Winter Park Resort is going to be busy this week as it plays host to the both amateur and pro athletes competing in the 2012 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
Starting Wednesday, March 28 and continuing through April 1, hundreds of athletes from U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association club programs from around the country will challenge the likes of Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety, and Julia Mancuso—all Olympic gold medalists and World Cup podium finishers–for the national titles. World Cup podium finisher Mikaela Shiffrin is will also join the list of professionals as the defending women’s slalom champion.
“U.S. Championships is always such a great time. The weather is usually pretty warm and it’s great to see all the young racers from across the country. I remember being one of those racers and I was always so fired up to come out and race against the best,” Mancuso said, a super G and giant slalom participant with 13 U.S. Championship titles to her name.
In a thrilling event for both competitors and spectators alike, up-and-coming athletes will have a chance to go up against the heroes of their sport. One such skiing idol, Tommy Ford, won the super G, giant slalom, and combined title last year and always looks forward to the event this week on the Lower Hughes race arena.
“For some reason I always race well at U.S. Championships. It’s the end of the season for most of us and everyone is usually pretty tired, but I still go hard. A lot of the time, the conditions are soft and pretty challenging and that’s when I seem to ski my best,” Ford said.
Prize money will be awarded to the top three finishers, amateur or professional, each day of competition. And when the competition wraps, the Tom Garner Memorial Trophy will be award to the region with the most points. The Western Region will be fighting to defend their title from last year.
Here is the lineup:
March 28 – Women’s Slalom
March 29 – Men’s Slalom
March 30 – Men’s and Women’s Super G
March 31 – Women’s Giant Slalom
April 1 – Men’s Giant Slalom
For a more detailed list of events, go to the USSA website.
As always, if you can’t make it out to the mountain, check out the action on NBC as the championships air at 3:30 p.m. ET on April 7.