With the retirement of two longtime leaders of the men’s U.S. Ski Team — Steve Nyman and Travis Ganong — who will step into their bindings?
Candidates auditioned for the new roles Sunday at the World Cup super-G race at Aspen Mountain, part of the America’s Downhill race weekend.
U.S. veteran ski racers Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Jared Goldberg, Bryce Bennett and Erik Arvidsson took the start in the World Cup field of 54 — all cheered mightily by the crowd in the finish-line grandstands.
Arvidsson and Goldberg dazzled the Aspen crowd as they surged out from the late starters to tie for 14th place.
Arvidsson had started 52nd; Goldberg 45th.
“I was really disappointed in (Saturday),” an ecstatic Arvidsson said in the finish corral. “I thought I was capable of a lot more. But it just didn’t come together.”
Sunday, however, it was a different story for Arvidsson, a former Middlebury College racer.
His frustrating 42nd place in Saturday’s downhill paved the way for his climb up to 14th in Sunday’s super-G.
“I’m really, really happy that I was able to step it up (Sunday),” he said. “I have been struggling in super-G. Like all year, I had one good race.”
Until Sunday in Aspen.
“I had a good feeling for this hill. It suits my style,” said Arvidsson, 29. “We got lucky with the wind there at the end, But I felt like I a put together a good run.”
Arvidsson and Goldberg tied with Swiss racer Gino Caviezel on the super-G course that featured 574 meters of vertical drop with 37 total gates, 34 turning gates. They were clocked in 1:07.76.
Marco Odermatt’s winning time was 1:06.80.
“I was going to push as hard as I could,” Goldberg said of his 14th-place run. “I was really at the limit.”
He said he could have skied a bit cleaner.
“But I was pushing it,” Goldberg said. “I was just trying to pick up points and help myself out for next year.”
Mission accomplished — in spite of a pesky wind at the start.
“It was really blowing at the top,” said Goldberg 42, a former University of Utah ski racer. “One of the clocks right next to where we put our skis on blew over, and it’s heavy.”
Cochran-Siegle, a World Cup winner and silver medalist in the super-G at the 2018 Winter Olympics, finished 18th Sunday.
Vail Valley ski racer River Radamus, who has made waves in World Cup giant slaloms, skied out of Sunday’s super-G.
Fellow Vail ski racer Kyle Negomir, age 24, finished 36th on Sunday.
“The sport is more exciting for me when you are charging and taking the risks,” Negomir said. “That’s the fun part of our sport.”
He said super-G racing requires a skier to use his imagination and his background in skiing.
Negomir, 24, said although it was a busy week for U.S. skiers, they had the advantage of picking up energy from the home crowd.
“Skiing at home is a unique opportunity,” he said. “You are able to ski front of your friends and family, the people you care about.”
Negomir said the U.S. ski teamers are eager for a new season, albeit without Ganong and Nyman.
“They’ve been the leaders of this team for a long time now,” he said. “At the same time, we do have a crew of veteran guys — Bryce and Jared and Ryan, all 30-32 years old. Two of them have won World Cups.”
Flashing a major smile in the finish area, Negomir said, “The team is in really good hands in leadership moving forward. It will be fun to take more ownership in this team."