Tim Jitloff, who grew up in nearby Truckee, cranked the fourth U.S. title of his career with giant slalom victory at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships (Mark Epstein/USSA)
SQUAW VALLEY, CA (March 21) - It was locals day at Squaw Valley as Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) boosted his U.S. title count to four with victory in the men's giant slalom to close a sun soaked day one of competition at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships. Defending champ Robby Kelley (Starksboro, VT) landed second and Seppi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) in third. Top junior honors went to Kieffer Christianson (Anchorage), who finished fourth in the race. NBC will broadcast a special show from the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships on March 24 at noon ET.
Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV), who grew up in nearby Truckee, earned his career fourth U.S. title with giant slalom victory at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
Jitloff is both the 2008 and 2009 U.S. giant slalom champion and also owns the 2009 combined crown.
Defending GS champ Robby Kelley (Starksboro, VT) was regulated to second with Seppi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) in third.
Second and third among juniors were Robert Cone (Killington, VT) and Bryce Bennett (Olympic Valley, CA), who finished 11th and 20th respectively.
World Cup and World Champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) did not race, but will be in Squaw Valley for the Championships.
The race was staged a day later than planned as over a foot of snow blanketed the Olympic race hill on Wednesday.
The Squaw Valley race team put in an incredible effort to produce excellent racing conditions for both the men's and women's races. Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) won the women's race.
Action continues Friday at Squaw Valley with men's and women's super G.
NBC will broadcast a special Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships show at noon ET on March 24.
QUOTES Tim Jitloff It was challenging for sure, but I grew up racing on this hill so I know what’s going on. For me this is just a lot of fun, so it’s really a weight off the shoulder if you can go and just enjoy yourself. That’s what it was today. It felt good to kind of reel back the years a little bit on home turf. It was nice.
I’m one of the older bucks out here, so this comes with some experience. I remember being wild and crazy too, but that’s not always fast. I just tried to ski smooth and clean and really just try to soak it all in.
The snow was great. They knew what it was with the rain and everything that had come. I think they did a great job. They put on a heck of a race.
Including today, that’s four U.S. titles. Today plus two giant slalom and one in combined. Try to go for a super G tomorrow and see if I can pull that one off.
Robby Kelley I definitely wanted to repeat after winning last year, but it’s definitely a good accomplishment, coming here and getting second. Jit has been skiing great all year, so I kind of expected it.
Yeah, the snow was good. They did a good job putting salt down and making a hard surface for us to push off. It was pretty good.
Just getting ready for next year’s World Cup, that’s going to be my main focus. I need to really get established on the World Cup and shoot for the Olympics. I made the World Championships this year, which is the same qualifications as the Olympics, so if I have a similar year to how I had this year then I’ll make it. So, that’d be nice.
Kieffer Christianson It’s awesome. I had a great season in GS. This is a nice finish to it for sure. So far, GS has been rolling for me pretty well.
I just need to keep plugging away. I just missed out on the World Cup spot in the NorAms, which is a little bit of a bummer. But I came on strong in the second half of the season. So, just keep moving up the ladder.