November 11, 2007
REITERALM, Austria (USST Press Release)—Olympian Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH), starting 35th, fought through a wet snowstorm to finish 14th, leading the U.S. men's squad Sunday in its season-opening World Cup slalom. WCSN.com has on-demand video of the event.
The races were originally scheduled in Levi, Finland but were moved for lack of snow. There was no lack of snow in Reiteralm, with a blizzard hampering visibility in the fast-paced slalom.
As the storm continued for a fourth straight day, having dumped nearly another meter in the previous 24 hours, unheralded Swiss Marc Gini posted his first World Cup victory in 1:53.49 to 1:55.53 for Cochran. Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) was 26th. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) missed the second run when he had to stop briefly after being pitched off-course in the first run.
Cochran, the reigning U.S. slalom champion, overcame tricky conditions on his first run to finish fifth. However, he ran into problems early on his second run before holding on to produce the second-best slalom showing of his career.
Ligety failed to qualify when he went out on a turn. He returned to finish the run but couldn't regain his speed after the full stop. "Ted was absolutely smashing it up top - the first or second split time - and down at the bottom, but he shot out in the middle and that was really it," said U.S. SL/GS Head Coach Sasha Rearick.
"Ted's definitely one of the fastest, if not the fastest slalom skier in the world now," said Head Coach Phil McNichol. "And for Jimmy to come from outside the first 30 starters with a top-5 run is outstanding." He also pointed to defending NorAm slalom champion Cody Marshall (Pittsfield, VT), who started 57th in the storm and motored to 31st place, just missing a second run.
"It's dumping and dumping (snow). It's been a winter wonderland all week, but the organizers have done an incredible job keeping the course in great shape," said Rearick. McNichol called it "an epic blizzard. We've been digging cars out all week. But, fortunately we've got these (U.S. Ski Team sponsor-supplied) Audi Quattros, which won't be stopped."
The men's first World Cup speed events of the season, a downhill and super G, will be Nov. 24-25 at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. Then it's their annual visit to Beaver Creek, CO. The Charles Schwab Birds of Prey races - a super combined, downhill, super G and giant slalom - are set for Nov. 29-Dec. 2. The Birds of Prey races have become legendary on the World Cup with one of the toughest courses of the season.
AUDI FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Reiteralm, AUT - Nov. 11, 2007
1. Marc Gini, Switzerland, 1:53.49
2. Kalle Palander, Finland, 1:53.77
3. Manfred Moelgg, Italy, 1:53.99
4. Jean-Baptiste Grange, France, 1:54.12
5. Mario Matt, Austria, 1:54.14
14. Jimmy Cochran, Keene, NH, 1:55.53
26. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH, 1:56.32
Did not qualify for 2nd run:
Ted Ligety, Park City, UT; Cody Marshall, Pittsfield, VT
Tim Kelley, Starksboro, VT