Alice McKennis takes 16th in the Garmisch downhill training run. (Mitch Gunn)
GARMISCH, GERMANY (Mar. 6, 2015) – The second week of races at Garmisch features the women, and in the only downhill training run, Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, CO) was seeking redemption on a track that does not bring back good memories. After snagging her very first World Cup victory (and podium) in St. Anton in 2013 in what was the best season in her career, McKennis crashed on the Kandahar course and suffered a tibial plateau injury.
But during Friday’s training run, it didn’t seem to bother McKennis, who turned in the 16th fastest time. “Today was really an interesting day for me, coming back to a place where I had a pretty bad injury and had broken my leg two years ago,” said McKennis after her run. “It’s good to come back and have a little bit of redemption at a place I have a bad memory of, even if it’s just a training run.”
Taking a little speed off during the training run, Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) posted the seventh fastest time, but she’ll put her foot on the gas during Saturday’s downhill. Vonn has won in Garmisch four times and has podiumed in the Garmisch downhill every time she has raced it. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA), Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA), Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR), Jackie Wiles (Aurora, OR), and Julia Ford (Plymouth, NH) will also be competing. Abby Ghent (Edwards, CO) will be competing in the Super G on Sunday.
The women enjoyed a day off on Thursday, after the race officials made the call to cancel the first downhill training run due to warm temperatures in Garmisch, hoping that it would allow the snow to firm up. On their day off, they took the opportunity to follow up Wednesday’s trip to the U.S. Military Base with another visit for a “walleyball” game.
The women's speed team plays walleyball at the Garmisch U.S. military base. (Mitch Gunn)
While the women are staying in a spring-like Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the men have found winter again in Kvitfjell, Norway. Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) has—once again—found the fast line, skiing into fourth in Thursday’s training run and winning Friday’s training run. He is loving the snow and the changes they’ve made to the course, and he’s ready to rip. “Today was good,” said Nyman. “The track has been prepared really well. I always love it up here.”
Nyman is confident he’s got more to showcase for Saturday. “The snow is fantastic, but today was different. They moved a gate inside on the course and we brought a lot more speed into the Russi jump, which is already big. I don’t mind big air, but when I was in the air I was like, ‘Wow! I’m still flyin!’” said Nyman about the Kvitfjell downhill course. “But I did some studying yesterday and really saw what I needed to do and how I needed to do it, and I nailed my line today. There’s still a few things I could fix, but hopefully I can execute like that tomorrow and lay it down.”
Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) was eighth, while Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) and Wiley Maple continue to ski strong, landing in 13th and 17th, respectively. Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT), Andrew “Warhorse” Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) and Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, CA) will also be competing in Saturday’s downhill.
Training runs are for experimenting with the line and dialing in equipment, so rest assured these athletes have more gas in the tank. Tune in to Universal Sports on Saturday at 11 a.m. EST for the women’s downhill from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and 1 p.m. EST for the men’s downhill from Kvitfjell, Norway.
Norway will also play host to the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships this week, where Paula Moltzan headlines a crew of 16 young, promising athletes from the U.S. who will compete from March 6-13 in Hafjell, Norway.
QUOTES Alice McKennis Today was really an interesting day for me, coming back to a place where I had a pretty bad injury and had broken my leg two years ago. So I definitely had some nerves and anxiety and emotions about it, but I was able to sort of pull it all together and have a solid run and that feels really good, and I’m really happy. And I had a lot of fun doing it too. So it’s good to come back and have a little bit of redemption at a place I have a bad memory of, even if it’s just a training run.
Steve Nyman Today was good. The track has been prepared really well. I always love it up here. You get back into winter and the snow is fantastic, but today was different. They moved a gate inside on the course and we brought a lot more speed into the Russi jump, which is big. I don’t mind big air, but when I was in the air I was like, ‘Wow! I’m still flyin!’ But I did some studying yesterday and really saw what I needed to do and how I needed to do it, and I nailed my line today. There’re still a few things I could fix, but hopefully I can execute like that tomorrow and lay it down.
There’s more gas in the tank. It’s down to the little things—the aerodynamics, the willingness to push through the turn instead of just cruise. My balance on my skis right now is great, and that’s what makes this a lot of fun. I’m just confident and I’m able to do what I want to do, and I see where I want to go. I just have to believe in it and go for it.
This track is a track I’ve always thought I could do well on, but I’ve just never really been in the greatest shape coming into here. I’ve always kind of deteriorated as the winter has gone on and the maintenance of my fitness has been tough. Last year I thought I could do well, but my equipment was a little messed up. I’ve dialed that in, and my fitness is here. It’s funny—this isn’t the most physically demanding course, but I’d get to the bottom and just be so tired. And this year, I feel great. Physically I feel great, and mentally I’m there, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Lindsey Vonn I definitely feel like I’m in a good place now. I made a lot of mistakes, so I know I can definitely ski to win, I just need to clean up those mistakes. I have a lot of good memories from Garmisch. I won by 50th race here, and I won a silver medal in the downhill, so I know that it’s a good track for me. Obviously, having come here for Christmas all the time with Maria and her family, I have a lot of great memories so I’m happy to be back here.
[On the fight for the overall crystal globe with Tina Maze and Anna Fenninger] I’m not sure. It’s going to be really tight. It depends on how Tina does in the slalom, because I think it will be tight for the downhill and super G. So it all depends on how Tina can ski in the slalom to make up as many points as she can.
[On her chance to snag the overall globe next year] That’s definitely the goal. My GS is good. I just haven’t trained very much so I’m a little bit inconsistent, but I think if I can get that discipline up and running I could be in contention again for the overall. That’ll be my goal for next year.