Who needs birthday presents when you can win Championships? A historic day in Lake Placid, NY for 2010 Olympian Tommy Ford. Not only did Ford turn 21 years old on Saturday, he also claimed his first U.S. title as he won slalom at the 2010 Visa U.S. Alpine Championships today. Ford wasn’t the only U.S. Ski Team athlete to podium. Fellow Olympian Sarah Schleper walked away with her fourth U.S. slalom title! This win is Schleper’s first U.S. crown since 2005.
“I was just letting it go, and that’s what I’ve been doing in the last few weeks of slalom and it’s really improved. I kept it up through the race and I’m happy with it,” Ford said. “It’s the best I’ve done in slalom in a while.”
“The conditions definitely favored me because everyone here is used to injection and clean courses on their World Cups and I’m used to running ruts. I’ve been running them my whole life and I actually kind of like skiing them sometimes,” Ford said. “The first run was tough with random rhythm and the second run was a lot more rhythm based down the fall line.”
For Schleper, the final races of the 2010 season were a sweet way to end the year. “This title is really the icing on a hard two years. It was a lot of fun, I love my teammates and I loved being here,” Schleper said.
Sunday’s race also determined U.S. combined titles, which went to Ford for the men and Megan McJames for women.
Racing in Lake Placid continues on Monday with the men’s giant slalom.
2010 Visa U.S. Alpine Championships
Lake Placid, NY – March 21, 2010
1. Tommy Ford, Bend, OR, 2:02.17
2. David Chodunsky, Crested Butte, CO, 2:02.94
3. Nolan Kasper, Warren, VT, 2:03.35
4. Leif Hauggen, Norway, 2:03.94
5. Chris Frank, Windham, NY, 2:04.94