ADELBODEN, Switzerland – American skier Tommy Ford was airlifted to the hospital after crashing in a World Cup giant slalom on Saturday.

Ford crashed three gates from the finish after going wide into rough snow beside the course. His skis touched and he fell forward, sliding down the hill first on his neck and left shoulder.

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He knocked over a course-side worker before coming to a stop close to safety nets beside the finish. He initially lay still with his face against the snow.

A helicopter landed by the course 20 minutes later to airlift the 31-year-old racer, who is from Bend, Oregon. It was unclear what injuries Ford sustained.

“Tommy Ford is conscious and has been taken to the hospital for evaluation,” the United States ski team said in a statement. “He was talking to emergency responders when they loaded him.”

NBC’s Steve Porino reported that Ford recognized individuals around him at the scene of the crash, including alpine director Jesse Hunt.

The racer’s father, Mark Ford, reports to Ski Racing Media, “Tommy is in the hospital. We are told that he is stable and talking. He is being evaluated. We are waiting to learn more.”

A later update from the U.S. Ski Team stated, “Tommy Ford’s head and neck injuries are minor and resolving nicely. He has a knee injury that is undergoing further evaluation.”

Ford has one giant slalom win and two more podium finishes in 12 seasons on the World Cup circuit. He wore start bib No. 4 on Saturday as one of the top-ranked racers.

SRM will update this story as information becomes available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

14 COMMENTS

  1. The course was steep and fast. Plus with the GS gate offset, which required the big carves and lateral accelerations at each gate, it required a lot of strength at each turn, and was tiring. The course was demanding, Switzerlands most demanding GS. Ford was charging and his splits were pretty close, but he seemed a little tired towards the bottom, and then clipped a gate. He was slightly off balance. Then 2 or 3 gates later he crashed. With the steep terrain, fast tempo, and tiredness late in the race, It was difficult to regain balance for those oncoming gates. He sensed that it was developing, horrible. I hope that he didn’t get a shoulder injury, nothing looked broken, but he was knocked out,

  2. Good luck Tommy, better your knee than your noggin. If there is a time to blow the season this is the one.

    Why did ski racing have to get like this? Modern GS isn’t how “we ski” and neither is Slalom. Forget SG and DH for mortals. Why can’t we have a whole mountain event that’s set for 30-35mph open turns that doesn’t require injection or knee high ruts?

    How is there not a challenge skiing a slower course with speed and skill?

    Remember that GS was intended to be the race for “normal skiing” not luge runs with forearm guards and airbags. Not only has ski racing gotten more expensive and the injuries more severe but it’s become detached and irrelevant as a Formula 1 car is from our sedans and SUVs. With the decline in skiing post Covid, now would be the time to start experimenting with alternatives to expensive, time consuming races that ski areas are going to be less apt to host. We should be figuring out events and competitions that excite people to come out and try it for themselves, not automatically consigning ski racing to “next to impossible” for super talented children of the very upper but shrinking middle class.

  3. Frank
    Looks like you are confusing Demo Team skiing with ski racing. A few years back the FIS tried to de-tune GS by mandating long and awkward straight skis. Almost everybody hated them. Only one skier— Ted Ligity— developed a technique that really mastered those skis and he was rewarded with several years of total dominance. Once skis were allowed that rewarded the athleticism of a Marcel Hersher Ted’s lean-em-over round turn style was relegated to the dustbin of history. Granted age and injury factor in, but Ted can no longer even qualify for a second run in WC GS. His style is simply slower by perhaps 1.5 seconds per run compared to contemporary GS. And ski racing is a sport where speed, not form is rewarded.

  4. RDE, I’m very familiar with those skis having used them myself. Obviously the FIS did it wrong.

    If the FIS even survives the next few years the smarter approach would be based on real world testing rather than proclaiming some new ski standard at the behest of certain ski manufacturers, as they did then.

    The snobbery of relegating speed moderation to “demo team” status is silly. Whatever the rules and equipment are competitors will push the limits. Whether the skis go XX fast or XXX fast it’s still challenging and fair. And hopefully prevents some crippling injuries and widens the attractiveness and engagement of ski racing.

  5. What a terrible crash. All the best to Tommy and wishes for a full recovery. I’m worried though. Information on his injury (s) has gone eerily silent after his father’s statement and a minor update by the US Ski Team. That’s a lot of evaluation of his knee injury, and that’s worrisome. I hope his prognosis is positive.

  6. You could put ski racers on barrel staves and they would still find a way to use 110% of their strength and agility. Make skis easier to control so the limit is not such knife edge. I’m not sure how to do that but that is the direction equipment regulation should go.

  7. It’s ~2 weeks out, still no update on Tommy Ford and that is not confidence inspiring. Fair play to him, his family, and close friends if they wish his condition/prognosis to be private. Great skier, racer, and human being. Wishing him all the best.

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