The end of the alpine World Cup circuit is here. The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals are underway in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. It caps a record-shattering year for U.S. Ski Team athletes led by Ted Ligety and Michaela Shiffrin.
The U.S. Ski Team alpine racers have already racked up 31 podium appearances and 16 victories by 10 different athletes.
Triple World Champion Ted Ligety, from Park City, Utah, enters the competition having already secured his fourth career giant slalom title and can finish no worse than third in the overall standings.
17-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin from Eagle-Vail, Colo. enters into a winner-take-all battle with Slovenia’s Tina Maze for the slalom crown. Meanwhile, the USA’s Julie Mancuso is fighting Maze for the super-G title.
The World Cup Finals reduce the field to the top 25 in each discipline, giving the year’s best athletes a chance to take care of unfinished business.
“It’s cool to go into the World Cup Finals without the stress of the giant slalom title, but my goal now is to get third in the overall,” Ligety said.
Shiffrin says she wants the globe, “but we’ll see if it works out that way. It’s nice to know, that in the slalom this year there was a battle to the end and anyone could win.” Shiffrin won the slalom at the recent World Alpine Ski Championships in Austria.
SnoCountry.com will provide a complete wrap-up of the finals this weekend. Check back.
Photo: Slovenian Tina Maze stands in the way of Americans Shiffrin, Mancuso (Giovanni Auletta/AP)