21-year-old Isaiah Nelson has earned the right to start in his first career World Cup in Sölden. On October 18th, Nelson won the time trial in Schnalstal, Italy that determined who would use the final start spot. Nelson, who is the reigning junior world champion in Super-G, won the hotly contested qualifier ahead of Patrick Kenney by 21 hundredths of a second. Each of the five US men competing made three runs. The combination of the athlete’s two best times determined the outcome. Nelson was the fastest on all three runs. But the two-run time spread for all five athletes was only 0.8 of a second. This shows that a qualifier was needed to determine the final starting spot in Sölden equitably.
Nelson is a native Minnesotan who spent his development years with the Buck Hill Ski Team. He uniquely remained a member of the program until he qualified for the US Ski Team. He trained with the program through High School never attending a ski academy.
Nelson family reacts to Isaiah’s excellent skiing
The first World Cup is uniquely special. Ski Racing Media asked the Nelson family for reactions. Isaiah Nelson, his father Todd and his World Cup veteran aunt Tasha Nelson McCrank all responded.
Isaiah Nelson shared that they weren’t told their times until after the qualifier. He believes that made it easier to stay focused on the process. Nelson also comments that he had been skiing well on softer surfaces but then struggled during his first training on harder snow the day before the time trial.
Nelson says, “Today I did a good job of making it seem like just another day of training which it was. It was good to see that we all were skiing well despite training in different programs. Right now, getting my first World Cup start feels like just another step. I know, however, that I shouldn’t take this moment for granted. It is a milestone few achieve. I look forward to the next few days of preparation. All of us trying to qualify today are good enough to create another start spot for the US and I will do my best to make that happen on Sunday. However, it will be my first time skiing on the race hill. I only expect to ski confidently and trust myself to perform my best.”
Tasha Nelson McCrank
Isaiah is the nephew of US World Cup Veteran Tasha Nelson McCrank. McCrank recalled her first World Cup start. She earned hers by winning the NorAm SL title, which then earned you an invitation to the World Cup finals. That year they were in Kvitfjell, Norway, where she finished 18th. She went on to ski in two Olympics for the USA. McCrank says, “I was ecstatic to get my first opportunity and today I felt the same way for Isaiah. It is going to be so much fun for him. He will also add to the amazing World Cup Buck Hill Ski Team legacy. It is just exciting!”
Isaiah’s father and Tasha’s brother is Todd. Todd is a true lover of the sport. Ski Racing Media connected with Nelson this morning. Nelson said, ” I yelled with joy when I found out. I am very excited. We always knew he could ski in the World Cup and now he will get his first chance. I slept well last night but every time I awoke, my thoughts went to Isaiah. All the skiers who competed for the spot are so good. Any of them could have earned the start. The time trial was so close but it was exciting that it was Isaiah who won. Jana, Isaiah’s mother, and I traveled to Tasha’s first World Cup in 1996 and now we are organizing flights to Austria. It will be very special. You only ski your first World Cup once and we want to be there when Isaiah experiences his.”
US men starting in Sölden
The four US male athletes who will be on the start list for the October 22nd Sölden World Cup are listed here.
- River Radamus, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, Rossignol, Look, SWIX, ASP
- Tommy Ford, Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, HEAD
- Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Cochran Ski Club, Mt Mansfield, HEAD, SWIX, ASP
- Isaiah Nelson, Buck Hill Ski Team, Rossignol, Look
The report from Schnalstal is that the snow conditions were excellent and the weather created fair competition. The USST will train again on the same slope tomorrow.
Time trial results