On the opening day of the 2019 U.S. Alpine Championship technical races in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, the men and women competed in parallel slalom, the first time in recent years that the discipline has been contested as a championship event.
In the morning’s qualification run, the U.S. Ski Team’s AJ Hurt set the fastest women’s time, clocking in with a run of 24.31 seconds. Hurt was followed closely by teammate Nina O’Brien in second, 0.08 seconds back, and U.S. Ski Team and University of Denver athlete Katie Hensien in third, 0.24 seconds back.
On the men’s side, World Junior slalom silver medalist Benjamin Ritchie and Canada’s Phil Brown both set the qualifying time to beat at 23.71 seconds. Team America’s Garret Driller sat in third, 0.13 seconds back.
As the 32 fastest competitors for each gender qualified for the afternoon’s knockout rounds, head-to-head-racing got underway with a light snowfall gracing the Waterville venue. As the rounds progressed, O’Brien took on Canadian and Dartmouth student-athlete Stephanie Currie in the women’s finals. O’Brien edged out Currie for the win and U.S. Ski Team athlete Alice Merryweather rounded out the podium in third.
The men’s knockout rounds saw Driller and Redneck Racing’s Tucker Marshall advance through the field and meet in the finals for the title. Unfortunately, Marshall suffered a back injury, giving the title to Driller. Driller’s Team America teammate Alex Leever rounded out the podium in third place for an all-independent athlete podium.
The men and women will race the National Championship slalom on Sunday, March 24, in Waterville.
Full results will be posted once they become available.