Squaw Valley’s Erik Arvidsson third in U.S. Champs downhill | SierraSun.com

Squaw Valley’s Erik Arvidsson third in U.S. Champs downhill

ASPEN, Colo. — The first event of the U.S. Alpine Championships kicked off Sunday in Aspen, where hometown favorite Wiley Maple defended his national title by winning the downhill. Breezy Johnson won the women’s title.

Maple squeaked out a win over Canadian Jeffrey Frisch by only .05 seconds, grabbing his second title in two years. Erik Arvidsson of the Squaw Valley Ski Team, who recently won the World Juniors downhill title, rounded out the podium in third.

“Going into World Juniors I had a lot of confidence in speed events and felt really comfortable on my skis. Obviously the win there was an incredible result,” Arvidsson said. “Then to come back home and cap of the season in downhill a third place against a really tight field and moving all the way up into second in the NorAm standings and grabbing a personal World Cup spot for next year was definitely an incredible day and an incredible feat for me.”

While the rest of the U.S. Alpine Champs take place in Sun Valley, Idaho, next week, the downhill is held in conjunction with the NorAm Finals. This year, the venue was Aspen, where the World Cup Finals will be held in 2017. The race was moved up by a day to avoid forecasted heavy snowfall.

Among other top American men, Drew Duffy was fifth, Sam Morse 10th, and Squaw Valley’s Bryce Bennett and Keith Moffat 11th and 12th, respectively. Squaw’s Addison Dvoracek was 25th.

Johnson, who was third in the 2015 U.S. Alpine Champs downhill, crushed her competition, winning by over a second, while Jackie Wiles tied Canadian Valerie Grenier for second.

The rest of the U.S. Alpine Championships events, including super G, alpine combined, giant slalom, slalom and a team event, begin at Sun Valley on March 22.

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