In the final day of action at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in front of a big crowd of ski racing fans at Sun Valley, Idaho, Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO – U.S. Ski Team) wrapped up the season with her second national title in giant slalom Sunday.
“The first GS win in a long time,” said Shiffrin, who also took the GS title in 2013 at Squaw Valley. “A win is a win, but to be honest, it’s nice to make it to the finish in a GS race.”
Though light snow was falling through the air and the sun was not shining, Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY) brought the sparkle and sunshine, winning the second run by two hundredths of a second, finishing second overall and flashing a big smile and cheering in the finish with season-ending glee.
After the race, slalom specialist Stiegler joked that she had three podiums this season and they were all in GS, "The only podiums I had this year were in GS, so I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should be doing more of that!" Stiegler said with a giggle.
Overall NorAm champion Megan McJames (Park City, UT) continued her strong season-ending results with a third place finish on the day, while another highlight came from 37-year-old former U.S. Ski Team member Sarah Schleper, who now skis for Team Mexico. Schleper hammered both runs, and laid down some ultra-fast skiing, finishing fourth overall. She tied for second with Shiffrin on the second run, just two one-hundredths off of Stiegler's time.
On the men’s side: Kieffer Christianson (Anchorage, AK - U.S. Ski Team) battled a crazy course set to come away with his first giant slalom national title Saturday at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
After posting DNFs in Thursday’s super G and Friday’s slalom, Christianson, who has struggled with not finishing this season in NorAm and World Cup races, opted for a change in tactics.
Christianson won the first run, and then added to his .83 margin of victory in the second to grab the GS title. Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT - U.S. Ski Team) was second, followed by Canadian Erik Read in third.
Photos: Top - Resi Steigler celebrates second place finish in GS at Nationals (USST); Below - Kiefer Christianson (center) wins his first men's GS. (USST)