Top Five Fridays - December 14, 2018 // Ski Industry News
#1: World Cup Racing Recap: Shiffrin's Still Going:
As is tradition this time of year, we kick things off this week with a review of what went down in World Cup Ski Racing action. Also following what’s become tradition, that means we’ll be talking quite a bit about Mikaela Shiffrin. Earlier this week, the women’s circuit found itself in St. Moritz, Switzerland for a double header of events: a Super G on the 8th, followed by a Parallel Slalom race on the 9th. When all was said and done, Shiffrin took home the gold medal in both events, as well as a first place finish in the Slalom qualifier. Now, first of all, that alone is a downright amazing accomplishment for anyone. To go 3 for 3 against elite competition (given, one was a qualifier) is a pretty insane concept in just about any sport. With that acknowledged, the superlatives surrounding the feat are almost as amazing. For example, until last weekend, Shiffrin had never won a Super G race. When she won last weekend, she became the first athlete (man or woman) to win a gold medal in all 6 ski racing disciplines. She immediately followed that up by winning her second Super G race literally as quickly as possible. In taking home the gold in both the Super G and Parallel Slalom races, Shiffrin racked up the FIS points, adding to an already ridiculous lead. Currently, Mikaela sits in first place with 689 points, while Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin holds second with 296 points and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova is in third with 276 points. All in all, this season is shaping up a lot like last year where Mikaela dominated the field. We’ll check back in with her next week to see if she can keep this pace going. On the men’s side, things remained mellow, although U.S. Ski Team athlete Tommy Ford was able to land a 6th place finish in a Giant Slalom race in Val D’isere, France. For the full list of women’s results, click here. For men, check this link.
#2: The 2018 Winter Dew Tour is Upon Us:
Speaking of competition, we’re excited to share that the 2018 Dew Tour is officially underway! The four day long event got started yesterday with a handful of contests. Most notably for skiers, the women’s Slopestyle and Jib ski finals were held, as well as the three Team Ski events. First up in our recap, is the Women’s Slopestyle event, which was won by none other than Kelly Sildaru. For casual followers of freeskiing, Kelly Sildaru is who many consider to be the future of women’s skiing as she’s been making waves ever since she was just 13. Now 16 years old, this year’s Dew Tour marks her most notable return to competition after she was forced to sit out of last year’s Winter Olympics due to an injury. As such, many weren’t sure whether she’d be back on top of her game, or if she’d need time to return. For those unsure, yesterday’s results should serve as proof that Sildaru is back and healthy as ever.
In addition to the Women’s Slopestyle event, the Men’s Ski Team events were also held yesterday. For many, this competition has become the highlight of the Dew Tour, despite taking place on day 1. Taking a unique approach to competition, the Ski Team event pairs three skiers who represent the same brand, and has them compete in three different events: Jump, Jib, and Modified Pipe. Each team assigns a skier to each event, where they have two runs to earn their highest score. At the end of the event, the highest score from each skier is added, giving a final team score, with a perfect score being 300 points. Over the course of the three events there was a ton of action, and an article over on Newschoolers.com (warning: language) does a great job of giving a play by play of all the action. For our part, we’ll simply share the news that Atomic took home top honors, followed by Faction and Head in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Looking ahead, the Women’s Modified Superpipe, Men’s Ski Jump, Men’s Ski Jib, Men’s Modified Superpipe, and Streetstyle events all have yet to take place. For a full schedule of events, click here. You can also watch this weekend’s action live on the Dew Tour website, or in a couple of weeks on NBC if you happen to miss it. That’s it for now, but we’ll be sure to recap all the still-to-come action in next week’s Top 5 Friday, so be sure to check back!
#3: New Backcountry Ski Trail Guidelines Coming to Adirondacks, Aimed at Encouraging Use:
After all that competition talk, let’s move onto something decidedly different. This week, we caught wind of some exciting news for backcountry skiers in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. That’s because the Adirondack Park Agency is getting ready to vote on an update to their guidance document that lays the rules for cross country ski trails in the region. Already several years in the making, the goal of the revised plan will be to encourage trail stewards to make existing cross country trail networks more friendly for backcountry skiers. More specifically, the document lays out a number of suggestions to improve trail networks, with an eye towards widening existing trails in particular. While the document itself doesn’t actually do anything in the way of defining new backcountry zones or discussing new trail networks, the hope is that by simply updating the guidelines to be more uphill friendly, users will begin to see the region as more accessible, thereby bringing more backcountry skiers (and split boarders) to the area. All in all, it’s a subtle update, but yet another encouraging sign for those hoping to see backcountry skiing continue to grow in popularity. To learn more, check out this article from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
#4: Arapahoe Basin Hosting First North American Mountaineering Competition:
Finally, let’s merge this week’s themes. This weekend, Arapahoe Basin will be hosting a U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association race, which will be the first of its kind in the United States. Already a reasonably popular sport internationally, ski mountaineering is relatively new to the United States. As such, this weekend’s race will act as a series of qualifier events, ultimately establishing a U.S. team which will head to the International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Championships in March, in Villars sur Ollons, Switzerland. The races themselves will range from a 1,600 foot vertical race on Friday night, in which participants will attempt to be the first to summit A-Basin, to Saturday’s long race which will ask athletes to combine ascents and descents totaling nine miles and roughly 4,500 vertical-feet of elevation gain. For many, ski mountaineering is perhaps the most grueling form of ski competition. Regardless, it’s an exciting development for the community that’s been steadily growing over the years here in America. With the introduction of this event and the establishment of an official U.S. Team, athletes finally have an opportunity to officially represent the U.S. on an international level. For all the exciting details, we’ll send you over to this comprehensive write up from the Summit Daily.