World Cup Finals Chatter: U.S.A.

FasterSkierMarch 27, 2017
Andy Newell (44) skiing with fellow American David Norris (55) during the men’s 15 k freestyle pursuit at World Cup Finals on Sunday in Quebec City. Norris finished the World Cup Finals mini tour in 43rd overall, but placed 27th for time of day, while Newell held his starting position in 44th. (Photo: John Lazenby/

After the 2017 World Cup Finals mini tour drew nearly 60 North American competitors and tens of thousands of spectators to Quebec City two weekends ago, it’s only fitting that we share the quotes from some of the athletes you haven’t heard from yet (and some you have). Here is a collection of some of the most interesting comments from the U.S. World Cup and Nation’s Group skiers at World Cup Finals. There were 27 in total, although two women — Kikkan Randall and Liz Stephen — did not race due to feeling under the weather.

And here are our race reports (with links to results at the bottom of each) from March 17-19:

Day 1 freestyle sprints: Men | Women

Day 2 classic mass starts: Women | Men

Day 3 freestyle pursuits: Men | Women


On being selected:

“It’s actually like a dream come true. It’s so so much fun. I wish I could do this every day because it’s the best experience I have ever had.” — Erika Flowers (Stratton Mountain School Elite Team)

“I was a little bummed out last year. I was pretty close but didn’t get to come [to the Ski Tour Canada], but it feels good to be here. Last time I came to be Quebec it was super awesome, mind-blowing awesome, so it’s nice.” — Becca Rorabaugh (Alaska Pacific University), who last raced World Cups in 2012 in Quebec and Canmore

On making the jump to the World Cup:

“This is my first World Cup weekend, feels awesome. It was a great experience to be in front of the home crowd of familiar faces, and now for next time I have goals and expectations and it will be really fun.” — Julia Kern (USST D-team/SMS Elite), after the pursuit

On racing close(r) to home:

“It’s so awesome to be back here in North America. I feel like every fourth person here knows my name and it’s an incredible atmosphere. This season hasn’t been what I was hoping for, but it’s just fun to finish it off in a place like this.” — Noah Hoffman (USST/Ski Club Vail)

“It’s really awesome. We only live, like, four hours away from here so we drove up, and it’s really nice to have people cheer for you on course people who that know your name.” — Liz Guiney (Craftsbury Green Racing Project)

“Certainly any time I was struggling I could tune into some American voices shouting my name or coaches and various fans. It’s really great. A good atmosphere our here.” — Caitlin Patterson (CGRP)

“I think I might be closer to Europe than home still. Still have a long ways to go, but I am really excited to head home tomorrow.” — Rosie Brennan (USST/APU)

On goals for World Cup Finals:

“I wanted to ski with confidence because I think it is really easy to get intimated out here, so kind of just went into it with, ‘Today is my race. I am going to ski my race and enjoy the day.’ And I was trying to really good technique and not put myself out of it from the get-go. So it was good. I felt great.” — Flowers, after the mass start

“I’m just trying to finish my season strong, but I feel like I haven’t really recovered from Europe at all, still pretty tired, but I thought I skied well. I almost crashed here but I managed to stay on my feet. I don’t feel like I am skiing super fast right now so I am just trying to do everyhting I can to do as well as I can.” — Ben Lustgarten (CGRP), after the sprint

“Try to hang in there, see what I can do. I haven’t done a World Cup distance race in quite a long time.” — Rorabaugh

“My goal is to improve on where I was last year.” — Kaitlynn Miller (CGRP), who finished last year’s Ski Tour Canada in 41st overall (she placed 52nd in this year’s World Cup Finals mini tour)

On mini-tour formats:

“Yesterday was just really bad, and when there are only three days in a tour, it’s hard to make up for one really bad day. But I am really happy with getting in the sprint heats, and today was a little better.” — Brennan, after the pursuit

“My only goal today was not get lapped, so went out hot for three laps and kind of puttered it in, but finished, and that was the goal. I’m more of a sprinter so it was good to just get through this tour.” — Cole Morgan (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation), after the pursuit

Sophie Caldwell (17), of the U.S. Ski Team and SMS Elite Team, racing to 38th in the 10 k classic mass start on March 18 at World Cup Finals in Quebec City. Switzerland’s Nathalie von Siebenthal (30) went on to finish 35th.(Photo: John Lazenby/

On mass starts:

“Dude, that’s what I am excited for. … We’ve got a lot of fast distance skiers [on the U.S. team], and hopefully we can work together and push each other.” — Lustgarten, after the sprint

“I tend to prefer classic races and I think a mass start is going to be really exciting.” — Kaitlynn Miller (CGRP), after the sprint

“We knew to expect the accordions and it still caught me completely off guard when we were going into that little bump up there and we came to a complete stop. I think that might’ve been one of the first times in a race that I’ve really come to a complete stop. I know it happens in the guys’ field a lot when they’re all together, but somehow usually the women spread out. So that was a little dicey.” — Caitlin Patterson, after the mass start

“Honestly, I made a rookie mistake and thought that we had four laps, so we turned into the finish and I was like, ‘What? We’re done?’ But it was a good experience and it is good to practice that because in a big fast field like this. it starts hot and you just have to be ready to go and hopefully we can bring that back to the SuperTour and practice that a bit more often.” — Flowers

“It was fun to mix it up. It was pretty hard with the mass start, starting toward the back. There were definitely a couple times where I came to a complete stop, but it was a good experience.” — Jack Hegman (SVSEF)

On pursuits:

“This was definitely one of my favorite events. Really fun to have a cool format with the pursuit and chasing people down.” — Paddy Caldwell (USST D-team/SMS Elite)

“[This was] probably the worst race I’ve had all year, but that’s what happens sometimes. … I had a good race yesterday and today it just wasn’t going.” — Matt Gelso (SVSEF)

On starting in a pursuit wave:

“It was fun. For how small the wave was it was still rather hectic. The course is narrow in parts, which makes it really hard, and I probably expended more energy than I needed to. Maybe I went a little too frantic in that. But it was good though, it’s a really beautiful day here, and they have done a really good job, and I am super pumped. Our techs worked super hard. Yeah, everything was great.” — Chelsea Holmes (APU)

“I wanted to basically think of it as a mass start race from the wave and it was good. I felt like I was able to make the breaks where I wanted to.” — Brian Gregg (Team Gregg/Loppet Nordic Racing)

On skiing with teammates:

“I was working with David [Norris] and Scott [Patterson] for most of the race, and two other guys so that was really fun, and fun to work as group and try to put down a fast time.” — Paddy Caldwell, after the pursuit

“I started three people in front of the wave, so I knew they were going to catch me, but that was fun because we got to ski a pretty fun 15 k with a lot of U.S. competitors. Me and Simi skied a lot together and Brian Gregg and it was fun to finish it off in the sun with some teammates skiing 15 k.” — Andy Newell (USST/SMS Elite), after the pursuit

“I was actually skiing with my teammates, Simi and Andy, for a while. We were rotating through and trying to catch some of the guys ahead of us and make sure the big pack right behind us wasn’t going to catch us.” — Gregg, after the pursuit

“It was super fun skiing with all the U.S. girls in a pack together.” — Kern, after the pursuit

On idols:

“The highlight was definitely being in a sprint heat with Jessie, ’cause I really look up to her and growing up she was my idol. To race with her in my first Wold Cup was really fun.” — Kern, after the pursuit

On falling down and getting back up:

“I fell twice … I fell right out of the start and caught up on someone’s pole, and then on one of the downhills slid out on someone’s ski. The first time I was like, ‘Oh, I can come back from this?’ The second time was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ Ugh. But overall this weekend has been pretty fun. It’s so fun to race in Canada, and the conditions could not be better. So I kind of have to get over my own poor race and enjoy the process.” — Jennie Bender (Bridger Ski Foundation), after the pursuit

Sadie Bjornsen (U.S. Ski Team) leads Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla and the rest of a chase pack during the women’s 10 k freestyle pursuit on the last day of 2017 World Cup Finals, where she placed 10th overall with the fifth-fastest time of day. (Photo: John Lazenby/

On the course:

“The course is really different than what we are used to skiing. These are not World Cup-designed trails. There are not the huge hills that we are used to. [They’re] really punchy, short, steep hills. It probably doesn’t suit my strengths super well, but it is the type of skiing I need to be able to do and its such a great atmosphere right here in the city and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.” — Hoffman, after the mass start

“I like that there were short, punchy climbs where you had to put your head down and hammer, and then fun downhills.” — Guiney, after the mass start

“The course was really great. It’s kind of a technical course, so you have to think about how you’re going to ski each area and between this headwind, tailwind, all the corners, crests of hills, and I think I skied it fairly well. Smoothly. I felt like I was missing a little bit of power out there, so it wasn’t the best of sprint qualifiers, but it was OK.” — Caitlin Patterson, after the sprint

“The course is awesome, and it’s really fast out right now so it skis really smooth. It’s a really fun qualifier, so I am sure it would be really fun heats. The course for the distances races look good, too. They’re going to be nice with 3 k laps.” — Rorabaugh, after the sprint

“It was pretty flat, lots of double pole and it was a good course.” — Hegman, after the mass start

On conditions: 

“These really firm tracks made it harder to track-hop, especially on the fast downhills because you’re just kind of wobbly and it’s a little bit sketchy, so you’re always looking for the fastest line but also having to keep in the tracks. It was a little tricky. Always a mental game and a physical game out there.” — Caitlin Patterson, after the classic mass start

“I think it was hard to nail the kick yesterday as it was warming up quickly. Today I had really fast skis, they were like stupid-fast, which was awesome. Just great conditions to ski in.” — Sophie Caldwell (USST/SMS Elite), after the skate pursuit

“They have been great all weekend. Pretty consistent, fast, and the snow is transforming a bit today. A little different than yesterday … but overall it has been really good.” — Flowers, after the pursuit

“It did the same thing it did yesterday, got a little wetter and a little slower throughout, but I had good skis so it was nice. Just had to get up those tough climbs and glide out the downhills.” — Morgan

“It was all right, felt pretty slow, especially finishing, you’re like, ‘Man, someone’s gonna come by me,’ but it was just slow for everyone. It was hard work out there. Not too many hills, but snow made you work.” — Scott Patterson

On finishing out the season:

“No great results this weekend, but last year at this time and previous year, I was just totally dying off, so one of my goals this year was to try to build through the season, and my fitness is definitely not dropping, if anything it is still building right now. So I am happy. Even though I am not skiing where I want to right now, it gives me a good platform for next year, and that’s kind of what I wanted for this year.” — Newell, after the pursuit

“It’s hard to complain when your racing in blue-bird skies and it’s fast snow and there’s 10,000 North American fans out here so it was really cool. I just focused on catching some good rides and ski hard where I could and having fun.” — Simi Hamilton (USST/SMS Elite), after the pursuit

On season highlights:

“Toblach, for sure, that was the highlight of the year for me. I love racing there and I felt great that weekend. I felt great going into Worlds, but that was obviously really frustrating with falling in that corner … that was for sure a bummer, but it was still a great experience being at Worlds at Lahti. Every season, there’s always bumps and ups and downs, but … I have had seasons in the past by the end of the year I am ready to take a serious period kind of away from training and racing and right now I feel a little bit different. I am ready for a break but also ready for the training season, and I know some really specific, concrete things I need to work on, so I am psyched to start tackling those and just get back to it.” — Hamilton, who placed second in the World Cup freestyle sprint on Jan. 14 in Toblach, Italy, for his fourth-career individual podium

On their season overall:

“I am really satisfied with it. It was really solid. I don’t think there was that one standout result that can sometimes make a season, but I think I had very consistently good results and that’s something I’m proud of, and I look forward to building up off that.” — Sophie Caldwell

“Overall I actually had a really good season. In February I got a concussion so the last month has been a bit rough, but I am trying to finish out strong.” — Bender, who had a non-skiing related injury when a hockey puck struck the back of her head

“It’s been up and down. I think I had some great results and that’s really fun, and then definitely some days where I’d like to improve off for next year.” — Flowers


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