As Park City works to prepare itself for the FIS World Championships, now less than three weeks away, the athletes the city is welcoming are themselves preparing for a memorable performance.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Director of Communications Tom Webb reports that the women’s alpine racing in Austria was cancelled over the weekend due to weather. The cancelation delayed Lindsey Vonn’s return to ski racing.
“I think the main thing for us is obviously good news that she’s back on snow, back racing. The accident that she had over in Copper was pretty bad. It looked pretty bad, obviously not as bad as it could have been. We’re delighted to see her back on the snow and therefore getting back to this chase for this world record title of 86 wins.”
Meanwhile in Switzerland, Tommy Ford led the way for the men’s team, finishing 6th in the Giant Slalom. Ted Ligety finished 16th over the weekend, Webb says that Ligety’s been a bit frustrated by the season but is still in a good spot.
“Ted’s having a bit of a struggle this season. He actually said himself that he’s kind of stuck in a little vicious cycle at the moment. He’s still registering points and with the experience and knowledge that he’s got I don’t think anybody’s going to write off somebody like Ted Ligety’s chances of getting himself back on a podium and even a World Cup win. Obviously, we’ve got World Championships coming up in Åre, (Sweden) in February. There’s going to be a lot of attention on that. Who knows, we would very much like to see Ted and his colleagues be able to put in some very solid results there.”
Park City resident Alex Hall placed first over the weekend in freeski slopestyle in France.
“That’s his second ever World Cup win. Really good preparations for the World Championships and good to see another local boy put in solid results before we head to the biggest event here in Park City since the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Biggest sports event I should say.”
Park City is hosting the FIS World Championships the first week of February. The athletes representing the U.S. will be named on the 29th of January.
“We are very lucky because we’ve got a couple of defending world champions in Jon Lillis and Ashley Caldwell in aerials. We’ve got Lindsey Jacobellis in snowboard cross. When normally we’d have a limit of maybe four team members per sports discipline, where we’ve got defending world champions, we actually get an extra slot. So, we have an even better chance for up and coming athletes to get their place in those world championships. We’re going to leave it as close as possible to the actual event so that we can have the strongest team out there competing.
Jaelin Kauf Finished third over the weekend in Moguls while Tess Johnson finished sixth. Hunter Bailey led the way on the men’s side finishing 5th.
In Cross Country Sophie Caldwell and Julia Kern finished 4th in the team sprint in Germany. Caldwell also finished 5th in the individual sprint. Finally, Chris Corning finished 2nd in Austria in Slopestyle.
“Claimed his first World Cup slopestyle podium of the season. Snowboard and Freeski and Freestyle, which are all part of the same team at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, people from those teams all registering podiums. I don’t know the exact number of podiums that we’ve got so far this season, but our Chief of Athletics’ Luke Bodensteiner told us last week we got 45 World Cup podiums already this season. That is an incredibly good number and when we look at particularly world championships taking place here on home soil, I think we’re hoping to smash previous records. A big target, but I think with the success rate that we’re seeing that’s totally achievable.”