SUGARLOAF, Maine — Giant slalom specialist Tim Jitloff (Reno) threw down on bumpy snow at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships to take his third national title in a row ahead of first run leader Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.).
Former University of Utah racer and current Team Geronimo member Nick Cohee (Gardnerville) took third.
“It was fun,” said Jitloff, who was a favorite going into the race. “We’re all really tired here, but anytime you can come back and see little kids who want to be doing what you’re doing is huge. That’s what these are all about.”
Jitloff was second after the first run behind Tommy Ford, who was going for his ninth national title. Ford put down a solid second run, but couldn’t hold first place – bobbling a bit on the on the last face. This was Jitloff’s sixth U.S. Alpine Championships win.
Jitloff’s season had its ups and downs. He took a couple of top 10s in World Cups, but it wasn’t quite what he had hoped. For the man who competes closely with Ted Ligety in training, he couldn’t keep up when it came to race day. But he still kept a good attitude — looking for the next race, the next result.
“The last two races I had at the end of the year on the World Cup did not go how I wanted it to go, so I was a little bummed out,” said Jitloff about his DNF in Kranjska Gora and a disappointing 19th in the World Cup Finals. “If I can end the year on a win—a national title—that’s always awesome and something to be proud of.”
Behind the podium, Mark Engel (Truckee, CA – U.S. Ski Team) put down the fastest second run, finishing in fourth place. David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, Colo.) was fifth. Hig Roberts (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) took sixth, Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah) seventh, Jack Gower of Great Britain eighth, Seppi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, Wyo.) ninth and Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, Minn.) was 10.