U.S. Ski Team ready for classic World Cups this weekend

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 17, 2009 10:51 am

This weekend will be filled with classic Alpine World Cup action, and the U.S. Ski Team athletes are set to fly. Both Val d’Isere and Val Gardena have been successful stops for the U.S. Ski Team athletes.

The women are set for their speed events at Val d’Isere, France. World Champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) recently led both downhill training runs on the familiar Oreiller-Killy slope, and clearly, she’s poised to win the real deal. Tomorrow begins with the Super Combined, with the Downhill Saturday and Super G on Sunday. 

“It’s a fun course, I like the piste here in Val d’Isere,” said Vonn. “I’ve had good results here in the past and so I have confidence. I just having a lot of fun and when things are working well, it feels much easier and things are definitely going well.”

Vonn’s French success dates back to December, 2005 when she claimed the third downhill victory of her career. Instead of accepting prize money for the win, Vonn opted to famously claim a cow she named Olympe. (Later, she named Olympe’s babies after family members, starting with one of her sisters, first.)

Last season, at the 2009 Audi FIS Alpine World Championships–also in Val d’Isere, but held on the Solaise slope, Vonn (famously) captured gold in both Super G and Downhill.

Not too far away, the U.S. Ski Team men are prepping for their races in Val Gardena. Like Val D for the women, several Team athletes have found success at Val G. In fact last year, they made history at the Saslong Classic Downhill.

In 2008, Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) led five of his teammates into the downhill top 10–the best U.S. Ski Team group finish to date. Erik Fisher (Middleton, ID) stunned the field, moving from a 52nd start position to seventh. Miller claimed second, Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) fourth, Fisher seventh, Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) ninth, TJ Lanning (Park City, UT

) tenth, Scott Macartney (Crystal Mountain, WA) 15th and Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) 28th.

In 2006, U.S. Ski Team athlete Steven Nyman won the Saslong Classic, and in 2007, Macartney took the bronze medal.

Pretty glorious. While the Team is now sadly without Lanning, due to an injury crash at Lake Louise, the rest of the roster remains the same for both races with the addition of Jeremy ‘Worm’ Transue (Hunter, NY). 

After Saturday’s downhill, the tech skiers (like Miller, Tim Jitloff and Ted Ligety) take to the GS at Alta Badia, which is just over a pass from Val Gardena. Both Miller and Ligety have racked up podiums at Alta Badia. 

“I’d really like to win in Alta Badia,” said Ligety, who was second in the season opening giant slalom, then finished second in the Val d’Isere super G last weekend. “I know I’m fast, it’s just a matter of putting two good runs together. I really love Alta Badia and it’d be cool to get it done there.”

Tomorrow the men race the super G, with the famed downhill on Saturday.


photo: Haney/USSA