Val d’Isere Val Gardena Alta Badia
Benni Raich, Hirscher and Missillier top the slalom podium in France.
Michael Walchhofer called his execution of the
Caislat “perfect” at the Val Gardena super G.
Canada’s Erik Guay picked up his 14th
World Cup podium by finishing third in
the super G at Val Gardena.
Patrick Biggs — were among the five who failed to complete the
“I tried as hard as I could,” said Cousineau after matching his
career-best result. “I charged as hard as I could, but came out on
the wrong side. It’s coming, though; I know it. I’ve been fighting my
way back for four years and now I’m where I want to be and where
I think I should be. But I want more.”
White, too, was pleased, saying: “Val d’Isere is such a tough hill.
It’s steep, dark and relentless.”
Ligety was the lone U.S. finisher, but he had to hike two gates to
do so and received no points for his dead-last 25th place finish,
leaving him with, essentially, a nice day of training.
Coach Rearick found some solace in the day. Will Brandenburg
was solid in making it in the top dozen in the first run. Both he and
Ligety skied smart.
“It wasn’t easy at all,” Rearick said. “First course was tough, it
took a lot of the top guys down. Ted and Willie skied tactically
smart. I’m very pleased with their skiing.”
Val Gardena Super G and Downhill, Dec. 17 and 18
Val Gardena, the first of the “classic” stops on the men’s World
Cup tour, wasn’t kind to the U.S. squad, either. The Red, White
and Blue got four scoring results for the super G and downhill
hosted by the Italian site, none of them better than Bode Miller’s
16th in SG and 17th in DH. Marco Sullivan got the final scoring po-
sition in the super G and Steven Nyman — a winner on the course
in 2006 — was 18th in DH.
Michael Walchhofer, making his final spin around the World Cup
speed circuit at 35, got his second win of the season in the super
G. Snowfall always makes for a difficult speed race, and it began
snowing during the race on the well-shadowed Saslong track. It’s
just the kind of thing that adds a touch of anxiety to a racer. This
season, Walchhofer is beyond that.
When he won the opening downhill of the season at Lake Louise
last month, ending a much-ballyhooed Austrian DH-win drought,
it took all the pressure off his team. He’s relaxed and enjoying his
retirement season. During the Val Gardena super G, he exited the
Caislat, a critical section of the jump-laden course and thought,
“that was really perfect.”
The win matched him with Franz Klammer and Kristian Ghedina
as the only men to win four times at Val Gardena.
In second, for his only career World Cup podium, was German
Stephan Keppler; it was his only result better than 20th this sea-
In third, picking up his 14th World Cup podium, was Canada’s
Erik Guay. One big error, misjudging a blind turn and aiming for
the outside instead of the inside gate, he said, “might have cost