World Champs Prep in Hinterreit

World Championships start next week in Schladming, where I will race the SuperG, Combined, GS and Slalom. We don’t have a race this weekend, so we have been training, here in Hinterreit, which is pretty neat. It is a farm with a guesthouse 2 T-bars and an injected training slope. Peter, the owner has a passion for ski racing and has turned his farm into a top-level training site. The walls of the guesthouse are plastered with the posters of all the World Cup stars who’ve trained here dating back to the 90’s. We’ve trained here a bunch over the last few years and it’s always sweet.





KITZBUEHEL, Austria — I decided to skip Tuesday night’s “City Event” in Moscow because after my results this past weekend — failing to get points out of a combined for the second straight week — the World Cup overall title is pretty much out of reach.
It also makes sense because the world championships begin Tuesday, Feb. 5 in Schladming, Austria, so it’s hard to justify a five-hour flight to Moscow now.

I was psyched to finish sixth in the super-G in Kitzbuehel, my fourth-best super-G result. Even though the downhill there is the most challenging on the tour, the super-G doesn’t favor me because most of the super-G course is a pretty easy glider’s course, so getting a good result was a step in the direction of becoming a more regular contender in super-G.

In the downhill I had a good run going until I missed a gate on the difficult sidehill just above the finish schuss.I was fifth-fastest on the upper sections, the meat and bones of the hardest, most technical section in World Cup downhill. But I got bounced low on that sidehill above the finish and missed the exit gate onto the finish straight. That was disappointing because I was putting together a pretty good downhill run.

That sidehill at Kitzbuehel is pretty legendary. You’re moderately tired, you come off a pretty sizable jump and go right into a hard right-footed turn. If your direction is good, you stay high on the sidehill. If your direction is bad, you end up in the fence.
The sidehill is super, super bumpy. The bumps are almost as big as a moguls course, and you’re going 75 mph or faster. That section takes out a lot of guys, because those bumps make it really hard to stay on a high line. In the 10 seconds you’re on that sidehill, your skis might be on the snow for three seconds.

At the world championships (Feb. 5-17), I feel I have a really good chance at three medals. I’m one of the better guys in super-G, and that super-G hill in Schladming is steep and technical, giving me a very good chance of medaling. I feel like I have a very, very good chance of getting a medal in the combined. And in GS, of course, I’m the defending world champion, and I’ve won four of the five GS races this season.


Stunning Wengen

view from my hotel room…

Wengen, Switerland, sits nestled into the side of the alps only accessible by train and home to the notorious Lauberhorn Downhill and Slalom race. Personally I think it is the most beautiful stop on the World Cup Tour (as a competitor maybe a bit of a logistical nightmare to say the least). The Wengen ski resort and Downhill run sits below the famous Eiger known around the world as one of the toughest mountains to climb.

I skied in the Super Combined on Friday (combination of times for one downhill run and one slalom run). I came in 13th in the Downhill portion, so I felt good about my chances going into the slalom race, with a decent buffer over the slalom specialists. I skied pretty well in the SL run and was close to even with the eventual winner Alexis Pinturault until 3 gates from the finish when my ski fell off; a freak accident. Bummer. I was happy though for Alexis Pinturault to get the win adding to Shred’s World Cup win count, which is currently the most of any other helmet/goggle company.

I had set myself the goal of; top 10 in the DH portion of the Super Combi to race the DH, but since I fell just short of my self imposed criteria I skipped the DH to rest and to spectate the race live.

Wengen is said to get a crowd of 40,000 lined along the whole course. It is reachable for spectators from a train ride up to the top of the mountain (or helicopter from valley to start) and spectators travel along the course with skis, sleds or by foot. I skied down along the side of the track with the throngs of fans, who were boozing it up and setting up little fondue picnics along the course. As a spectator this would be an awesome sports experience to fully partake in whether you are a ski fan or not.

Another Sunday and another Slalom which is the theme for this time of year. I finished 13th, which interestingly enough is what I started, finished after first run and am in the year’s SL standings. I skied among the fastest for sections but made strings of costly mistakes as is the story of my SL season. Hopefully I can clean that up this weekend in Kitzbuhel. I’m racing the Downhill, Super G, and Slalom.

A Short Ski Lesson

I took my friends daughter skiing for the first time when I was home in Park City over Christmas. Her Dad happened to catch her only run on video, so I thought I would share. Make sure your volume is turned up on your computer!

She needs another year to grow into her new Head ski’s and boots and then she is going to Shred!

Beautiful Adelboden: GS Winning Day!

This past weekend was the legendary Adelboden race with both a GS and SL. It was a weekend full of stunts. Adelboden does bib draws and awards ceremony right, we enter the stage from a zip line. I ended up doing it three times (2 bib draws and 1 ceremony for being on the podium in GS).

The Adelboden GS is the only of the traditional GS races I had not won. My previous best in the GS was 4th, so needless to say the hill has not jived well with me in the past. This year I finally got that monkey off my back and won the GS. It felt good to finally win in Adelboden despite in a way Marcel Hirscher gifted me the race by making a big mistake in the final gates. Having my good bud Feilx Neureuther on the podium with me was an added bonus as well.

After the race, the stunts continued, in the finish area they had the top three get on a crane to be lifted over the crowd. We were dropped on the other side of the stadium.

After our crane ride I went to the press conference and also had my foot molded for an imprint to later be place in the square in town. Apparently this is a tradition that every winner at Adelboden does.

Sunday was the Slalom race, which didn’t fare as well as I was hoping. I thought I skied well in places ending up 11th place, which doesn’t make much of an impact on the overall. It was cool to see my teammate Daver Chodunsky get 10th place which is his first World Cup top ten, everyone was stoked for him and he skied awesome getting 2nd on the second run.

What’s next? Races in Wengen, Switzerland all weekend…Super Combined is on Friday, perhaps I’ll do the downhill on Saturday and Slalom on Sunday.

NBC 36 on ME

NBC followed me for the 36 hours leading up to my win in Alta Badia. Check out the trailer below. The show airs this Sunday Jan. 13th at 3:30 ET.

Rainy Slalom Race in Zagreb

After some tough training in Reiteralm for a couple days, we drove with my tech, Alex to Zagreb, Croatia for the Slalom race. The training conditions in Austria were perfect for what was ahead in Zagreb, rain! Zagreb puts on a great race, the fans love ski racing because of the success of the Kostelic family. I skied OK on the top section but ended up straddling a gate in the first 20 seconds of the first run, which was disappointing, though, part of the slalom game.

Despite the rainy and foggy conditions the fan turn out was amazing. Below is a group watching from the middle of the course.

For the fans to get to the grandstand they have to take a chairlift down the hill. This year it was completely foggy with little visibility (like the race), but last year was an amazing panoramic view.

Since Zagreb, I have been training in Pozza di Fassa for a couple days getting ready for the GS and SL in Adelboden this weekend. Wish me luck!

NYE 2013: Munich City Event: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Since arriving back in Europe on the 29th from Christmas in Park City, I trained for two days in Reiteralm, Austria. We trained a day of GS and a day of Slalom. I drove up to Munich on NYE’s and went out to Marienplatz to check out the German way of bringing in the New Year with Jens Byggmark and a couple of his close friends. Marienplatz was like a warzone, the picture is below and I am happy we made it out alive. It was crazy how lax they were on letting people set off fireworks wherever, definitely different from home.

On New Years day was the city event. In the first round I was seeded against my buddy and the face of the event Germany’s Felix Neureuther. I won the first run against him by .06, but I lost on the second run after barging the start gate. The start gates at parallel events have been my nemesis the past couple years. Felix went on to dominate and win the event. I was psyched he won in front of a large home crowd. Below is a picture of the race hill and our dual.

What’s next? Back in Reiteralm training this week until the Zagreb Slalom race on Jan. 6th.

My Story by Park City Mtn Resort

Park City Mountain Resort made a cool short video about me growing up as a little shredder in PC to making the World Cup. With classic footage my mom shoot of me as a kid.

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