Soelden Glacier Stadium

Soelden, Austria hosted the season’s first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup action over the weekend with Americans Ted Ligety and Michaela Shiffrin in form for the Olympic year.

 

Ligety won the men’s Giant Slalom in historic fashion, becoming the first man in history to win three World Cup GS races in a row at Soelden. Ligety beat Frenchman Alexis Pinturault by 0.79 seconds for his 18th World Cup win. Bode Miller and Tim Jitloff both skied into the top 20.

 

“It feels good,” Ligety said. “I was definitely a little anxious coming into this race just because you never really know how you stand… Right now my main focus is doing well in the World Cups, and then come the week before the Olympics, I’m going to think about the Olympics.” Ligety will be in New York City Tuesday to receive the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Olympic SportsMan of the Year Award.

 

Slalom World Champ Shiffrin from Eagle-Vail, Colo. led the U.S. women in the opening GS and picked up a career-best World Cup GS sixth place finish, matching her result in last winter’s World Alpine Ski Championships. Shiffrin and teammate Julia Mancuso were the only two U.S. racers to finish. Switzerland’s Laura Gut picked up her first World Cup GS win despite a mistake on the steeps. 

 

“Of course I’m hungry for more,” Shiffrin said. “But those girls skied really well here today so I enjoyed watching some good skiing and I felt like I skied well myself.”

 

The Oetztal Valley, where Soelden is located, is the official U.S. Ski Team training base in Europe. The team trained on the glacier here for two weeks prior to the weekend races.

Next up: Levi, Finland Nov. 16-17. The women race slalom Saturday and men go at it Sunday.

 

As Shiffrin put it: “I’m excited to hopefully keep this going and psyched for Levi.”

 

 

Photo: Soelden Glacier Stadium for World Cup Openers (Soelden.com)