COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. — Squaw Valley skier Bryce Bennett claimed the U.S Alpine Championships downhill title along with Jackie Wiles of Aurora Ore., during a chilly Tuesday at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper Mountain, Colo.
Bennett harnessed momentum from his first World Cup start in Lake Louise to capture his first U.S. title.
“It was pretty cold, hovering around zero degrees, partly cloudy, and a pretty good day for downhill,” said the 21-year-old Bennett, who was second in last year’s U.S. Alpine Championships downhill. “I had a couple lines picked out that were a little straighter than I did in training. Those that I could just go for, and it worked out.”
Jared Goldeberg of Holladay, Utah — last year’s downhill champion — took second in the men’s race and was followed by Artem Borodaykin of Russia, who was also the top junior.
It was the second straight U.S. downhill gold for Wiles, who nearly scored Audi FIS Alpine World Cup points last weekend in both Lake Louise downhill races, the second and third World Cup starts of her young career.
“I’m skiing really fast right now and I have pretty good confidence in what I’m doing,” Wiles said. “Today was just another good day. We’ve trained (at Copper) quite a bit in November, and so I knew the hill really well. I knew what to expect.”
Katie Hartman of Breckenridge, Colo., was second, followed by Katie Ryan of Aspen, Colo., who was also the top junior woman.
The super G, giant slalom, slalom and combined titles will be up for grabs March 19-23, 2014, at Squaw Valley, during the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
“We’ve got a long season ahead of us and I’m looking forward to getting some more World Cup experience,” Bennett said, “but I’m also looking forward to going back to Squaw at the end of the season to hopefully competing for another title or two.”