Thursday, May 28, 2020

Chodounsky continues charging toward Olympic Games

Posts another World Cup top 10

David Chodounsky started his ski racing career at Buck Hill in Minnesota and then moved with his family to Crested Butte at the age of 11. From then on he trained with the Crested Butte Ski Club and the Crested Butte Academy, eventually skiing for Dartmouth College and racking up a national title in slalom.
Chodounsky is on the U.S. Ski Team and is in the midst of the best season of his slalom racing career, posting two top-10 results on the World Cup circuit as well as a 15th place, and is the top skier in slalom on the U.S. Ski Team this season, with the Olympics just one month away. The team plans on announcing the alpine racing roster on January 26.
He is currently training in Adelboden, Switzerland and took time away from the slopes to answer a quick Q&A via email.

You’ve been on quite the rally so far. What’s the difference between now and past seasons?
I’ve been training really well and I think I’ve just been more consistent at a higher speed. I just feel more comfortable at the races as well, especially just to know the race hills and what I can expect racing at the venues.

What’s been the highlight thus far this year?
I think my whole effort this year has been the high point for me. Being able to be consistently in the top 15 is very key to being able to move up in the rankings and start position. Now I’ve had three in a row so it’s building my confidence and I know I belong in that group.

You’ve cracked top-10 several times. What’s the next step, podium?
A podium would be great! Ultimately that’s what I’m going for. It’s tough right now with my start position to be really close to the leaders, especially since it’s been really warm and the snow hasn’t been that great. In Adelboden, I started 22nd so ruts were already developing. I had a really good first run to put myself into 13th, but still well over one second away from the leader. Then since they reverse the top 30 for the second run order, I again started further back at 18, where the snow is breaking down again and it is tough to make up much ground on the leaders. I had another great run and ended up 8th with the same time margin away from the winner. But I’m doing the right thing and skiing well and slowly going up the rankings by racking up World Cup points (I’m at 20 now). If I can get into the top 15 where the start position is then a draw, then it’s a whole different game and I have the opportunity to be much closer to the leaders on the first run. I am really happy the way it’s going though. It’s exciting and so much fun to have the confidence to charge down the World Cup tracks and know you have a shot at the podium. It’s getting close though, and if I can keep it rolling, I feel like a podium is very well within reach! Maybe at a race around a month from now…

You are the top scoring U.S. ski team member in slalom. Have you punched your ticket to Sochi? If not, what do you need to do to secure your spot?
I’m not going to say that I punched my ticket since the team naming comes out on the 26th and there are two World Cups yet before then, but it’s looking very good. I have already met one of the Olympic team criteria with my two top-10 results this year. Either way I’m still going to keep pushing in the coming races.

What’s next in World Cup circuit?
We are training in Adelboden this week and head to Wengen this weekend and Kitzbuhel the next Sunday after that, and then the Schladming night slalom Tuesday the 28th. It’s all the classics!

How’s it feel to be clicking in an Olympic year?
It feels great! I just want to stay focused though and take it one race at a time and get ready for each event as it comes.

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