Nordic Combined and Snowboardcross Weekend Update
By Grant Johnson
LILLEHAMMER, Norway (Dec. 7) – World Championship bronze medalist Bryan Fletcher skied a competitive race from behind to finish 16th during the 10k cross country portion of the individual nordic combined World Cup on Saturday. Starting 1:52 back in 36th, Fletcher covered ground quickly to move up 20 places (a personal record) and notch the top spot for the U.S. Ski Team. Jason Lamy Chappuis won the race. On Sunday, the nordic combined men took on the large hill for the Gundersen HS138/10k World Cup.Teammate Billy Demong finished close behind in 19th, while brother Taylor Fletcher finished 22nd. Veteran Todd Lodwick finished the race in 34th.
"The jumping went well today. I've had some issues with boots this year and I switched to new boots. That was my second jump with the new boots so I'm still feeling it out and getting used to them. I'm happy things are going in the right direction on the jump hill. The cross country was great – I skied awesome. I had a really good feeling all the way through the course. I was feeling good until the last hill. Then I was kind of beat, but it's okay. I went out hard. So I was happy. It was a personal best in moving up places in a race," said Bryan Fletcher.
He skied into the top ten during the cross country portion of the 10k individual Gundersen on Sunday, posting the fifth-fastest time of the day. Fletcher reacted by saying, "I had a little bit better jumping than yesterday, so that helped put it on a good note. I had a good starting position and good people to ski with going into the race, so I knew that as long as I could start it out slow and ski with them I’d be okay going into the last lap. It worked out perfect. I just skied great the first couple laps and had enough to hang on there. Overall I’m really happy and definitely some happy surprise results this weekend."
Todd Lodwick finished right behind Fletcher in 11th. "This is the best finish on the World Cup circuit in a long time, the first top-15 finish since the 2011 season. Yesterday I was hurting bad. My heart rate was low and I really couldn’t get going. My legs were completely shot. Today I just went out easy. Tough conditions made it slower today because of the new snow. For me it was just my own race and my goal was to be in the points today and I surpassed that goal by a long shot," said Lodwick.
Both Fletcher and Lodwick started the race over a minute behind the leader after jumping into 26th and 16th respectively. Germany’s Eric Frenzel won after also finishing second in the jumping portion. Next, the nordic combined athletes go to Ramsau, Austria for two World Cup events Dec. 14-15
MONTAFON, Austria (Dec. 7) – There were six top-30 U.S. results on the men’s side including Robert Minghini (Snowshoe, WV) in 16th, Mick Dierdorff in 17th, Alex Tuttle (Sugarloaf, ME) in 27th and Trevor Jacob (Mammoth Lakes, CA) in 29th at the U.S. during the snowboardcross World Cup season opener on Saturday. Second-year U.S. Snowboarding athlete Jackie Hernandez (Londonderry, VT) finished sixth and posted the top spot. Olympic medalist Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) won the small final race and finished seventh in her first snowboardcross event in nearly two years. Czech rider Eva Samkova took the victory for the women. In the men’s snowboardcross opener, Jonathan Cheever (Saugus, MA) took the top spot for the U.S. in 13th while Markus Schairer of Austria won the race. On Sunday the riders took to the Montafon course again to race men’s and women’s team snowboardcross.
Seven-time X Games gold medalist Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) teamed up with Olympian Callan Chythlook-Sifsof (Girdwood, AK) to mount a joint comeback, taking second in the women’s team World Cup in Montafon on Sunday. This was the first weekend back from injury for both women and, for Jacobellis, a return to the World Cup circuit after a two-year break. Italy won the women’s race. In the men’s race, Alex Deibold (Manchester Center, VT) and Hagen Kearney (Telluride, CO) teamed up and finished sixth. Germany took the victory for the men. Next the snowboardcross athletes head to Lake Louise, AB for a World Cup race Dec. 21.