U.S. Ski Team Update: Freeskiing Wins Bring Smiles To Wise, Sigourney, Wallisch
There were big smiles across the faces of U.S. Freeskiing athletes David Wise, Brita Sigourney and Tom Wallisch last weekend at Mammoth Mountain. The trio brought home big wins in the finale of the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix.
Wise, Wallisch and Sigourney are among a vanguard of new athletes forging an amazing image of their sport. With just two years to Sochi, athletes know it’s “go time” to establish yourself in a judged sport and to show the world what’s possible in the pipe and park.
Wise, a 21-year-old who grew up skiing in fledgling USSA halfpipe programs, has emerged this season as a new star of his sport – winning X Games and the Dew Tour finale leading into his Grand Prix win where he overcame a crash on his first run yet came back to win.
Wallisch, a North Face slopestyle athlete who missed most of last season due to injury, has been dominant all year taking X Games, the Dew Cup and now the Grand Prix with back-to-back top-scoring runs. Sigourney bookended her season with Grand Prix wins in Copper and Mammoth.
As pioneers of a new sport, they join a cadre of freeskiers who are keenly aware and engaged in the development of their sport towards its biggest arena, the Olympic Winter Games. They’re pushing the envelope with bigger, more technical tricks and putting on a show that’s bound to be a welcome addition to the Olympics in Sochi less than two years away.
Alpine: Lindsey Vonn produced the third World Cup giant slalom podium of her career with a second in Ofterschwang, Germany to carry a 494 point lead in the overall standings into the final six races of the season. Resi Stiegler produced the first World Cup podium of her injury-plagued career with second in a slalom the following day. Ryan Cochran-Siegle won the Junior World Championships downhill to earn a start at the World Cup Finals downhill. One weekend of World Cup racing remains prior to World Cup Finals with technical races for men in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia and women's in Are, Sweden.
Cross Country: Kikkan Randall led three U.S. women into the points finishing 12th in a skiathlon in Lahti. A day later she nearly clinched the World Cup sprint title with a fifth in a classic sprint. Randall can take the title with an 18th or higher Wed. in Drammen, Norway, then on to Holmenkollen in Oslo.
Freestyle: World Cup action resumes this weekend with Hannah Kearney looking to get back on top of the moguls podium in Are, Sweden Mar. 9-10. The aerials crew will be rejoined by veteran Emily Cook when they compete in Moscow, Russia on Mar. 10.
Nordic Combined: Bryan Fletcher skied to his fourth top 10 finish of the season in an individual Gundersen World Cup in Lahti Saturday. Fletcher jumped to fourth then held on in the cross country stage to finish seventh.
Ski Jumping: Teen Sarah Hendrickson clinched the overall World Cup title with two wins and a second in Japan. She'll receive her crystal globe in the season finale Fri. at Holmenkollen in Oslo.
Snowboarding: Kelly Clark took her 16th straight victory at the Burton European Open in Laax, Switzerland. At the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe finals, Louie Vito took the win for the men, Greg Bretz took second and Luke Mitrani third; teammate Elena Hight won it for the women, with teammates Kaitlyn Farrington in second and Ellery Hollingsworth in third. In the slopestyle competition Chas Guldemond took another victory, with teammate Sage Kotsenberg in second and Mark Hoyt in third; Joanna Dzierzawski won it for the women with Youth Olympic Games athlete Indigo Monk in second and Karly Shorr in third.
USSA Team Shops: Followers and fans of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing can get the latest in fan gear from the Teams' new online shop. Launched as a part of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's new USSA Digital Network, the online shop features exclusive offers on gear from brand partners and official suppliers including Spyder, Neve Designs, Huge Sportswear, SmartWool, High Sierra and other major brands. Support the athletes by using your Visa card for all official team gear. Visa. Proud sponsor of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing. More people go with Visa.
3/10 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix—Halfpipe, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 12 p.m. ET, NBC
3/10 Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix—Halfpipe, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 1 p.m. ET, NBC
3/18 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix—Halfpipe, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 2 p.m. ET, Versus
3/18 Paul Mitchell Progression Session—Mammoth Mountain, CA, 3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
3/31 Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix—Halfpipe, Mammoth Mountain, CA, 3 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Missed the Sprint Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain and want to still take a tour through the park and pipe? Checkout the interactive virtual tour provided at Mammoth Mountain by vTour.
Photo: Brita Sigourney (ESPN)