SQUAW VALLEY — Julia Mancuso raced to her record 16th title in the U.S. Alpine Championships, winning the giant slalom Thursday in her hometown.
The Olympic gold medalist beat World Cup slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin by 0.88 seconds in the opening event in the four-day competition at the 1960 Olympic mountain.
“It’s very fun to be at my home mountain and, of course, I want to win here,” Mancuso said. “I think that’s the cool thing about records even if it’s something like U.S. Championships. When you are kind of pushing for something or extending a record, It makes it that much more fun.
“I’ve seen a lot of people I know and all my friends come out to cheer me on. And all the kids, it’s really, really fun. It’s even a school day, so they’re probably happy they got to miss school.”
The 18-year-old Shiffrin, from Vail, Colo., won the World Cup slalom title last week in Switzerland.
“It’s awesome to be here,” Shiffrin said. “It’s beautiful today and hopefully this weather keeps up. I love U.S. Championships, it’s such a fun event and there’s so much healthy competition.”
Megan McJames, from Park City, Utah, was third in the race that was shortened from the planned start because of inconsistent snow after heavy snowfall Wednesday.
“This year’s been tough,” McJames said. “I’m not on the U.S. ski team, so we’ve been figuring it out as we go along and it’s been pretty rewarding, pretty fun. Just a new challenge, but it’s exciting. I love ski racing, so that’s why I’m still out here.
Tim Jitloff won the men’s giant slalom for his fourth U.S. title. He grew up in nearby Truckee and now lives in Reno, Nev.
“It was challenging for sure, but I grew up racing on this hill, so I know what’s going on,” Jitloff said. For me, this is just a lot of fun, so it’s really a weight off the shoulder if you can go and just enjoy yourself. That’s what it was today. It felt good to kind of reel back the years a little bit on home turf.”
Defending champ Robby Kelley of Starksboro, Vt., was second.
“I definitely wanted to repeat after winning last year, but it’s definitely a good accomplishment, coming here and getting second,” Kelley said. “Jit has been skiing great all year, so I kind of expected it.”
Seppi Stiegler, from Jackson Hole, Wyo., was third.
Ted Ligety, the World Cup and world champion, didn’t race.