Olympian Tim Jitloff won the FIS giant slalom held Wednesday at Squaw Valley to open up the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships competition week (Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)
SQUAW VALLEY, CA (March 19) - Olympian Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) sliced a wire-to-wire FIS giant slalom victory Wednesday to open five days of Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships competition in sun soaked Squaw Valley. The race, a precursor to Friday's U.S. Championship event, was held on Red Dog with incredible snow conditions and a large crowd of fans, friends and families on hand to enjoy the annual alpine skiing end-of-the season celebration. Action continues Thursday with the women's U.S. Championships giant slalom featuring reigning champion Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) and Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO).
Olympian Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) posted the fastest time in both runs Wednesday to win an FIS giant slalom by 2.79 seconds. The race was a prelude to the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships race set for Friday in Squaw Valley.
2014 NCAA giant slalom champion Mark Engel (Truckee, CA) of the University of Utah was second, followed by two-time Junior World Champion and current NorAm overall champ Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT).
Top junior honors went to Jack Schibli (Charlotte, VT; Green Mountain Valley School), AJ Ginnis (Waitsfield, VT) and Kipling Weisel (San Francisco, CA; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) who finished 11-12-13 respectively.
The race was held on Red Dog and featured a perfect racing surface under beautiful spring sunshine.
Action continues Thursday with the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships women's giant slalom featuring defending champion Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) and Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO). Mancuso will be seeking to add to her record 16 U.S. titles.
NBC will air a one-hour special on the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships on Sunday, March 23 at noon ET.
QUOTES Tim Jitloff It was actually just nice to get the feel on the hill. It's a very nice hill and they could certainly run the World Cup on this if they wanted. That's a tough hill, you have to bring a lot of intesity.
I just skied and enjoyed myself. I wasn't thinking about winning or time. For me this is very relaxed, there's not pressure here and I can just have fun. I grew up here. The first races I every won as a kid where on Exibition.
This is my backyard, but Ted's [Ligety] is going to be here Friday and he's the best there is. I'm going to battle with him, but who knows. We're going to have fun and put on a show for the crowd. That way the young kids can see where the guys on the team are at and see it with their own eyes. That's what's important.
Mark Engel You're always fighting on this hill. It's long and steep all the way to the finish. It was really hard snow during the first run and the second run it was a little softer in some of the turns, but it never felt like it was going to give way. I think I always have a chance on Friday, so I'm going to go for it a little bit more.
Ryan Cochran-Siegle You've got to be warmed up for the race and be active over the terrain. It's a tough hill and it comes at you a lot. This is probably the hardest hill I've skied on all year. It's pretty steep and doesn't let up until the finish.