What to Know About Val Gardena

2014-12-17 17:43

VAL GARDENA, Italy (Dec. 17, 2014)—The men’s speed team is in the Dolomites this weekend and is looking fast, with Steven Nyman taking the win at the first and only downhill training run.

Although the temperature has fallen in Italy, the snow has not. The Val Gardena course resembles the early season “white ribbon of death,” with icy manmade chunks making up the course. Because of the snow, the set is different than it has been in the past, allowing the athletes to be more creative with the course. Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) noted the famed camel bumps, which demand athletes to think on their feet. “It could get dirty up there,” said Nyman.

The skiers will have to stay early on the line and carry their speed if they’re looking for the win. If they don’t, the manmade snow will grind the guys off the course. “And you'll need confidence projecting yourself off the jumps and blind rolls,” advises Nyman. “The Kamel Bucket [jump] is pretty dang big this year. We were going pretty slow in training and were still flying.”

Nyman, who has won on this course twice before—2006 and 2012—is gunning for the win again. In Wednesday’s downhill training run, he took the win over Kjetil Jansrud of Norway and Tobias Stechert of Germany. Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA)—who finished fifth in the Birds of Prey downhill—finished 14th, and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA)—who grabbed fifth place at the Lake Louise downhill—19th.

Tommy Biesemeyer (Keene, NY), Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT), Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, UT), Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) and Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) also raced Wednesday's training run.

The second training run has been cancelled, in order to preserve the course’s existing snow conditions. The downhill will take place on Friday and the super G on Saturday.

Watch Universal Sports' live coverage of the downhill on Dec. 19 at 6:00 a.m. EST.