U.S. skiers found themselves on top today during day one of the Air New Zealand Japanese FIS Southern Cup Giant Slalom race at Coronet Peak ski resort. Building off their recent success at Coronet Peak, Will Gregorak (USA) took top honors with fellow countrymen Warner Nickerson (USA) and David Chodounsky (USA) in third and fourth respectively.
New Zealand ski racer Ben Griffin posted a strong showing on home soil, storming into second place, and capturing the country’s best world ranking position for twenty years. Following Griffin, the second Kiwi home was Queenstown’s Tim Cafe who finished in 19th place.
The podium spot is a record success for Griffin, vastly improving his FIS world ranking and propelling him into the top 125 alpine ski racers in the world.
“I’m very stoked with today’s result,” said Griffin. “I’ve been skiing really well; I always get a huge boost when we’re working alongside US and other top racers, we always up our game.”
Snowsports New Zealand Alpine Manager James Lazor said Griffin skied fantastically today.
“This result plus his Canadian Giant Slalom earlier in the season will bring down his FIS Giant Slalom points into the teens. This lowering of points is a testament to his focus on his goals and his determination with training,” he said.
“The training that’s going on here is really paying off for New Zealand’s alpine ski racers,” said Head of Race Richard Murphy.
He said conditions were looking fantastic for tomorrow’s (Tuesday) final event in the series.
“It all steps up to another level tomorrow with the final Giant Slalom races bringing the five-day event to a huge climax. We’ve got the top US Men’s technical and speed teams as well as the Russian and German Women’s technical teams.”
In the Women’s Giant Slalom race, also today at Coronet Peak, Christina Geiger (GER) won first place, while Fanny Chmelar (GER) came second and Elena Prosteva (RUS) took third. First New Zealander home was Sarah Jarvis with a creditable 6th placing.