Ligety wins National slalom crownTweet
It’s not a huge surprise that Ted Ligety claimed victory at the Nature Valley US Alpine Championships. Not even considering the race he won was the slalom and his forte is GS.
The man was a three time World Champion this season (though not in slalom) and did lead the Americans in the World Cup slalom standings, just making the top 20 in 19th place. But he took this national championship, his seventh and his third in slalom,(and first since 2006) in undeniable fashion. Think of it as a clinic in winning.
Just to keep things fair, he skipped the GS, the discipline in which he has dominated for half a decade. And he wore a camera on his helmet just to keep it interesting (for which he was fined 999 Swiss francs). Still, he dominated this slalom as he had GS’s all season, taking both runs under sunny skies on a course that sustained the pounding of 87 starters, all of them looking to carve up a slope that should have been soft given the recent snowfalls at Squaw Valley.
Will Brandenburg was the second place finisher, not quite a full second and a half back. Stunningly considering his injuries, Colby Granstom was third, Will Gregorak got fourth and David Chodounsky struggled mightily in the second run to drop from second to fifth.
The win, though was all Ligety and he no doubt left a strong impression on many young skiers in the competition.
“It’s one thing to be really good at ski racing,” said Brandenburg, “it’s another thing to be such a good competitor.”
Ligety said it was “fun to ski with that next generation,” and said he remembered making it to Nationals as a younger man and “thinking I was pretty cool.”
Granstrom said he was making just his sixth race start of the season and had been training in gates, “maybe 20 days. It’s great to be on the podium, I’ve had a bit of an injury year.
Brandenburg said his nerves got to him just enough to take him off his game. “It was alright. I skied a little nervous. I needed a point result. It feels good to be on the podium, but a national championship still eludes me. I could have attacked more in the second run. I don’t know, I didn’t have it today.”
Ski Racing photo by Susie Theis