Ski wrap: Luebke claims third at Freeride World Tour stop in Austria |

Ski wrap: Luebke claims third at Freeride World Tour stop in Austria

Sammy Luebke rides to a third-place finish in Austria.
Courtesy of Freeride World Tour/ Jeremy Bernard | @freerideworldtour/©JBERNARD

Local snowboarder Sammy Luebke landed on the Freeride World Tour podium for the second time this season, claiming third on Sunday at the tour’s stop in Fieberbrunn, Austria.

Luebke, 30, who is a three-time tour champion, finished the day with 4,900 points. Fellow American rider Nils Mindnich, 25, won the competitions with 10,000 points.

Mindnich leads the season standings by nearly 10,000, having piled up 27,000 points so far. Luebke sits in third place with 15,330 points.

“Stoked to take (third) place in Fieberbrunn,” Luebke posted to his Instagram account. “The snow was amazing and every category crushed it.”

Also with ties to the Truckee-Tahoe area, Jonathan Penfield, 32, claimed seventh place with 1,175 points.

On the women’s side, Jaclyn Passo, 37, who competed for Squaw, finished second in skiing with 7,000 points. Italy’s Arianna Tricomi, 27, won the event with a score of 10,000.

The Freeride World Tour will close out the season with one of the most anticipated stops, Xtreme Verbier. Skiers and riders will take on the legendary face of the Bec des Rosses in Switzerland while vying for the title of world champion. The event is scheduled to take place from March 28 through April 5.

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US Freestyle Moguls Championships at Squaw canceled

One of the biggest events of the freestyle ski season has been canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced Thursday that it is cancelling all remaining domestic events, including next weekend’s US Freestyle Moguls National Championships at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

The event would have the nation’s best moguls skiers, including future Olympians and current World Cup competitors, together for two days of competition.

While nationals have been canceled, the freestyle junior nationals are scheduled to be held this weekend in Park City, Utah.

Roughly 20 members of the Olympic Valley Freestyle and Freeride Team, otherwise known as SquawFree, will be competing.

Ganong finishes fifth in Norway

Squaw Valley alpine racer Travis Ganong matched a season-best fifth place at last Sunday’s World Cup downhill event in Kvitfjell, Norway, marking the second top-five finish for the 31-year-old this season.

“I love this track, I’ve had a lot of success on this hill…I just really like this hill, and the snow,” said Ganong in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I have a really good feeling on it. I’m skiing really well, and I’m stoked with where the season wrapped up in downhill. I really want to get back on the downhill podium — that’s definitely my ultimate goal, but it’s nice to be close and competitive, and consistently skiing well.”

Ganong led the U.S. with a time of 1 minute, 48.57 seconds, which was 0.55 off the pace set by winning Matthias Mayer, 29, of Austria.

Squaw’s Bryce Bennett, 27, posted the second fastest time by an American, finishing in 1:49.69 for 17th place.

Due to the cancellation of World Cup Finals in Cortina d’Ampezzo as a result of the coronavirus, the event marked the final downhill of the season.

“I really wanted to race in Cortina, to get on that hill before World Champs (2021) … it’s going to be interesting now because the Italian team is going to be the only team that will have trained on that hill and they’re going to have a huge advantage going into World Champs,” added Ganong. “I was really bummed that it got cancelled, but it is what it is. It’ll be weird going home now, a couple of weeks early … we always want to race more and mentally we’re ready to race more, so it sucks to have the season end abruptly like that.”

Ganong ended the season ranked 13th in downhill. Bennett finished 16th.

Cashman claims Junior Worlds bronze

Squaw Valley alpine skier Keely Cashman, 20, won her first FIS Junior World Ski Championships medal on Monday, leading the U.S. team with a third-place finish in combined in Narvik, Norway.

Cashman posted a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s super-G race, and then went on to post the third fastest time in super-G as part of Monday’s combined event.

Cashman said the conditions were challenging, but they reminded her of skiing at local resorts.

“It was super windy, so the start was moved down a bit, and the snow wasn’t super wet, but it was really mushy, so it was pretty soft. It was kind of like skiing at Squaw, so it was familiar to me. I’m pretty happy with the result,” said Cashman in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

Another Squaw skier, AJ Hurt, 19, was also competing at the junior world ski championships. She posted a sixth-place finish in super-G on Sunday.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at or 530-550-2643.

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