SUGARLOAF, ME (March 29, 2015)—With a come-from-behind second run, David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO – U.S. Ski Team) confirmed his status as a slalom star by winning the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom. The win also gave him the combined victory—adding up both the slalom and the super G races. AJ Ginnis (Waitsfield, VT – U.S. Ski Team) finished second and Redneck Racing’s Tim Kelley (Starksboro, VT – Cochran Ski Club) was third in the slalom, while in the alpine combined, Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV – U.S. Ski Team) was second and Drew Duffy (Warren, VT – Green Mountain Valley School) took third.
After a great start to the season—teetering on the edge of top-10 World Cup finishes—Chodounsky had a rough go at the end of the year. And it looked like nationals were going to go the same way for him, as he broke his pole during the first run and finished third. But he was determined to not give up and shred a fast second run that gave him the slalom win.
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 28, 2015)—Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO – U.S. Ski Team) cleaned up on Saturday, winning the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Champs slalom by more than four seconds over Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN – U.S. Ski Team). Megan McJames (Park City, UT) was third.
In front of a huge crowd cheering Shiffrin’s name, she threw down her first run with a time no one could beat. Second run, did the same. But Moltzan was on her tail. “Last year I was four seconds behind her every run and now I’m two, so it’s going down!” Moltzan joked after her second place finish. “It’s nice to have a benchmark to see how you’re progressing in your skiing.” Moltzan, a slalom specialist who is often compared to Shiffrin, won this year’s World Junior Championships. Although more than four seconds off of Shiffrin, Moltzan did hold a hefty 2.5 second lead over the rest of the field, as well—showcasing the dominance of both of these young women.
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 27, 2015)—Giant slalom specialist Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV – U.S. Ski Team) threw down on bumpy snow at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships to take his third national title in a row ahead of first run leader Tommy Ford (Bend, OR – U.S. Ski Team). Former University of Utah racer and current Team Geronimo member Nick Cohee (Gardnerville, NV – Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club/Team Geronimo) took third.
“It was fun,” said Jitloff, who was a favorite going into the race. “We’re all really tired here, but anytime you can come back and see little kids who want to be doing what you’re doing is huge. That’s what these are all about.”
Jitloff was second after first run behind Tommy Ford, who was going for his ninth national title. Ford put down a solid second run, but couldn’t hold first place–bobbling a bit on the on the last face. This was Jitloff’s sixth U.S. Alpine Championships win.
USSA columnist Tom Kelly takes a look at Lindsey Vonn's performance on the World Cup this season in this week's Behind the Globe.
Lindsey Vonn pushed out of the starting gate and into the fog. The blue sky mornings she had enjoyed the last 10 days in Les Trois Vallées were replaced with low-hanging clouds dipping down to the Piste du Roc de Fer. Gate by gate, she angulated perfect arcs, carving her way down the mountain in the soft spring snow.
A minute and 14 seconds later, Vonn crossed the finish line – a broad smile on her face. Today, though, there would be no hands pumped wildly into the air. She wouldn’t be lying on the snow shrieking with joy. There were no press conferences or TV networks clamoring to interview her first. But this was a special day for the woman who two days earlier had tied Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 19 World Cup titles.
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 26, 2015) - Another day, another young, rising star at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Champs. In Thursday’s giant slalom, USSA National Training Group (NTG) skier Nina O’Brien (Edwards, CO – NTG; Burke Mountain Academy) threw down the fastest time of the day to take the win. World Cup skiers Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN – U.S. Ski Team) and Megan McJames (Park City, UT – Park City Ski Ed Foundation) were second and third, respectively.
To the delight of the fans, Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) kicked off the day by forerunning the GS. She utilized the day to influence the kids that came to watch her. “My life has changed over the past few years. You grow as a person as you grow in your skiing,” said Vonn. “I’m really just here for the kids—for all the junior racers. It’s not about the competition, but more about the next generation.”
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 25, 2015)—On an uncharacteristically sunny, warm day at Sugarloaf, top athletes in North America competed at the U.S. Alpine Championships for the title of the nation’s best super G skier. Alice McKennis (Glenwood Springs, CO) triumphed in the women’s field with Jackie Wiles (Aurora, OR) taking third. On the men’s side, Drew Duffy (Warren, VT – Green Mountain Valley School) took the unbelievable win over Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) and Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA).
WATERVILLE VALLEY, NH (March 23, 2015)—The NorAm Finals wrapped on Monday in both Waterville Valley, NH and Burke Mountain, VT. Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, MN) took an impressive overall win. Because of their first and second place discipline results, Tim Kelley (Starksboro, VT), Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN), Megan McJames (Park City, UT) and Tommy Ford (Bend, OR) all snagged spots in next year’s World Cup circuit.
The NorAm tour is the steppingstone for athletes to the Audi FIS Ski World Cup circuit. The top two athletes in slalom and giant slalom on the NorAm earn a start position in the next season’s World Cup, in addition to the regular quota of top national team athletes.
It was a tough last NorAm in Waterville Valley, with athletes forced to hike the course because the lift closed. Ankeny won the final slalom race, which gave him both the overall and slalom titles. Kelley charged his way to the second World Cup slalom spot, ahead of Canadian Trevor Philp.
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 23, 2015) – America’s most prestigious domestic alpine ski racing event returns to Sugarloaf this week as the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships get underway March 25-29. A field of nearly 200 athletes from around the United States and the world will take part in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) event which returns to the USSA Eastern region for the first time since 2008.
The U.S. Championships are a vital part of the USSA’s national development program, pitting top club athletes from regional teams around America against U.S. Ski Team veterans from the Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour. As an International Ski Federation (FIS)-sanctioned event, it is also open to foreign skiers. As a preview to the upcoming events, last week the U.S. Championship downhill was run at Sugarloaf with Wiley Maple (Aspen, CO) and Julia Ford (Holderness, NH) each taking home titles.
MERIBEL, France (March 22, 2015)—It was a rough last day at the World Cup Finals with the guys battling fog and soft snow in the slalom. The indomitable Marcel Hirscher of Austria took the win, grabbing both the slalom World Cup crystal globe and the overall title. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) and David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) represented the U.S., but neither finished the race.
With warm weather not allowing the snow to set up after rain on Saturday afternoon, the race was riddled with ruts and soft snow. But the crowd didn’t care, as the true battle was between Felix Neureuther of Germany and Hirscher, with Hirscher trailing Neureuther by 55 points in the slalom standings before the race. Hirscher knew he had to win or take second place in order to seize the slalom title.
MERIBEL, France (March 22, 2015) - Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) capped her comeback season finishing fifth in the final giant slalom to take third in the World Cup overall. The back-and-forth battle for the overall title came down to the very last run of the season as Anna Fenninger of Austria re-took the lead with a dramatic win over Tina Maze, who had vaulted back into the lead just 24 hours earlier.
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO), who had won the slalom title with a win on Saturday, finished seventh today and was third in the GS standings.
After a week of tourist bureau weather, rain, snow and fog took over Saturday night and into the racing Sunday. A heavy fog band hampered vision through the mid-section of the course.