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Marcel Hirscher joined by Americans on Beaver Creek super-G podium

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Austrian Marcel Hirscher won his first World Cup super-G race, while the U.S. put two men on the podium in Ted Ligety and Andrew Weibrecht in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Saturday.

Hirscher, the four-time reigning World Cup overall champion, prevailed by .33 over Ligety. Weibrecht was .36 behind.

Pre-race favorite Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, seeking his fourth straight win on tour, placed 21st. Full results are here.

Hirscher is the reigning World Cup slalom and giant slalom champion and World champion in the super combined, but he had only one previous World Cup super-G podium before Saturday — a third place back in 2012.

“It is nearly the same technique as giant slalom,” Hirscher said on NBCSN of Saturday’s course, which had a lower start due to weather conditions, which included falling snow to benefit early bib numbers. Hirscher started fourth, while the pre-race favorites were 16th and later.

Ligety, too, is better in the giant slalom as the reigning Olympic and World champion. He did, though, win the 2013 World title in the super-G.

“It’s really the most technical super-G hill on the World Cup,” Ligety said. “You actually have to be really good at turning and have to have some of the gliding skills.”

Weibrecht is more of a speed racer. He’s a two-time Olympic super-G medalist and notched his first career World Cup podium in his 117th start Saturday.

“It’s just such a monkey off my back,” Weibrecht said. “I get the question all the time that you have two Olympic podiums, but you never had a podium in World Cup, who is that? I’m sick of dealing with that.”

On Friday, Weibrecht was fifth in the downhill, then matching his best World Cup finish.

“I like to joke sometimes that he’s the fastest guy in all four events,” Ligety said. “Even slalom sometimes he’s ridiculously fast. It’s no surprise when he gets on the podium, that’s for sure. It’s more of a surprise it hasn’t happened more often.”

Hirscher and Ligety will be favored in a Beaver Creek giant slalom Sunday, live on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra at 5 p.m. ET.

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Ski jumping World Cup season kicks off in Poland

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The World Cup ski jump season opens Friday with men’s team and individual events in Wisla, Poland.

The host country had three of the top five jumpers in the overall standings last year. Defending champion Kamil Stoch placed third, Piotr Zyla was close behind in fourth, and Dawid Kubacki was fifth.

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi dominated last year’s competition, finishing with 2,085 points to 1,349 for runner-up Stefan Kraft of Austria, the 2017 World Cup champion.

Kobayashi’s performance was a dramatic improvement over his previous season, when he finished no higher than sixth in any individual competition and was 24th overall. Last year, he had 15 wins and 23 podium finishes in 30 World Cup events, though he only managed fourth and 14th in the two world championship events.

The top American last season, Kevin Bickner, finished 51st overall, a drop from 39th the year before. He was 18th and 20th in the 2018 Olympic jumps.

Women’s World Cup action begins Dec. 6-8 in Lillehammer, Norway.

NBC Sports Gold will broadcast World Cup action throughout the season. This weekend, the qualifying jumps will air at noon ET Friday, the team event starts at 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday, and the individual competition is at 6 a.m. Sunday.

MORE: Full ski jumping broadcast schedule

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Snowboarding pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

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Jake Burton Carpenter, the pioneer who brought snowboarding to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business and Olympic showpiece, has died at 65.

He died Wednesday night in Burlington, Vermont, according to an email sent to the staff of the company he founded. Carpenter had emailed his staff this month saying, “You will not believe this, but my cancer has come back.” He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011 but after several months of therapy had been given a clean bill of health.

Carpenter quit his job in New York in 1977 to form the company now known simply as Burton. His goal was to advance the rudimentary snowboard, then called a “Snurfer,” which had been invented by Sherman Poppen a dozen years earlier.

It worked, and more than four decades later, snowboarding is a major fixture at the Winter Games and snowboards are as common as skis at resorts across the globe.

“He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much,” Burton co-CEO John Lacy said in his email to the staff.

It is virtually impossible to avoid the name “Burton” once the snow starts falling at any given mountain around the world these days. The name is plastered on the bottoms of snowboards, embroidered on jackets, stenciled into bindings.

At a bar in Pyeongchang, South Korea, not far from where snowboarding celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Olympics last year, there was a wall filled with Burton pictures and memorabilia — as sure a sign as any of the global reach of a company founded in his garage in Londonderry, Vermont.

The company sponsored pretty much every top rider at one time or another — from Shaun White to Kelly Clark to Chloe Kim.

Carpenter watched all his champions win their Olympic golds from near the finish line, never afraid to grind away in the mosh pit of snowboarders and snowboarding fans that he helped create.

In an interview in 2010, he said he was happy with how far his sport had come, and comfortable with where it was going.

“I had a vision there was a sport there, that it was more than just a sledding thing, which is all it was then,” Burton said. “We’re doing something that’s going to last here. It’s not like just hitting the lottery one day.”

Lacy said details about the celebration of Burton’s life would be coming soon but, for now, “I’d encourage everyone to do what Jake would be doing tomorrow, and that’s riding. It’s opening day at Stowe, so consider taking some turns together, in celebration of Jake.”

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