Sunday, February 26, 2017

Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Last Alpine Combined of the Season in Crans Montana

Today, Mikaela Shiffrin takes her first win ever in the discipline with a total time of 2:07.16.
Shiffrin powered down the slalom run, making up time after her seventh-place super-G run in the morning. Her quick slalom run put her 0.70 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Federica Brignone of Italy and 0.85 seconds ahead of third-place finisher Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia in the final Alpine Combined of the season.
"It feels great", the American shared. "I was really psyched with my Super-G this morning. I took a really big step forward from yesterday, and I was happy with that. Of course, the slalom was great. I mean I made a little mistake at the top, but I was attacking, so I don’t think it cost too much. I’m happy to go into the U.S. races with the overall lead".
Second on Sunday’s podium was Federica Brignone, who ends the season in second place in the discipline standings in part thanks to her victory on Friday. The win gave her the motivation she needed to podium again on the challenging Mont Lachaux slope.
"That slalom gave me a really a good confidence, but I wanted to do it more and again today because it was not easy", Brignone said. "The slalom is really tough and yeah, I wanted to do it again. I’m really happy".
The Italian seems to have found her rhythm in slalom, and she has some guesses as to why it’s all coming together–and it wasn’t the snow.
"Actually, normally I love the ice, so I really don’t know in slalom", she said. "I’m feeling good, and I like this slope and the track and how it was set, so I think that’s all and I’m in shape".
With her third-place result, Stuhec was able to secure the discipline globe, the first of her career, which the Slovenian called “amazing.”
"I can’t believe it really because it’s something I’ve always dreamed of and now that it’s hear it’s just, ‘Woah", she said.

Peter Fill Wins Super-G in Kvitfjell

The last regular speed week-end came to an end today at Kvitfjell (NOR), with the Super-G on the Olympiabakken course. Three experienced skiers took the spots on the podium, with Peter Fill earning the win, ahead of Hannes Reichelt and Erik Guay.
With 34 years and a very prolific career including a Kitzbuehel win and a crystal globe in downhill, Italy’s Peter Fill finally claimed his first win in his other strong discipline, the Super-G. This performance reflects his very good and constant season, that could end with another cup standings win if he makes up the 33 points that separate him from Jansrud in the downhill ranking.
"It was a long wait for me to get the first Super-G win, but I'm really happy. I made a great run, no mistakes and everywhere a good line and good speed. It was perfect for me today. The whole form for the season was good, but now, in the first downhill here in Kvitfjell, I was really bad, no speed and a lot of mistakes but yesterday and today was great. I hope now to bring my performance to Aspen. It's a really important race there".
The second place went to Austria’s Hannes Reichelt, also an experienced athlete on the World Cup Tour, as the Super-G World Champion from Vail / Beaver Creek 2015 just grabbed his 40th career podium.
"I think I had a lot of luck with the sun. The first start numbers had the bad light and I think after ten or something then weather was changing and we had some sun. That was luck, good that I had luck because two days ago I had some wind and that was the reason why I wasn't so fast in downhill. The second key was skiing aggressive, especially in parts where I did a good line. On the start I was saying, 'Ok, just ski like I inspect.' I had done my inspection and didn't hear too much on the radio, that was the key".
The current World Champion of the discipline also managed to climb on the podium and took third place today in Kvitfjell.
"It's been great, you know. It's been a good weekend, fourth and sixth in the downhill, but it's always fun to leave a race series with a bit of hardware. I'm happy with the way I skied today and I'm excited to get back home to my girls. I don't feel particularly old; I think that things are going better now. I'm happy physically and technically and I'll keep charging. I think I keep improving like a fine wine".
The battle for the Super-G crystal globe is now over, as local Kjetil Jansrud was able to secure the globe thanks to his 7th place. His three consecutive wins at the beginning of the season in Val d’Isère, Val Gardena and Santa Caterina were decisive for Jansrud. Whatever happens in the last race in Aspen, Jansrud will collect his third career crystal globe, after he claimed both the downhill and super-g globe in 2015/16.

Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017. Fieberbrunn Teaser

Less than two weeks to the FWT stop in Fieberbrunn.
The Swatch Freeride World Tour is about to enter a critical phase as athletes seize their last opportunity to score enough points to advance beyond the qualification cuts at the upcoming Fieberbrunn stop. The Austrian ski resort is hosting fifty-one freeriders, including former Austrian FWT snowboarder Flo Orley, and Japanese ski men wild card holder Taisuke Kusunoki.
After the Fieberbrunn event, a cut is made based on the competitors’ best two results of the 2017 season, reducing the field of fifty-one riders to just to twelve ski men, six ski women, six snowboard men, and four snowboard women. These twenty-eight riders will qualify for the two remaining 2017 FWT events in Haines, Alaska and Verbier, Switzerland in addition to the upcoming 2018 FWT season.
Event organizers are aiming to hold the competition on the venue known as the Wildseeloder face, which at 2,118m offers 600 vertical meters of varied freeride terrain. The target date for the competition is March 6th; however the allotted weather window extends from March 6th-11th should snow or safety decisions require a shift in the competition date.

Date: March 6, 2017; Location: Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, AUT

The Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kjetil Jansrud Wins Downhill in Kvitfjell

Kjetil Jansrud’s domination in this year’s speed events continues and claimed the top step on the podium today in Kvitfjell. He crossed the finish line 0.08 seconds ahead of Peter Fill and 0.14 ahead of Beat Feuz.
There have been many Norwegian wins in Kvitfjell in the past years, seven in the past six years to be precise, but none of them was on the original Downhill Saturday since Lasse Kjus’ win in 1997. After taking over the red leader bib of the discipline yesterday thanks to his third place, local hero Kjetil Jansrud proved to be in an excellent shape and was unbeatable on the Olympiabakken track today.
"I know this hill very well. It's not just home because it's in Norway, it's home because I grew up here so it's a big thing and I think the last time (a Norwegian) won on a Saturday here was Lasse (Kjus) twenty years ago, so this is a big Norwegian day. It's amazing and probably one of my biggest wins. I even won my first World Cup race here so there are a lot of good memories in Kvitfjell. Magnificent day and also grabbing a bigger lead in the red jersey, thirty three points means that if Fill wins in Aspen and I'm third then it's all gone, so it it's going to be exciting".
Jansrud’s main only contender for the downhill globe ranked second today, only +0.08 off the pace. It’s Italy’s Peter Fill, winner of the 2015/16 discipline ranking. Very constant with three second place and one third place this season, the South Tyrolean is ready for the final decision in Aspen.
"Yesterday I made a big mistake and lost the speed on the top and then it was difficult to go fast but today was a good run and all together everything worked good and I'm really happy with my second place. Now I am close to Jansrud for the big fight for the globe in Aspen. I have only one goal: to beat him there so let us see what's going to happen. I know what I need to do, full attack and when I have luck, maybe I can re-win the globe".
In third place, the World Champion from St. Moritz could lay down a strong run and grab his second podium of the regular World Cup season. The Swiss ski talent is too far back to claim the downhill globe (168 points with one race to go), but his performance could be decisive in the tight battle between Jansrud and Fill. Whatever happens in Aspen, Feuz can look back on another very successful season.
"We started from the very top today, this is definitively an advantage for me. Unfortunately I was not very good in the lower part and made a mistake in the last section, but in general it was a very good run. It has been a great season for me, especially the World Champion title in front of my home crowd was amazing, I had some struggles early season in the World Cup, but then with the podium in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and now also in Kvitfjell, I’m satisfied of my season”.

Ilka Stuhec Wins Super-G in Crans Montana

After winning the Downhill Race at the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz and a second place yesterday in the Alpine Combined, Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec was able make the most of bib 5 to take her second career World Cup super-G win with a final time of 1:21.78.
Italy’s Elena Curtoni was the only athlete able to get within a second of the Slovenian, coming in second place just 0.50 seconds off the pace. Austria’s Stephanie Venier charged to a third-place result, 1.09 seconds away from the win.
Ilka Stuhec, who won the Super-G portion of Friday’s Alpine Combined, knew she could ski fast on the slope and in the warm conditions.
"The set was a bit turnier I would say", she explained. "The speed was lower, so I guess they tried to make it a bit safer, but there was still some key points where you had to do what you had to do to maintain the speed and to carry it all the way down. I guess I did that pretty well".
Stuhec is the first Slovenian woman to win multiple World Cup super-G races, and this victory puts her 100 points closer to the super-G title. She claim her 6th World Cup victory today.
Elena Curtoni was also able to ski tactically to earn her best-ever World Cup result. It was made extra special by the fact that her parents were in the audience.
"It’s always fun to have family", she shared. "I mean you can share a good moment with them. I know that even if they are not on the slope, or the finish area, they are always with me".
While other athletes struggled slightly with the course conditions, Curtoni said she enjoys the warm days.
"Snow is pretty challenging",  the Italian said. "It’s slidy and salty, but I like this kind of snow and these conditions. I always felt good on it, so I’m okay".
For Stephanie Venier, she was happy to be back on the podium for the second time in her career.
"I’m happy with the result, but I think my run was not so good", she confessed. "I made too many mistakes, but I’m happy with the podium today".

Friday, February 24, 2017

Federica Brignone Wins Alpine Combined in Crans Montana

Today, Federica Brignone of Italy took the first victory of the 3-day weekend in Crans Montana, Switzerland, dominating the alpine combined with a total time of 1:56.09. She was joined on the podium by Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia in second and Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria in third. Both athletes were more than a second off the winning pace.
After several forerunners including Olympian Julia Mancuso crashed, the race began with the first three athletes–Stuhec, France’s Tessa Worley and Switzerland’s Denise Feieraband–all skiing out.
The jury decided to lower the super-G run to the reserve start and restart the field from the beginning.
At 11:30 am, the race began again at the lower start. Stuhec ran with bib 1 and this time, she charged down the super-G course to take the lead, overcoming nerves from her first go-around at the course. The Slovenian found herself 0.52 seconds ahead of Brignone and 0.69 seconds ahead of Kirchgasser, heading into the slalom portion of the day.
In the slalom, Kirchgasser was the first of the trio to see the green light at the finish. But Brignone produced an impeccable slalom run (third fastest) to surpass the Austrian. Stuhec did her best to make it down the slalom set, but she ultimately finished in second place, 1.01 seconds from Brignone. Kirchgasser rounded out the podium 1.16 seconds back.
Federica Brignone, who had never podiumed in an alpine combined before, surprised herself with the win.
"I was really surprised", the Italian said. "It was not easy. The slalom was really steep and bumpy, but I just tried to attack the slalom and not be attacked from the slalom. I tried to follow the rhythm and stay on the line, but then I didn’t think I would be fast, but then I was".
Current alpine combined standings leader Stuhec said it's still too early to talk about the season title.
"I’m feeling a bit tired actually. It’s been quite a long day, but it’s always nice to stand on the podium. We still have one more race to go, and then we can talk about the globe".
Just 0.17 seconds behind Stuhec was Kirchgasser, repeating her performance from World Championships in St. Moritz. This marked the Austrian’s seventh career World Cup podium in the discipline.
"It’s pretty cool because…between speed skiing and technical skiing, it’s really awesome because you really have to change all of it between runs", Kirchgasser said. "You have to change not only just the skis, but also have to change the boots and also the skiing".

Bostjan Kline Claims His Career First Win in World Cup at Kvitfjell Downhill.

After the World Championships in St. Moritz, the men’s World Cup Tour moved North to Kvitfjell (NOR) for the two downhills and a super-g. Today Friday 24th of February, was the day of the replacement race from Lake Louise (CAN), and the first of two downhills took place on the Olympiabakken.
It was an historical day for Slovenia, as Bostjan Kline took home his first ever World Cup win. The 26 years old racer from Maribor showed great performances last year, with two second places, and he definitely was on the “one-to-watch” list. However, Kline had some struggles to be claim top positions this season, so this win comes as a relief for him and the Slovenian team.
"It feels good. The whole season I knew that I can ski good, that I can ski fast. You know, I just had to be patient and today, everything came together with the skiing, the start routine, warmup and everything. It was ups and downs during this season. Hot and cold. There were things that were really good but I had some mistakes in my runs but now it was good".
Friday’s result is Mayer’s second World Cup podium since the 2014 Olympic downhill champion broke his back at last season’s Val Gardena downhill. Mayer also won the Kitzbuehel super-G in January.
"I really needed the time in downhill to give everything, to risk everything. If you don't do that, you can't be on the podium. I'm very happy about my run today because it feels great to be back with these guys, to be one of the fastest here".
Local hero Kjetil Jansrud was weakened by a bronchitis at the World Championships two weeks ago, but he came back in a great shape, claiming third place and taking over the red bib of the downhill standings leader.
"It felt good. It's home field advantage so you kind of wanna win, but today was a tight race and third place is good and that makes it even better when you look at the overall (downhill title) and I grab the red jersey back, which is always a good thing even though it's still very tight between Fill and I, it's a good start to the week. I feel much better, the biggest thing is I had bronchitis in the World Champs. Now that's way better, now I don't have any problems".

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues in Switzerland and Norway

This weekend Crans Montana and Kvitfjell will host the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.
Ladies Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup moves to Crans Montana for the World Cup Super-G and two Alpine Combined Events. Located on a sunny plateau at 1,500 m above the Rhone Valley, Crans Montana offers visitors an outstand- ing Alpine panorama over the most beautiful peaks in the Alps, such as the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. The ski domain of Crans Montana (1500-3000) allows skiers and snowboarders to enjoy snow thanks to 30 lifts and 140 km of pistes (53.2 blue, 70 red and 16.8 black) including the mythical Plaine Morte and the National. The Piste Nationale downhill course was remodelled on 2006/07 and two tunnels added to improve access during competitions.

Men Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Races, two downhills, one of which is the replacement for the event cancelled in Lake Louise, and a Super-G to close out the program on Sunday. will take place in Kvitfjell on the Olympic Downhill and Super-G courses. The resort was developed for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games held in Lillehammer.
Kvitfjell is a ski resort in the municipality of Ringebu, Norway. Kvitfjell was built for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games, and it is probably best known for hosting the alpine speed events (Downhill and SG). The technical alpine events of the Olympics (Giant Slalom and Slalom) were held at Hafjell. Since Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games, it has become one of the best and most modern ski resorts in Northern Europe. Kvitfjell is located just 2.5 hours north of the Oslo Airport. The ski are offers 25 kilometres of slopes with a vertical drop of 854 metres (from the top at 1039 m to 185 m above sea level) served by 9 lifts: 3 chairlifts, 3 T-Bar lifts, 2 telescopic lifts and 1 belt lift. You can find a piste for everyone with 7 green, 5 blue, 6 red and 3 black with a longest run of 3,500 m with 85% of the alpine skiing pistes covered in artificial snow.

Crans Montana (SUI)
February 24th Alpine Combined / Ladies
February 25th Super G / Ladies
February 26th Alpine Combined / Ladies

Kvitfjell (NOR)
February 24th Downhill / Men
February 25th Downhill / Men
February 26th Super G / Men

Jeongseon (KOR)
March 4th Downhill / Ladies
March 5th Super G / Ladies

Kranjska Gora (SLO)
March 4th Giant Slalom / Men
March 5th Slalom / Men

Squaw Valley (USA)
March 10th Giant Slalom / Ladies
March 11th Slalom / Ladies

Aspen (USA)
WC Finals 2017

March 15th Downhill / Ladies and Men
March 16th Super G / Ladies and; Men
March 17th Team Event / Mixed
March 18th Giant Slalom / Men
March 18th Slalom / Ladies
March 19th Slalom / Men
March 19th Giant Slalom / Ladies

14th Glacier Bike Downhill Race in Saas-Fee

On March 11th, 2017 the 14th annual Glacier Downhill Bike Race will be held in Saas-Fee. This is no usual ride over hill and dale. Rather this race goes over ice and snow down to the glacier village. The riders will start en mass at 3’500m. During the first half of the race, enthralling fights are guaranteed to ensue for the lead position. It’s a race without spikes and of high velocity, with riders reaching speeds of 144 km/h.
The mass start is on the Mittelallalin station at an altitude of 3’500m and goes down over the snowy and icy slopes to the glacier village at 1’800m. They will start in different blocks. The starting block allocation is made based on the ranking point of the prevoius years.
The riders have to manage 1’700 metres of altitude difference and 7 km of distance. First they ride on a narrow trail along the Fee glacier, which leads them to the panorama hill. For less experienced racers this is a real challenge. The hill is steep and has to be crossed at high speed. On this part of the trail, riders have been measured, per GPS, travelling at speeds of about 144 km/h.
Further down, the ride leads past the restaurant Morenia before entering the Valley run. This is going to be a very exciting part of the race with extremely steep passages, flat transits and narrow curves, and it is a real assessment of the rider and his material. The last part of the ride, a very flat passage, needs strength to be managed. The outcome of the race is often decided during this section of the course.
The helmet and protective gear as well as the wheel disk are obligatory for all participants.
The Glacier Downhill Bike Race will be held in three categories: 
  • Women born in 1999 and before
  • Men main classe born in 1999 and before 
  • Men senior born in 1982 and before
Shortly before the finish, the route becomes a little steeper. After reaching the desired end of the race, the award ceremony will take place and in the evening the riders party will take place.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Vail Resorts To Acquire Stowe Mountain Resort (Vermont)

Vail Resorts announced that on Feb. 17, 2017, it entered an agreement to acquire Stowe Mountain Resort from Mt. Mansfield Company, Inc. (MMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), for a purchase price of $50 million, subject to certain adjustments. Stowe Mountain Resort will be Vail Resorts’ first mountain resort on the East Coast and complements the Company’s network of 10 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas.
This acquisition brings together Vail Resorts, the world’s leading mountain resort operator, with AIG Global Real Estate (AIGGRE), a best-in-class real estate developer, who share a common vision for the long-term success of Stowe Mountain Resort as the premier, high-end resort for skiers and snowboarders on the East Coast. Vail Resorts is acquiring all of the assets related to the mountain operations of the resort, including base area skier services (food and beverage, retail and rental, lift ticket offices and ski and snowboard school facilities) at Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Other facilities such as the Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe Mountain Club, Stowe Country Club and certain real estate owned and held for potential future development will be retained by MMC.
"We’re thrilled to add Stowe Mountain Resort to our family of world-class mountain resorts. With the investments in both mountain infrastructure and base area facilities that AIG has made over the years, Stowe Mountain Resort has become the premier, high-end resort for East Coast skiers and snowboarders. We look forward to working with AIG to continue enhancing the guest experience and to ensure the resort’s long-term success", said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
Douglas Tymins, president and chief executive officer of AIG Global Real Estate, said, "Under Vail Resorts’ management, Stowe’s reputation as a premier ski destination with a commitment to excellent service will continue to grow. AIGGRE is looking forward to combining Vail Resorts’ tremendous mountain operations capabilities with our continued commitment to the development of the Spruce Peak community".
Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vt., has a long history of providing outstanding hospitality and adventure for its guests and has reinforced its internationally respected brand with world-class improvements both on and off the mountain. The resort’s newest facilities and improvements include the Spruce Peak Adventure Center, the new Meadows Quad on Spruce Peak, Evolution Stowe’s RFID tickets, passes and gates and the new Shops at Spruce Peak. Spruce Peak also has new high-speed lifts, new base facilities and gourmet restaurants. MMC will retain ownership of the renowned Stowe Mountain Lodge at Stowe Mountain Resort, a 312-room hotel and spa that has already been recognized as one of the greenest and most luxurious mountainside hotels in the world, and additional slopeside real estate opportunities.
This transaction is subject to Vermont administrative review. At closing, the purchase price will be adjusted for certain agreed upon terms, including a reduction (or increase) in the price by the amount that the resort’s EBITDA exceeds capital expenditures for the period from Nov. 1, 2016, through closing. Stowe Mountain Resort is expected to generate incremental annual EBITDA in excess of $5 million in Vail Resorts’ fiscal year ending July 31, 2018.
Operations at the resort for the remainder of the 2016-17 ski season will continue in the ordinary course as will future summer and winter seasonal hiring. Vail Resorts will be retaining the vast majority of the resort’s year-round staff.
Vail Resorts looks forward to integrating Stowe Mountain Resort into its Epic Pass and other season pass products for the 2017-18 winter season, subject to the acquisition closing. With the Epic Pass, Vermont skiers and snowboarders will have unlimited access locally at Stowe at an attractive price as well as the best of the West at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe; and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.

Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons in Park City, Utah; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN).