After Tim Jitloff secured his fourth U.S. title in the men’s giant slalom event following Julia Mancuso’s stunning victory, it was clear that this year’s Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships belonged to the Squaw Valley locals! Jitloff was joined on the podium by defending champion Robby Kelley in second and Seppi Stiegler in third. Top junior honors went to Kieffer Christianson, who finished fourth in the race.
Jitloff discussed his home field advantage, saying, “It was challenging for sure, but I grew up racing on this hill so I know what’s going on. For me this is just a lot of fun, so it’s really a weight off the shoulder if you can go and just enjoy yourself. That’s what it was today. It felt good to kind of reel back the years a little bit on home turf. It was nice.”
The victory adds to Jitloff’s well-decorated career, which already includes titles for the 2008 and 2009 U.S. giant slalom championships and his 2009 combined crown.
Squaw Valley’s race team was the talk of the day, with many of the athletes and guest remarking on the impressive course conditions for both the men and women’s races. The event actually had to be staged a day later than planned as over a foot of snow blanketed the Olympic race hill on Wednesday.
“The snow was great,” exclaimed Jitloff. “They knew what it was with the rain and everything that had come. I think they did a great job. They put on a heck of a race.”
NBC will broadcast a special show from the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships on March 24 at noon ET.