Downhillers vs. Mother Nature in Garmisch

Megan Harrod
2016-01-29 16:23

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Jan. 29, 2016) – Spring-like temperatures, fog and precipitation have plagued Garmisch this week as the American Downhillers were only able to complete one day of training on the classic Kandahar downhill track. However, the word on the hill is the sun will come out tomorrow.

This weekend’s downhill will go on without the Attacking Viking Aksel Lund Svindal, who crashed during last weekend’s downhill at Kitzbuehel and suffered a torn ACL. But the show must go on at the White Circus, and the cast of characters is still strong. The talk of the training run was Austria’s Hannes Reichelt, who also fell victim to the Streif and was originally expected to be out for 2-3 weeks after being diagnosed with a bone bruise. Quite the contrary for Reichelt, who came back and won the first downhill training run on a dark and warm Thursday in Garmisch.

Andrew Weibrecht was 10th in Thursday’s training run in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Getty/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) was 10th fastest in Thursday's downhill training, while Wiley Maple (Aspen, CO) was 18th and Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT) – featured in this week’s What Makes a Champion piece – was 21st. Friday’s training run was canceled due to fog and precipitation, in order to preserve the snow on the track. The men will run downhill Saturday and giant slalom Sunday, both races will be broadcast live on NBCSN. Ted Ligety, who was injured training earlier this week in Oberjoch, Germany, will sadly also not be in the field.

It has become a tradition for the men and women to visit some true American heroes at the U.S. Military base. Seven of eight American Downhillers visited the Hausberg Lodge at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort – a vacation destination exclusively for the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed overseas. It’s a long winter overseas for the men and women of the U.S. Ski Team, so coming to Garmisch feels a bit like coming home, thanks to friends at the base.

The resort is also the largest certified ski school outside of the continental United States and teaches over 6,000 service members how to ski per year, which brings it close to the ski racers’ hearts. Children came out in droves to get their pictures taken with American Downhillers and snag their autographs, and the racers even stayed for dinner and a taste of home with tacos. The big man, Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, CA), downed some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups while Tabasco sauce was on Maple’s wish list.

Meanwhile, in Maribor, the women will race giant slalom Saturday and slalom Sunday, and both races are also scheduled to be broadcast live on NBCSN. Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) will look to hold on to her 45-point lead in the overall standings ahead of Switzerland’s Lara Gut, who is known for her technical prowess and currently sits second in the giant slalom standings. Also, keep an eye on Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY) – who has her eye on the top five – and Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, NV) and Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN) seek out more World Cup points.

Garmisch (DH, GS) Starters
Bryce Bennett – DH
Thomas Biesemeyer – DH
David Chodounsky – SL
Samuel Dupratt – GS*
Mark Engel – GS
Tommy Ford – GS
Travis Ganong – DH
Jared Goldberg – DH
Tim Jitloff – GS
Wiley Maple – DH
Steven Nyman – DH
Brennan Rubie – GS 
Marco Sullivan – DH
Andrew Weibrecht – DH

Maribor (GS, SL) Starters
Lila Lapanja – SL
Megan McJames – GS
Paula Moltzan – SL
Resi Stiegler  – SL
Lindsey Vonn – GS

*Denotes inaugural World Cup start.


Andrew Weibrecht [on his success this season]
For me, I’ve really put a lot of emphasis on figuring out how to race better. I’ve always put a lot of emphasis on training. I train with anybody and can be as fast as them, but a lot of times in race situations I make big mistakes or would have all sorts of issues. I put a lot of emphasis on that this summer, in really treating every training day like a race day. I feel like it’s made it so that racing isn’t a foreign thing. Racing is the normal part, and now I actually race better than I train, so I’ve shifted the way. Now I’m able to use that extra energy and intensity to actually get more excited and be more focused, whereas in the past it tipped me over the edge.

Broadcast and Live Streaming (times EST)

Saturday, Jan. 30
5:30 a.m. - Men's downhill, Garmisch - LIVE – NBCSN
7:00 a.m. - Women's GS2, Maribor - LIVE – NBCSN
7:00 a.m. - Women's GS2, Maribor - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra

Sunday, Jan. 31
6:00 a.m. - Women's slalom, Maribor - LIVE – NBCSN
7:30 a.m. - Men's giant slalom, Garmisch - LIVE - NBCSN
7:30 a.m. - Men's giant slalom, Garmisch - LIVE - NBC Sports Live Extra

Men’s downhill training 1