Ski Racing » Stories Fri, 24 Oct 2014 20:27:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rebensburg leads 10 German starters in Soelden Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:49:38 +0000 CJ Feehan Viktoria Rebensburg celebrates after finishing third in the 2013 Soelden World Cup. GEPA

Viktoria Rebensburg celebrates after finishing third in the 2013 Soelden World Cup. GEPA

The German team will start a total of ten athletes in the Soelden World Cup opener over the coming weekend. As a season-long focus, the national team — particularly on the ladies side — will look to reassert its dominance in the wake of Maria Hoefl-Riesch’s retirement, but the newly-initiated structure lead by Markus Anwander will span the course of two years.

“In this season and in the next, we will give young women the necessary time — especially in regards to consistency — to evolve into the world’s best,” said Wolfgang Maier, sports director of the German Ski Federation. “I hope that we have a powerful women’s team again by the 201-17 World Championships and will have more than one athlete (Rebensburg) contending for the medals. “

Although Felix Neureuther has elected to skip Soelden and instead start his season in Levi after returning from a back injury, the German team of 10 will still be one to watch in Soelden.

“Although the conditions on the glaciers in the last few weeks were not always perfect, I’m satisfied with my preparation for the season opener in Soelden,” said a confident Rebensburg who finished on the podium in 2013. “My motivation is generally high in Soelden. For one, I’ve had good results there, and on the other hand the first race of the season always has a very special appeal. Moreover, it will be my first appearance on new material. The switch to the Stoeckli skis has been easy for me, and I think we will find the optimal setup for the conditions in Soelden.”


  • Lena Duerr
  • Simona Hoesl
  • Veronique Hronek
  • Viktoria Rebensburg


  • Fritz Dopfer
  • Stefan Luitz
  • Alexander Schmid
  • Dominik Schwaiger
  • Benedikt Staubitzer
  • Linus Strasser

Maier also has a particular focus in mind for the development of the German men’s team under the direction of new head coach Mathias Berthold.

“The focus of this development (of the men’s team) is both to continue to build the speed team as well as guide young talents along with the world leaders in giant slalom and slalom,” continued Maier. “Together with the athletes we have defined the goals for the upcoming World Cup season: We want to come home from Vail with three medals — one for ladies, one for the men, and a team competition.”

The season is long and the start is only just around the corner, but Dopfer is confident he can contribute to the overall team goals, perhaps starting as early as Sunday.

“My preparation was good, and I hope to demonstrate this on the course in Soelden,” said Dopfer. “My focus in recent weeks has been on giant slalom, and my goal is to take another step forward (in the discipline). A good start in Soelden would be ideal.”

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Excitement builds in Soelden for opening World Cup races Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:21:06 +0000 SR Staff Milka Ski Stars make an appearance at the annual press conference. GEPA

Milka Ski Stars make an appearance at the annual press conference. GEPA

The two days prior to the Soelden races are possibly the busiest time off the slopes for both the athletes and media, as the press conference schedule tends to take up most of Thursday and Friday.

This year the first event not to be missed was Eurosport’s presentation of an exclusive documentary about Bode Miller where the American veteran opened his home to the cameras and shared with viewers some of his life off the slopes. Miller, who in the past years has become more involved with horse racing spoke extensively of his newly found passion and shared his plans of using the knowledge collected over his ski racing career to create a revolutionary training facility for race horses.

“When thinking of what to do after ski racing I was trying to find something which could ‘replace’ the thrill of it, even though I know nothing will be able to really replace it,” said Miller. “In horse racing I found something that would allows me to continue to focus on every detail, like I do in skiing. Skiing is still my main focus and horse racing is definitely my second one.”

Later in the day the HEAD press conference drew a large crowds to the Freizeit Arena to hear some of the top athletes on the tour talk about their summers and their plans and goals for the season. This was the opportunity for HEAD to present Sweden’s André Myhrer and France’s Alexis Pinturault who both recently joined the team, which will hopefully increase the brand’s chances to be successful in slalom as well.

“We will try to have HEAD on a slalom podium in Levi already,” said a smiling Myhrer.

“To win the overall is not yet a goal because it is really difficult to say at the beginning of the winter how fast you are compared to the others, but I am prepared for it,” noted Pinturault who finished third in the overall last season. “I will for sure try my best but with all the really good guys around, it will be not be easy.”

The day continued with Audi’s presentation of their partner teams which is a great opportunity to chat with the athletes in the relaxed environment of the Gigi Tenne. The last stop of the day was the traditional presentation of the Milka Girls that was held at the Bergland Hotel along with the announcement of a prestigious award.

Austria’s 25-year-old Anna Fenninger was selected as the ‘Skieur d’Or-AIJS’ for the 2013-14 season by a large majority of members of the International Association of Ski Journalists (AIJS) becoming the 15th woman to receive that award a year after Slovenia’s Tina Maze.

Only true ski legends starting with the Goitschel sisters in 1964 were named by the most established ski reporters since the start of the award in 1963 – Egon Zimmermann from Lech am Arlberg being the first recipient of the celebrated AIJS trophy.

One of the most promising junior competitors a few years ago, Fenninger fully confirmed her huge potential last winter, just three years after capturing an unexpected gold medal in super combined at the 2011 World Championships. The champion from south of Salzburg, who made her World Cup debut at the 2006 Finals in Are, Sweden (as a new junior world champion), celebrated a sensational triumph in the 2014 overall World Cup standings at Lenzerheide a few weeks after collecting Olympic gold in super G at Sochi.

A very complete skier excelling in the speed events and in giant slalom, Fenninger is a great fighter on snow. Yet she also proved her generosity and her good heart a few years ago when she decided to defend the cause of cheetahs in Namibia thru the organization of #savethecheetah. She participates in many promotional activities each years to help the cause of these superb wild animals, including producing a very nice calendar successfully sold on the internet.

The reporters from the World Cup greatly enjoy talking with her before and after the races and record her mostly interesting comments on her life and her career. Fenninger was fully deserving of the ‘AIJS-Skieur d’Or’ award as a charismatic role model and accessible athlete who surely still has a lot more to achieve in the coming seasons.

A total of 16 racers received votes from members of the AIJS this fall including USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin and Marcel Hirscher who tied for second place in this year’s election. Also nominated were Ted Ligety (USA), Matthias Mayer (AUT) Mario Matt (AUT), Felix Neureuther (GER), Tina Maze (SLO), Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR), Marlies Schild (AUT), Patrick Kueng (SUI), Tina Weirather (LIC), Dominique Gisin (SUI), Jan Hudec (CAN), Bode Miller (USA) and Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER).

Release courtesy of FIS

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Canada to start 9 in Soelden opener Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:07:31 +0000 SR Staff Marie-Michele Gagnon in the 2013 Soelden giant slalom race. GEPA

Marie-Michele Gagnon in the 2013 Soelden giant slalom race. GEPA

Alpine Canada will start a total of nine athletes in the World Cup opener this weekend in Soelden, Austria. Five women and four men will challenge the giant slalom sets on the Rettenbach Glacier in the Saturday and Sunday races.


  • Marie-Michele Gagnon
  • Erin Mielzynski
  • Marie-Pier Prefontaine
  • Candace Crawford
  • Mikaela Tommy


  • Philip Brown
  • Trevor Philp
  • Dustin Cook
  • Tyler Werry

The starters include Marie-Michele Gagnon and Erin Mielzynski who have both won past World Cup races, in super combined and slalom, respectively.

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USSA hires Whitaker to lead Western Region youth Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:24:11 +0000 Jessica Kelley Regional and Nation team athletes together at a June Slalom camp. Lester Keller

Regional and national team athletes together at a slalom camp in June. Lester Keller

The United States Ski and Snowboard Association has filled their final regional staffing position with the hiring of Darryl Whitaker to take over as Western Region Youth Coordinator. Whitaker replaces JJ Johnson who moved on to work with the men’s development team.

Alpine Director Patrick Riml recently announced the promotion of Michelle Demschar to lead the domestic alpine development program. The newly streamlined leadership program hopes to provide greater service to athletes, clubs and regional programs.

“We are very fortunate to have a very strong and experienced staff team throughout our development program,” said Riml. “These changes in our staff alignment will provide a smoother flow of responsibilities to provide greater service to our clubs and regional programs.”

Whitaker comes to USSA from the Park City Ski Team where he was head U14 coach for the past two seasons. He will be replaced by Ben Sinclair who rejoins the Park City staff after a year away coaching at the Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS). Whitaker has an extensive background in coaching and has been involved in coaches education with over 20 years as a leader and coordinator of clinics. He is a level 500 USSA coach and is also PSIA Level 3 certified. Whitaker filled a similar role for USSA from 2001 to 2003 as youth coordinator and development manager for the Western Region. He served as program director at both Kirkwood Ski Education Foundation and Diamond Peak and was the age class Program Director and head J3 coach at Winter Park before joining Park City Ski team.

Whitaker will work under Western/Rocky-Central regional development director, Lester Keller, and will work closely with Western Region alpine development coach, Karin Harjo. Whitaker’s primary role will be managing youth development programs for athletes 16 and under as well as working with the clubs and coaches that comprise the Western Region.


Alpine Leadership

USSA Alpine Director – Patrick Riml

Domestic Alpine Program Director – Michelle Demschar

Regional Staff

Eastern Region Development Director – Eric Harlow

Eastern Region Alpine Development Coach – Martin Guyer

Eastern Region Youth Coordinator – Tom Ashworth

Eastern Region Manager – Patti Nichols

Western/Rocky Central Regions Development Director – Lester Keller

Western Region Alpine Development Coach – Karin Karjo

Western Region Manager – Gwynn Watkins

Western Region Youth Coordinator – Darryl Whitaker

Rocky/Central Region Alpine Development Coach – Ian Dunlop

Rocky Mountain Division Manager – Darlene Nolting

Central Division Manager – Brewster McVicker

National Training Group

U16 Coach – Thomas Erhard

U16 Coach – Michael Rogan

Men’s FIS Coach – Konrad Rickenbach

Men’s FIS Coach – Chad Wolk

Women’s FIS Coach – Frank Kelble

Women’s FIS Coach – Kris Shampeny

ATC/PT – Dave Quemmen

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VIDEO: US Ski Team summer workouts Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:45:20 +0000 SR Staff The women of the U.S. Ski Team trained hard all summer in and out of the gym in preparation for the 2014-15 season. Check out a day at the Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, with Mikaela Shiffrin, Laurenne Ross, Paula Moltzan, Leanne Smith, Jackie Wiles, and Lila Lapanja.

Video courtesy of USSA

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Norway names 7 skiers to Soelden roster Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:51:49 +0000 SR Staff Kjetil Jansrud training on the Pitztaler Glacier in preparation for the season opener. GEPA

Kjetil Jansrud training on the Pitztaler Glacier in preparation for the season opener. GEPA

The Norwegian Ski Federation named seven athletes to race at the World Cup opener in Soelden, Austria, including veterans and newcomers alike. Aksel Lund Svindal was expected to start prior to his serious injury sustained in the week before the race, but his absence will not change the starting list for the Norwegian team.

Marcus Monsen looks to add to his two World Cup starts from last season. He made his debut in St. Moritz where he finished in the points in 26th. Rasmus Windingstad will also start in his career third World Cup race, through he has yet to score on the grand stage.

Veteran Kjetil Jansrud has twice cracked the top 10 in Soelden, both in 2009 and 2011. On the women’s side, Nina Loeseth finished inside the top 30 last year with a 26th-place result at the season opener.

Soelden starters for Norway:

  • Marcus Monsen
  • Rasmus Windingstad
  • Kjetil Jansrud
  • Leif Kristian Haugen
  • Henrik Kristoffersen
  • Ragnhild Mowinckel
  • Nina Loeseth

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Neureuther to skip Soelden and focus on Levi Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:22:31 +0000 SR Staff Felix Neureuther plans to return to competition in Levi. GEPA

Felix Neureuther plans to return to competition in Levi. GEPA

Germany’s best technical racer, Felix Neureuther, will skip the World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria, in order to focus on the first slalom of the season in Levi, Finland.

Neureuther has suffered back pain for several months, and his start in Soelden was already questionable after he had to take time off from training just weeks before the race. Although the 30-year-old technical specialist started training again roughly a week ago, he has come to the conclusion that preparing in time for the opener is not possible.

“There is a good and bad news,” said Neureuther. “The bad news is I must unfortunately skip the giant slalom in Soelden. The good news is that my back is doing better. In slalom, it works quite well.”

Head coach Mathias Berthold echoed Neureuther’s sentiments and is positive for the future.

“Felix returned to on-snow training a week ago and has made ​​good progress, but a start in Soelden for him but at this stage is too early,” remarked Berthold. “We have therefore jointly decided to skip this race and instead intensify training.”

Release courtesy of DSV

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How to watch this weekend’s action from Soelden Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:11:28 +0000 Geoff Mintz Soelden is prepared for this weekend's opening World Cup. C.J. Feehan

Soelden is prepared for this weekend’s opening World Cup. CJ Feehan

Universal Sports Network is officially available to everyone (not living in a cave).

The network will present extensive multi-platform coverage of the 2014-15 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, both on air and at starting with the season’s opener in Soelden, Austria this Saturday and Sunday.

The network is available on Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications, Verizon FiOS, CenturyLink Prism, Google Fiber, satellite providers DIRECTV and DISH and several regional cable and IPTV operators in markets across the country.

Comcast remains the major holdout and is not expected to offer Universal to its customers this season. This relationship has at times been confusing and frustrating for consumers who are under the impression that Comcast (via NBC) is the parent company of Universal Sports. Despite the peacock in its logo, this is not actually the case.

“NBC Sports is a minority owner in Universal, so we have to negotiate just as any other networks. We operate as an independent network,” said Universal spokeswoman Catherine Philbin. “That said, we have a great relationship with NBC Sports — we work with them on a daily basis. You’re going to see more of that this year during ski season.” is scheduled to live stream more than 250 hours of full event competition for authenticated users who subscribe to cable or satellite providers that carry Universal Sports.

“That is unchanged, and that’s a simple TV and Cable industry standard,” said Philbin. “Yes, you do have to have Universal Sports as part of your subscription package in order to be able to watch (on Universal’s site).”

Stuck with Comcast? Not a cable or satellite subscriber? There’s still hope.

For race fans who are without access to Universal Sports on their TV, there is an affordable online option: For $10 per month, DishWorld’s “Just Sports TV” package provides access to computers, as well as select tablets and mobile devices. Tech savvy users can even stream Universal’s programming to their televisions through an HDMI cable or an air-streaming device for near-seamless viewing. Furthermore, races can be watched anytime up to eight days following the event. The “Just Sports TV” package does not require a contract and subscriptions can be terminated at anytime.

DishWorld is a good solution for viewers who previously utilized Universal’s popular paid online alpine package, which was discontinued two years ago.

With the World Championships set to take place on home snow this season, Universal has put further emphasis on live alpine coverage with many of the broadcasts happening in real time, depending on time zone, says Philbin.

Presented by Longines, Universal’s broadcast coverage will feature the veteran play-by-play announcer Steve Porino and analyst Doug Lewis. This year’s broadcasts will also include the newly-designed Audi Race Room, where the network’s analysts give viewers an insider’s look at the elite competition by breaking down the techniques and technologies behind individual performances.

“2015 was supposed to be a curtain call for two of the sport’s biggest stars, Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn, but Miller, Vonn and Julia Mancuso have more in them and are all back,” Porino commented about Team USA. “I predict that we’re also going to watch Mikaela Shiffrin bud from best slalom skier in the world to one of the best skiers, period. And Ted Ligety will continue to cement his legend as one of the greatest giant slalom skiers to have ever lived by adding another World Championship title.”

Live television coverage of the 2014-15 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup begins Saturday at 6:30 a.m. ET with the women’s giant slalom from Soelden, Austria, and continues with the men’s giant slalom on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET. LIVE streaming begins at 3:30 a.m. ET on both days.

Check out Universal’s complete Alpine World Cup schedule here.

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France names 15 Soelden starters Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:26:38 +0000 SR Staff Alexis Pinturault at the 2013 Soelden World Cup.

Alexis Pinturault at the 2013 Soelden World Cup. GEPA

The French Ski Federation has announced its 15 starters for the opening World Cup race in Soelden this coming weekend, and to no surprise the list includes 2013 runner-up Alexis Pinturault.


Anne-Sophie Barthet
Adeline Baud
Marion Bertrand
Coralie Frasse-Sombet
Anémone Marmottan
Marie Massios
Tessa Worley


Mathieu Faivre
Thomas Fanara
Nicolas Lambert
Thomas Mermillod-Blondin
Steve Missilier
Victor Muffat-Jeandet
Alexis Pinturault
Cyprien Richard

Release courtesy of FFS

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Svindal out indefinitely with torn Achilles Sun, 19 Oct 2014 13:54:50 +0000 SR Staff Aksel Lund Svindal ready for the Soelden opener back in 2013. GEPA

Aksel Lund Svindal ready for the Soelden opener back in 2013. GEPA

Aksel Lund Svindal tore the Achilles tendon in his left leg during dryland training in Soelden, Austria, on Saturday afternoon. He was immediately rushed to a hospital in Innsbruck for further investigation where the extent of the injury was determined and he underwent surgery shortly after. It is uncertain how long Svindal will take to recover, but he will likely miss most of the 2014-15 season.

“I was out for a little run with the rest of the team in Sölden Austria. We ended the session playing around with a ball. Just holding it up in the air between us,” wrote Svindal.  “Suddenly I felt something snap in my leg and I knew right away that something was wrong. Achilles.”

The 2014 World Cup downhill and super G title winner and runner-up in the overall will recover in Austria before returning to the Olympic Center Oslo to continue his rehabilitation.

“A real injury and extremely bad timing just as the season is about to start,” he continued. “But now that it’s happened there’s not much I can do. Now it’s all about looking ahead. Nobody can say 100 percent sure how long the recovery will take, but I’m ready for the weeks that are coming.”

Norwegian team doctor Marc Jacob Strauss indicated that the star’s season is most likely over before it even officially started.

“Svindal must now work out cautiously and he will probably not ski again for about three to four months,” said Strauss.

Release courtesy of NSF   

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