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The World Cup according to Grande: Levi Women's re-cap

I spent most of my day flying and driving to Vail today to get ready for our Mission Ridge Ski Team fall camp. I can’t wait to get out on the hill Ski Club Vail has prepared. I have heard nothing but outstanding reports and look forward to getting a lot accomplished here.

I got a chance to watch the women’s race today on Universal Sports when I got here. The video was a little glitchy but I got the gist of it. First of all, congratulations to Maria, Lindsey and Tanja! As well as Susanne Riesch and Michaela Kirschgasser. That’s the top 5 and they all did a great job. Lindsey let me down a little because I picked her to win, but losing by .08 is well, .08. I thought she had it won when Maria had lost ground by the end of the top flat but Maria held it together when she could have lost it. Congrats to Lindsey, a great start to the season. Start racking up those points in slalom and GS and dominate the speed stuff again and the big globe will be yours. Great job! And Tanja as well, right in the mix in the first 2 tech starts. Susanne continues to ski well in Levi and I am so glad to see Michi Kirchgasser start to put her slalom back together. She has been struggling with it for a while but it looks to be back in order. Very cool.

Most impressive stuff:
Nina Loeseth(NOR) coming from 46th start position to 20th place. But even more impressive was younger sister Mona starting 51 and moving up to 14.
The Canadian girls! All 3 got in the flip and finished back to back to back in 14-16-17 (there was a tie for 14th). Nice job ladies.

A solid day for Hailey Duke in 21st place, well done.

And most of all, the 2 girls coming out of the 70s to get second runs. Kristiina Rove(FIN) born in 1990, made the flip and got a second run. She finished last in the 30 but had a smile in the finish area so big that lit the place up! Congrats to her and hopefully it is the beginning of more to come. And to Kaylin Richardson for making a second run happen from start number 70 to finish 23. I really did not think she would get it done and she did, with room to spare. Fantastic.

Now for a not so positive. Anja Paerson can look at this race and think it was an error and keep banging away at slalom. But I see slow feet and the loss of the ability to recover at speed while carrying speed. The last 1/3 of the course on the second run is where that kind of stuff happens when fitness and quickness decline. Is it really just a little mistake? Or is it symptomatic of something more? Is she on the decline, especially in slalom?

Click here to go to Alpine Race Consulting

Greg “Grande” Needell grew up ski racing at Stratton Mountain, Vermont. After graduating from SMS he skied for NCAA Division 1 St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY where he was co-captain in 1986. Greg returned to SMS to coach there for five years serving as the Head Women’s Coach as well as the Head J2 Men’s Coach. He then moved to Mission Ridge in Wenatchee, Washington in 1992 to become the Program Director and Head Coach of the Mission Ridge Ski Club. In 1997, Greg became the Head Coach at Mammoth Mountain, California.

In 2002 Needell was asked to join the U.S. Ski Team staff as a World Cup SL and GS coach. From 2002 to 2008 Needell helped lead the U.S. Ski Team Men to 43 wins, 105 podiums and 264 top ten finishes. Now at the helm of Alpine Race Consulting, Needell offers his knowledge and experience to clubs nationwide.

Click here for “The World Cup According to Grande” archive.

Eric Williams

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