8 March 2017 — We’ll start with some news here & there, then kick it over to a World Cup report…first up, with Stowe VT becoming part of the Vail Resorts galactic empire, there was a big northeastern hole in the Mountain Collective Pass, turns out Sugarbush is filling that hole; they’ve also added Snowbasin UT to the pass. This means that Utah-bound vacationers really ought to look at this for next season, considering Alta & Snowbird are two of the key western attractions…rain today through much of the beleaguered east, except far north outposts such as Sunday River ME and Wildcat NH reporting snow and they’ve got the footage to prove it…Squaw Valley CA announced today that they passed the 600″ mark this season, tallying 623″ and 617″ at Alpine Meadows…Mt Hood Ski Bowl keeps getting dumped on, surely it’s the best season on Mt Hood in years…big news NW of Denver, Eldora Mountain Resort has announced that they’ll add a detachable six-pack after the season winds down, replacing Cannonball and Challenge fixed grip double and triple lifts, which date back to 1973 and 1977. The new lift is slated to have a 1,000’+ vert and ride time of about four-and-a-half minutes…regret to report that 24-year-old Alex Witt of Farmington, Maine died Friday while working at Sugarloaf Resort, the employee was working to prepare the Skidder trail for a mogul competition when he lost his footing and slid down the trail. Sugarloaf GM Karl Strand said “our hearts are with our team member and his family.” And ours are as well…more grim news, this time from Hunter Mountain NY where 20-year-old Zachary Thompson, of Cream Ridge NJ died after losing control on the Racers Edge trail. Police spokesman says Thompson slid for a distance, slid off the trail and hit several trees. Certainly our thoughts and prayers are with his family…and now on to our World Cup catch up, yes indeed Marcel Hirscher not only clinched the Men’s Overall title — his sixth — and the Giant Slalom title, he also put himself in position to win the Slalom title as well. Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen had been holding the lead in the discipline but muffed the first run in Kranjska Gora Slovenia Sunday while Hirscher finished a strong fourth. Sunday’s podium went to Austrian Michael Matt, followed by Italian Stefano Gross and German star Felix Neureuther. The victory was Matt’s first on the tour; if the name sounds familiar it’s because older brother is retired two-time slalom champ Mario Matt. On Saturday Hirscher won the GS, followed by Norwegian Leif Kristian Haugen and Swede Matts Olsson. As for the remaining globe, Kjetil Jansrud has the edge in the Downhill but Peter Fill is in striking distance should Jansrud DNF or something. Jansrud already garnered the Super G title back on his home turf in Kvitfjell. The Downhill and other season-ending bragging rights will be contested at the season finals next weekend in Aspen, Colorado; the men are off this weekend. Ladies, meanwhile, were running and gunning on the future Olympic course in Jeongseong, Korea last weekend, where as reported yesterday it was Italian speedster Sophia Goggia grabbing DH and SG victories, followed in both contests by Lindsey Vonn and Ilka Stuhec. This weekend the ladies compete in a pair of technical events in Squaw Valley California. That’s right, I said Squaw Valley — last Squaw Valley competition on the World Cup circuit was 1969, so nowadays it sounds rather odd. Hey when I was a kid the Squaw Valley Olympics were still a fresh memory in the ski racing world. Anyway, key here is these events are tech events, and barring catastrophe should put Mikaela Shiffrin firmly in the driver’s seat for the overall. Then next weekend the ladies also move on to the finals in Aspen; Ilka Stuhec will have two speed events to catch Shiffrin should something go awry in California. Stuhec leads the race for the Super G and downhill titles; she needs a minimal finish in the DH to edge Goggia and a decent showing in the SG to stay ahead of Tina Weirather, who is only 15 points behind. Shiffrin should take the slalom globe, she’s 145 points ahead of Veronika Velez-Zuzulova. Tessa Worley of France has a solid lead in Giant Slalom hunt, 120 points ahead of Shiffrin with just two contests remaining. Regardless of the outcomes, it’s been a great season!
Photo above: Marcel Hirscher bending the GS course on his way to the GS and Overall titles in Kranjska Gora.