Up and coming skier Robby Kelley managed to put on a gold medal performance at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships during this past weekend’s giant slalom competition. The day’s win earned the young athlete the national title (the first of his career) and, proves once again why being a member of the “Skiing Cochran” family resonates so heavily throughout the snow sports world. Kelley’s first place finish was followed by Norway’s Espen Lysdahl in second and Leif Krisitian Haugen in third.
Upon realizing his victory, Kelley could barely contain his excitement.
“Once I saw number one on the board I was so excited I couldn’t really control my emotions. I started fist pumping, it’s just an awesome feeling, something you dream about”, said Kelley.
This victory comes on the heels of recent performances by his cousins Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Jimmy Cochran. Ryan has been absolutely shredding during this season’s final competitions and recently became the junior world downhill and combined champion. Jimmy Cochran, the two-time Olympian skier retired last Thursday after a successful 8 year professional skiing career.
When asked about the impact of growing up within such an iconic skiing family Kelley responded by saying, “No matter where we go, we always have fast people to ski with. My brother Timmy and my sister Jess are really fast, Ryan [Cochran-Siegle] and Jimmy [Cochran] are really fast and my other cousin Roger Brown was on the U.S. Ski Team so no matter where we go, we’re always pushing each other. It’s an incredible family support system and a lot of fun.”
Top junior honors were bestowed upon Vermont’s Robert Cone, who was also the top junior in slalom bringing the tally to two national titles. Bryce Bennett took second and Christopher McKenna came in third.
With temperatures in the mid-60s, once couldn’t help but get into the spring break spirit at Winter Park. The Western Region also claimed the Tom Garner Trophy after accumulating a 2,738-point total during the five-day championship series. The East with 1,429 and Rocky Central with 1,225 followed the region.
Overall, this year’s Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships can be considered a huge success. Between the great conditions, spectators and world-class athletic performances Winter Park showed us all how to close out the competition scene strong!
Kelley attested to the event’s success, saying, “This is has been an amazing U.S. Championships, the fans have been awesome and Winter Park did an incredible job with the snow this week. With temperatures like this it takes a lot of work to keep the surface skiable and they pulled it off.”
NBC will air the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships on April 7 at 3:30 p.m.