Beaver Creek

Tommy Ford ends U.S. men’s World Cup drought at Beaver Creek

Leave a comment

Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup win at age 30 and ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

Ford won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, the last North American race on tour this season. He prevailed by eight tenths of a second combining times over two runs.

“There’s all sorts of thoughts going through the mind [before the last run], some nerves coming up. Just working with them, clearing them,” said Ford, in his 86th World Cup start dating to 2009. “I’ve been skiing as hard as I can, skiing well and been on this path for a long time.”

Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen were second and third. American Ted Ligety, fourth after the opening run, finished 11th.

Full results are here.

Ford became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian who missed the 2014 Olympics due to a broken femur, had been working toward this moment.

He finished a World Cup career-high fourth at the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27. Last season, the Oregon native, former Dartmouth student and Wu-Tang Clan fan had a pair of fifths.

The men’s World Cup moves to Val d’Isere, France, next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2019-20 Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule

Marco Odermatt, Swiss phenom, stamps arrival with first World Cup win

Getty Images
Leave a comment

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) — Marco Odermatt’s fellow racers watched from the top as he went too straight around one turn and nearly crossed his skis before another.

They marveled at his ability to recover. They admired his capacity to stay composed.

Above all: They know this 22-year-old from Switzerland will be a factor for quite some time.

Odermatt went on a wild ride to finish the technical Birds of Prey course in 1 minute, 10.90 seconds Friday to earn his first World Cup victory. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway was second, 0.10 seconds behind, and Austrian Matthias Mayer took third.

“It was a perfect day for me, with a nearly perfect run,” said Odermatt, the youngest man to win a World Cup speed event since 1994. “I was really on the edge. I was lucky.”

Or skillful.

He nearly went out in two spots only to recover and keep on cruising to the finish line.

In doing so, Odermatt snapped Austria’s string of four straight World Cup super-G wins at Beaver Creek. He needed a run just like this, too — barely on the verge of control around several turns.

“It’s whoever is willing to take the most risk and then pull it off,” said Travis Ganong, who finished sixth for the top finish among the Americans. “Odermatt, he took way too much risk and somehow it worked out. That’s a one out of 100 run.”

Odermatt was the second racer to take the hill, which can be a benefit or a detriment. On the positive side, the snow is still fresh. On the down side, there’s no course report.

The consensus was that going that early and making that sort of mistake was a benefit for Odermatt, because he was indeed able to recover on a cleaner track.

The one thing he didn’t do was panic.

“I just didn’t want to break there and so I went full speed there and lost not so much speed,” said Odermatt, who was sure they were celebrating in his hometown of Buochs, Switzerland. “So it was possible to do a good run.”

His run earned the admiration of Kilde, who was among those watching Odermatt from the top of the course. Then again, Kilde’s been singing the praises of this new kid on the scene for a while.

This was Odermatt’s third career World Cup podium and first in speed. He took second and third places in giant slalom competitions last season. Odermatt also won four of five individual titles at the 2018 World Junior Championships in Switzerland.

“It looks so easy when he skis,” Kilde said. “Today, he really charged. I knew that was going to be really fast.”

Like Odermatt, Kilde made a tiny mistake. But he still turned in a fast time as the No. 17 racer.

“I knew,” Kilde said, “I had to charge myself …”

“And he did,” Odermatt playfully interrupted.

“… And I did,” said Kilde, who finished in a three-way tie for third place last season during the super-G at Beaver Creek. “One mistake here, and he has one mistake and together we were one and two. He’s for sure the guy for the future. He’s going to be the guy for Beaver Creek for the next 20 years.”

Mayer had a strong run despite a sore hip. He crashed in a giant slalom training session Tuesday and wasn’t sure how the hip would respond. Mayer won the opening super-G race of the season in Lake Louise, Alberta, last weekend.

“My hip is better,” Mayer said. “I’m pretty happy about third place.”

For German racer Thomas Dressen, this was about getting comfortable on the course again and not so much his place (27th). He crashed a year ago in Beaver Creek and tore the ACL in his right knee. Dressen, who won the downhill in Lake Louise last weekend, feels even more comfortable ahead of Saturday’s downhill.

“It’s not the course’s fault that I crashed. It’s mine,” Dressen said. “If you’re honest with yourself, you can learn from your mistakes. I like the course a lot. It’s one of my favorites.”

There were several “DNFs” — did not finish — on the technical course, including the first racer of the day, Adrien Theaux of France.

“Today was especially challenging with the set,” Ganong said. “Really high speeds into some big fall-away turns, super bumpy. … It was fun.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2019-20 Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule

Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety eye more success at Lake Louise, Beaver Creek; TV, live stream schedule

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin returns to the site of her lone World Cup downhill win in Lake Louise, Alberta, this weekend. Ted Ligety is back on his most successful track in Beaver Creek, Colo.

NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold air live coverage of the final World Cup stops in North America this season, Friday through Sunday.

Shiffrin, coming off her 62nd World Cup victory on Sunday (tying for fourth all-time), transitions to the first speed races of the season: two downhills and a super-G in the Canadian Rockies.

Ligety, looking for his first podium of what could be his last Olympic cycle, targets the last of three men’s races in Beaver Creek: Sunday’s giant slalom. The two-time Olympic champion won Beaver Creek World Cup GS races five straight years from 2010-14, plus the 2015 World title there.

Alpine Skiing World Cup broadcast schedule

Day Time (ET) Event Network
Friday 12:30 p.m. Men’s Super-G NBCSN
2:30 p.m. Women’s Downhill Olympic Channel
11 p.m.* Women’s Downhill NBCSN
Saturday 12:55 p.m. Men’s Downhill Olympic Channel
2:30 p.m. Women’s Downhill Olympic Channel
11 p.m.* Men’s Downhill NBCSN
Sunday 11:40 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1 Olympic Channel
1 p.m. Women’s Super-G Olympic Channel
2:30 p.m. Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2 Olympic Channel
5 p.m.* Men’s Giant Slalom NBC
6 p.m.* Women’s Super-G NBCSN

All NBC, NBCSN and Olympic Channel broadcasts stream for subscribers on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. All Alpine skiing World Cup runs stream live on NBC Sports Gold for “Snow Pass” subscribers.
*Same-day delayed broadcast

Shiffrin and Ligety should both feel comfortable this weekend.

At Lake Louise in 2017, Shiffrin recorded her first World Cup downhill win in just her fourth start in the discipline. The next year, she grabbed super-G victory No. 1 to become the seventh woman to notch World Cup wins in all five disciplines.

She has proven that speed mastery isn’t necessary to win the World Cup overall title, but it’s certainly contributed to her growing dominance over the rest of the world. Others to watch: Austrian Nicole Schmidhofer, who swept the Lake Louise downhills in 2018. Plus, Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia. The Italian missed last year’s Lake Louise stop with a broken ankle.

Then there’s Ligety, who at 35 years old is taking his career season by season. This could be his last time racing World Cup at Beaver Creek, where he’s earned five of his 24 World Cup GS wins.

Ligety was slowed by myriad injuries since his last time on a Beaver Creek podium but proclaimed himself healthy before this season. Then he finished fifth in the first giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27, his best result since January 2018.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2019-20 Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule