Tommy Ford screamed to the seventh U.S. title of his career with slalom gold at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in Winter Park (USSA/Tom Kelly)
WINTER PARK, CO (March 29) - Tommy Ford (Bend, OR/Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation) took slalom gold by .01 seconds to open men's racing at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships for the seventh national title of his career. Norwegian Leif Kristian Haugen was silver with Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, MN/Buck Hill Ski Team) bronze after first run leader Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH/Cochran's/Mt. Mansfield Ski and Snowboard Club) hooked a tip the sun soaked final run. Top junior honors went to Robert Cone (Killington, VT/Middlebury College Ski Team).
Tommy Ford (Bend, OR) earned the seventh U.S. title of his career with slalom gold at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
Ford won the 2010 U.S. slalom title, but was second last season. He also owns two combined titles, two giant slalom crowns and a super G title.
Norway's Leif Kristian Haugen was silver, .01 seconds behind Ford with Michael Ankeny (Deephaven, MN) in bronze.
First run leader Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) hooked a tip in the final run and went out to close a nine-year career with the U.S. Ski Team.
Robert Cone (Killington, VT) was the top junior followed by Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT/Cochran's/Mt. Mansfield Ski and Snowboard Club) and Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, CA/Squaw Valley Ski Team).
The Nature Valley U.S.Alpine Championships continue Friday with men's and women's super G at Winter Park.
QUOTES Tommy Ford I’ve been training some slalom up in Quebec when we had some spring break time before coming here and it’s been getting better and better. I added some old-school turns the second run but skied well on the bottom. It’s always fun to win, I skied well and it was fun to ski some good slalom.
U.S. Championships have always been good to me. I ski well in these types of conditions. The weather is great, it's like spring break. I'm looking forward to skiing super G tomorrow and then some giant slalom, but I'm also looking forward to being done for the season.
It was too bad that Jimmy didn't finish. It would have been fun to have him come down competing.
Michael Ankeny It was a really fun race today. I'm good friends with the guys that beat me and I'm really surprised that it was that close of a race because the conditions were so variable.
This is the culminating event of the year. You can put the rest of the year behind you and then come here and finish your season skiing well. It's also really fun to have the entire ski team and all the regions racing together.
The snow held up great the first run and then the sun came out and it got a little sloppy in the second run. There were some holes and a pretty big groove, but Winter Park did a good job keeping the course together.
Last year I was fourth in slalom, so it's nice to finally be on the U.S. Champs podium.
Robert Cone I was excited after the first run, I had a great bib draw, pretty solid run up top and kept it going fast down bottom. That put me in a good position for second run where it was still relatively smooth. I just had to put my foot in [the rut] and try to make some good turns all the way to the bottom. I got a little behind it before the finish but it was a good run and it put me in there.
It's been a long season, but a pretty good one. It was cool to go to the Junior World Championships and then come here and know that I can compete with some of the fastest guys out there.
TV NBC will air the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships on April 7 at 3:30 p.m. ET