Shiffrin, Granstrom win slalom titles at nationals
WINTER PARK – Youngsters Mikaela Shiffrin and Colby Granstrom turned in smooth performances in sloppy conditions Sunday to win slalom titles at the U.S. championships.
The 16-year-old Shiffrin flew down the mushy course in a combined time of 1 minute, 42.14 seconds, holding off Sarah Schleper by 0.52 seconds. Resi Stiegler finished third.
“This is the best end to a season ever,” said Shiffrin, who attends Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont. “I was sure hoping for this. A lot came through today.”
Earlier in the day, the 20-year-old Granstrom broke up Tommy Ford’s monopoly at nationals, taking the men’s title. Granstrom, of Lake Stevens, Wash., had a two-run time of 1:42.67, beating Ford by 1.33 seconds. Seppi Stiegler was third, just like his older sister.
“I wanted to throw down the best run I could,” Granstrom said. “It was enough.”
On an afternoon when Ford lost, he still won.
That’s simply how nationals have gone for him of late.
Moments after coming up just short in the slalom, the racer from Bend, Ore., found out that he had captured the crown in the combined, which meshed the times from the super-G that Ford won Saturday with those of the slalom.
He’s now won six national titles in the last two years.
“Unbelievable,” Ford said of his weekend. “To be consistent through all this (soft) snow, I’m happy with my skiing. Colby put it in a groove today and let it go. That was sweet.”
Julia Mancuso couldn’t add to her career mark of 13 U.S. titles, skiing off the course in whiteout conditions during the first run of the women’s race.
“Just really tough. Went out. Oh well,” said Mancuso, who plans to head back to Squaw Valley, Calif., to unwind and sneak in a little more skiing before heading to Hawaii to surf. “Still a really good week.”
Mancuso won the super-G and giant slalom titles earlier this week.
Schleper had a solid weekend, too, finishing runner-up in the giant slalom along with the slalom. And only later, long after the race had concluded, did the 32-year-old from Vail, Colo., learn that she had wrapped up the combined title, just edging Laurenne Ross.
For as bummed as Schleper was about losing Sunday, she was that excited for Shiffrin, an up-and-coming skier Schleper has taken under her wing.
“That was a fight, I’m stoked for Mikaela,” said Schleper, who has a 3-year-old son, Lasse, and husband that follow along with her on the World Cup circuit. “She has a good solid head on her shoulders to come down and take the win.”
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