Skiing & Riding

Top U.S. Racers to Grace Sun Valley Slopes at U.S. Alpine Championships

Ok, everyone. This is a big deal. From March 22 – 27, all eyes will be on Sun Valley when the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships come to town. Many top U.S. team racers are expected to compete at the event and town is abuzz with anticipation.

The Nationals will be a great opportunity to get up close and personal with today's competitive ski racing superstars who have competed at the World Championships, World Cups and Olympics. A veritable who’s who in the world of alpine skiing will grace the slopes on the Warm Springs side of Baldy. Mikaela Shiffrin, David Chodounsky, Resi Stiegler, Stacey Cook, Steven Nyman, Marco Sullivan, Tim Jitloff, Andrew Weibrecht, Laurenne Ross, and Alice McKennis are all expected.  A handful of local athletes who learned to ski on Bald Mountain and honed their skills with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) have also earned the chance to compete. They include Kipling Weisel, Tanner Farrow, Haley Cutler, and Teagen Palmer.

The big show of U.S. Alpine Championships is coming to Sun Valley bringing some of the top skiing talent in the country to Baldy’s slopes

In all, 58 members of the U.S. Ski Team (USST) are expected to attend, with an additional 100 United States Ski Association (USSA) Regional athletes competing. Four unique events will take place during six days of racing encompassing 950 individual starts. As many as 1,500 daily spectators are anticipated, as well. The competition at Sun Valley will identify National Champions in the Alpine Combined, Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G.

Sun Valley native, Kipling Weisel rips some training turns in preparation for the upcoming Championships.

The first skiers will step into the starting gate on Tuesday, March 22 for the Men’s Alpine Combined. The next day, it is the women’s turn in the same event. On Thursday, the action is in the Super G course while Slalom and Giant Slalom contests will take place Friday and Saturday. Friday’s Super G men's race starts at 9 a.m., followed by the women's race at 12:30 p.m. Both will be nationally-televised on NBC at 12:30 pm EST/10:30 am MST.

Sun Valley has spent months preparing for this event. “We have created a world-class Super G course that is at the maximum vertical limit of this standard,” said Sun Valley’s Director of Winter Sports Tony Parkhill. The top of the Greyhawk run on the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain was completely re-graded. At the bottom of the run, the finish are has been opened up. In addition, Sun Valley installed twelve 40-foot high steel poles to hold safety netting on Upper Greyhawk.

“Greyhawk is the center of energy for racing with a common finish for the Super G, Slalom, and Giant Slalom races,” Parkhill said. “Any spectator at the bottom of the hill can see the entire race. It's a fantastic venue.”

Even though the skiing will be awesome in the truest sense of the word, there is more to the Nationals than the action of the slopes. In fact, it is a true acknowledgment of the joy of mountain culture. To that end, a huge community celebration starts with a street party after the awards ceremony for women’s Alpine Combined on March 23.  This will include a barbeque and live music at the Warm Springs Plaza and Picabo Street at 4 p.m.

Warm Springs Base Area will be the place to be for live music, food and fun during the events!

On March 24, starting at 4:30 p.m., the entire Wood River Valley will throw down the proverbial welcome mat as a parade of athletes and official opening ceremony will take place at Ketchum Town Square. There will be an autograph session, music by Johnny Neel and Bryon Friedman, a former U.S. Ski Team member who is also a talented musician.

The next day, Dollar will host a Big Air exhibition in anticipation of this sports’ Olympic debut at the 2018 games. Then, on the 26th, the Baldy Bash, a street party and concert, will rock the base of Warm Springs at 3 p.m.

A Big Air exhibition will take place on Dollar on March 26 in advance of the sports’ Olympic debut

Sun Valley’s storied history of ski racing makes Baldy the perfect venue for this event and we are returning to our racing roots with pride. The U.S. Alpine Championships return to Sun Valley in 2018, just after the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Welcoming racers of this caliber is something everyone could not be more excited about. Good luck to all the competitors. Be sure to come out, take a few runs of your own, and cheer the athletes on!

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