It was kind of a confidence builder to do well in the combined, but you know I was really looking at the downhill. The training runs were going well, and I felt I could do well here. —Jared Goldberg
WENGEN, Switzerland — The toughest part about Holladay native Jared Goldberg’s first full season on the Alpine World Cup circuit has been skiing unfamiliar courses.
“This whole year, I’ve been having sections (of races) that were really good,” said the 22-year-old Skyline High alumnus after his career best finish (12th) in the Lauberhorn downhill World Cup in Wengen, Switzerland. “The hard thing is that a lot of the tracks, it was my first time there, and I was just trying to learn the track.”
But Goldberg skied Lauberhorn last season and knew it was a course on which he could do well.
“I just feel really comfortable on this hill,” he said. “The snow was holding up decent, so it was something I could really push on, and the light didn’t get any worse, it stayed the same, so I was able to really go for it.”
Goldberg gained the confidence of coaches when he earned a 30th-place finish in the Super G at Beaver Creek on Dec. 1, 2012, followed by a victory at the U.S. downhill championships on Dec. 7, 2012. His performances prompted coaches to give him some World Cup starts, and that gave him both experience and confidence on the toughest, most intimidating courses in the world.
He earned his first World Cup points on Friday in the super-combined, and then made the Olympic team a realistic possibility with his 12th-place finish in the downhill Saturday.
“I feel really good,” Goldberg said. “It was kind of a confidence builder to do well in the combined, but you know I was really looking at the downhill. The training runs were going well, and I felt I could do well here.”
The conditions were tough and the course was bumpy, but Goldberg said he had a strategy that allowed him to keep his speed instead of letting the ruts slow him.
“I saw the ruts and I just tried to cut inside them, push the line as much as I could, and really just get energy out of the ski,” he said.
Head Alpine coach Sasha Rearick was impressed with Goldberg, as well as his teammates, who also skied well.
“It was nice to see Bode (Miller) pushing hard in the downhill,” Rearick said. “I’m extremely proud of two other guys — (Jared) Goldberg and Marco Sullivan.”
He said the two younger skiers, “with the conditions, put the hammer down on the course, top to bottom, and did a great, great job. I’m really proud of both those guys — Marco with his experience and Goldberg as the young guy taking chances and pushing it.”
The reward for fearless skiing may be a spot on the 2014 Olympic team. The Alpine team will be announced after next weekend’s World Cup, but Goldberg’s success this weekend makes him a much more likely candidate.
“I wasn’t trying to think about it too much,” Goldberg said. “Last year I was in Sochi for training camp, and I knew I could go for combined. So yeah, I’m hoping, it would be good experience.”
Goldberg grew up skiing at Snowbird and credits his experience with Utah’s powder for his ability to handle just about any kind of conditions. This is his first full season on the World Cup circuit.
Bode Miller finished fifth, just .35 behind winner Patrick Kueng of Switzerland. The wind forced judges to move the starting line lower, cutting a full minute off the normal leg-burning times. The race will air Saturday at 11 a.m. MST on Universal Sports Network.