NBC, NBCSN, Live Extra to air unprecedented coverage of World Alpine Skiing Championships

Ted Ligety, Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn
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Every event of the World Alpine Skiing Championships will be covered live for the first time in 2015, across NBC, NBCSN, Universal Sports and NBC Sports Live Extra.

The 2015 World Championships are in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colo., from Feb. 2-15, the first time worlds will be held outside of Europe since 1999 (also in Vail). They will be the biggest Alpine skiing event in the U.S. since the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

NBC, NBCSN and Universal Sports will combine for over 25 hours of coverage, include 16 hours live. NBC will have six hours total, NBCSN will have 8.5 and Universal Sports will have 13.

Live Extra will stream all coverage on NBC and NBCSN.

Universal Sports will air daily pre-race shows in addition to event coverage.

The event is expected to feature six U.S. Olympic Alpine skiing medalists.

2010 Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn expects to return from knee surgery in December. It could be the final World Championships for six-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller, who in Sochi became the oldest Olympic Alpine medalist ever at 36.

Ted Ligety hopes to build on his breakout performance at the 2013 World Championships, when he became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a single worlds. Julia Mancuso has won a medal at every Olympics and World Championships since 2010.

Mikaela Shiffrin will look to defend her World Championship in the slalom, while perhaps racing a speed events at worlds for the first time. Andrew Weibrecht could be a force in the super-G, where he’s won medals at the last two Olympics.

The top international stars will be World Cup overall champions Marcel Hirscher and Anna Fenninger of Austria and Olympic champions Tina Maze of Slovenia and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”