Squaw Valley’s Erik Arvidsson wins World Juniors downhill
SOCHI, Russia — The next generation of ski racers kicked off the FIS Junior World Ski Championships on Saturday, with Squaw Valley Ski Team product Erik Arvidsson snagging a huge win in the downhill.
A regular on the NorAm Cup podium in speed events, Arvidsson smoked the 2014 Olympic downhill track, skiing the course tactfully to win by two-tenths of a second.
He adds to the lineup of previous American Junior Worlds winners, including current World Cup athlete Ryan Cochran-Siegle, U.S. Ski Team assistant coach Chris Beckmann and Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe.
But it was a team effort, as three of Arvidsson’s teammates also finished in the top 10. Sam Morse took fourth, Florian Szwebel was seventh and Drew Duffy 10th.
“I’m really psyched and super proud to lead four Americans into the top 10 here at World Juniors in Sochi,” Arvidsson said. “I can’t remember a recent performance like this from our boys. It was pretty incredible to stand there in the leader’s box for a while with some teammates. It was a pretty incredible day and it felt really good to be a part of such a strong American downhiller team.”
For a group that has skied together for many years and are very close friends, these results were special.
“This group is powerful together, super strong. They work really hard to create an environment where they feed off each other and pick up on each other’s strengths,” said Development Team Assistant Coach Justin Johnson. “The team power we have is unreal. It makes them super strong.”
The ladies had a strong showing, as well, with Breezy Johnson leading the Americans in fourth place. Behind her were Galena Wardle in 29th, Patricia Mangan in 33rd and Nina O’Brien, who also is associated with the Squaw Valley Ski Team, in 37th.