Six great days of racing in Sun Valley at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Nationals wrapped up Sunday, March 27 with a festive closing ceremony in the resort's Warm Springs Plaza. So how’d you’re favorite skier fare on the steeps of Greyhawk? Here's your rundown of the all racing action.
Mr. Luxury Ski
Men’s Alpine Combined
Day One kicked off with Brennan Rubie (Salt Lake City, UT – U.S. Ski Team) taking the big win in alpine combined for his first national title. “Slalom isn't usually my forte, but I've been having a ton of fun skiing it recently, so I just tried to channel that feeling in order to overcome some of the pressure on the second run,” Rubie said. A well-rounded super G, giant slalom and slalom skier, Rubie was solid against the strong field - finishing second in the super G and third in the slalom to boost him 1.46 seconds ahead of Kieffer Christianson (Anchorage, AK – U.S. Ski Team) in second place. Hig Roberts (Steamboat Springs, CO – U.S. Ski Team) fought from 12th in the super G to win the slalom race by almost a half second, launching him to third place.
Women’s Alpine Combined
A bluebird day two saw 17-year-old Galena Wardle (Aspen, CO – U.S. Ski Team) take home her first-ever national title in the event’s inaugural standalone women’s alpine combined. The women were excited to shred the tight and technical super G course on Sun Valley's Greyhawk before launching into slalom in the afternoon. “I was really nervous at the top of the slalom. It was really fun and quick. The super G was super technical this morning, so that was awesome. Really steep, tough hill. I loved it,” Wardle said. Behind Wardle, Megan McJames (Park City, UT – Park City Ski Education Foundation) missed first place by just .02 and settled for second. She has won national titles in alpine combined before, but when they weren’t standalone races. Wardle’s D Team teammate Patricia Mangan (Buffalo, NY – U.S. Ski Team) took third, attacking from sixth place after the super G.
Men’s Super G
The skiing switched to speed for the third day of racing, with five-time U.S. national giant slalom champion Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV – U.S. Ski Team) scoring his first super G title on a tight, twisty course. “The course is very challenging,” Jitloff said. “I think when people come to nationals they think that maybe it’s going to be a little bit easier, but they definitely didn’t give us an easy track here…It’s kind of unforgiving the whole way down.” Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT – U.S. Ski Team) was second, followed by Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA – U.S. Ski Team), who was the top-placed junior, in third.
This race was bittersweet for American race fans as it was the last for 17-year U.S. Ski Team Veteran Marco Sullivan (Truckee, CA—U.S. Ski Team). The speedster ran the race in lederhosen and a flannel shirt and he slid into the finish for a Champagne shower from the squad.
Women’s Super G
The ladies also got fast on day three, with Anna Marno (Centennial, WY – U.S. Ski Team) notching her first national title. “I’ve been to eight Nationals now, and I’ve been close a few years. So this is a good place to do it – I love Sun Valley. I’ve had some good results here and I finally made it up to the top step,” she said. Marno just nipped World Cup veteran Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) by .28 for the victory. Tricia Mangan (Buffalo, NY – U.S. Ski Team), who was third in Wednesday’s alpine combined, grabbed her second bronze medal of the National Championships. Mangan was also the top junior.
To nobody’s surprise, David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) brought his “A” Game to Sun Valley after finishing the World Cup season ranked in the top 15 in slalom. He won his fourth U.S. national slalom title by whopping 2.36 seconds. “This has been my best season, hands down. I just felt really good today, skiing really well and I’m just so comfortable skiing right now. To get this at the end of the season is awesome,” Chodounsky said. Second place went to Robby Kelley (Starksboro, VT) in with Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, MN) in third.
When it comes to technical racing, the mountain belongs to Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO). The Olympic Gold Medalist once again proved that she is the best slalom skier in the world, winning her fourth U.S. national slalom title by almost seven seconds. “I was going for it today,” she said. “I feel like if you’re going to race, you need to go as fast as you can. It’s a nice springtime environment. I love the sun. I love this kind of snow, so it’s more relaxing in a sense, but when I got in the starting gate, my heart was beating in my chest. “ Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, NV) finished second and Canada’s Roni Remme finished third.
Men’s Giant Slalom
Day five found Kieffer Christianson (Anchorage, AK - U.S. Ski Team) battle a crazy course set to come away with his first giant slalom national title Saturday. “I pretty much just adopted a whole new approach today. It’s still just a course that you have to go and ski. So I put my effort in just freeskiing and then let the rest take care of itself,” Christianson explained. Christianson won the first run, and then added to his .83 margin of victory in the second to grab the GS title. Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT - U.S. Ski Team) was second, followed by Canadian Erik Read in third.
Women’s Giant Slalom
Appropriately, the final day of racing was all about Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO). She showed why she’s been called “Perfection Personified” with her second national title in giant slalom. “The first GS win in a long time,” said Shiffrin, who also took the GS title in 2013 at Squaw Valley. “A win is a win, but to be honest, it’s nice to make it to the finish in a GS race.” Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY – U.S. Ski Team) finished second overall followed by Megan McJames (Park City, UT – Park City Ski Ed Foundation).
Full race reports and results available at U.S. Ski Team.