Alpine

Arvidsson Wins World Juniors Downhill

by
Courtney Harkins
2016-02-27 08:07
 

SOCHI, Russia (Feb. 27, 2016) – The next generation of ski racers kicked off the FIS Junior World Ski Championships on Saturday, with American Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA, U.S. Ski Team/Squaw Valley Ski Team/Bear Valley) snagging a huge win in the downhill.

A regular on the NorAm Cup podium in speed events, Arvidsson smoked the 2014 Olympic downhill track, skiing the course tactfully to win by two-tenths of a second. He adds to the line up of previous American Junior Worlds winners including current World Cup athlete Ryan Cochran-Siegle, U.S. Ski Team assistant coach Chris Beckmann and Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe.

But it was a team effort, as three of Arvidsson’s teammates also finished in the top 10. Sam Morse (Sugarloaf, ME, U.S. Ski Team/Carrabassett Valley Academy/Sugarloaf Ski Club) took fourth with Florian Szwebel (Avon, CO, National Training Group/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) seventh and Drew Duffy (Warren, VT, U.S. Ski Team/Green Mountain Valley School) in 10th. Patrick Kenney (Hingham, MA, U.S. Ski Team/Burke Mountain Academy) was 29th.

"I’m really psyched and super proud to lead four Americans into the top 10 here at World Juniors in Sochi," said Arvidsson. "I can’t remember a recent performance like this from our boys. It was pretty incredible to stand there in the leader’s box for a while with some teammates. It was a pretty incredible day and it felt really good to be a part of such a strong American downhiller team."


The American men celebrate their strong finishes. (USSA)

For a group that has skied together for many years and are very close friends, these results were special.

“This group is powerful together, super strong. They work really hard to create an environment where they feed off each other and pick up on each other’s strengths,” said Development Team Assistant Coach Justin Johnson. “The team power we have is unreal. It makes them super strong.”

The ladies had a strong showing, as well, with Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID, U.S. Ski Team/Rowmark Ski Academy) leading the Americans in fourth place. Behind her, Galena Wardle (Aspen, CO, U.S. Ski Team/Aspen Valley Ski Club) finished 29th, Patricia Mangan (Buffalo, NY, Holimont Race Team) 33rd and Nina O’Brien (San Francisco, CA, U.S. Ski Team/Burke Mountain Academy/Squaw Valley Ski Team) 37th.

Next up, the men and women will race super G on Sunday with alpine combined, a team event, slalom and GS to follow throughout the week.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Erik Arvidsson won the downhill at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships on Sunday. He was 11th in the 2015 Junior Worlds downhill.
  • Four American men cracked the top 10.
  • Breezy Johnson was the top American female in fourth place.
  • It was the first time there have been four Americans in the top 10 at World Juniors.

QUOTES

Erik Arvidsson
I’m really psyched and super proud to lead four Americans into the top 10 here at World Juniors in Sochi. I can’t remember a recent performance like this from our boys. It was pretty incredible to stand there in the leader’s box for a while with some teammates. It was a pretty incredible day and it felt really good to be a part of such a strong American downhiller team.

The conditions were pretty soft. We strategically picked [bibs] 1, 2 and 3 to start for us. It definitely paid off—it got a little soft, but I love when it’s like this. I grew up in Tahoe at a little place called Bear Valley in the California Sierras and I’m so used to skiing when the weather and snow is like this. It felt like I was back at home.

We’ve been talking a lot about today being the future American Downhillers and it feels really cool to continue on the legacy of Bill Johnson and Tommy Moe and all the boys now. We look up to everyone in the gym in the summer—like Steve [Nyman], and obviously Bode is everyone’s hero. And skiing for the Squaw Valley Ski Team, Daron Rahlves is someone I’ve looked up to and spent some time with in Tahoe. It’s a pretty special thing.

It was pretty cool to run bib 1 today after Ryan Cochran-Siegle won World Juniors four years ago running number 1. There’s definitely a lot of history as a downhiller from America and I’m really proud to be a part of that group.

Randy Pelkey, Development Team Head Coach
The guys were super energetic and put a lot of time and effort into their training, especially this summer and last year at World Championships, where the men and women got to forerun almost every event. We got a ton of volume there, especially in speed events, and it showed up today. They put the work in and pulled the trigger. They’re good on race day! They’ve really come together as a team.

Justin Johnson, Assistant Coach
This group is powerful together, super strong. They work really hard to create an environment where they feed off each other and pick up on each other’s strengths.

It’s not a show. These guys really really love each other. The team power we have is unreal. It’ll just keep getting better and better. It’s a real special group and they help each other in every aspect of sports and life. It makes them super strong.

RESULTS
Men’s downhill
Women’s downhill