After a torrential downpour (for Idaho standards) scrapped a pair of FIS super-G races on Thursday, temperatures dropped and racing action at the 2018 U.S. Alpine Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, resumed with the men’s and women’s super-G races on Friday.
Thanks to cold overnight temperatures, the wet, sloppy snow from Thursday set up nicely and provided an excellent racing surface on the Greyhawk race arena. At the end of the day, U.S. Ski Team athletes Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Nina O’Brien took home wins in the men’s and women’s races, respectively.
The men took on the demanding Greyhawk slope first with Cochran-Siegle, still riding high after his alpine combined title from earlier in the week, setting the pace with bib one. Running first in super-G is never an easy task as Cochran-Siegle was required to take to the course without much information about how the track was running, a particular challenge given how technical the Sun Valley venue is. Nevertheless, the Vermonter was able to keep his cool and ski a particularly impressive middle section to walk away with his second national title in as many races.
“I think my style of skiing, just coming from a GS background as well as a speed skier, I think I have a huge advantage here,” Cochran-Siegle shared. “There are sections where it really comes at you and it’s definitely fast feeling and then there’s also places where you have to be a pretty smart technical skier. I was trying to just ski my best and I think I was able to perform pretty well today.”
Joining Cochran-Siegle on the podium was Great British skier Jack Gower in second and American teammate River Radamus in third. Radamus was also fastest junior.
“It’s a really challenging hill,” said Radamus. “It’s not easy, especially for those speed guys that have been on the World Cup all season long because it’s not something they’ve seen. It’s not something we’ve seen either, it’s basically a GS on a really steep hill so it really suits my strengths and technical ability. I came onto the pitch and took it to it and did what I could do. I felt good about it; I’m out here just trying to ski my best every day and have a little bit of fun being here with the best U.S. racers.”
The women’s race did not start until 2:30pm local time and O’Brien, like Cochran-Siegle, was also able to rely on strong technical skiing and savvy tactics to walk away with her own national title. O’Brien was followed by Wednesday’s combined champion AJ Hurt in second and teammate Nellie Rose Talbot in third. O’Brien was also the fastest junior.
“I knew this was probably my last super-G of the year so I actually just wanted to have fun in the start and go for it,” O’Brien explained. “I haven’t trained too much speed this year but I’ve been racing it in the past NorAms and had a few good races so I’m starting to feel pretty confident on my super-G skis. It’s a challenging hill, there’s no point where you can relax and let it go.”
“Today was great,” added Hurt. “There were a lot of good girls on the start list today. I had the same mentality as two days ago, just gotta go all out and hope for the best. If you make it, hopefully it will be good and if you go out, then you gotta at least know that you went out doing everything you could. I made it, it was good, and I’m really happy with it.”
For complete results, click here.
Slalom is next on the program with the men and women taking on the disco sticks on Saturday, March 24.