Tech Teams Take on Sweden

2014-12-12 08:26

ARE, Sweden (Dec. 12, 2014) – Lack of snow across mainland Europe has forced the relocation of men’s and women’s giant slalom and slalom races at Val d’Isere and Courchevel, respectively, to Are, Sweden. After a successful North American series for both the men and women, the team morale is high and they’re ready to carry the momentum to Are.

On the women’s side, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) is hungry for her first slalom victory of the 2014-15 season after a fifth place finish in the Aspen Winternational. She’s had time since Aspen to prep for Are and she’s feeling good and rested. Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) was the story of Aspen, skiing into a smoking 11th place finish, which came after an 18th place finish in the slalom season opener in Levi, Finland. Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN) and Hailey Duke (Boise, ID) will also be looking to make that second run flip for the first time this season.

In giant slalom, Shiffrin will look to capitalize on the success she’s had so far this season, with a victory in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup opener in Soelden and a sixth place finish after a fairly large first run mistake in Aspen. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) is seeking to score some more World Cup points after having trouble in the first run at Aspen and skiing out. Megan McJames (Park City, UT) rounds out the list of U.S. starters at Are.

On the men’s side, let’s talk Ligety. Just over two weeks ago, Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) sustained a carpal wrist dislocation and torn ligaments and underwent surgery. After securing his fourth straight giant slalom win at Birds of Prey, he’s feeling strong and confident. “I don’t really think about my hand when I ski," said Ligety. "I mean, I try not to drag it on the snow and hit gates with it, but it’s not something I’m very conscious of.” He’ll once again be a favorite this weekend in giant slalom. Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) grabbed himself a top-10 finish in Birds of Prey, but he has more in him. David Chodounsky’s 17th place finish earned him his first giant slalom points of his career at Birds of Prey, and with a finish area celebration that warmed the hearts of ski racing fans, everyone can't wait to watch him again. Mark Engel, Brennan Rubie, and Nolan Kasper will all be starting for the U.S. men.

Men’s slalom starters will include Ted Ligety, Tim Jitloff, David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO), Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA), Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT), Brenan Rubie (Salt Lake City, UT), and Mark Engel (Truckee, CA). This will be Chodounsky’s first trip to Are. “I've never been up to Are, but heading somewhere new is always exciting, especially with a night GS happening. I just want to take the same focus and mindset into this giant slalom as in Beaver Creek. That's all I can really do…and have fun!" said Chodounsky. "I'm excited for another slalom too. Levi didn't work as well as I had hoped, but I feel like I'm still skiing well. It's going to be nice to get two races this weekend. I think it helps ease the pressure of putting all your focus and energy into one race.”

Though it’s quite the trek to Are, Sweden, it has its advantages. The men are particularly excited for the planned night giant slalom on Friday. No strangers to night races, having experienced the famed night slalom at Schladming, these guys know there’s a special vibe when you ski under the lights. As Ligety told the press after winning at Birds of Prey, “It’s really cool that we’re going to have night GS there, which is something I’ve thought we could do for a long time. That’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s not the most ideal travel schedule going back and forth on planes there, but it’s definitely cool to go back to another place we haven’t been in a while.”

Universal Sports Network will provide live coverage of second runs all weekend.

What’s on tap in Are:

Friday, 12.12.2014

Ladies' GS: 10:00 / 13:00 (Local Time) - 04:00 a.m. / 7:00 a.m. EST

Men's Night GS: 16:00 / 19:00 (Local Time)  - 10:00 a.m. / 1:00 p.m. EST 

Saturday 13.12.2014

Ladies' SL: 09:30 / 12:30 (Local Time) – 03:30 a.m. / 6:30 a.m. EST 

Sunday, 14.12.2014

Men's SL: 10:30 / 13:30 (Local Time)04:30 a.m. / 7:30 EST