March in Sun Valley is coming in like a lion with significant snowfall falling over the past week and more predicted through the weekend. The month will also not go out like the proverbial lamb, because the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships, a world-class event, is coming to Baldy’s storied slopes from March 21 to 26. You won’t want to miss a minute of this celebration of amazing ski racing and mountain culture.
The action returns! Sun Valley last hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships in 2016. It was so great,...
Skiing & Riding
There’s nothing quite like the excitement of alpine skiing at its highest level. The speed, the power, the après ski parties, nothing else compares.
That’s why Sun Valley is excited to once again host the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships this week (March 22-27). It’s the first time Sun Valley is hosting the Nationals since 1951 and given Sun Valley’s rich history, it’s only fitting that the country’s original ski resort will once again be the epicenter of the American ski scene.
The best 160 skiers in the country will be competing in the biggest collection of alpine skiing talent Sun Valley has seen since hosting the World Cup in 1977. The impressive field includes Olympic Slalom skiing gold medalist, Mikaela Shiffrin, and defending men’s national champ in the Slalom and combined, David Chodounsky. Tim Jitloff and Nina O’Brien, in giant Slalom, and Drew Duffy, in Super G, will also be trying to repeat as national champs.
The Sun Valley community is also excited about a half-dozen skiers with homegrown ties competing as well.
Tanner Farrow and Haley Cutler both grew up in Hailey, Kipling Weisel in Sun Valley, and Erin Smith, Hayden Terjeson, and Teagen Palmer have all called the Wood River Valley home at some point and trained with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF).
The races will be held on the Warm Springs side of Baldy. The Super G starts on Challenger, hits Warm Springs and then bombs down Greyhawk. About 2/3rds of the Super G course can be seen from the slopes and there is a spectator area at the bottom of the course. There is no charge to view the racing.
The Slalom carves it way down Hemingway. NBC Sports will broadcast the Nationals, and most of Bald Mountain will remain open to the public for skiing and boarding during the races. Nearly 5,000 spectators are expected over the course of the six-day event.
There is no surprise that alpine ski racing is so much fun to watch. USA Today declared the downhill to be one of the “Ten Hardest Things to Do in Sports.” The concept behind the Super G, Slalom and Overall Combined titles is simple: Fastest one to the bottom wins.
The fastest racers in the Super G could hit speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Such speeds will cause the skiers to pull about 3.5 on the g-force or gravitational scale, which basically puts as much pressure on them as if they nearly tripled their body weight or just took off in the Space Shuttle.
Alpine ski racing is all about balance, control, focus and speed. It’s like a snow-covered drag race, which is why it’s so fun to watch and then celebrate. Everything happens in a split second, which is usually the difference between becoming a national champ and just being another happy skier enjoying an après party.
RACE AND EVENTS SCHEDULE:
Tuesday, March 22
RACES: Men’s Super G/Slalom/Alpine Combined beginning with the Super G at 9:30am on Warm Springs and Greyhawk. Men’s Slalom begins at 12:30pm at Hemingway and Greyhawk. Awards at 2:30pm at Warm Springs Plaza.
Wednesday, March 23
RACES: Women’s Super G/Alpine Combined begins with the Super G at 9:30am on Warm Springs and Greyhawk. The Slalom portion of the Alpine Combined begins at 12:30pm on Hemingway and Greyhawk. An awards ceremony will be held at 2:30pm at Warm Springs Plaza.
EVENTS: A Street Party featuring live music by former U.S. Ski Team member Bryon Friedman and his band will take place at 4pm Wednesday, March 23, at the bottom of Warm Springs Plaza.
Thursday, March 24
RACES: Men’s Super G will start at 9am on Warm Springs and Women’s at 12:30pm. EVENTS: The Opening Ceremony and Parade of Athletes will be held from 4:30 to 9pm with athletes parading from the Community Library in Ketchum down 4th street to Ketchum Town Square. Grammy Award-winning musician Johnny Neel and Bryon Friedman will be playing. Athletes are scheduled to sign autographs during the Opening Ceremony.
Friday, March 25
RACES: Women’s first Slalom race starts at 9am and men’s at 10:30am. Race number two for women starts at noon and the men’s at 1:30pm.
EVENTS: An awards ceremony will be held at 2:30pm at the Warm Springs Plaza.
The Big Air Exhibition will take place from 4:30 to 9pm at Dollar Mountain.
Spectators can watch from the deck of Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge
Saturday, March 26
RACES: The men’s first giant Slalom run begins at 11:15am on with the second at 12:30pm. An award ceremony will be held at 2:30pm at the base of Warm Springs.
EVENTS: Street Party with Johnny Neel and Byron Freidman performing at Warm Springs Plaza.
Mikaela Shiffrin the 2014 Olympic gold medalist and two-time Slalom World Champion and four-time Slalom National champion will be signing autographs from 4 to 5 p.m at the Brass Ranch at River Run Plaza.
Sunday, March 27:
RACES: The women’s first Giant Slalom Race starts at 9:30 am with the second at 12:30 pm. An awards ceremony will take place at 1:30 pm on the Warm Springs Plaza .
will conclude the week of races.
EVENTS: A Closing Celebration will begin at 1:30 on the Warm Springs Plaza.
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