It was a big week for U.S Skiing and Snowboarding! Here are the weekly highlights:
Snow Globe Highlights- The Olympic Team is starting to take shape! This week on Snow Globe, Nick Goepper and Kelly Clark claim their Sochi spots with incredible Sprint U.S. Grand Prix performances at Copper Mountain, Lindsey Jacobellis returns to the podium and Ted Ligety gets an early Christmas present at Alpine Rockfest. Don’t miss any of the action! Watch Snow Globe here!
Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images / Kelly Clark celebrates her win and spot on the 2014 Olympic Team!
Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Freeskiing / Nothing but smiles from Nick Goepper after his freeskiing win at the Visa U.S Freeskiing Grand Prix and his confirmed spot for Sochi 2014.
Alpine – Ted Ligety put a little something extra in his own Christmas stocking after winning 75,000 euro in the winner-take-all Alpine Rockfest exhibition in Andalo, Italy. A day earlier, Ligety was on the Alta Badia World Cup giant slalom podium with third. Mikaela Shiffrin posted another solid World Cup giant slalom result with eighth in Val d’Isere, France. Shiffrin will be back in action Dec. 28-29 in Lienz, Austria, for a giant slalom and slalom on the slope where she landed her first World Cup podium. Men’s racing kicks back in with speed, featuring a solo downhill in Bormio, Italy, on Dec. 29.
Photo © Pierre Teyssot / Ted Ligety claiming the win at Alpine Rockfest 2013.
Cross Country – Four U.S. women qualified for sprint heats Saturday in Asiago with Ida Sargent leading in 10th. The USA fielded two competitive teams in Sunday’s team sprint finishing fifth (Kikkan Randall and Sadie Bjornsen) and eighth (Ida Sargent and Sophie Caldwell). The team takes a short break leading into the Tour de Ski and U.S. Cross Country Championships starting Jan. 4 at Soldier Hollow.
Freeskiing – The second of five Olympic qualification events took place this weekend at Copper Mountain, CO, at the Visa U.S. Grand Prix presented by The North Face. Nick Goepper mathematically locked in his Olympic spot by taking the top U.S. podium spot in slopestyle. Brita Sigourney and Aaron Blunck topped the podium for the USA in halfpipe while rookie team member Darian Stevens and teammate Grete Eliassen earned podium finishes in women’s slopestyle. The next stop on the Grand Prix is at Breckenridge, CO, Jan 9-12.
Freestyle - It was a weekend filled with high flying aerials action from across the globe. The Bird’s Nest arena, used for the 2008 Olympic Summer Games, was transformed into an aerials site with massive jumps and truckloads of snow. While there, both Emily Cook and Dylan Ferguson earned fifth place finishes before hopping on a plane and heading home for the holidays. The moguls crew is taking a little breather before their Jan. 4 World Cup in Calgary and aerials will kick back into action for the Visa Freestyle International at Deer Valley Jan 9-11.
Nordic Combined- Bryan Fletcher, the lone U.S. athlete in Saturday’s competition in Schonach, skied up from 26th after the jump to finish 18th. The next day, Fletcher skied up from 31st after the jump with the third fastest cross country time to finish ninth. Taylor Fletcher had the seventh fastest cross country time to come in 31st. In Continental Cup action this week in Soldier Hollow and Utah Olympic Park, Billy Demong won two of threeevents to earn the USA a fifth World Cup quota spot. The team now returns to Park City, UT, to prepare for Olympic Trials Dec 28.
Ski Jumping- Lindsey Van was 9th, Jessica Jerome 10th on Saturday to lead USA in a Hinterzarten World Cup Saturday. Sunday, Jerome was top-10 again, finishing ninth in a normal hill World Cup. The tour now takes a holiday break while the U.S. women prepare for the Dec. 29 Olympic Trials at the Utah Olympic Park.
Snowboarding- The men’s and women’s halfpipe crew swept the podium with Kelly Clark, Arielle Gold and Gretchen Bleiler taking the top three in the women’s event and Taylor Gold, Greg Bretz and Ben Ferguson taking the top spots in the men’s. Shaun White grabbed a third place finish in men’s slopestyle and is now Olympic eligible in both halfpipe and slopestyle. On the snowboardcross side, Lindsey Jacobellis returned to the top of the podium with her first win in nearly two years at the FIS World Cup in Lake Louise, AB. Alex Deibold nabbed a third place finish, earning the first U.S. podium for the men this season