Lindsey Vonn headlines US Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf
Updated: 2015-03-24 10:24
Lindsey Vonn (left) and Mikaela Shiffrin both won World Cup titles at the final event of the season in France. [Photo/Agencies]
On the heels of clinching World Cup downhill and giant slalom overall season titles last week, ski racer Lindsey Vonn will now set her sights on winning in Maine as she headlines the US Alpine Championships this week at Sugarloaf.
Vonn, who has won 19 World Cup titles, will be joined by some of the top competitors in US Alpine racing, including fellow Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin, and World Cup racers Lauren Ross, Stacey Cook, Andrew Weibrecht, Steve Nyman, and Tim Jitloff.
Shiffrin won her third straight World Cup slalom title at the season-ending events in France over the weekend.
It'll be Vonn's first time at the national championships since returning from a serious knee injury. She said she hopes to inspire up-and-coming skiers to aim high.
"It meant a lot to me as a young ski racer to compete in this event amongst some of the best ski racers in the world, and I'm hoping to have the same influence on the younger generation," she said before leaving France.
For Shriffin, it'll be her first time at Sugarloaf.
"Sugarloaf seems like a rite of passage almost for every (International Ski Federation) racer in the US, and I've never skied there," she said. "I'm checking that off the list."
Sugarloaf experienced a chairlift mechanical failure that injured seven skiers over the weekend, but the US ski team says it's confident in Sugarloaf's ability to host the event.
Several notable skiers are expected to be absent: Julia Mancuso is nursing a sore hip, and Bode Miller is recovering from a leg injury. Also missing will be Ted Ligety.
Sugarloaf has hosted the US Alpine Championships four times – 1996, 1997, 2006, and 2008 – and is scheduled to alternate as host with Sun Valley, Idaho, through 2018. The racing events this week include super giant slalom, giant slalom, and slalom.
"Sugarloaf has a proud tradition of hosting some of the world's premier ski racing events, and we're honored to have the US Alpine Championships return this spring," Sugarloaf General Manager John Diller said.
The racing events will be held on Sugarloaf's Narrow Gauge trail. Spectators must ski or hike to the location to watch.