Vonn, Miller focus on upcoming worlds
19-member US squad loaded with Olympians
It’s been almost a year since Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller added Olympic gold to their impressive résumés, conquering Whistler Mountain at the Vancouver Games. But the good times could keep rolling as arguably the two greatest US ski racers were named yesterday to head a 19-member team to the Alpine World Championships, Feb. 8-20 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
One of the strongest teams fielded by the United States, the group headed to next month’s worlds will feature four Olympic gold medalists. Joining Vonn and Miller are Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso, along with 15 other Olympians who competed in Vancouver.
Vonn, who is a three-time World Cup overall champion, had two gold medals — super-G and downhill — at the 2009 World Championships, followed by a gold (downhill) and bronze (super-G) in Vancouver.
Miller has won five World Cup medals (including four gold), is a two-time World Cup overall champion, and won a medal of each color in Vancouver to bring his Olympic count to five.
“I have a lot of confidence in downhill and super-G,’’ Vonn told Ski Racing’s Hank McKee. “Right now I’m extremely excited for the World Championships. Garmisch is a really good hill for me, and I’ve had a lot of success there. But the World Championships are unique: You have to be the best on race day. There are no second chances.’’
The team also includes New Englanders Leanne Smith of Conway, N.H., who had a recent eighth-place World Cup super-G finish, Warner Nickerson of Gilford, N.H., Chelsea Marshall of Pittsfield, Vt., and Nolan Kasper of Warren, Vt.
Kearney in midseason form Hannah Kearney keeps winning. Entering this weekend’s mogul competition in Calgary, she’s the overall World Cup leader, having swept last weekend’s Nature Valley Freestyle Cup at Whiteface in Lake Placid, N.Y. The 24-year-old US Ski Team member from Norwich, Vt., earned her fourth consecutive individual moguls World Cup victory.
“My goal this season has been consistency,’’ said Kearney in a release. “To come in first in both qualifying runs and win both final runs means that I’m achieving my goals. It feels so good to walk away with these wins.’’
Kearney’s not the only one on a roll. With the upcoming World Championships Feb. 2-5 in Utah’s Deer Valley, Maine’s Jeremy Cota earned his first World Cup podium with a third on Saturday, and a sixth Sunday. Both men’s events were swept by France’s Guilbaut Colas.
Sugarloaf expansion begins Sugarloaf opened four new gladed trails encompassing 60 acres last week as the first phase of a 655-acre expansion onto Burnt Mountain. The new Brackett Basin area is billed as “sidecountry’’ terrain, offering backcountry-style skiing within patrolled, in-bounds territory.
The 10-year “Sugarloaf 2020’’ master plan announced last summer has the eventual goal of making the resort the largest in the East in terms of acreage. Phase two will link the glades to the summit, opening a second above-treeline area to accompany Sugarloaf’s existing Snowfields. The third and final phase will open the north face of Burnt Mountain. Access to the new glades is via a cross-cut from the top of the existing King Pine Quad. The terrain is rated expert, and skiers and riders are encouraged to check in with patrollers before exploring Brackett Basin.
“It is pretty wild in there,’’ said communications manager Ethan Austin. “You have to pick your route, know your surroundings, and be aware of what might be in your way.’’
Watch that thermometer The week’s cold was a boon to customers who took advantage of Waterville Valley’s first “Temperature Tuesday’’ promotion that will run through the end of the season. On Mondays, the resort’s weather forecaster predicts what the temperature will be at the base lodge when ticket windows open for business on Tuesdays, and customers pay $1 per degree based on that prediction. The forecast is posted online the day before.
Dew Tour likes Killington With an estimated 29,000 people attending last weekend’s Winter Dew Tour stop at Killington, is it coming back to the central Vermont resort?
Though final dates and locations for next season are still being finalized, and an announcement isn’t likely until summer, there is some love showing.
“We couldn’t be happier with bringing the Winter Dew Tour to Killington Resort. The weekend saw great competitions and the local community support was tremendous. We hope to be back for years to come,’’ Chris Prybylo, the tour’s general manager, said in an e-mail.
Killington was equally positive.
“The Winter Dew Tour has not announced the 2011-12 tour stops, however Killington hopes to have a long relationship with the Winter Dew Tour,’’ e-mailed interim communications manager Sarah Thorson.
In the superpipe snowboarder Louie Vito rode to his second consecutive victory, and Kelly Clark took her first Dew Tour win of the season over Gretchen Bleiler. France’s Kevin Rolland was king of the freeski superpipe, followed by Gus Kenworthy and Simon Dumont.
In snowboard slopestyle, Norway’s Torstein Horgmo and Californian Jamie Anderson won their respective competitions for the second time, while Bobby Brown of Breckenridge, Colo., ruled freeski slopestyle. The tour wraps up Feb. 10-13 in Ogden, Utah.
Hockey, football bring specials The first three Wednesday nights in February are “Hub Hockey Nights’’ at Wachusett Mountain. Kids get a $10 discount on lift tickets by printing an online coupon and wearing their youth hockey jersey or jacket . . . Bromley is billing Feb. 4 as “Mom’s Day Off.’’ Ladies can ski on the cheap and help a good cause by showing a picture of their children and by making a $15 donation to a breast cancer awareness organization . . . Black Mountain now has a promotion that entitles anyone to free skiing after 2 p.m. if a full-price next-day ticket is purchased . . . Ragged Mountain has added discounted pricing on Wednesdays (women ski for $33) and Thursdays (seniors 55 and up ski for $34) . . . For families booking at least a three-night stay between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4, Sugarloaf is offering free lift tickets to kids 18 and under . . . This Sunday, Shawnee Peak has $38 tickets for AAA members . . . Here are a few advance deals for Super Bowl Sunday, annually one of the lightest weekend dates of the skiing season: Cannon will have 2-for-$67 pricing on Feb. 6; at Okemo, take $10 off all Sunday Solution ticket packages, and root for a low score, because the resort’s next-day pricing on Feb. 7 will be the combined total of the Super Bowl points (capped at 59); if you have the flexibility to purchase in advance, www.liftopia.com has a slew of New England deals on Super Bowl Sunday ranging from 20 to 50 percent off.
Globe correspondents T.D. Thornton and Marty Basch contributed to this report.