Three days in Steamboat meant three wins for Norwegian skier Mikko Kokslien. He placed 1st once again at the third and final Continental Cup of the weekend in the Colorado mountain town. A 12th place jump and a 54 second deficit wasn’t enough to keep the veteran skier from claiming his third victory in a row.
Kokslien was joined on the podium by teammate Truls Soenstehagen Johansen in 2nd, who skied up from 19th place after the jumping. And again, just two seconds behind Johansen, with the fastest time for the third day in a row, was Hugo Buffard, of France, in 3rd.
Conditions on the hill were favorable throughout the competition. A slight headwind allowed most of the athletes to have their best jumps of the week. American skier Ben Loomis was the best after the jumping, with 123.8 points. Tobias Simon of Germany had another good day on the hill, jumping just behind Loomis with 123.5 points. And Harald Johnas Riiber of Norway jumped well once again, jumping to third with 121.7 points.
Packs began to form early in the race as the front group tried to stay away. Kokslien, Johansen, and Buffard all gave chase. By the end of the second lap, all three skiers had the leaders within sight, and by the end of the third lap, the lead group had been caught. Buffard led the group as they left the stadium for the final lap, but the Norwegians were not finished. A final push by Kokslien in the final kilometer gave him the separation he needed to take the win. Johansen crossed the line two seconds behind his teammate, with Buffard two more seconds back.
Lukas Runggaldier of Italy had another strong race, moving from 15th into 4th. Ben Loomis (USA) skied to 5th place for the third time in a row. And Sindre Ure Soetvik of Norway held on for 6th. With this result Kokslien holds a clear lead in the Continental Cup Standings with 300 points. Johansen is second with 220, Buffard follows with 200 points.
Alex Glueck / USA Nordic