Alpine Skiing Preview
The U.S. Alpine Ski Team enjoyed great success at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 with Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety grabbing Olympic gold, Andrew Weibrecht taking silver, and Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso claiming bronze medals. At 18, Shiffrin became the youngest athlete in history (male or female) to win an Olympic slalom gold medal, while at 36 years old, Miller became the oldest alpine medalist in Olympic history. Team USA is more than capable of matching their Sochi success in PyeongChang, and could even surprise with more spectacular performances to exceed expectations.

Heading into the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, things look promising with gold medalist and honorary PyeongChang 2018 Ambassador Lindsey Vonn returning to action—hungry for gold. Additionally, Olympic gold medalists Ligety and Shiffrin plan to lead a strong squad. Two-time Olympic medalist Weibrecht, along with American downhill teammate Steven Nyman, will also be aiming for hardware in PyeongChang. The strong and consistent Laurenne Ross will also look to leave her mark on the Games while you young, promising talents – like Bryce Bennett, Jared Goldberg, Jackie Wiles and Breezy Johnson in speed events – will also look to make an impression.  

PyeongChang promises to be a wild ride, with plenty of reasons to tune in and follow the action.

Storylines

  • The winningest female ski racer of all-time, Lindsey Vonn is one of six women to have won world cup races in all five disciplines of alpine skiing—downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and super combined. She’s won 79 world cup races (as of January 26, 2018) in her career, which are an all-time women's record, passing Annemarie Moser-Pröll of Austria who had held the record since the 1970s, and only Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden with 86 world cup victories has more. With her Olympic gold and bronze medals, two world championship gold medals in 2009 (plus three silver medals in 2007 and 2011), and four overall world cup titles, Vonn has become the most successful American ski racer in history.

  • Since winning her Olympic gold medal in 2014, Mikaela Shiffrin has been on fire on the world cup circuit. Her current winning streak in slalom is six and she’s won three world championship gold medals, four world cup slalom titles, and with 41 career wins (as of January 26, 2018), she owns the second most world cup victories by an American woman, behind only Lindsey Vonn with 79. Shiffrin joined an elite group of American skiers in 2017, becoming just the fifth to win an Overall title, and she did it at a mere 22-years-old. She currently leads the overall title race by a massive 800+ point margin, is the leader in the slalom standings, second in the giant slalom standings and third in the downhill standings.

  • Ted Ligety underwent back surgery in January 2017, causing him to miss the rest of the 2016-17 season. The two-time Olympic gold medalist will focus on the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, intending to come back strong as a medal contender. Though a knee injury also had him sidelined for much of the 2016 season, he will be a strong contender for gold in PyeongChang. The Yongpyong Alpine Centre is a special venue for Ligety, as it is the home of his very first world cup giant slalom victory in 2006.

  • The U.S. men’s downhill skiers are a strong group, a band of brothers who are tight-knit and could rack in the points at any given world cup event. Veteran Steven Nyman suffered a knee injury in 2017 and is making a strong comeback for PyeongChang 2018. He had two consistently strong seasons in 2015 and 2016, including a podium finish at the PyeongChang downhill test event in 2016. Nyman has his sights set on becoming the first U.S. men’s downhill skier to win the title. Although he has never won a world championship medal, Nyman owns 11 world cup podium finishes (as of September 2017). In 2016, he recorded a four-podium-finish streak – something no U.S. male downhill skier had ever done before.

Athletes To Watch

Bryce Bennett
Towering over his competition at 6’7”, Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, California) is the tallest guy on the world cup circuit. Currently ranked 14th in the alpine combined and 18th in downhill standings in the world, the 25-year-old has proven that he can be a consistent performer in the top 30 at multiple venues. With nine top-30 performances in 2018, highlighted by two top-15 performances, Bennett will head into his first Olympic Winter Games with confidence and the mentorship of Steven Nyman, fellow alpine teammate and veteran Olympian.

Ted Ligety
Ligety (Park City, Utah) redefined the giant slalom discipline, earning the nickname “Mr. GS.” The two-time Olympic champion won the combined event at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, and in 2014, became the first American man to win a giant slalom gold medal and the first in U.S. history to win two Olympic gold medals in alpine skiing. In giant slalom, Ligety is second only to the great Ingemar Stenmark (46 wins) in world cup victories, with 24. He has been steadily building towards PyeongChang throughout the 2018 season and will be a strong contender to win gold again at the 2018 Games.

Steven Nyman
Now four-time Olympian Nyman (Sundance, Utah) has yet to win an Olympic medal but will have a chance to do so in 2018. In the Olympic test event in 2016, he finished third in downhill at the Jeongseon Alpine Center. Filled with big jumps and a lot of terrain, the newly developed course in Jeongseon fits Nyman's skill set perfectly. According to Nyman, the Olympic course feels like a combination between the dry, grippy, buttery smooth snow at Beaver Creek, Colorado, and the flow at Val Gardena, Italy.

Laurenne Ross
After finishing fourth and sixth in the downhill and super-G Olympic test events in PyeongChang in 2017, two-time Olympian Laurenne Ross (Bend, Oregon) sustained a knee injury at U.S. Alpine Championships. Words can’t appropriately convey the extent of Ross’ injury. Torn ACL/LCL/medial meniscus/lateral meniscus/popliteal fibular ligament, dislocated tibiofibular joint, and a broken tibial plateau – it was extensive. At one point, Ross was uncertain she’d return to competition. Sacrificing everything to focus on rehab over the summer, it was challenging for Ross, but it was worth it. She did something quite incredible. Just eight months after her injury and in her second start back, she finished eighth in the super-G in Val d’Isere at the world cup. With top-30 finishes in every world cup during the 2018 season, Ross will go into PyeongChang with consistency and confidence.

Mikaela Shiffrin
At age 18 in 2014, Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colorado) became the youngest athlete in history (male or female) to win an Olympic slalom gold medal, and she’s poised for another slalom gold in 2018. With world cup victories across four disciplines – slalom, giant slalom, alpine combined and downhill – it’s safe to say Shiffrin is not only a medal threat in every event she’ll enter in the Games, but also one of the most dominant athletes in the world.

Lindsey Vonn
When she’s healthy, Vonn (Vail, Colorado) is the best in the sport – and she’s healthy heading into PyeongChang. The winningest female ski racer of all-time owns Olympic gold (downhill) and bronze (super-G) medals from 2010. The four-time Olympian was sidelined due to injury during the 2014 Games in Sochi, and is looking to head into PyeongChang with a vengeance, while also serving as an honorary Olympic Ambassador. At the PyeongChang test event in 2016, Vonn finished second to Italy’s Sofia Goggia in both the downhill and the super-G – by a mere 0.11 hundredths of a second total – making her even more hungry for gold in PyeongChang. With two more victories under her belt in 2018, she’s been taking calculated risks with her eyes on the prize in PyeongChang. Gold or bust!

Andrew Weibrecht 
A two-time Olympic medalist, Weibrecht (Lake Placid, New York) is coming off his most successful world cup season in 2016. He grabbed the 2010 Olympic super-G bronze medal and then in 2014, produced a truly inspirational run to claim silver. The result added his name to the elite two-time Olympic medalist club for American men, along with Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Tommy Moe and Phil Mahre.

Jackie Wiles
Two-time Olympian Jackie Wiles (Aurora, Oregon) is the first-ever Lindsey Vonn Foundation ambassador and she’s going into PyeongChang with a positive outlook and her signature risk-taking “Wiles style.” With two world cup podiums under her belt, including one recently at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, where she shared the podium with teammate and mentor Vonn, Wiles is heading into PyeongChang with serious podium potential. The classic downhill on the Jeongseon Alpine Centre track is much like the track in Cortina, with big, sweeping turns, flow and terrain to boot – which our women’s speed team thrives on. 

Qualification

Athletes qualify by ending the season ranked within the top 500 on the FIS Olympic points list, which combines an average of results from July 2016-January 2018, or a specified level within each individual Olympic event. Nations entered up to 22 athletes (which can include a maximum of 14 athletes of either gender and up to four competitors per event) with quota spots determined through international results by each nation during the same time period.


Click here to view the complete 2018 Olympic qualification procedures for alpine skiing.

Selection

Athletes were selected for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team based on various criteria, in part utilizing results from the FIS Alpine Ski World Cups during the 2017-18 season, along with the FIS points ranking list.


Editor’s Note: This selection process overview is designed to provide general information only. The selection process is formally governed by selection procedures published by each National Governing Body


Key Dates

October 2017-March 2018

FIS Ski World Cup

Schedule of Events

Qualification for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team included the FIS World Cup races in Cortina, Italy and Kitzbuehel, Austria, held Jan. 20-21, 2018. The official team roster was announced following these races on Jan. 22, 2018.