VAL MÜSTAIR, Switzerland — Stratton Mountain School product Jessie Diggins finished ninth in the FIS Tour de Ski last year and she started this year’s tour in grand style.
In the opening event of the 15th annual Tour de Ski, Diggins finished second in the women’s cross-country sprint free race in Switzerland, trailing only Sweden’s Linn Svahn. Svahn’s teammate Frida Karlsson was also on the podium in third.
Diggins was 14th in qualifying, with a time of 3:39.82.
American Rosie Brennan finished just off the podium in fourth and Hailey Swirbul was 15th.
Diggins’ SMS teammates Sophie Caldwell Hamilton and Julia Kern took 16th and 24th respectively.
Caldwell Hamilton had qualified for the final with a time of 3:40.63, good for 16th, and Kern qualified in 25th with a time of 3:43.47.
Stratton’s Katharine Ogden was 49th and University of Vermont product Caitlin Patterson was 57th.
In the men’s sprint free, SMS’s Simi Hamilton finished 13th in the final, the top American finisher.
Hamilton had the fourth best qualifying time, finishing in 3:05.09.
Kevin Bolger was 30th, Gus Schumacher was 31st and UVM product Scott Patterson was 79th.
Italy’s Federico Pellegrino took top honors, Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov was second and France’s Richard Jouve was third.
The Tour de Ski continues this weekend with the classic mass start on Saturday and the free pursuit on Sunday.
Starting positions for the classic mass start have been released. In the women’s 10k race, Diggins start second, Brennan starts fourth, Swirbul starts 15th, Caldwell Hamilton starts 17th, Caitlin Patterson starts 41st, Kern starts 42nd and Odgen starts 43rd.
In the men’s 15k race, Hamilton starts 13th, Schumacher starts 41st, Scott Patterson starts 56th and Bolger starts 66th.
The Snow Queen Trophy will be on the line in Zagreb, Croatia on Sunday.
This will be the 15th time the Alpine skiing slalom race has been held since its inception in 2005. The race was canceled twice in its history due to lack of snow.
Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova won last year’s slalom race. She had been a runner-up to the Snow Queen crown twice before her winning run.
U.S.’s Mikaela Shiffrin has won the race four times, taking it in 2013, 2015, 2018 and 2019. She finished second to Vlhova last year.
Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin won the World Cup slalom race earlier in the week in Semmering, Austria. The win was the first in her World Cup career and the first time since January 2017 that either Vlhova or Shiffrin didn’t win a World Cup slalom race.
Shiffrin led after the first run in Austria, but fell to third after her second run. Vlhova took fourth overall.
The men’s Snow Queen race is on Wednesday.
HOCKEYUVM grabs point
The University of Vermont men’s hockey team pushed their second straight game into overtime Friday afternoon.
The Catamounts and No. 16 Providence played to a scoreless tie through overtime, but the Friars bested UVM 2-1 in the shootout.
Jordan Kaplan started the shootout with a goal for the Catamounts and Providence missed its first chance. Both teams missed their second shot as UVM took a 1-0 lead into the third attempts.
Tristan Mullin couldn’t bury his chance on the third shot, opening the door for the Friars to tie the shootout with a goal by Greg Printz.
Both sides missed their next two opportunities, taking the shootout into the sixth round. UVM’s Bryce Misley missed his shot and Providence’s Michael Callahan made his to give the Friars two Hockey East points.
With the tie and loss in a shootout, UVM picked up one point in the standings.
Providence had 33 shots on goal, compared to the Catamounts’ 23.
Goalie Tyler Harmon made was perfect making all 33 saves, before the shootout.
UVM is 0-3-2 and plays Providence on Saturday at 7 p.m.