Tommy Ford is proving that, when conditions are less than perfect, he does better than ever. The 30-year-old skier from Mt. Bachelor started the season hot, with a fourth-place finish in Sölden and his first-ever FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing win at a very foggy, snowy Beaver Creek. Now, it appears he’s going to finish the season strong after taking third in the GS at Yuzawa Naeba Ski Resort in Japan.
The conditions in Japan were a far cry from the usual World Cup race in Europe. A combination of rain and wet snow throughout the week before the race followed by high temperatures on race day meant the course was soft and wet, not too different than the conditions Ford encountered growing up at Mt. Bachelor.
Ford, who was in 10th place after the first run took advantage of the incredibly wet snow and put together a great second run. “I just tapped into some old experience that I’ve had on this kind of snow—I’ve had a lot of experience on soft, wet snow and ruts,” Tommy said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “I just really trusted that. I felt like I really kept it flowing.”
Related: Ford Wins GS at Birds of Prey
The race was won by Croatia’s Filip Zubcic, who was in 12th place after the first run. His second run was a step above the entire field, and he finished 0.74 seconds faster than Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt. It was Zubcic’s first-ever FIS Alpine World Cup win, and it was the first time a Croatian skier outside of the Kostelic family earned gold as well.
Odermatt was the only skier in Japan to put together two good runs. He was third after the first run, and moved up one spot in the afternoon.
As for Ford’s goals as the race season starts to wind down, the American is keeping things simple.
Ted Ligety was the only other American skier who made it to the second run over the weekend. He finished in 11th place. The slalom on Sunday was canceled.
See all of the results from the GS in Yuzawa Naeba here.
The next men’s FIS Alpine World Cup event is scheduled to take place in Hinterstoder, Austria with GS, super-G, and alpine combined races on the menu. Check out SKI’s Racing Channel for more World Cup Coverage.