Yet again, Ted Ligety has grabbed another slalom victory to add to his career best season at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in Squaw Valley in sunny California. Just last week, Ligety won the final Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom that resulted in a fourth World Cup giant slalom title.
Ted Ligety adds another win to his record World Cup season | Photo: Mark Epstein/USSA
With over 2,000 fans and sunny skies with a spring temperature in the 40’s, the Alpine Championships was a great competition in California. Following behind Ligety’s lead was Will Brandenburg for silver to grab the combined title with 2011 slalom champion Colby Granstrom for bronze.
Will Brandenburg commented on the conditions and the crowd, “ It is the best snow we’ve had for Nationals in I don’t know how long, especially for Nationals slalom. So it’s fun to be able to come race as hard as you can, have the snow conditions hold up and it be a clean, fair race. Other than that one rainy day, it’s been beautifully sunny days. All the people are so into it. These autograph sessions have been crazy, the amount of people that have been there. And then we’re skiing into a crowd. It was raining in Kranjska this year, but there’s more people here than at Kranjska Gora World Cup. It’s such an exciting experience to be able to come here at Nationals and have this. I haven’t had this; this is the most people that have been out for Nationals.”
Not a stranger to gold, Ligety won his seventh U.S. Championship gold and first since 2007 when he won both the giant slalom and combined titles. In fact, Ligety handled both runs to secure a huge 1.48 second gold medal victory in the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom.
Earlier in the season, Ligety grabbed three gold medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships which hasn’t occurred since to become the first man since 1968 by Jean Claude Killy. Along with his record World Cup season with a sixth giant slalom victory, Ligety was in the history books beside Ingemar Stenmark as the only man to have six GS wins in a single season.
Ted Ligety commented on the ski environment at Squaw Valley, “It’s cool to hang out with all the younger kids and it’s cool that they all came out and watched. It’s definitely nice to spend some time with the young fans. If you’re going to race, you might as well try to win. I’m definitely happy to put together two slalom runs. I haven’t won a slalom race in a long time. They did a great job with the course prep. The conditions were awesome especially for the temperatures. You can really attack it. I’ve never skied at Squaw before, so this is definitely cool to come someplace new and they seem like they’re doing a great job. They did a great job on the hill. The crowd is pretty into it, so it’s fun to have races in places like this.”