Top Five Fridays - January 25, 2019 // Ski Industry News
#1: FIS World Cup Ski Racing Recap - Shiffrin Strikes Again:
Another week’s come to pass, which means we’re back to talking about Mikaela Shiffrin! This week, the women’s World Cup circuit found itself in Cortina, Italy for a scheduled Downhill and Super-G race, as well as a rescheduled Downhill race to replace the recently cancelled St. Anton event. Of these three races, Shiffrin decided to sit out the two Downhill events in favor of focusing on just the Super-G course. Despite the common thought that skiing the Downhill races would help prepare her for the Super-G race, Shiffrin was able to overcome the speculation and earn yet another first place victory. Unlike most races for her this season, this particular victory didn’t break any new records. Instead, it simply moved her up the World Cup leader board, as well as put her in a tie at 6th place for the most overall victories in World Cup history, for either men or women. Looking ahead, Shiffrin has stated that she expects to take this weekend off to rest and train, with her sights set on returning to action on February 1st and 2nd at Slovenia’s Maribor races.
In other news, the weekend wasn’t quite so successful for skiing’s other superstar: Lindsey Vonn. As you’re likely aware, Vonn is both in the midst of her final season, and recovering from a knee injury that occurred earlier this year. With that in mind, Vonn returned to the slopes at Cortina this week, which has historically been one of her most successful venues. This weekend however, her nagging injury proved insurmountable as Vonn placed 15th and 9th in the two Downhill races, before logging a Did Not Finish (DNF) in the Super-G race. For Vonn, as well as the many competitors who have great respect for her, it was a tough weekend, and one that will likely mark her final visit to Cortina. Now, realizing the reality of her lingering injury, Lindsey is shifting her focus back to recovering while also reflecting on her future as a ski racer. As Vonn told reporters, "There’s only so much I can handle, and I might have reached my maximum.” Time will tell whether or not Vonn’s competitive nature forces her back to competition, or if her knees have taken her as far as they can. For now, all we can do is wait for an update, directly from her. Regardless, we wish you the best Lindsey!
#2: 2019 Freeride World Tour Stop #1: Hakuba, Japan Recap:
Moving right along, we bring you a recap of last weekend’s Freeride World Tour, as previously promised. Also as previously promised, the first stop of this year’s tour did not disappoint. Starting at a drop in point that provided a multitude of possibilities, athletes in this year’s Tour immediately set about proving that they were the best skier on the mountain, using a range of approaches. For some, that meant heading far out to looker’s right (skier’s left), where things got steep and consequential, allowing skiers to showcase their technical abilities. For others, it meant finding as many trickable hits as possible on the way down in an effort to combine big mountain skiing with freestyle elements. Amongst the most popular lines of the day, the highlight had to be the wind lip on the upper portion of the mountain that encouraged a number of skiers to showcase their finest backcountry tricks. When all was said and done, Italy’s Markus Eder took home the gold, the USA’s Tanner Hall took home silver, and Canada’s Tom Peiffer took the bronze. While he didn’t take home the gold, the day’s results had to be encouraging for Tanner Hall who was a wildcard entry into this year’s Tour, and certainly had something to prove after recently being dropped by his long time sponsor, Oakley. Looking ahead, the next Freeride World Tour event is scheduled for February 2nd, in Kicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada. Best of luck to all the competitors, and Tanner Hall in particular, who we’re not-so-shamefully pulling for!
#3: 2019 ESPN Winter X Games is Underway!:
Rounding out this week’s triple header of ski competition news, is the reminder that this weekend is the annual X Games event in Aspen, CO! In regards to skiing, this year’s games feature the same set of three events that you’ve come to love: Slopestyle, Superpipe, and Big Air. While the events may be the same, the courses themselves, as well as the list of athletes competing and the tricks they’ll throw are sure to bring excitement. For those looking for something new, this year’s games features a variety of new competitions, including Snow Bike Best Trick, Snowboard Knuckle Huck, and Snowskate Best Trick. With that said, here’s when you can catch the skiing events on the X Games YouTube channel:
Women’s Slopestyle Final: Today (Friday, January 25th) at 10:00 AM MST
Women’s Big Air Final: Today (Friday, January 25th) at 7:00 PM MST
Men’s Big Air Final: Saturday, January 26th at 8:00 PM MST
Men’s Slopestyle Final: Sunday, January 26th at 8:00 PM MST
Also, while we’ll plan on bringing you a full recap next week, we might as well recap what went down in the Men’s and Women’s Superpipe events yesterday, as both of those are all wrapped up. In the women’s division, Cassie Sharpe took home the gold medal, while Kelly Sildaru grabbed silver and Rachael Karker claimed the bronze. For the men, Alex Ferreira landed on the top of the podium, followed by David Wise and Nico Porteous in second and third. All in all, it was an exciting start to the weekend and a great way to kick off this year’s events!
In other X Games news, it was also announced this week that ESPN and Aspen resort have agreed to extend their contract through 2024, ensuring that the games will be hosted at the resort for the next 5 years. So on that note, if you’re the type of skier that likes to plan ahead, feel free to book your tickets up to 5 years in advance!
#4: Mad River Glen Allowing Federal Employees to Ski for Free During the Shutdown:
Finally, let’s end this week with an amusing story from Mad River Glen, one of the East Coast’s most humorous and good natured resorts. There, a customer service worker recently took a call from a furloughed employee of the government who asked whether or not the resort was offering any kind of special discounts to government workers who are being affected by the shutdown. At the time of the call, the resort didn’t have any promotions in place, but being a co-op run by skiers who are the definition of the heart and soul of skiing (the resort rarely grooms, has limited snowmaking capabilities, and still runs a single chair), the staff quickly conferred and decided a discount was in order. As such, the resort has officially started offering free lift tickets to any federal worker that’s furloughed, from now until the end of the government shut down. The only exclusion to this offer is during President’s day week, which is February 18-22nd. Other than that week, if you’re a government worker and the government’s still shutdown, head on over to Mad River Glen and Ski it if You Can!