Steamboat Springs The U.S. Nordic Combined Team picked up three more top-10 finishes Saturday in Predazzo, Italy, in one of the most hotly contested events of the year.
Steamboat Springs’ Johnny Spillane finished fourth, battling eventual winner Felix Gottwald, of Austria, second-place finisher Magnus Moan, of Norway, and third-place finisher Eric Frenzel, of Germany, the last 700 meters of the race.
Todd Lodwick finished sixth, and Billy Demong finished eighth.
Steamboat’s Alex Miller was 45th, and Taylor Fletcher was 56th.
All three of the top American skiers held the lead at one point in the race. New jump scoring rules with wind speed adjustments brought the cross-country race closer together.
“It’s a different game now,” head coach Dave Jarrett said in a U.S. Ski Team news release. “It’s becoming more of a tactical race than who’s the fastest. More important to be the smartest guy once the pack is together.”
In the final sprint, Gottwald was able to hold off the lead pack, and Spillane finished 8.3 seconds back.
The new wind adjustment scoring that made a difference will not be used in the Olympic Games.
The World Cup continues today with another event in Predazzo.
Freestyle skiers try to make mark in Calgary
Several mogul skiers with ties to Steamboat made their cases for inclusion on the 2010 Olympic team with strong World Cup showings Friday in Calgary, Alberta.
Emiko Torito, who finished second at the 2010 U.S. Winter Olympic Team Trials in Steamboat, had a fifth-place finish in Calgary, finishing just behind America’s top finisher, Heather McPhie, who was fourth.
Steamboat’s Eliza Outtrim finished 18th.
On the men’s side, Steamboat’s Mike Morse was the top finisher in sixth, his second sixth-place finish in a World Cup this season. A second World Cup took place Saturday, but results weren’t available at press time.
Snowboarders Schaffrick and Ladley finish in 8th
Steamboat Springs snowboarders Maddy Schaffrick and Matt Ladley each finished eighth Saturday at the finals of the Grand Prix of Snowboarding in Mammoth, Calif.
Ladley had a good run, landing a 1080 and a double cork 1080.
Schaffrick fell in both her finals runs.
Shaun White won on the men’s side, and Gretchen Bleiler won the women’s event.