Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin continued her storybook season by winning the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships giant slalom title by a massive 1.88 seconds. (Doug Haney/U.S. Ski Team)
SQUAW VALLEY, CA (March 20) - Olympic slalom gold medalist and World Cup slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) continued her storybook season Thursday with victory in the 2014 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships giant slalom. To kick off the first day of spring, the 19-year-old technical phenom posted a 1.5-second first run lead before expanding it to a massive 1.88-second margin of victory under bluebird Squaw Valley skies. NBC will broadcast a Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships special at noon ET on Sunday, March 23.
Olympic gold medalist and back-to-back Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) continued her storybook season with giant slalom victory at the 2014 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
It was the third U.S. title of her young career, adding to the slalom titles she locked in 2011 and 2012.
Shiffrin posted a 1.5-second first run lead and then expanded it to a massive 1.88-second margin of victory over Canadian Marie-Michelle Gagnon.
Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA), who has won the giant slalom title for five straight seasons dating back to 2009, posted a blistering second run to jump from ninth after the first run to third.
Top junior honors also went to Shiffrin, followed by U.S. Development Team athletes Foreste Peterson (Berkeley, CA) and Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN), who finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Race conditions again proved to be perfect on the challenging Red Dog slope with consistent snow and perfect Squaw Valley skies for the second straight day of racing.
Action continues Friday with the men's Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships giant slalom featuring Olympic gold medalist and five-time World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT).
NBC will broadcast a one-hour Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships special on Sunday, March 23 at noon ET.
QUOTES Mikaela Shiffrin It was probably the toughest hill we’ve skied all year. It has a lot of terrain and the whole thing is pretty steep. So it was really cool to end on this hill. I made some good turns, but I also felt the turns where I could have improved, so I know what I want to do with my next training session.
Second run I felt like I attacked a little bit more at the top. I let it go a little bit more. I’m just trying to figure out how to look for speed in GS like I do for slalom. So I’m getting closer.
This event was definitely a confidence booster, but it was my first GS win in a while so that’s always nice. Even before coming here I knew what I had to do with my GS and what to improve on, and I wanted to use this as a tester to really see if it works.
Julia Mancuso The snow was pretty tough the first run, so I wanted to just have a good run. I've been having little problems with my hips, so at the end of the season I was definitely tired. I just found a little bit of energy for second run, so for sure it was better.
It was a lot of fun to be here and see all the girls racing and having fun. I think that's the most important thing. Nationals are about skiing with the legends but also having fun. It's pretty cool that we can race nationals on Red Dog. This is a really challenging hill.