The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup races head way north this weekend for a pair of men and women slalom races in Levi, Finland. Ted Ligety, October's U.S. Olympic Committee Athlete Of The Month for his 2.75 second victory at the World Cup opener in Soelden will lead the charge for the U.S. men, with Will Brandenburg, Nolan Kasper and David Chodounsky also scheduled to race.
Since last season's Levi stop was cancelled due to warm weather, U.S. teen Mikaela Shiffrin has yet to race at Levi but this is slalom time and Mikaela scored her first World Cup podium last season in a slalom race at Leinz, Austria.
"The race was canceled last year, so I've never been to Levi, but Reis [Stiegler] told me it's a lot of fun. It will be interesting racing where it's dark most of the time, said Shiffrin. "I've had a really good preparation period for slalom with great training in Mt. Hood, New Zealand and at Soelden."
Hailey Duke will also start for the U.S. women. Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso will miss the race in order to focus on the Nov. 24-25 Nature Valley Aspen Winternational in Aspen, CO. Bode Miller and Resi Stiegler will also sit out Levi to continue their injury recovery.
The 2013 U.S. Alpine Ski Team will be named Nov. 15 during Nature Valley First Tracks at Vail, CO. The family event begins at 4:30 p.m. MT with hot cocoa, cookies and live music in Arrabelle Square at Lionshead. Following the 5 p.m. live program, fans can meet the U.S. Ski Team and get autographs from the athletes.
Jean-Baptiste Grange, France winning 2011 season Levi slalom Copyright Getty Images