O’Brien wins national super-G; Emma Resnick third for juniors
Ross bids farewell
Despite the fact that weather pushed the slalom portion of the U.S. Alpine Championship alpine combined to Wednesday, organizers were able to get off a successful super-G and Nina O’Brien, late of Edwards, walked away with the win, and her career-eighth national title on Tuesday.
Fresh off her career-best FIS Ski World Cup season, featuring five top-10 results in giant slalom and slalom, highlighted by a career-best ninth-place finish in a World Cup slalom in Semmering, Austria, and a top-10 result (and the second-fastest first run) in the giant slalom at worlds in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, O’Brien was a clear favorite across disciplines and kicked off her U.S. Alpine Championships week with a win in Tuesday’s super-G.
This wasn’t the first national title she’s won in 2020-21 though, as she snagged the giant slalom Italian national title in Solda, Italy, in November.
Rounding out the overall podium was Westminster Ski Team and Norway’s Hannah Saethereng, nearly one second back (.99), with Team X Alpine’s Storm Klomhaus rounding out the podium in third, 1.13 seconds off O’Brien’s pace.
On the junior podium, a pair of Canadians—Sarah Bennett and Kiara “Kiki” Aleksander — went 1-2, with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Emma Resnick in third.
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With a full World Cup tech season during 2020-21, O’Brien hasn’t been on her super-G boards since the last time she won the super-G national title—which was in 2019 at the U.S. Alpine Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine. Despite her super-G success in the U.S. Alpine Championships and her love for the discipline, she laughed when asked if she will be skiing more super-G in the future, perhaps even on the World Cup.
“My (tech) coaches aren’t going to like that,” she giggled. “We’ll see…we’re building, step-by-step, working on tech first.”
She was smiling ear-to-ear as she talked about kicking off the week by winning her eighth national title.
“I haven’t skied much super-G in the past…I guess since the last U.S. Nationals super-G that I raced,” she laughed. “I really haven’t trained much, so I didn’t have many expectations going into today other than I wanted to remind myself that I want to go fast in speed and not be afraid of the speed. So I was pretty happy to do that on my run. It was a little bit soft and sugary, but I felt super comfortable in the course and I could go for it and attack it…and it was pretty fun. It was nice to ski super-G again.”
Two-time Olympian and super-G World Cup podium finisher Laurenne Ross, who is fresh off her third national title with her downhill victory on Saturday, capped a storied 13-year career with one final victory lap prior to Tuesday’s super-G.
Dressed in a black Spyder onesie with a blue sparkly tutu and a rainbow unicorn horn, Ross made her way down the track, stopping to hug and give coaches high-fives, followed by her teammate and friend Alice Merryweather with a GoPro to capture it all. At the bottom, Ross was greeted by recently retired teammate Alice McKennis, partner and teammate Tommy Ford, and her father Rob, with hugs. There was even a magical unicorn there in the finish who greeted her with flowers. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as she popped the champagne to celebrate her last lap.
Up next is the slalom portion of the alpine combined on Wednesday. Tuesday’s U.S. Alpine Championship super-G run will be paired with Wednesday’s U.S. Alpine Championship slalom run for the alpine combined national title.