Racing action at U.S. Alpine Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, concluded on Sunday with women’s giant slalom with American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin winning her second title of the series by 0.73 seconds over her World Cup teammate Resi Stiegler in second. American independent racer Megan McJames rounded out the podium in third, 1.20 seconds off of Shiffrin’s pace.
In contrast to the previous couple of days, Sunday’s overcast skies and warmer temperatures made for a slightly more forgiving surface than the one the men dealt with on Saturday, but it was still one of the most challenging races the field had seen all year.
First run action saw Shiffrin, Stiegler, and McJames sitting in first, second, and third, respectively, with a myriad of young racers chomping at the bit for a chance to challenge the leaders. The song remained the same in the second run, with the three leaders showing strong skiing as they maintained their positions on the podium. Stephanie Lebby was the fastest junior (after Shiffrin) in eighth place.
Shiffrin has not enjoyed the same success in GS as she has in slalom so far in her career and felt a little off her game today after failing to finish her previous GS at World Cup finals in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
“To be honest, it’s nice to make it to the finish in a GS race,” Shiffrin said. “I’m going to watch my video, I felt like I struggled a bit with the skiing here and there. Both courses were demanding, second course was really turny and I was just struggling a little bit with the timing which is the age old story for me. I’m definitely really happy with the win, it’s a great place to be.”
Stiegler has also skied less GS this season than in the past and was very pleased to have made it to the end of the winter injury-free, something she has not been able to enjoy for the last few years.
“I’m cracking myself up because all three podiums, the only podiums I have this year, were in GS, so I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should be doing more of that,” Stiegler explained. “I’m pretty stoked, it’s the first season in a long time that I’ve made it to the finish and I think I was a little nervous in the last couple of days just because you put so much effort into the World Cup and you get a little tired and maybe a little lazy. Going into nationals is really fun, but to stay focused to the last day is important for me … I was stoked on my GS today, the hill was awesome and I just went into it and had a lot of fun on my last day.”
For McJames, a solid season on the NorAm circuit which saw her walk away with an overall title guaranteeing her World Cup starts next season as well as 6.00 FIS GS points was capped off with her second podium of the series. Looking ahead, she hopes to take advantage of her position and turn in some solid results at the World Cup level.
“The snow was awesome today,” said McJames. “The hill is steep, so you just have to keep turning. I think a lot of the girls at the end of the season are sort of feeling kind of tired which amplifies that, just keep turning all the way to the finish line was the goal.”
Many of the competitors will now head to various spring series races across the country before ending their seasons in the next few weeks.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points|
|5||3||426032||TRULSRUD Tonje Healey||1994||NOR||1:08.70||1:10.80||2:19.50||+2.14||23.27|
|13||6||6535773||O BRIEN Nina||1997||USA||1:09.51||1:11.59||2:21.10||+3.74||34.68|
|16||14||6536179||TALBOT Nellie Rose||1999||USA||1:11.72||1:09.91||2:21.63||+4.27||38.46|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|31||425949||HOLE Kari Bergheim||1992||NOR|