BEAVER CREEK — Mikaela Shriffrin saved the U.S. Women’s Ski Team’s bacon on Sunday at the Raptor at Beaver Creek.
While the 18-year-old racer from Eagle-Vail was marvellous, finishing second to the delight of the crowd, the rest of the squad capped a disappointing weekend here with a bad day in giant slalom.
Julia Mancuso did make the flip, finishing the first run in 28th. She fell victim to Screech Owl during the second run and was a DNF. In fairness to her, GS is not her best discipline and the second course set was hard — average times rose roughly 5 seconds from the first run. On the other side of the coin, Mancuso was clearly not comfortable on the course all week between three days of training and three races.
Mancuso declined to talk with the media after the race.
The Americans nearly have a feel-good story in veteran Resi Stiegler. The 28-year-old from Jackson, Wyo., started No. 60 out of a field of 72 racers and came within 0.34 seconds of making the flip.
“I’m really excited. I am starting from the very back,” Stiegler said. “But I’ve been skiing really well in training, and I’m really excited about that. I just tried to go for it really hard because I knew the course was in perfect condition. I made a little mistake that cost me some speed. I nailed the wrong gate.”
That little mistake was on Red Tail, the final major feature of the course.
Megan McJames of Park City, Utah, started No. 47, but came down in 39th.
“I’ve been training well, so I tried to turn my mind off and let my body do the work and try to be as aggressive as I could, hammer it down the slope. Today, I wasn’t quite fast enough, but we have four more races in the next four days in Loveland, so I’ll be working on it every day.”
Those would be Nor-Ams, in which both Stiegler and McJames will try to lower their race points to up their starting positions for future World Cup starts.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.