Rothrock wins second Winter Park SL; Ligety again top juniorAlthough he didn’t win either of two NorAm slaloms at Winter Park, November 19 and 20, Ted Ligety was the star of both races. The top junior in each event, the Development Team tech skier is making a big leap.
Most of the World Cup elite had departed before Day Two of slalom, including Wednesday’s winner, Ivica Kostelic, as well as USST stars Erik Schlopy and Bode Miller.
On the day, Ligety was fourth overall, behind two U.S. teammates — winner Tom Rothrock and runner-up James Cochran — and Slovenia’s Mitja Valencic. Ligety finished just ahead of British Olympian Alain Baxter.
“Everything’s just starting to click,” says Ligety, a laid-back native of Park City, Utah. “Conditioning, technique and my Volkl-Nordica set-up. … In GS, I’ve been working on ankle flexion, and rolling up at the top of the turn, and now my slalom is starting to feed off of my GS.”
In giant slalom time trials at Park City on November 15, Ligety beat most of the U.S. tech team. Only Chip Knight registered a faster time over the three-run test — used to fill the final spot in the U.S. quota for the Park City World Cup race. Knight decided to decline the World Cup GS start, giving the slot to Ligety. Knight says he wants to spend November and December racing only slalom, allowing his confidence in that event to snowball. He says that if he raced GS, his rankings would assure him a high start number and ragged runs.
Ligety’s happy for the opportunity to start in a World Cup, no matter how far back. “I’ll probably start in the 70s,” concedes Ligety, who’s excited to make his World Cup debut on his home hill. “It’s going to be awesome. All my friends and family will be there. I’ll have the crowd cheering for me. … I can’t afford to hold back at all, so I’ll have to give it everything I have.”