Miles above the Arctic Circle, World Cup athletes are gathering for the opening slalom race of the World Cup season. Several nations have finalized their rosters for the race in Levi, Finland on Nov. 12-13.
For the American squad, a total of eight men and women will suit up, led by the most dominant slalom skier on the women’s tour in recent years, Mikaela Shiffrin. Joining Shiffrin will be veteran Resi Stiegler and newcomer Lila Lapanja. For the men, David Chodounsky leads the charge and will be joined by Michael Ankeny, Mark Engel, AJ Ginnis, and independent athlete Robby Kelley.
Their Canadian neighbors to the north will start four women and three men, with Marie-Michele Gagnon and Erin Mielzynski leading two youngsters in Laurence St. Germain and Valerie Grenier into the weekend. Phil Brown, Trevor Philp, and last season’s NorAm slalom champion Erik Read make up the men’s team.
The Attacking Vikings of Norway will field a team of six, as last season’s World Cup slalom champion Henrik Kristoffersen will sit out due to an ongoing sponsorship dispute with the federation. Even without Kristoffersen, the Norwegians are still fielding a strong team with Nina Loeseth and Maren Skjoeld representing the women and Sebastian Johan Foss Solevag, Jonathan Nordbotten, Leif Kristian Haugen, and Peder Dahlum Eide starting for the men.
Sweden will be well represented with a total of 13 men and women slated to start. For the women, reigning World Cup slalom champion Frida Hansdotter will be joined by Maria Pietilae-Holmner, Anna Swenn-Larsson, Emelie Wikstroem, and Lisa Blomqvist. The men’s team will be made up of Andre Myhrer, Mattias Hargin, Jens Byggmark, Anton Lahdenperae, Emil Johansson, Kristoffer Jakobsen, Max Gordon Sundquist, and Gustav Lundbaeck.
A large Italian contingent of five women and seven men will make their way to the arctic circle. Michela Azzola, Chiara Costazza, Irene Curtoni, Manuela Moelgg, and Martina Perruchon will make up the women’s team. For the men, 2010 Olympic slalom champion Giuliano Razzoli will make his return to the World Cup after tearing his ACL last season in Kitzbuehel. Razzoli will be joined by Ricardo Tonetti, Patrick Thaler, Tommaso Sala, Manfred Moelgg, Stefano Gross, and Andrea Ballerin.
The always dangerous French team will start four women and eight men, although they will be without top-ranked Nastasia Noens as her return to competition following injury is still yet to be determined. Nevertheless, Anne-Sophie Barthet, Adeline Baud-Mugnier, Estelle Alphand, and Laurie Mougel will start for the women. For the men, Robin Buffet, Jean-Baptiste Grange, Julien Lizeroux, Steve Missillier, Victor Muffat-Jeandet, Alexis Pinturault, Clement Noel, and Maxime Rizzo will make the start.
Germany will field a team of six women and six men with Lena Duerr, Chrstina Geiger, Marlene Schmotz, Marina Wallner, Maren Wiesler, and Elisabeth Willibald starting for the women and Fritz Dopfer, Sebastian Holzmann, Stefan Luitz, Felix Neureuther, Linus Stasser, and Dominik Stehle making the start for the men.