LINDSAY VONN FINISHING A DOWNHILL TRAINING RUN
We’re coming to you live this week from Vail/Beaver Creek, Colorado where the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships are under way. Next to the Olympics, this is skiing’s premier event, with the Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, and Slalom races all happening from February 2-15. The last time the World Championships were held in the US was also right here back in 1999. Every major champion skier is in town like Americans Lindsay Vonn (home town favorite), Bode Miller, Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety, along with Austrians Marcel Hirscher and Anna Fenninger, Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud, and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault, among many more of the world’s best.
The town is buzzing with excitement, filling the stands of Red Tail stadium, constructed at the finishes of the legendary “Birds of Prey”, where the men are racing, and “Raptor”, making its World Championship debut as the new women’s speed course. There are free concerts every night at the Solaris in Vail, where the medals, opening, and closing ceremonies are taking place. It’s one big party! Spectating at all events is free and open to the public.
CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: CANADIAN PRO RACER MARIE MICHELE GAGNON; HAVING FUN CHECKING OUT MY NEW SMITH I/O 7 GOGGLES & VANTAGE HELMET; TIGER WOODS IN THE CROWD CHEERING ON GIRLFRIEND LINDSAY VONN; SAFETY NETS LINING THE COURSE; BODE MILLER’S CRASH IN THE MENS SUPER-G; A PACKED HOUSE AT RED TAIL STADIUM
THE RACES: The Womens Super-G was raced on Tuesday and won in thrilling style by .03 seconds on a course shortened at the last minute by 650 feet due to winds and snowfall. 2014 Olympic Champion Anna Fenninger of Austria took gold, Tina Maze of Slovenia won the silver by .15 seconds, and Lindsay Vonn took the bronze.
The Men’s Super-G was no less dramatic Thursday, with a gut wrenching crash by American Bode Miller, who was making his first appearance after back surgery. Laying down a run which was the fastest of the day up until that point, he nipped a gate and was sent spinning and sliding down the course, severing his right hamstring tendon. While possibly career ending, he tweeted after surgery “Feeling lucky since things could have been way worse.” Austria’s Hannes Reichelt was the fastest of the day, followed by Canada’s Dustin Cook, and Adrien Theaux of France.
On Friday, the Women’s Downhill had Red Tail stadium overflowing with spectators in anticipation of Linsday Vonn’s marquis event. The sun was shining on a bluebird day, but it would not be Lindsay’s day for win, with gold and silver medals going to Tina Maze and Anna Fenninger respectively. These two power skiers have proven themselves the indomitable forces of the World Championships so far, crushing the Raptor course again after their podium wins in the Super-G on Tuesday. Lara Gut of Switzerland took the bronze.
On another bluebird day, the Men’s Downhill drew record crowds yet again on Saturday to watch this premier speed event. Squeezed between two Swiss, Patrick Keung and Beat Feuz, who took gold and bronze respectively, was American Travis Ganong with the silver. Another American, Steve Nyman was just edged off the podium, and took fourth.
CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: TOP OF “RAPTOR”, THE WOMENS RACE COURSE; ANNA FENNINGER, GOLD MEDALIST IN THE SUPER G ON THE PODIUM; OPENING CEREMONIES AT SOLARIS IN VAIL; YOURS TRULY AT “BIRDS OF PREY”; SOUVENIRS GALORE; LOCAL SCHOOLKIDS HEADING UP TO THE RACES.
Sunday saw the Men’s Combined contested, an event which consists of the combined scores of one downhill and one slalom run. A gruesome crash by Czech Republic’s Ondrej Bank would be the headline news. Bank lost a ski, crashed into a gate panel, hit his head on the ice-injected course, and slid unconsciously across the finish line. He suffered a concussion, facial lacerations, and a leg contusion, but was otherwise alright. The other big story would be Amercian Ted Ligety’s bronze medal, a particularly impressive feat being 29th after the downhill. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won the combined gold medal, followed by Kjetil Jansrud of Norway with the silver.
On Monday, Tina Maze continued to dominate these World Championships, with another gold medal in the Women’s Combined, her ninth career World Championship medal. This Olympic skier, who won the gold medal in both downhill and giant slalom in Sochi in 2014, is proving to be one of the greatest women skiers of all time. Rounding out the podium were Nicole Hosp and Michaela Kirchgasser, both from Austria. It was a disappointing day for Lindsey Vonn, who took seventh in the downhill before straddling a gate in the slalom and DNFing. “It’s a hometown World Championships and I really tried as hard as I could…. I have a lot of expectations and I tried my best to live up to them, but I just didn’t.”
On Thursday, Anne Fenninger of Austria took the gold medal in the Womens Giant Slalom, her second gold and third overall medal, showing again her dominance at these World Championships. Her Slovenian counterpart Tina Maze, who has been the other skier to beat, actually did not medal in this event, but came in fifth. Jessica Lindell-Viharby of Sweden won the silver, followed by Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein with the bronze.
Friday brought the Men’s Giant Slalom and the gold medal to American favorite Ted Ligety who did his thing on the Birds of Prey! He was followed by two other powerhorses, Marcel Hirscher of Austria with the silver, and Alexis Pinturault of France with the bronze.
And on Saturday, it was another gold for the USA! Hometown favorite and Olympic champion, Mikaela Shiffrin did not disappoint her fans and the Vail/Beaver Creek crowds, taking first place on the last run of the day in the Women’s Slalom. The 19-year old edged out Frida Hansdotter of Sweden and Sarka Strachova of Czechoslovakia, who took silver and bronze respectively.
Stay tuned for more stories to come from Vail/Beaver Creek — the athletes, the races, the gear, and the style of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships!
ATHLETE PROFILE: JULIA FORD. Earlier this week we got a chance to hang out with, Julia Ford, 24, a multi-disciplined U.S. Ski Team racer, as impressive off the course as on.
STYLE AROUND TOWN: TOMMY BOWERS SKI. Nestled in Solaris Plaza in Vail, Colorado, where the medals, opening and closing ceremonies are taking place is one of the best ski shops we’ve ever seen.