The Stifel US Men’s Alpine Team has 14 skiers who finished among the top 60 on the 2023 World Cup Start List (WCSL) in at least one event. Notably, every racer in the top 60 WCSL creates a nation’s World Cup quota spot in that event. Additionally, five US men earned continental Cup personal World Cup quota spots.
US men top 60 WCSL
Five US men, Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Jared Goldberg, Erik Arvidsson, River Radamus, and the retired Travis Ganong, finished in the top 60 in two events. Nine other US men, Sam Morse, Bryce Bennett, Luke Winters, Jett Seymour, Ben Ritchie, Tommy Ford, Brian McLaughlin, George Steffey and Kyle Negomir, finished among the top 60 WCSL in one discipline.
Continental Cup personal start quota
Five US men also earned Continental Cup personal World Cup start quota through the 2023 Nor-Am Cup series. Jared Goldberg was the only US male athlete in the previous season to make one. This season, Isaiah Nelson won the overall, slalom and giant slalom titles and has created himself an individual start spot in all the events. Arvidsson, who is top 60 WCSL in both speed events, also earned a downhill Continental Cup personal start quota by winning the downhill title. His teammate Negomir who is top 60 WCSL in super-G, has also created a Continental Cup individual downhill start spot. Additionally, Samuel Dupratt and Jack Smith each earned a super-G Continental Cup personal World Cup start quota.
During the 2023 season, Arvidsson’s performance created two downhill World Cup quota spots. One is a personal Nor-Am Cup quota spot that only he can use. However, the start quota he created by being inside the top 60 on the WCSL can be used by an athlete in the top 120 on the FIS downhill list.
When you add the Basic Quota spots and consider the change in World Rank required to use the nation’s spots, the US men will have an abundance of World Cup start quota. Notably, previously racers had to be ranked top 80 on the FIS list to use a nation’s spot they didn’t create. For the 2024 season, the World Rank requirement increases to 120th. This change will significantly increase the pool of athletes who can start World Cups.
Basic spot eligibility
Every member nation of the FIS gets one basic spot. For men’s events, competitors must be ranked within the first 150 of the valid FIS points list in the event being contested or within the first 30 of the WCSL in one of the events SL, GS, SG, DH or AC.
US speed event quota
At the start of the 2023 season, the US men had five downhill nation’s spots, one Continental Cup quota spot and the basic spot for seven available starts. This year they have ten..
At the beginning of last season, the US men had four super-G nation’s spots and the basic spot for a total World Cup start quota of five. However, they will begin the 2024 season with six nation’s spots, three Continental Cup spots and the basic spot for a total of ten possible starters in super-G.
Although Ganong has retired, the US can fill the two start spots he created and any other nation’s spots with racers ranked 120 or better until he falls out of the top 60 WCSL.
US slalom quota
There is currently a potential for five US athletes to start in men’s slaloms. Last season, the slalom men began the season with only two nation’s spots and the basic spot. This season, the men have three nation’s spots, the basic spot and Nelson has his personal start quota.
US giant slalom quota
Men’s giant slalom is even healthier, with two independent Global Racing and two Stifel US Ski Team athletes creating the nation’s start quota. When you add Nelson’s start quota and the basic spot, the US can start six men in GS. A year ago, the US had three nation’s spots and the basic spot for four starts.
Head men’s coach Tilston shares his thoughts
Recently named Stifel US Head Men’s Coach Mark Tilston comments on the benefit of the increased US World Cup quota.
He says, “It is a positive. I’m a big believer that you have to be in it to win it. But they must ski well once they get there; it is the big leagues. However, I have already noticed that the less experienced US guys can make the most of their opportunities. So with more guys at the start comes more opportunity.
Tilston adds his thoughts on the benefits of the World Cup starts for developing and emerging athletes. “The additional World Cup quota allows young guys to start. However, we won’t throw guys into World Cups just because we’ve got the spots. It will depend on their developmental pathways. The importance of coming up through the Europa Cup into the World Cup is something I believe in. But my experience has shown me that elite-level starts for young emerging guys in their late teens and early twenties are excellent development tools when used correctly. This is the right time for them in their career for a heavy load of race starts.
We must be more selective once they get older and their target is winning World Cup races. We also know being strategic is essential for all of them. However, for young guys to experience the hills and learn about racing while practicing their World Cup race mentality is undoubtedly a powerful development tool.”
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