Maybe the U.S. men’s team has found the key to winning — burning the thighs and enduring face shot after face shot of Chugach Range powder before getting into the start house.
    One day after amassing some major vertical on a heli-skiing trip in the Alaskan high country, Ted Ligety sizzled two runs to win his first national championship in giant slalom. It was the fifth U.S. title of Ligety's career — but first in the giant slalom — while turning back rising junior star Will Brandenburg and Cody Marshall as the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships concluded under cloudy skies in Alaska.
    Bode Miller was second behind Ligety in the first run but did not show up for the second-run start. Miller was later overheard saying his techs couldn't get the skis he wanted ready in time for the very turny second run, so he decided to skip the second run. Word is that Miller informed three people of the decision, but U.S. coach Phil McNichol never got the news.
    Miller's own Web site — bodemillerusa.com — refuted the illness notion. The site reports: "After placing second in the first run, Bode failed to show up for his second run. He inspected the course for the second run and the snow was soft, the kind of soft that takes knees out. After starting every race of the WC season and a gazillion training runs that week perfecting new equipment, he decided to save the knee for another season."
    Miller was still in Alyeska two days after the GS, continuing to test gear, with plans to go home for a bit, then fishing in Montana and golf in California.


ALYESKA RESORT, Alaska — Maybe the U.S. men’s team has found the key to winning — burning the thighs and enduring face shot after face shot of Chugach Range powder before getting into the start house.
    One day after amassing some major vertical on a heli-skiing trip in the Alaskan high country, Ted Ligety sizzled two runs to win his first national championship in giant slalom.
    “I’m so tired after my 20-something-thousand vertical feet of heli-skiing,” Ligety said. “It’s definitely tough to come out and do GS the next day. I’m glad I was able to put some good runs together after that. Waking up this morning, I didn’t have a whole lot of motivation after that, but at the same time, Marco [Sullivan] went heli-skiing right before his downhill win as well, so maybe it’s a good-luck charm.”
    Good luck for Ligety came with some apparent bad luck for teammate Bode Miller, who was second behind Ligety in the first run but did not show up for the second-run start. Miller was later overheard saying his techs couldn't get the skis he wanted ready in time for the very turny second run, so he decided to skip the second run. Word is that Miller informed three people of the decision, but U.S. coach Phil McNichol never got the news.
   “It’s too bad Bode didn’t show up for the second run and give me a run for it," Ligety said. " … He wasn’t feeling that good. I saw him in inspection, then I’m not really entirely sure what the reasoning was, but … he does what he does.”
    It was the fifth U.S. title of Ligety's career — but first in the giant slalom — while turning back rising junior star Will Brandenburg and Cody Marshall as the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships concluded under cloudy skies in Alaska.
    Ligety, who led the first run by almost a half-second over Miller, had the second-fastest final run to win in 2 minutes, 22.34 seconds. Brandenburg, Ski Racing’s Junior of the Year who was just the sixth-fastest in the opening run, clocked 2:24.66 to grab the silver medal. Marshall, who a few weeks ago won the NorAm slalom title, moved up five spots after his second run to earn the bronze in 2:24.78.

Where's Bode? Coaches don't know
    While Miller failed to show up at the start house for his second run, he did inspect the course for the second run.
    “Bode actually inspected the second run. I saw him, I talked to him," McNichol said. "Last I heard when I was yelling around asking, someone saw him skating toward the hotel after inspection. I have no idea what happened, what occurred. I’m hoping there’s some reasonable explanation.
    “He was out racing, he was having a good day. I thought he did an OK job on the first run, he looked at the second course and disappeared. All I can hope is everything’s OK.”
    World Cup crystal globes may be Miller's focus, but he had performed well at the 2007 nationals and seemed in decent spirits — signing countless autographs for awestruck youngsters in the finish area throughout the week.
    “Bode’s not here messing around," McNichol said. "He’s working on his skiing, he’s working on his equipment, he’s thinking about next year. He did a morning of downhill ski testing on our day off. He’s got a purpose here, and winning national titles is always good. So again, it’s quite odd.”
    Miller's own Web site — bodemillerusa.com — refuted the illness notion. The site reports: "After placing second in the first run, Bode failed to show up for his second run. He inspected the course for the second run and the snow was soft, the kind of soft that takes knees out. After starting every race of the WC season and a gazillion training runs that week perfecting new equipment, he decided to save the knee for another season."
    Miller was still in Alyeska two days after the GS, continuing to test gear, with plans to go home for a bit, then fishing in Montana and golf in California.

Brandenburg rolls on
    Ligety won the combined title and was second in the slalom earlier at 2007 nationals, but he said his week as a whole was only "OK."
    “It would have been nice to be able to hold onto my slalom title, but it’s no big deal, Jimmy’s had a good record on this hill, so it’s tough to beat him there," Ligety said. "It was nice to come up with the GS title — my first GS title. GS is always one of the hardest titles to win normally, because we’ve always had a pretty deep team on the GS side, so I’m pretty psyched to win.
    “It was cool to see Will, one of the top juniors in the U.S. right now, come in second and show he really deserves that [Ski Racing] Junior of the Year award.”
    Brandenburg capped off a tremendous week at Alyeska in his third trip to nationals. He finished eighth in the downhill and fifth in the super G. He DNFed in the second run of slalom after a impressive first run had him in position for a top 10 finish.   
    “Will’s had a very impressive season, albeit he’s struggled with putting a second run together,” McNichol said. “He’s had a lot of DNFs this year, but he’s obviously fast, had some great NorAm results. He’s moved his world rank into a really strong position. Potentially he’ll move all the way into the B team selection from just getting on to the development team last year, so that’s really impressive. The guys we see move like that are the real guys to kind of keep an eye on and see what happe
ns the next year or two.
    “Obviously he could have had a great race yesterday, he was in good position and went out, which has plagued him this year. Today he held it together, a lot of other guys got taken out, and he put a good second run down and is standing on the stairs.”
    Brandenburg said he was hoping to ski onto the podium but didn't have much hope after the first run left him in sixth place. But when the next four racers down the course after his second run either failed to finish or didn't start — Andrew Weibrecht, Tim Jitloff, Erik Fisher all DNFed before Miller's DNS — Brandenburg had an unexpected medal.
    "… A lot of it was those other guys going out. [But] a medal is a medal," Brandenburg said. "I’m really happy, I’m ecstatic. My podium day was slalom, today was just hopefully getting on there, Slalom didn’t work out but today did. That’s ski racing."
    The Alyeska GS course slope starts steep and flattens out toward the bottom. Brandenburg said he and all the more technical skiers may have benefited from the steepness and aggressiveness of the course.  
    "It’s an amazing track, really fun," he said. "We’ve skied a lot on flatter hills this season for some reason on the NorAm circuit. So to come here where it’s a little more steep, more technical, it helps a lot of the guys who are more technical but aren’t very good gliders. I think a lot of us tech skiers were glad it was on a steeper, more aggressive hill for us."
    Two other juniors joined Brandenburg with top-10 finishes in the GS. Traverse City, Mich., racer Austin Johnson was sixth (2:26.96) and Max Hammer of Jackson, Hole, Wyo., was ninth (2:27.70).    

Marshall nails a podium
    Marshall benefited from several top racers — including Andrew Weibrecht, Tim Jitloff and Erik Fisher — failing to finish the tricky second run.
    “Cody Marshall has been working hard to get onto the team and stay in it, has been invited off and on to some stuff,” McNichol said. “This summer we invited him to some projects, he came to train with us, then he had some decent NorAms and was invited on some competition trips. And he had some great Europa Cup performances, which really was his turning point. The Europa Cup is a real proving ground, I think.
    “When a guy comes on late, I really like to see this, older guys make the team, like [Warner] Nickerson and [Roger] Brown, even Jimmy [Cochran] out of college, Andy Martin. Since my time we’ve actually brought on a lot of guys at that age. But they’ve got a lot of work to do. To compete against Will Brandenburg and other guys coming onto the team and other younger guys is one thing, but to actually step up and compete with guys who are 84s right now — you can look down the list, there are a lot of 84s skiing in the World Cup, scoring points, even skiing onto the podium. He’s got his work cut out for him, but it’s really exciting to see guy like that come out of the domestic system and punch his way into the national structure.”

Season not over for everyone
    For many of the country’s top racers, the competition season is now over. Many younger racers, though, will continue on for Spring Series races at Mammoth Mountain, California. Others will head east.
    “We’re headed off to Canada, then we’re going off to Norway for their spring races. Ten races left, or 12,” said Chris Frank, who sped into fifth place in the GS. Mark Heinrich-Wallace, who was a solid fourth Tuesday, and Paul Epstein (13th) are among that group, which won’t wrap up racing until April 25 in Norway.
    Frank moved up from 10th after the first run to place fifth.
    “It didn’t feel good, but it didn’t either first run,” he said. “You’ve got to keep fighting. The top was soft and rough and turny. It was a lot turnier than the first run.
    “The week as a whole went well — 11th in slalom, fifth today, so good results. My goals were top 10s, so 11th, 12th, I’m happy. My slalom hasn’t been as strong, but this was a total surprise, fifth. It’s good.”
    Nationals is as much about ever-improving racers such as Frank as it is the Ligetys and Stieglers of the domestic race scene.
    “Yeah, it is a big opportunity,” Frank said. “I’ve had good runs all year at NorAms, but never two runs in one race, so it was good to do it here with the big guys here.”

West wins Tom Garner Regions Cup
    The Western region of USSA won the Tom Garner Regions Cup based on World Cup-style point accumulation at the 2007 alpine nationals. West amassed 3,626 points, with the East second with 2,077 points and Rocky/Central third with 1,130 points.
    West topped the women’s subtotals with 1,729 points, with East at 828 and Rocky/Central at 767. On the men’s side, it was West with 1,897, followed by East with 1,249 and Rocky/Central with 363.   
    With points awarded for the top 30 finishers in each event, West won eight of 10 events, with the Jimmy Cochran’s win propelling the East to the most points in men’s slalom, and Bode Miller’s super G win helping East top the men’s super G charts.
    Versus (formerly OLN) will televise coverage Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.


2007 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships men's GS results

PL  ST   CODE  COMPETITOR----------------- NAT     TIME    TIME   TOTAL    RACE
Nr SURNAME+NAME 1stRUN 2ndRUN TIME POINTS

1 2 534562 LIGETY, Ted USA 1'08.98 1'13.36 2'22.34 0.00
2 6 530165 BRANDENBURG, Will USA 1'11.17 1'13.49 2'24.66 14.34
3 8 533739 MARSHALL, Cody B USA 1'11.52 1'13.26 2'24.78 15.09
4 19 533833 HEINRICH-WALLACE, Mark USA 1'12.19 1'14.06 2'26.25 24.17
5 15 534289 FRANK, Chris USA 1'12.16 1'14.45 2'26.61 26.40
6 29 530244 JOHNSON, Austin USA 1'13.38 1'13.58 2'26.96 28.56
7 12 533762 TRANSUE, Jeremy USA 1'12.43 1'14.71 2'27.14 29.68
8 26 534991 ROBERTS, Drew USA 1'13.29 1'14.03 2'27.32 30.79
9 42 530644 HAMMER, Maximilian USA 1'13.26 1'14.44 2'27.70 33.14
10 28 530828 HUGHES, Stefan USA 1'13.51 1'14.30 2'27.81 33.82
11 36 534740 COOKE, Miles USA 1'13.78 1'14.15 2'27.93 34.56
12 21 530874 GANONG, Travis USA 1'13.03 1'15.08 2'28.11 35.67
13 20 533931 EPSTEIN, Paul USA 1'14.52 1'13.70 2'28.22 36.35
14 34 532554 PHILLIPS, Andrew USA 1'13.85 1'14.88 2'28.73 39.51
15 38 530262 LUND, Jacob USA 1'14.31 1'14.52 2'28.83 40.12
16 43 534901 ASOIAN, Nathan P USA 1'14.51 1'14.33 2'28.84 40.19
17 40 531134 SCHWARTZ, Zachary USA 1'14.68 1'14.17 2'28.85 40.25
18 30 531073 MORGAN, Brian USA 1'13.67 1'15.28 2'28.95 40.87
19 46 530925 HELDMAN, Bump USA 1'14.68 1'14.51 2'29.19 42.35
20 45 421482 HVERVEN, Jonathan NOR 1'14.12 1'15.12 2'29.24 42.66
21 23 531302 WAGNER, Andrew USA 1'12.51 1'17.19 2'29.70 45.50
22 18 534508 CHODOUNSKY, David USA 1'11.56 1'19.26 2'30.82 52.43
23 69 534933 DONOVAN, Ryan USA 1'15.27 1'15.58 2'30.85 52.61
24 48 930163 KEMP, John USA 1'15.29 1'15.85 2'31.14 54.40
25 65 530651 STIEGLER, Seppi USA 1'15.23 1'16.02 2'31.25 55.09
26 60 530141 WOLOSYN, Ryan USA 1'16.04 1'15.41 2'31.45 56.32
27 56 532138 KASPER, Nolan USA 1'15.27 1'16.25 2'31.52 56.75
28 63 530264 MANTER, Benjamin USA 1'15.06 1'16.53 2'31.59 57.19
29 50 533903 BROWN, Ben USA 1'15.48 1'16.57 2'32.05 60.03
30 51 531178 WEIBRECHT, Ethan USA 1'15.61 1'16.51 2'32.12 60.46
31 74 201615 MEIER-MEITINGER, Maximilian GER 1'15.64 1'16.53 2'32.17 60.77
32 61 532270 MCLAUGHRY, Luke USA 1'15.74 1'16.93 2'32.67 63.86
33 47 530877 POEHLING, Bobby USA 1'15.50 1'17.22 2'32.72 64.17
34 41 530841 KERR, Errol USA 1'15.23 1'18.21 2'33.44 68.62
35 73 534698 BECKMANN, Christopher USA 1'16.28 1'17.55 2'33.83 71.04
36 64 930105 GRANSTROM, Colby USA 1'16.63 1'17.72 2'34.35 74.25
37 17 531181 THORSON, Tague USA 1'16.14 1'18.22 2'34.36 74.31
38 62 534899 MCKAY, Dan USA 1'16.73 1'18.23 2'34.96 78.02
39 54 531042 MCCONNELL, Cory USA 1'16.33 1'19.02 2'35.35 80.43
40 87 930205 NELSON, Joey USA 1'18.08 1'18.75 2'36.83 89.58
41 67 530731 CASTON, Marcus USA 1'16.10 1'20.87 2'36.97 90.45
42 59 532165 LEAFE, Trevor USA 1'19.24 1'18.69 2'37.93 96.38
43 66 533444 GIBSON, Beau USA 1'18.40 1'19.63 2'38.03 97.00
44 86 930023 COFFEY, Sam USA 1'19.19 1'19.18 2'38.37 99.10
45 80 530717 BRAUN, Jake USA 1'21.59 1'20.33 2'41.92 121.05
46 33 534165 JOHNSON, Erik USA 1'25.14 1'16.86 2'42.00 121.55
47 31 531799 FORD, Tommy USA 1'13.41 1'29.68 2'43.09 128.28
48 72 930024 MAPLE, Wiley USA 1'16.98 1'29.56 2'46.54 149.61
49 83 530768 CONWAY, Patrick USA 1'33.50 1'22.89 2'56.39 210.51

DID NOT START 1st RUN
79 532173 JOHNSON, Justin J USA
68 532490 MACARTNEY, Scott USA
DID NOT FINISH 1st RUN
90 50760 NEUHAUSER, Reinhard AUT
89 291876 SALMINI, Carlo ITA
88 530788 CRONK, Andrew Aj USA
85 533479 WOODS, Tim USA
84 531161 TRANSUE, Jon USA
82 534702 CASEY, Rory USA
78 934502 ANKENY, Michael USA
77 530265 MIKOS, Mark USA
75 530603 HOLMER, Eric USA
71 930107 GREGORAK, Will USA
70 531177 WEHAN, Bryce USA
58 531145 SPENST, Taggart USA
57 530283 REEVES, Alex USA
55 530149 ANDERSEN, Eric H USA
53 533115 MCNEILL, Jason USA
49 531452 BIESEMEYER, Thomas USA
35 530780 DAVIS, Eric USA
32 533131 SULLIVAN, Marco USA
27 534552 MCDONALD, Will USA
24 534534 VEENIS, Scott R USA
16 533866 NYMAN, Steven USA
14 534040 COCHRAN, Jimmy USA
13 534532 WEISS, Evan C USA
3 534038 NICKERSON, Warner C USA
1 534567 LANNING, Thomas (tj) USA

DISQUALIFIED 1st RUN
39 530645 HARRIS, Martin USA GATE 47

DID NOT START 2nd RUN
4 532431 MILLER, Bode USA

DID NOT FINISH 2nd RUN
81 530259 LOVE, John USA
76 934518 DANIELS, Nick USA
52 530214 FORD, William USA
37 530751 BARTELS, Greg USA
25 534965 KUNG, Kyle USA
22 530778 COLLINS, Shane USA
11 530939 WEIBRECHT, Andrew USA
10 533336 BROWN, Roger G P USA
44 530229 HEISE, Rusty USA
9 530837 KELLEY, Tim USA
7 534959 JITLOFF, Tim USA
5 534939 FISHER, Erik USA

Article Tags: Alpine

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