The tech races are finishing off the Junior World Champs in Are, Sweden. (U.S. Ski Team-Mike Bingaman)
ÅRE, Sweden (March 13, 2017) – The men’s giant slalom and women’s slalom went off at the 2017 FIS Junior World Ski Championships on Monday. Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA; U.S. Ski Team C Team/Squaw Valley Ski Team) led the charge in giant slalom landing in 10th. On the women’s side, Nina O’Brien (Edwards, CO; U.S. Ski Team D Team/Burke Mountain Academy/Squaw Valley Ski Team) posted the best American slalom result in 15th.
It was tough conditions for the men, with a full-on World Cup giant slalom hill in terms of length, turns and big terrain changes. The weather was warm and the light was flat, which resulted in a bumpy and hard surface with peely snow. Switzerland’s Loic Meillard took home his second gold of the week, while Norway’s Timon Haugan and France’s Victor Guillot grabbed silver and bronze, respectively.
It’s been a challenging week for 2016 Junior Worlds downhill champion Arvidsson, who DNFed in the downhill, was 20th in super G and 22nd in the alpine combined, but he fought hard to finish in the top 10 in giant slalom.
“Erik had a good GS race,” said Alpine Development Director Chip Knight. “He fought hard and overcame his disappointment from downhill and super G to post a solid result. The other guys didn’t have the overall results they wanted, but there were many bright spots.”
On the women’s side, it started raining prior to the women’s slalom, but the surface held up fairly well. Patricia Mangan (Derby, NY; U.S. Ski Team C Team/Holimont Racing Club) had finished eighth first run, but struggled with the course conditions second run, sliding out and DNFing. O’Brien was steady both runs to finish 15th. Switzerland once again grabbed gold, with Camille Rast on the top of the podium. Canada’s Ali Nullmeyer finished second, and Austria’s Chiara Mair rounded out the top three.
In Sunday’s mixed team event, the U.S. lost to Norway 3-1 in the first round. The U.S. team was composed of Mangan, O’Brien, Jett Seymour (Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) and George Steffey (Lyme, NH; U.S. Ski Team D Team/Stratton Mountain School). Canada won by beating Austria, while Belgium finished third over Germany.
“It's tough to go up against a strong team like Norway in the first round, but every team has to ski well to move on,” said Knight. “It was an exciting race. We have to do better in the (Marc) Hodler Cup to improve our seeding, but we also need to ski this event more as a nation so we are consistent and fast when it counts.”
In Sunday’s women’s giant slalom race, Rachael DesRochers (Mammoth Lakes, CA; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) paved the way, grabbing a 14th place finish.
The Junior World Ski Championships wrap up Tuesday in Åre, Sweden with men’s slalom.
Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA; U.S. Ski Team C Team/Squaw Valley Ski Team) led the charge in Monday’s giant slalom landing in 10th.
Nina O’Brien (Edwards, CO; U.S. Ski Team D Team; Burke Mountain Academy/Squaw Valley Ski Team) was the best U.S. finisher for the women in Monday’s slalom, finishing in 15th.
In Sunday’s women’s giant slalom race, Rachael DesRochers (Mammoth Lakes, CA; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) grabbed a 14th place finish.
The FIS Junior World Ski Championships will wrap up on Tuesday in Åre, Sweden with men’s slalom.
To end the week of competition, the prestigious Marc Hodler Trophy will be awarded to the team with the best overall performance.