Paula Moltzan competes during the women's slalom at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 9, 2022 in Yanqing, China.
Smart money is on Shiffrin to win her 75th world cup race on Saturday. It will be her 219th world cup start. In her career to date, she has finished on the podium in over half the world cup races she has started — and won over a third of them.
Only Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark finished on the podium (and won) a greater percentage of the time. In his career, Stenmark won 86 world cup races — a dozen more than Shiffrin, who is starting her 12th season on the world cup tour.
In September, Shiffrin finished a solid three-week camp training GS and super-G in Chile and “had some really good feelings” on her GS skis. Shiffrin is a ski racer whose speed comes from those good feelings.
“I'm looking forward to [Sölden],” she said. “It's hard to know exactly how I'm going to feel until we actually show up for the race and see what things pop up in my mind. I'm sure I'll be nervous, but I am excited for the race.”
Not far behind Shiffrin in Sölden last year, Nina O’Brien scored a personal best, finishing ninth. Unfortunately, she will not be on this year’s Sölden start list. O’Brien, 24, crashed in the 2022 Olympic GS and suffered a compound tibial fracture, broken fibula, and talus fracture in her heel. She has recovered and is back on snow, working up to her first race.
“I don’t know when I’ll be back in the start gate yet,” O’Brien emailed from Europe. “Sölden seems a bit soon, but we’re taking it day by day.”
Olympian Paula Moltzan will be in the starting gate on Saturday. Newly married — having announced herself as Mrs. Mooney on Instagram after marrying long-time friend and ski tech Ryan Mooney on September 8 — Moltzan has been prepping for Sölden rather than honeymooning. She finished 10th in the Sölden GS in 2020 and will be vying for another top 10 finish or better this year.
From Sölden, Moltzan and Shiffrin will travel to Levi, Finland, for a world cup slalom, then home to Killington, Vermont, for a world cup slalom and GS.
River Radamus competes during the mixed team parallel small final at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 20, 2022 in Yanqing, China.
As for the men’s race in Sölden, Radamus is eager to see where he stacks up after the gains he made last season.
“On my good days [last season], I felt like I had a chance to be in there with the best in the world,” he said. “That was a big jump in confidence and made me feel more at ease but also more hungry. It made me realize I can broaden my horizons and reach for even bigger goals.”
Tommy Ford will be back on the world cup start list this season. Radamus describes 33-year-old Ford as an “absolute master” of GS; Ford has three world cup podium finishes on his resume.
But the GS master missed most of last season while trying to recover from a devastating crash in January 2021 that left him with a concussion, torn ligaments in his knee and wrist, and a broken tibial plateau. His first race back was the 2022 Olympic GS where he finished an eye-opening 12th place. Now, after a summer of training, Ford is no longer skiing with a knee brace and, as Radamus said, “looks like Tommy again” in the way he skis.
Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who won the Olympic silver medal in super-G at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, is also happy to have Ford back training and racing with the team.
“Having the heart to come back, especially with what his injury was, means so much to our team,” Cochran-Siegle said in Beijing. “He's the type of leader that we all respect, and we definitely want him back 100 percent and racing for those podiums, those wins.”
Ford’s best finish at Sölden is fourth in 2019.
Cochran-Siegle also plans to compete in Sölden. His best finish there is 11th in 2019 — one of the top world cup GS finishes for the Vermonter, who excels in the speed races.
From Sölden, Cochran-Siegle will head to Switzerland to join the men’s speed team at the new Zermatt-Cervinia downhill on October 29-30. The race starts in Switzerland and ends in Italy — the first-ever cross-border world cup race.
“La Gran Becca” — as the downhill course is called (Italian for “great peak”) — overlooks the Matterhorn and features the highest start on the world cup tour (12,205 feet above sea level) and at 3.7 kilometers (2.3 miles), is one of the longest courses on tour.
“It's going to be interesting,” said downhill veteran Steven Nyman. “It should be a fairly demanding race right off the bat.”
The Zermatt-Cervinia World Cup starts the speed-skiing season almost a month earlier than usual.
The course is a glider’s track on the Swiss end, with curves and steeps on the Italian side.
“I've only skied the upper part [of the course],” said Nyman. “I don't know if anybody's really skied that lower part. But I think it could suit my style.”
OFFICIAL 2022/23 USA ALPINE ROSTER
Breezy Johnson (Victor, Idaho; Rowmark Ski Academy; 1/19/1996)
Paula Moltzan (Prior Lake, Minnesota; Buck Hill Ski Team/Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and University of Vermont; 4/7/1994)
Nina O’Brien (Edwards, Colorado; Burke Mountain Academy/Team Palisades Tahoe; 11/29/1997)
Mikaela Shiffrin (Edwards, Colorado; Burke Mountain Academy/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 3/13/1995)
Bryce Bennett (Lake Tahoe, California; Team Palisades Tahoe; 7/14/1992)
Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vermont; Cochran’s/Mount Mansfield Ski & Snowboard Club; 3/27/1992)
Tommy Ford (Bend, Oregon; Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation; 3/20/1989)
Travis Ganong (Lake Tahoe, California; Team Palisades Tahoe; 7/14/1988
Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah; Park City Ski & Snowboard/Sundance Ski Team; 2/12/1982)
River Radamus (Edwards, Colorado; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 2/12/1998)
Keely Cashman (Strawberry, California; Team Palisades Tahoe; 4/4/1999)
AJ Hurt (Carnelian Bay, California; Team Palisades Tahoe; 12/5/2000)
Lauren Macuga (Park City, Utah; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 7/4/2002)
Alice Merryweather (Hingham, Massachusetts; Attitash Race Team/Stratton Mountain School; 10/5/1996)
Allie Resnick (Vail, Colorado; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 9/1/2001)
Jacqueline Wiles (Aurora, Oregon; White Pass Ski Club; 7/13/1992)
Isabella Wright (Salt Lake City, Utah; Snowbird Sports Education Foundation; 2/10/1997)
Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, California; Team Palisades Tahoe and Middlebury College; 9/3/1996)
Bridger Gile (Aspen, Colorado, Aspen Valley Ski Club/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/15/1999)
Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah; Snowbird Sports Education Foundation; 6/15/1991)
Isaiah Nelson(Wayzata, Minnesota; Buck Hill Ski Racing Club; 4/3/2001)
Kyle Negomir (Littleton, Colorado; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/3/1998)
Ben Ritchie (Waitsfield, Vermont; Green Mountain Valley School; 9/5/2000)
Jett Seymour (Steamboat, Colorado; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club/University of Denver Ski Team; 11/5/1998)
Luke Winters (Gresham, Oregon; Sugar Bowl Academy; 4/2/1997)
Katie Hensien (Redmond, Washington; Rowmark Ski Academy; 12/1/1999)
Ava Sunshine Jemison (Edwards, Colorado; Burke Mountain Academy; 6/20/2002)
Alix Wilkinson (Mammoth Lakes, California; Team Palisades Tahoe; 8/2/2000)
Zoe Zimmermann (Gilford, New Hampshire; Burke Mountain Academy; 5/16/2002)
Camden Palmquist (Eagan, Minnesota; Team Summit Colorado; 4/15/2003)
Jay Poulter (Bondville, Vermont; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club/Stratton Mountain School; 7/1/2003)
Cooper Puckett (Steamboat, Colo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 3/31/2003)
Storm Klomhaus (Boulder, Colorado; Team X Alpine/University of Denver Ski Team; 7/17/1998
Mary Bocock (Salt Lake City, Utah; Rowmark Ski Academy; 10/3/2003)
Elisabeth Bocock (Salt Lake City, Utah; Rowmark Ski Academy; 2005)
Kaitlyn Keane (Vail, Colorado; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; 2004)
Kjersti Moritz (Vail, Colorado; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; 11/27/04)
Emma Resnick (Vail, Colorado; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 7/23/2003)
Dasha Romanov (Thornton, Colorado; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; 5/3/2003)
Justin Bigatel (Park City, Utah; Burke Mountain Academy; 4/29/2003)
Ryder Sarchett (Ketchum, Idaho; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; 7/28/2003)
Jack Smith (Sun Valley, Idaho; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; 4/24/2001)