World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin signs autographs after missing a shot at her third straight Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom title when she straddled in the final run (Mark Epstein/USSA)
SQUAW VALLEY, CA (March 24) - World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) was in position to lock a third straight Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championship slalom title when she straddled a gate on the tight middle section of the Squaw Valley Olympic slope handing the gold medal to Canadian and Westminster College student Anna Goodman. Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) captured silver with Norwegian Tonje Sekse, also a Westminster athlete, in bronze. The race, held under perfect California sun and spring temperatures, capped an incredibly successful U.S. Championships that drew record numbers of fans to Squaw Valley.
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) held a 1.22 second lead after the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom opening run, but straddled in the tight middle section of the final and went out.
Regardless of the finish, Shiffrin, 18, produced a historic sophomore Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season with four slalom victories and the season-long title, the fourth youngest in history to win the globe.
Shiffrin also captured the World Championship slalom gold medal in February to become the third youngest woman in history to accomplish the feat.
With Shiffrin out, the U.S. title went to Canadian and Westminster College student Anna Goodman who had the fastest second run time. Goodman recently won the 2013 NorAm slalom title.
Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) earned silver with Norwegian Tonje Sekse, also a Westminster athlete, taking bronze for the top junior finish.
Junior silver went to Canadian Tianda Carroll with Avril Dunleavy (Salt Lake City) in bronze.
In the combined race (fastest super G plus slalom), top honors went to Katie Hartman (Breckenridge, CO) followed by Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, NV) and Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN).
Lapanja also nabbed the junior combined gold for the second staight season with Moltzan in silver followed by Lauren Samuels (Golden Valley, MN).
The final race also awarded the Tom Garner Memorial Trophy to the defending champion Western Region, who piled on 2,964 points to top the second place Eastern Region (1,506) and third place Rocky/Central (1,403).
The race capped a successful Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships that brought record numbers of fans to the 1960 Olympic Mountain.
QUOTES Mikaela Shiffrin I just caught a little bit of a weird groove and pressured on the wrong spot and my ski went on the other side. It happens. I thought the conditions held up great, especially for how warm it is and the sun is hitting the hill basically all day. It was really good.
Everybody’s going for it out there and there’s some really good skiing. It’s a great competition and a great way to end the season.
I think it’s most important that I just try to connect with the younger kids here. Most of them say they watch the World Cup races so I think they’ve seen the skiing and it’s probably cool to see it live. But I think the most important thing is that I get to have some time face-to-face with them and show them I’m not actually that different and that I’m a goofball. We can have conversations and they can get to this point.
Anna Goodman Second run I just tried to really go for it, especially at the bottom because on the first run I felt like that’s where I lost a lot of time. So I just went as hard as I could and survived basically.
I finished the season winning the overall slalom NorAm and then I decided to take a trip to Germany to do the last World Cup. I barely qualified but then I won the second run, so I that was a huge thing for me because I’ve never won a run. So that was really exciting.
I knew that I should be top three. I was hoping Mikaela would finish so that we could have a race just against each other but maybe next year.
Resi Stiegler Yeah, I’m so bummed. I didn’t think Mikaela was going to make a mistake so I was just excited to come down in the top three. Then I was a little bummed that I didn’t kick at the end. But it’s fun. It was a good group of girls and we all have a really good time together. I’m just happy I’m here. I haven’t skied a while because I hurt my back so I’m happy that today went alright. It’s always fun to be on the podium.
I’m really happy with how my season went, coming off of the injury I had last year. I just have to stay really positive because it obviously wasn’t the season I wanted but from an injury it was really good. Now it’s a good building block into next year, which is the most important year.
Starting off this spring, I’ll be making sure all the body parts are working really well. We have our first camp already in Mammoth in May so it’s kind of exciting for me. I haven’t been to a May camp in over eight years because of injury, so I’m excited.
Bill Marolt, President and CEO, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association U.S. Championships are an opportunity to bring together the best athletes from our USSA clubs across the country. Squaw Valley provided an amazing experience for our athletes with well prepared courses, huge crowds and the enthusiasm of hundreds of young ski racers who turned out to see their heroes. It's encouraging to see how important ski racing is to the fabric of the Squaw Valley community.