Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin lead the 2016 U.S. Alpine Ski Team roster, announced publicly Nov. 21 in Copper Mountain, Colo.
Shiffrin, the Olympic slalom champion, plans to make her World Cup debut in the season’s first super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta. Shiffrin is expected to race giant slalom Nov. 27 in Aspen, Colo. Vonn is also expected in Aspen, making her return to competition after sustaining an ankle injury in New Zealand over the summer.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to win the overall globe, but I think this year is a little bit of a gauge to see where I can stack up,” Shiffrin said in a statement through the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. “If my slalom keeps going well then I feel really strong and I can make points. But it’s a little too early to tell right now.”
Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso were also named to the team, though both are inactive. Miller has joined NBC Sports as an analyst, beginning Dec. 4-6 for the men’s World Cup races in Beaver Creek, Colo. He called skiing in Peyongchang 2018 “really unlikely.” Mancusco will miss the 2015-16 season due to hip surgery, but is eyeing the next Olympic Winter Games.
For the first time ever, skiers were named to the national roster posthumously. Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack, killed last January in an avalanche in Austria, were Alpine skiing prospects.
“Ronnie and Bryce were tremendous young men and talented athletes,” U.S. men’s coach Sasha Rearick said in a press release. “Recognizing them in this way will help us all remember what they meant to us and help to bring a small bit of closure to us all.”
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Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin said she plans to make her World Cup speed event debut in the season’s first super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Dec. 6, according to The Associated Press.
Shiffrin has captured every major slalom title and is a World Cup race winner in giant slalom. She hoped last season to make her World Cup super-G debut (downhill is the other, faster speed event) but delayed it due to a fall slalom slump.
Shiffrin’s addition of super-G (and possibly super combined) could help her in the chase for this season’s biggest prize, the World Cup overall title. That, coupled with the absence of last season’s top two overall skiers — Austrian Anna Fenninger (injury) and Slovenian Tina Maze (break from skiing).
Shiffrin finished fourth in last season’s overall standings, behind Fenninger, Maze and Lindsey Vonn.
Vonn and Shiffrin pointed to each other when asked who this season’s overall favorite should be.
Shiffrin did race lower-level super-Gs in Copper Mountain, Colo., last November and finished 15th and 16th in fields not as strong as on the World Cup.
Vonn owns Lake Louise so much that the course is nicknamed “Lake Lindsey.” She won seven straight World Cup races in Lake Louise from 2010 to 2012 and has 15 victories there overall.
Vonn and Shiffrin are expected to both compete in the next World Cup race in Aspen, Colo., a giant slalom on Nov. 27. Shiffrin would then race in Aspen slaloms the next two days (Vonn is not expected to race slalom again).
Lake Louise is the following weekend, with downhills that Friday and Saturday and the super-G on Sunday.
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The men’s and women’s Alpine skiing World Cup slaloms in Levi, Finland, on Nov. 14-15 were canceled due to unfavorable weather forecasts, the International Ski Federation (FIS) said Thursday.
FIS could reschedule the races later in the season. The last time the Levi slaloms were canceled, they were rescheduled in Flachau, Austria, in December in 2011.
Mikaela Shiffrin won the Levi slalom — and its reindeer prize — in 2013, three months before she became the youngest Olympic slalom champion in Sochi.
The next World Cup races are in Aspen, Colo., for the women and Lake Louise, Alberta, for the men, both on Thanksgiving weekend.
Lindsey Vonn is expected to race in Aspen (a giant slalom Nov. 28) in her first race this season. Vonn, a four-time World Cup overall champion, skipped the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 24, which came a little more than two months after she fractured an ankle in a New Zealand training crash.
Italian Federica Brignone and U.S. Olympic champion Ted Ligety won the Soelden races and are the World Cup overall standings leaders.
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