U.S. Men do OK at Levi World Cup

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 15, 2009 11:06 am

We often like to say, ” First one’s free,” and for the U.S. Ski Team men in Levi, the story sort of went like that today at the opening slalom World Cup. Olympic Combined Champion Ted Ligety posted the best finish in 18th followed by Jimmy Cochran in 19th. Legendary Bode Miller qualified for a second run, but was unable to finish after getting smacked in the face by a gate.

Still, three men skiing a World Cup second run isn’t a bad start to the new Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season. “Half of the top 30 had second run trouble at the top of the steeps and Ted was one of those guys,” said Men’s Technical Head Coach Rudi Soulard. “They were coming over the pitch with speed, then getting kicked out and ending up below the next gate. From there it was tough to regain rhythm.”

Austrian veteran Reinfried Herbst bumped Croation Ivica Kostelic and reigning World Cup slalom champion Jean-Baptiste Grange for his sixth career slalom victory. Ligety was seventh after the first run and actually led the pack by .37 at the first split of the second run. But then trouble struck on the steeps. Miller, too, was also skiing fast through the first series of gates during his second run, but then was stopped in his ski tracks. “His nose was bleeding pretty badly and he has a fat lip, but he’s OK,” said Soulard. “His skiing is not where he needs to be yet, but he was able to get a second run and he’s doing all the right things to get there.”

Next up? The U.S. technical Team will return to Colorado for training before the Audi Birds of Prey Race week, Dec. 4-6 in Beaver Creek, CO.