Alpine Audi FIS World Cup Ski Racing
Men's Giant Slalom - Alts Badia, ItalyTed Ligety (Park City, UT) threw down a dominating first run - leading by 2.40 second - that prompting speculation on the possibility of matching the record margin of 4.06 held by Ingemar Stenmark and set him up for a repeat win in an Audi FIS World Cup giant slalom in Alta Badia by 2.04 seconds over Austrian Marcel Hirscher.
"It's tough to go out in the second run when you're winning by 2.40. You don't want to lose all that speed and not win but you also don't want to go so relaxed you make big mistakes as well. So I was going hard," said Ligety. "Maybe in the back of my mind the Stenmark record was something I was thinking about a little bit. But at the same time I was just trying to make it to the bottom. I definitely made some big mistakes and decided to change the tactics a little bit just so I didn't totally mess it up."
The win was Ligety's 14th career GS victory, tying him for the number four all time spot with Austrians Benni Raich and Hermann Maier. Alberto Tomba of Italy is next with 15 and Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark holds the seemingly untouchable record of 46. Ligety gained ground on Aksel Lund Svindal in the World Cup overall and added to his lead in the giant slalom. Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) was 17th.
The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup men's tour now heads to Madonna di Campiglio for a slalom Tuesday before the holiday break.
Women's Giant Slalom - Courchevel, FranceJulia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) and Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) both skied to top ten finishes in an Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom in Courchevel. Mancuso was sixth and Shiffrin ninth - matching Mikaela's career best. Tina Maze of Slovenia continued her dominanating ways, winning her fourth straight GS and increasing her lead the World Cup Overall standings 799-468 over Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
Mancuso moved to fifth in the Audi FIS World Cup overall, one spot behind Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), who went out in the first run.
The women's World Cup now heads for Are, Sweden with giant slalom and slalom Wednesday and Thursday.
Men's Downhill - Alta Badia, ItalySteven Nyman (Sundance, UT) came out of the 37th start position to steal a victory on the foggy, snowy Saslong Classic after hours of delays. It was his second career win and fourth podium. Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) had a career best tenth. Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA), who was third in the season opening downhill, finished 18th.
"Weather was a huge factor," said Nyman. "But hats off to Erik (Guay) and (Kjetil) Jansrud who ran in the snow and the fog. When I heard Rok (Perko) coming into the lead I said, 'right on, it's on, it's open! I came off the camels and flew SOOO far and said, 'my skis are running.' I had a little mistake exiting Ciaslot but kept it running. When I saw the green light I was fired up."
Women's Downhill - Val d'Isere, FranceLeanne Smith parlayed an early start number into a career first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup podium, finishing second in the Val d'Isere downhill behind Swiss winner Lara Gut.
"This is something that you dream about - that you put your heart and soul into it," said Smith. "Every day you try to do your best. Today was my day. I skied as hard as I could. I can't express how awesome this feels. I've been on the World Cup team for a few years now and its starting to feel comfortable. Hopefully you'll see more of me now."
Smith, who started third, led four Americans into the top 10 - Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) was seventh, Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, CO) eighth and Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) tenth - on a shortened course after high winds forced a move of the start.
Lindsey Vonn crashed hard into the B-netting, but skied away with no major injuries. Vonn remained third in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall and still leads in downhill standings with Cook second.
FIS Freestyle World Cup
Men's Dual Moguls - Ruka, FinlandJeremy Cota (Carrabassett Valley, ME) took third for the men. Cota, who was eliminated by Alexander Bilodeau, threw back-full and back-X. Last seasons overall winner, Mikael Kingsbury (Canada) took the win for the men. Pat Deneen (Cel Elum, WA) who finished last season ranked second in the world took fifth and Bradley Wilson (Butte, MT) took sixth.
Women's Dual Moguls - Ruka, FinlandHeather McPhie (Bozeman, MT) kicked the season off with a bang, winning the FIS Freestyle World Cup opener. McPhie's back-X and signature D-spin, paired with constant skiing kept her atop the leader board for mush of the day.
You put in so much work in the off season and you never know how its going to pan out," said McPhie. "You just have to stay focused on yourself and your goals and that's what I tried to do."
K.C. Oakley (Piedmont, CA) was the second U.S. woman placing sixth andHeidi Kloser (Vail, CO) had her most successful duals competition to date finishing in seventh.
FIS Nordic World Cup
Women's Skiathlon - Canmore, AB, Canada
The U.S. Ski Team's Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) had strong finishes as two weekends of FIS Cross Country World Cup racing in North America ended Sunday with a 15k skiathlon in Canmore.
Randall was eighth to remain second in the World Cup overall standings and fifth in distance. Sargent skied to a career best distance finish of 14th.
"It's a little hard," said Randall. "All of the distance races I feel like I've been in the fight so it's just a little tough. I just kind of refocused and told myself that this was a good hard workout to get ready for the Tour [de Ski]. So I think it's good to just refocus like that."
In the skiathlon, racers ski 7.5k classic technique, then head into the pits to change equipment and head back out for 7.5k of freestyle technique. Poland's Justynz Kowalcyk won to extend her World Cup lead. The World Cup takes a holiday break before resuming with the grueling Tour de Ski Dec. 29.