Ted Ligety capped a record World Cup season with a wire-to-wire slalom victory to close men's competition at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships (Mark Epstein/USSA)
SQUAW VALLEY, CA (March 23) - Triple World Champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) capped a career best season Saturday with massive 1.48 second wire-to-wire slalom victory to close men's competition at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in Squaw Valley. A week ago, Ligety won the final Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom of the season to add to his record season that resulted in a fourth World Cup giant slalom title. It was his seventh U.S. Championship gold and first since 2007 when he won both the giant slalom and combined titles. Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA) nabbed silver to clinch the combined title with 2011 slalom champion Colby Granstrom (Lake Stevens, WA) in bronze. Robert Cone (Killington, VT) was the top junior in the race and also locked the junior combined title. NBC will broadcast a special Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships program at noon ET on March 24.
Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) won both runs to secure a massive 1.48 second gold medal victory in the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom.
Earlier in the season Ligety won three gold medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships to become the first man since Jean Claude Killy 45 years ago in 1968 to win three or more gold in one World Championships.
A week ago, Ligety capped a record World Cup season with a sixth giant slalom victory to join Ingemar Stenmark as the only man to have six GS wins in a single season.
Top junior slalom honors went to Robert Cone (Killington, VT), who was sixth in the race followed by Bryce Bennett (Olympic Valley, CA) and Alex Leever (Vail, CO).
Brandenburg was also crowned the U.S. combined champion which pairs the fastest combined time from both super G and slalom. Super G podium finisher Mark Engel (Truckee, CA) and Robert Cone (Killington, VT) earned combined silver and bronze respectively.
Cone also nabbed the junior combined title for his fifth podium of the championships followed by Bennett and Dylan Brooks (Mammoth Lakes, CA).
The race was held under perfect California sun with temps in the mid 40s and upwards of 2,000 fans packing the Olympic race arena.
NBC will broadcast the men's and women's super G races, plus a highlight package from the Championships at noon ET on March 24.
QUOTES Ted Ligety It’s cool to hang out with all the younger kids and it’s cool that they all came out and watched. It’s definitely nice to spend some time with the young fans.
If you’re going to race, you might as well try to win. I’m definitely happy to put together two slalom runs. I haven’t won a slalom race in a long time.
They did a great job with the course prep. The conditions were awesome especially for the temperatures. You can really attack it. I’ve never skied at Squaw before, so this is definitely cool to come someplace new and they seem like they’re doing a great job. They did a great job on the hill. The crowd is pretty into it, so it’s fun to have races in places like this.
Will Brandenburg I wanted to go for it a little bit more and I just didn’t really have it today. I didn’t have that gear that would be able to win a ski race. So I got to the bottom and was happy. I knew that I had quite a big lead on the fourth place guy and then just sat there hoping Ted or Dave could falter and I could get the win. They were skiing better than me, too bad Dave went out. Ted had a great race.
It is the best snow we’ve had for Nationals in I don’t know how long, especially for Nationals slalom. So it’s fun to be able to come race as hard as you can, have the snow conditions hold up and it be a clean, fair race.
Other than that one rainy day, it’s been beautifully sunny days. All the people are so into it. These autograph sessions have been crazy, the amount of people that have been there. And then we’re skiing into a crowd. It was raining in Kranjska this year, but there’s more people here than at Kranjska Gora World Cup. It’s such an exciting experience to be able to come here at Nationals and have this. I haven’t had this; this is the most people that have been out for Nationals.
Colby Granstrom The snow couldn’t have been better. They did a great job preparing the hill over the whole week and keeping it in pristine condition.
I was going full gas and I didn’t feel that good first run and then I was able to make up a little bit of time. Ted skied amazing so he was tough to beat today. He’s one of the fastest all-around skiers in the world, if not the fastest. It’s great to have him around, but it’d be nice to get the victory too.