SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. — Triple World Champion Ted Ligety wrapped up his smoking 2013 season with one final dominating performance.
Under sunny skies at Squaw Valley, the technical specialist out of Park City, Utah, nailed both of his slalom runs to earn his seventh career national title by 1.48-second margin at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships on Saturday.
“If you’re going to race, you might as well try to win. I’m definitely happy to put together two slalom runs. I haven’t won a slalom race in a long time,” said Ligety, who one week earlier clinched his fourth World Cup giant slalom title.
Will Brandenburg of Spokane, Wash., finished second to clinch the combined title, while 2011 slalom champion Colby Granstrom was third. Robert Cone was the top junior in the race and finished sixth overall to also secure the junior combined title.
Mark Engel of Sugar Bowl, who finished third in Friday’s super G, was seventh, and Bryce Bennett of Squaw Valley, who was fourth Friday, placed ninth overall and was the second junior.
Incline Village native Sean Higgins was 12th, while a number of other Tahoe-area racers also fared well, including Nick Cohee (15th), Ty Sprock (17th), Dylan Brooks (19th), Addison Dvoracek (20th), Garret Driller (22nd) and Brian Francis (33rd).
ANNA GOODMAN WINS WOMEN’S SLALOM TITLE
World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin was on her way to securing a third consecutive national slalom title Sunday when she straddled a gate in the tight middle section of the Squaw Valley course, which gave the title to Anna Goodman.
Goodman, a Canadian student at Westminster College, was followed by Resi Stiegler of Jackson Hole and Norwegian Tonje Sekse, also a Westminster athlete.
Lila Lapanja of Incline Village, a former member of the Diamond Peak and Sugar Bowl ski teams, finished seventh overall, posting a time of 1:50.20 to Goodman’s 1:45.94, and Julia Bjorkman of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team was 31st.
Lapanja also took gold among juniors in the combined race (super G and slalom) and was second overall in the combined behind Katie Hartman.
Despite not finishing, the 18-year-old Shiffrin recorded four slalom victories and the season-long slalom title, becoming the fourth-youngest in history to win the globe. She also won the World Championship slalom gold in February — the third-youngest woman to accomplish the feat.
“I just caught a little bit of a weird groove and pressured on the wrong spot and my ski went on the other side,” Shiffrin explained. “It happens. I thought the conditions held up great, especially for how warm it is and the sun is hitting the hill basically all day. It was really good.”
The thousands of fans who came out for the week of racing and festivities were treated to sunny weather with temperatures in the mid 40s.
The final race also awarded the Tom Garner Memorial Trophy to the defending champion Western Region, who piled on 2,964 points to top the Eastern Region (1,506) and Rocky/Central (1,403).
— The U.S. Ski Team contributed to this story