David Chodounsky produces a blazing final run in Squaw Valley to win the 2014 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom title. (Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)
SQUAW VALLEY, CA (March 22) - Olympian David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) produced a blazing final run in sun-soaked Squaw Valley to win the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom title. Third after the first run, Chodounsky laced the bottom section of the Red Dog race hill to bump first-run leader Tim Kelley (Starksboro, VT) to second. Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA), who was fifth after the opening run, ended the day in third. NBC will broadcast a Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships special on Sunday, March 23 at noon ET.
2014 Olympian David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) produced a blazing final run to win the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom title in Squaw Valley.
The victory adds to Chodounsky's career-best year after racing his first Olympic Winter Games and finishing 19th in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom points to lead for the U.S. Ski Team.
Chodounsky was also the 2009 U.S. Champion in slalom and earned NCAA overall titles for 2005 and 2007 while he skied for Dartmouth.
First-run leader Tim Kelley (Starksboro, VT) finished second and Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA), who was fifth after the first run, jumped onto the podium in third.
Top junior honors went to U.S. Ski Team member Sandy Vietze (Warren, VT), who finished ninth in Saturday's slalom.
Alex Leever (Vail, CO; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) and Tanner Mottau (Saratoga Springs, NY; University of Colorado) finished 2-3 among juniors and 13-14 overall.
Some of the largest crowds in U.S. Championships history came out Saturday for the fourth-straight day of sun-soaked racing at Squaw Valley.
The Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships will close Sunday with a women's FIS giant slalom.
NBC will broadcast a one-hour TV special on the Championships at noon ET on Sunday, March 23.
QUOTES David Chodounsky I had a little bobble first run. I skied solid, but I knew I could go faster. All these guys are skiing really fast. Props to Tim (Kelley), he’s skiing really fast. Will Brandenburg, Colby Granstrom, Nolan Kasper–all these guys were fast.
I really wanted to end with a strong note because I knew I was skiing fast. It happened here so I’m really happy to bring this into the off-season, lock this away in my mind and carry that into next year.
This is the coolest Nationals I’ve seen atmosphere-wise. There are so many kids and fans and people out here supporting us and watching. It really means a lot to the athletes to have that support. It’s really cool to feel that energy. It helps us compete stronger and it’s really cool.
Tim Kelley It’s awesome. My first time ever in Nationals I came in sixth or seventh in the GS, so today was my best finish. I always felt sort of cursed at Nationals. I was just trying to have a good run. I didn’t have much of a lead and I watched Dave’s run from the start and knew that was going to be really tough to beat. He’s skiing awesome this year and he laid one down that run. I was just psyched to be right with him.
Will Brandenburg I’m pretty disappointed today. I’m really happy for two of the best guys in ski racing and two of my best friends–Dave wins and Timmy gets second. So I can’t be happier for those guys. It’s a lot of fun, but I had too many mistakes. This National title keeps eluding me.