olympique course in 1:31.08. Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME) tied for 15th and Kaylin Richardson (Edina, MN) was 18th. Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA) was 23rd and Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) 32nd in the final women’s race before the World Alpine Ski Championships start Saturday in Are, Sweden.

Rocket Rossis lead to another Kildow win
“It was sweet, just an awesome day and obviously I’m very happy,” Kildow said. “It was a pretty different course from Friday, but it had a really good rhythm. It was a little more technical, more turny, but it flowed really well from top to bottom. It was a fun course in perfect weather…and obviously, my Rossingols were fast…

Kildow had a nasty crash during downhill training last February on the San Sicario course and was hospitalized overnight. A pre-race medal pick by some, she returned to race but her top result was seventh in super G, propelling her to win the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award. The honor was designated by American fans, fellow Team USA athletes, U.S. alumni Olympians and members of the media for best representing the Olympic Spirit during the 2006 Winter Games.

“I ‘finished business’ here. I’m on an even score with the hill. I knew I could have done it last year but with the crash it didn’t work out in my favor. I’m happy to get that score settled. And [Goetschl] has been unstoppable the last couple of days, so this is definitely a good end to things here.”

The win, her seventh overall and second in SG, broke a tie with another Vail resident, Hall of Famer Cindy Nelson, and moved Kildow into third place behind Tamara McKinney (18) and Picabo Street (nine) in the U.S. list of women World Cup winners.

The head coach is smiling
Head Coach Patrick Riml said, “It was very impressive…and obviously what Lindsey did again was awesome. One on the top, two in the top 10, four in the top 20, five in the top 30 – and Stacey skiing well, but just outside the points.

“She had a little mistake coming into the flat [midway] but then she kept it clean; she was ahead at the top but a little behind Goetschl on the second split – seven-hundredths back, but then Lindsey took off on the bottom and Goetschl couldn’t catch her. Lindsey had more speed…and it was just awesome.

“Julia did another great job, too, but this course isn’t good for her – it’s so flat – but she’s skiing so well, like Lindsey. What she’s done this month is sensational. They’re both skiing so hot. And ‘Clarky’ kept everything together today and attacked all the way, so this was a nice, small comeback for her…Kaylin tweaked her back but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about – and she put down another strong speed result…and Libby and Stacey were good at the top. They all stuck with the plan, and they know they’re skiing well as we go to Worlds.”

The women will catch some downtime at their European base in Kirchberg, Austria, and then head to Worlds where the first women’s race in Are will be super G next Sunday.

ALPINE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
San Sicario, ITA – Jan. 28, 2007
Women’s Super G-2
1. Lindsey Kildow, Vail, CO, 1:30.06
2. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 1:30.23
3. Christine Sponring, Austria, 1:30.35
4. Britt Janyk, Canada, 1:30.63
5. Tina Maze, Canada, 1:30.87

8. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 1:31.08
15T. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 1:31.69
18. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN, 1:31.75
23. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 1:31.97
32. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 1:32.60


Ligety Hot on 2nd Run, Moves up to 7th

KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Jan. 28) – Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) took advantage of an early second-run start Sunday to put down the second-fastest run and move up 20 places to finish seventh in a World Cup slalom. Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) failed to finish his second run.

WCSN.com will broadcast same-day video streaming at 11 a.m. ET.

Swede Jens Byggmark, who won his first World Cup Saturday, was sixth in the first run but made it two wins in 24 hours with a two-run time of 1:44.20. Mario Matt of Austria was second (1:42.23) with Ligety’s time 1:44.78 after finishing 27th in the opening run. Miller missed a gate at the bottom, a few gates from the finish of his second run.

“It’s nice to finally lay down a good run. I wasn’t finding my edge early, but a couple of days ago I found a pair of skis that were just what I wanted,” said Ligety, who had his best race since he was second Dec. 18 in a slalom in Alta Badia, Italy.

“It’s a big advantage when you ski early in the second run. I got a good course and I looked at a lot of guys losing tons of time on the bottom as things changed in the sun,” Ligety added. “I’ve been unlucky in other races in the second run [of SL or super combined SL], so this is nice.

“It’s always good to lay down a run like you know you can.”

However, Coach Mike Morin said, “Slalom’s been a struggle for us. The guys are working hard, skiing so well in training, so we’re not going to change because we feel it’s the right approach…but we need to get back some confidence. They need to bring it into the races. Ted was firing, as usual, though, and one in the top 10 is a start back for us…

“Three out of four guys in a row went out where Bode went out at the bottom,” Morin said. “The light went flat, there was a roll and when the sun went down, it was tricky. Bode and the guy after Bode on that second run went out there. So, people got on the radio, called back a course report for the rest of the skiers and that was it for that spot. Bode had a good run underway, and it could have been a nice confidence boost, but…”

The two slaloms were held in Kitzbuehel on the 67th Hahnenkamm Weekend when a lack of snow forced cancellation of a super G and the fabled downhill. Saturday’s slalom was a pickup from Wengen, Switzerland.

The men move on to Schladming for the annual night slalom Tuesday before heading to �…re for the World Alpine Ski Championships, which open Saturday with men’s super G. Schladming will be video steamed live by WCSN.com at 11:45 a.m. ET.

ALPINE MEN’S WORLD CUP
67th Hahnenkamm Weekend
Kitzbuehel, AUT – Jan. 28, 2007
Men’s Slalom-2
1. Jens Byggmark, Sweden, 1:44.20
2. Mario Matt, Austria, 1:44.23
3. Manfred Moelgg, Italy, 1:44.25
4. Marc Berthod, France, 1:44.64
5. Felix Neureuther, Germany, 1:44.69

7. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 1:44.78

DNF-2:
Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH

Did not qualify for 2nd run:
Jimmy Cochran, Keene, NH; Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, WA

DNF-1:
Roger Brown, Norwich, VT; Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV


Kildow 4th, Mancuso 5th in San Sicario DH
Four Americans in Top 30

SAN SICARIO, Italy (Jan. 27) – Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) was fourth and Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) fifth Saturday in a World Cup downhill won by Austrian Renate Goetschl, who reclaimed the World Cup points lead. Two other U.S. women broke into the top 30.

WCSN.com will broadcast same-day video streaming at 6 p.m. ET

On the 2006 Olympic speed run where she was fourth last February, Goetschl made it 44 wins in her career, six this season – and two in 24 hours – with a time of 1:51.65 to lead an Austrian podium sweep. Kildow, who was second Friday behind Goetschl in a super G, the track where she had an Olympic training crash that hospitalized her overnight last February, finished fourth in 1:53.15 with Mancuso timed in 1:53.36.

Kildow: Goetschl’s not bulletproof
Goetschl leads the downhill and super G points list. Mancuso remains third overall – second in DH, fourth in super G while Kildow, still fifth overall, is third in both DH and super G; the women run another SG Sunday, their last race before the World Championships open next Saturday in Are, Sweden.

Making it four American women in the points, Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) was 28th while Libby Ludlow (Bellevue, WA), coming out of the No. 49 start slot, was 30th.

Kildow said Goetschl obviously was in fine form – but she’s not bulletproof. “She’s definitely skiing well, but she’s not unbeatable. I think Jules and I can take her,” Kildow said.

“I thought I skied really well. I could’ve done better but I got a little late in some sections. For the most part, though, I skied well and I feel good about my skiing. This raced a lot differently than in the training run; it was totally different snow.”

Coach: “Outstanding” run for Ludlow, from 49th
Mancuso said the change in snow conditions “made it faster and a lot better. The sun was a lot better, too. It was a clear and nice day…and fun.”

“This was an awesome day,” said Head Coach Patrick Riml. “It’s a pretty good result for Lindsey and Jules. In these last speed races, and over the last month, we’ve started to expect them to be on the podium every race…but this was a good one for both of them. I’m psyched about this one. And a good race for Libby and Stacey, too. Libby didn’t have a perfect run, but, starting 49th, she kept things pointed downhill and did an outstanding job; she was charging.”

Riml said Goetschl “is skiing so confidently, it’s fun to watch her. She’s on another planet…but our girls are right in there, too.”

He isn’t concerned with Kildow and Mancuso’s current standings. It’s only midseason and there are many races remaining. “They’ve been skiing consistent, been pretty fast, and this is the outcome – go out every day, give it your best…and then add up the points at the end of the season.

“There’s no sense adding up the points now because these aren’t the final standings,” Riml said.

After Sunday’s super G, these six U.S. women will head to Are, Sweden, for the World Championships, which begin Saturday.

ALPINE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
San Sicario, ITA – Jan. 27, 2007
Women’s Downhill
1. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 1:51.65
2. Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 1:52.82
3. Maria Holaus, Austria, 1:53.00
4. Lindsey Kildow, Vail, CO, 1:53.15
5. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 1:53.36

28. Stacey Cook, Mammoth, Mountain, CA, 1:55.33
30. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 1:55.49
34. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 1:55.93
38. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN, 1:56.30


Ligety 15th in Snowy Kitzbuehel Slalom

KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Jan. 27) – Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) finished 15th Saturday with Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) 19th in a snowy World Cup slalom won by Sweden’s Jens Byggmark. Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) missed a gate and, after hiking back, lost a ski in the first run.

WCSN.com will broadcast same-day video streaming at 1 p.m. ET.

Byggmark earned his first World Cup victory in 1:43.74 while Ligety finished in 1:45.93. Cochran’s time was 1:46.13.

“It snowed pretty much consistently through both runs. It lightened a bit at a couple of points, and [the organizers] did a great job of preparing everything. If we were to have had the Hahnenkamm [downhill] today, we wouldn’t have had the Hahnenkamm today because the upper part of the course was socked in,” Head Coach Phil McNichol said. “It was a dry, cold wintry day…and who can complain about snow this year in Europe?”

McNichol said he’s up a tree about the disparity between the men’s slalom training and what they’ve shown this season in races. “We had a great camp in Paganella [Italy – the men’s Europe training base in the Dolomites] and then two days in Ultental with the Swedes and other teams, and we came in here with a great preparation…but I don’t get it. We’ll certainly be addressing this with the guys, and having another slalom here tomorrow gives us another shot at getting it done.”

The snow drought in central Europe meant organizers had to reschedule the traditional Hahnenkamm festivities. Saturday’s slalom was from Wengen, Switzerland, and the weekend concludes Sunday with the customary Kitzbuehel slalom, followed Tuesday by the annual nighttime slalom in Schladming before everyone heads to Are, Sweden, for the opening of the Alpine World Championships; the first race – the men’s super G – is Saturday.

ALPINE MEN’S WORLD CUP
67th Hahnenkamm Weekend
Kitzbuehel, AUT – Jan. 27, 2007
Men’s Slalom (from Wengen, SUI)
1. Jens Byggmark, Sweden, 1:43.74
2. Mario Matt, Austria, 1:44.61
3. Alois Vogl, Germany, 1:45.22
4. Silvan Zurbiggen, Switzerland, 1:45.35
5. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 1:45.41

15. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 1:45.93
19. Jimmy Cochran, Keene, NH, 1:46.13

Did not qualify for 2nd run:
Roger Brown, Norwich, VT; Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, WA

DNF-1:
Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH
Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV


Kildow 2nd in San Sicario Super G
Mancuso 8th, “totally cool” with streak ending

SAN SICARIO, Italy (Jan. 26) – Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) finished second Friday in a World Cup super G, avenging a downhill training crash sustained on the Olympic speed course last February that hospitalized her overnight. Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) finished eighth and saw her U.S.-record string of top-3 results ended at five.

World Cup super G leader Renate Goetschl of Austria took her fifth win of the season – and the 43rd of her career – in 1:24.90; she complained earlier in the week after the course being too easy. Kildow’s time was 1:24.99 and Mancuso was eighth in 1:26.26. Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) was 26th and Kaylin Richardson (Edina, MN) 27th on the Fraiteve Olympique 2.3K course.

Kildow, who raced next after Goetschl in the 25-degree sunshine, had the fastest time into the midsection but lost three-tenths and a shot at what would have been her fourth win of the season as the race was a pick up from Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria.

Podium pick-her-up
“I’m really happy with this one. It’s sort of a revenge for me,” Kildow said, referring to her downhill training crash almost a year ago at the Olympics. One of the pre-Games favorites in DH, she spent the night in the hospital, but came back to race and finished eighth. She later won the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award, an honor voted on by American fans, fellow Team USA athletes, U.S. alumni Olympians and members of the media for best representing the Olympic Spirit. This month, she crashed in Zauchensee and again last week in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, so this also was a needed pick-me-up.

“The last couple of weeks have been hard, so this was really good for my confidence going into Worlds [Feb. 3-18 in Are, Sweden]…and, yeah, with two more [speed] races here this weekend, it’s given me some good confidence. The more you race on a hill, the more you get to know it,” she said.

She and DH/SG Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser were at a loss to pinpoint where she lost the lead. “It’s really hard to find a tenth here or there. Lindsey skied the top really, really well and coming through a jump at the top she may have closed the door a little too much, gone a little too straight…maybe…but there are so many turns where you can lose a tenth, or win a tenth,” he said.

“This was good, proving to myself I can be fast on this hill,” she said. “I know I could last year but with my crash, I didn’t get to show it. Maybe this is my time…

“I thought I skied pretty well the whole way. It was a fine line. You don’t want to over-ski it,” she said. “I’ll have to look closely at the video to see where I lost that time, to see what was going on.”

She agrees with Goetschl that the course, which had manmade bumps and terrain changes installed for the Olympics – and then softened after the Games moved on, isn’t the hardest on the women’s tour, but it does have nice flow.

“I think it flows a lot better. They didn’t put any artificial terrain in there like they did for the Olympics, so it’s more safe. In general, it’s a pretty easy hill, and I think the super G course is really fun. It has these nice rolls and in the sun today, it was perfect – now that we finally have winter. The snow was awesome,” Kildow said.

Mancuso “totally cool” with streak ending
With two in the top 10 and four in the top 30, everyone in the top 35, Hoedlmoser said the U.S. women skied well. “If this is a technical hill [steeps, tighter turns, not so much gliding], like Zauchensee or Cortina, Julia can win those races, but she needs rockets on this hill. If she has a perfect run, she has a chance to be on the podium.

“But she told me she’s totally cool [with the top-3 streak ending]. She said, ‘You can’t win ’em all’ or be on the podium all the time,” he said. “Julia’s realistic. She had a good run and she knows it…

“Kaylin and Stacey had good runs, too. ‘Clarky’ didn’t ski the top so good but she was the only one to make time on the bottom…and Libby said she felt it was a good run. With the flats, though, it’s hard to pickup speed once you lose it.”

The women run a downhill Saturday and another super G Sunday before heading to the World Championships. All six U.S. women will be racing in Are.

ALPINE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
San Sicario, ITA – Jan. 26, 2007
Women’s SG-1 (Shifted from Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT)
1. Renate Goetschl, Austria, 1:24.90
2. Lindsey Kildow, Vail, CO, 1:24.99
3. Christine Sponring, Austria, 1:25.80
4. Britt Janyk, Canada, 1:25.83
5. Kelly Vanderbeek, Canada, 1:25.84

8. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 1:26.26
26. Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 1:27.33
27. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MN, 1:27.35
32T. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, ME, 1:27.70
34. Libby Ludlow, Bellevue, WA, 1:27.72


Bleiler Silver; Career 3rd X Games Medal
Teter fourth in first contest since Olympics

ASPEN, Colo. (Jan. 25) – Olympic silver medalist and local celebrity Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) added another X Games medal to her collection Thursday night with second at the 11th edition of Winter X.

Also the 2003 and ’05 X Games champion, Bleiler stomped a first run score of 91.00, launching her into the lead before Australian Torah Bright boosted a 94.66 point run that held up for the victory. Finishing third was ’06 Olympian Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, CA) with 88.00 points.

“It’s always such a pleasure to be able to compete in front of this awesome Aspen crowd, “said Bleiler, the ’06 Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix overall champ. “Torah had such a great run and I’m really happy for her – it’s still great to be on the podium.”

In the best-of-two format, Bleiler had a bigger run planned for her second trip down the floodlit pipe, but slipped on landing on frontside 900 in run No. 2 and wasn’t able generate enough speed to for her planned run.

“It’s a bummer,” said U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Mike Jankowski. “Gretchen had such a killer second run ready to go, but she slipped and wasn’t able to link the 720 after her nine. It’s still a great contest and you want to see the rider who lands the best run on the podium – that’s exactly what Torah did. She was the best tonight.”

In a field of 18 invite-only athletes, the final was cut to 10 after a Wednesday qualifier. Included in the elite pack was Bleiler’s U.S. Snowboarding teammate Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT), the ’04 X Games winner and reigning Olympic champion for her first contest since recovering from knee surgery following after the Olympics.

“Hannah was in the top five of an incredible field, that’s a good start for your first contest since February,” added Jankowski. “She did really well, but just like Gretchen she wasn’t able to land the run she wanted. The important thing is that the progression of women’s riding is there. All the girls were really riding well, Elena went huge on her second run and if both Gretchen and Hannah were smooth in the run they wanted, it would have been a different picture.”

The women will roll directly from Aspen into the second stop of the Grand Prix, slated for Feb. 2-4 at Mt. Bachelor, OR where most of the X field will be in action.

“I think you’ll see a lot of these same girls at Bachelor, so it will be another great contest,” said Jankowski.

The X Games continue Saturday with snowboardcross where back-to-back World Championships gold medalist Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) will be gunning for her fourth X Games victory, while Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA) looks to defend his ’06 win from Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott (Carrabassett Valley, ME). Also on tap for the afternoon is slopestyle with Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) and Molly Aguirre (Mammoth Lakes, CA) in the elite field of snowboarding’s best.

11TH WINTER X GAMES
Aspen, CO – January 25, 2007
Women’s Halfpipe
1. Torah Bright, Australia, 94.66
2. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 91.00
3. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 88.00
4. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 85.33
5. Kjersi Oestgaard Buass, Norway, 73.00
6. Mercedes Nicoll, Canada, 67.00
7. Manuela Pesko, Switzerland, 66.00
8. Molly Aguirre, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 65.00
9. Sophie Rodriguez, France, 60.66
10. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 45.66


Are Notes: SL Qualifier Set for Thursday
U.S. skiers double as journalists

ARE, Sweden (Feb. 14) – Thursday is a day off for some slalom skiers at the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, but an intense work day for others as the first slalom qualification race is scheduled.

The race, similar to the giant slalom qualifier held earlier in the week, is designed to improve the logistics of the slalom race by reducing the immense field of entries. Organizers said 189 racers had registered for the slalom, so the top 50 skiers in the World Cup State List – which tracks results from the previous 365 days – will be admitted and the top 25 qualifiers will be go into Saturday’s men’s slalom.

Four U.S. men are scheduled to race – Olympic combined gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), who was fourth Wednesday in the GS; Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH), Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) and World Cup rookie Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV), who was 18th in the GS, his first Worlds event.

Jitloff, because he’s outside the top 50 in that World Cup Start List, must qualify. He runs No. 7 in the field of 87 skiers chasing 25 start slots for the SL.

Jitloff is the latest U.S. skier to double as a journalist. The former Junior Worlds combined gold medalist is a regular contributor to Ski Racing magazine with his Jit’s Journal, a recap of his travels as he makes his way back from left ACL surgery a year ago and makes his way on the World Cup…and at Worlds.

Other racer-scribes: silver medalist Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), who contributed over the past week to a new Austrian daily, Oesterreich, and double-silver medalist Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO), who has a weekly column for The Denver Post.

U.S. coaches are sorting out their options for who will race Sunday in the team event. The eight-part race, introduced at the 2005 Worlds in Bormio, Italy, has two men and two women running downhill and then racing slalom. Teams may choose up to six athletes, up to three men and three women, to compete. A skier does not have to compete in both stages of the competition. The U.S. Ski Team was fourth in Bormio.

“The speed specialists have left – it’s too costly to keep an athlete an extra week just for the one event, so that makes things a little difficult,” Men’s Head Coach Phil McNichol said. He and Women’s Head Coach Patrick Riml will finalize their selections Saturday.

A men’s super combined race, which had been deleted in Val d’Isere, France, by poor snow conditions in December, has been rescheduled for March 9 in Kvitfjell, Norway. The International Ski Federation said the event – a downhill and lone run of slalom – would precede the weekend’s normally scheduled downhill and super G on the 1994 Olympic speed run north of Lillehammer.

The World Championships end Sunday with the team event and the women’s World Cup schedule resumes Feb. 24-25 in Sierra Nevada, Spain – the ’96 Worlds venue, with a GS and slalom. The men get back to World Cup racing Feb. 23 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, with two downhills – one from Kitzbuehel, Austria, and a slalom (but no combined calculation).