World Cup action continues this weekend as the U.S. Ski Team heads to the Arctic Circle for the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom races, scheduled for November 10th and 11th, in Levi, Finland. This will be an exciting weekend for local ski fans, as last season’s event on the Levi Black World Cup slope was canceled due to unseasonably warm temperatures and diminished snowmaking capabilities.
One thing is for sure, all yes are going to be on Ted Ligety as the champion skier looks to continue the stellar slalom performance exhibited at the opener in Soelden. In case you missed it, Ligety secured a historic 2.75 second victory over his competition. We haven’t seen a margin of victory that big since the 1970s! Ted is going to need to channel the same breakout energy he exhibited in Austria, and hope it translates to the course in Levi.
“Levi is a pretty tame hill with a lot of rolls, some flats and a short steep into a flat finish. But it is in the Arctic Circle so it can be super icy and wet in some spots, plus you have a lot of variability with light since the sun sets so early”, Ligety explained. ”My slalom skiing is pretty well right now, but this is a lot like Soelden – you never know how good you are skiing until you finish the race.”
Ted has been busy preparing for the weekend’s event with the young-gun Mikaela Shiffrin at the U.S. Ski Team’s European Training Base in Soelden, Austria. Shiffrin will lead the women’s team in the slalom event, filling the shoes of Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso. The veteran ski stars Vonn and Mancuso are going to forego the race in Finland and remain stateside. They’re focused on training for the upcoming Nature Valley Aspen Winternational, which is going to be held on November 24-25 in beautiful Aspen, Colorado.
Shiffrin earned her first World Cup victory during a slalom event last year. When asked how she felt about the upcoming race, she explained, “I’ve had a really good preparation period for slalom with great training in Mt. Hood, New Zealand and at Soelden. I think a good part of that is because I’m very goal oriented when it comes to training. But when I get to the race, I have to let those goals out of my mind and just focus on skiing well between every gate.”
Additional athletes set to start in Levi this weekend are Will Brandenburg, Nolan Kasper, David Chodounsky and Hailey Duke. They’ve been training hard at the USSA facilities in Vail, Colorado at Golden Peak.
Bode Miller and Resi Stiegler will remain on the sideline while they continue recovering from their injuries.