Daron Rahlves lands on first
ski cross World Cup podium
BY ERIC WILLIAMS
On January 5, American ski cross racer and former alpine great Daron Rahlves claimed his
first career ski cross World Cup podium in a night race on an injected course at St. Johann/
It was an evening of firsts on the men’s side as German Simon Stickl notched his first career
World Cup victory. The 22-year-old’s previous best finish was a 10th at the season opener in
Innichen, Italy, but he looked like an old pro as he won all four of his heats on the way to the
gold. The third-place finisher, Canadian national champion David Duncan, also climbed on
his first career World Cup podium since he began racing in 2008.
Rahlves started off strong, winning his first two heats before taking second in the semifinals
and finals. The 2008 X Games gold medalist had a rough season-opener with 13th and 21st-
place finishes but now looks primed for the sport’s Olympic debut in Vancouver in a little more
than a month.
“You get him out front, people won’t catch him,” said ski cross coach Tyler Shepherd. “In
the final, Daron had to break out some of his injection know-how and make some awesome
Fellow American Casey Puckett, who grabbed his fourth career World Cup podium in the
season opener Dec. 21 in Innichen, took 13th in the Austrian event after being eliminated in
the quarterfinal heat. Rahlves and Puckett now stand fifth and sixth, respectively, in the overall ski cross World Cup standings.
The World Cup ski cross overall leader, Switzerland’s Michael Schmid (who won the first two
events of the season) was just off the podium in fourth. He is now 84 points ahead of Norway’s
Audun Groenvold in second. Stickl jumped to third overall, 110 points behind Schmid.
On the women’s side, it was business as usual as the six-time overall World Cup champion
Ophelie David of France took the win. It was the 21st
victory of her nine-year career. Teammate Meryll
Boulangeat followed in second ahead of Canadian
Julia Murray in third. This was Boulangeat’s ninth
career podium and Murray’s second.