The U.S. Ski Team’s Jared Goldberg made a big statement at his first major event, scoring two top-20 finishes in two starts at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, including an 11th-place result in the super combined, last February. Now with momentum on his side, the 23-year-old looks to the upcoming race season, which is set to climax at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Beaver Creek, Colo. With his sights set on at least four disciplines, the Utah native has confidence on the Birds of Prey track and podium ambitions. Ski Racing recently spoke with the young racer about Vail/Beaver Creek 2015 and his goals for the season.
Ski Racing: What does it mean to you as an American to have a major event on home snow?
Jared Goldberg: I’m excited to have it here at such a great venue. It’s our only downhill World Cup venue in the U.S., and it’s one of the best ones on the World Cup. We usually have the best surface out of all the races for the rest of the year, so we know they’re going to do a good job. … I think it’s going to help the awareness of ski racing in the U.S. Hopefully, they show it on TV and get the youth hooked.
SR: Do you have many family and friends planning to attend the championships?
Goldberg: Yeah, my family will be there. Having my friends and family there just makes me more ready to just do what I do. It’s nice because beforehand and afterward I can hang out with them and laugh and joke around. It tends to calm me down before the race. I want to show them and myself what I can do, and that gives me a little more energy to put one down.
SR: You competed in Sochi last season; the World Championships will probably have a similar feel. Talk about how your preparation and skiing play out on big race days?
Goldberg: I do everything the same. I try not to make a big deal out of it. It’s something you always do growing up — you make it to these big races and you have to continue doing what you did to get there. If you can ski the way you’ve been skiing, than you should be just fine. Hopefully, when I get there, I can just ski how I’ve skied all year. Just go as fast as I possibly can. Luckily, it’s on our home hill.
SR: What’s your game plan going into the season? Which events will be your focus for World Champs?
Goldberg: I’m still focusing on all four events, training-wise. I train a bunch of downhill, super G and GS and throw in as much slalom as I can. I’m going to train slalom for the combined and also for my technical side of skiing. I’m not sure how much slalom I will race, but I know I’ll definitely be racing the combined portions of the slalom.
SR: Talk about the race hill in Beaver Creek, obviously one of the most famous downhills in the world. What are your thoughts and experience with the Birds of Prey track?
Goldberg: It’s one of my favorite races of the year. It’s awesome, the snow is always perfect. That was the first World Cup downhill that I got to ski. I used to forerun it back in the day, so I got two years of experience on it before I raced it. We got a couple runs with a perfectly fresh course. I think that was super beneficial. When I finally got there, I was already ahead of the game instead of just showing up and doing training runs for the first time. So, I’ve had quite a lot of runs down the hill.
SR: What have you learned about the hill in your years of skiing it?
Goldberg: You have to be super aggressive. You’re laying it over on the steeps as hard as you can. You really have to stick your chin in it. It’s all about being as gnarly as you can on the pitch and risking a lot and then ski all the way to the bottom, through the jumps. But you can really cut off a lot of line up top if you are willing to be on the edge.
SR: What are your tangible goals for this season, especially at the World Championships?
Goldberg: The way I’m skiing right now and progressing — and I still have the whole prep season — I think I’m definitely capable of a podium there. With how I feel on that hill, I really feel like I can. That’s my goal, but obviously making it there is going to be the first step. But I feel like I’m pretty close to doing that already, but yeah, I think it could go really well.
SR: What are you expecting in terms of competing on the hill in February? Will the snow be different than in December, and do you expect any sort of edge for the North Americans?
Goldberg: Yeah, it depends how the snow year is. The snow is so dry there that they can turn it into that Colorado grip. But if it does snow, I know that they have the big course crew that will make it nice and buff for us. But if it’s soft, I’m fine with that because that’s the stuff I grew up skiing at Snowbird. That’s something that Americans tend to be a lot better at.