Ted brings it home at Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Ted brings it home at Beaver Creek

BOP Ligety GS KA 12-05-10

BEAVER CREEK – Having two really great runs is something American skier Ted Ligety said just “happens to come together every once in a while.”

Sunday was one of those “once in a whiles” for Ligety, the World Cup giant slalom champion who won the first and second runs of the day. He picked up his first win in the United States, and his earliest win ever in the World Cup season, finishing with a total combined time of 2 minutes and 37.67 seconds at the Birds of Prey giant slalom race.

“I just took a lot of risk and it paid off,” Ligety said.

Ligety has been in the top four at Beaver Creek every year he’s raced here – since 2006 – so the win on Sunday ended years of frustration, he said.

“A win is a million times better, for sure,” Ligety said.

Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud finished second with a time of 2: 38.49, and Austrian Marcel Hirscher finished third (2:38.91).

Setting up

Ligety knows giant slalom is his strong suit and definitely wanted a little redemption for himself and the U.S. Ski Team after a disappointing super-G race Saturday for the team.

He said he went hard on his first run, and was smart around the sections where he and his teammates had trouble Saturday.

“Yesterday was frustrating, but that’s ski racing,” Ligety said. “If you dwelled on all the bad performances you’d be a pretty depressed person, so I just kind of forgot about that as quickly as I could and moved onto today.”

American Bode Miller had a tough first run Sunday, just barely making it into the top 30 for a second run. Miller blamed his skis for the slower time and said he would switch them out before the second run.

“Ted (Ligety) is the only one who’s on that newer ski and he skied great, but we’ve been right with him or faster than him all fall, so we’ll have to make the change in between runs and see if we can pull something back,” Miller said.

Miller tried the new ski in his second run but came out of a gate too late and it knocked him off course, almost to a complete stop, before he decided to continue on and finish the race. He came in last at 27th place of the racers who finished the second run.

The home stretch

Ligety said he feels lucky to have skied so cleanly in both runs Sunday. He said he has rarely been as tired as he was coming out of The Abyss section of the course, but he couldn’t let it get the best of him.

“I knew I couldn’t let off at the bottom,” he said.

He came across the finish and saw the green light up on the screen, meaning he had won the race, and said it was such a relief because you just never know how fast you’re skiing when it’s against such high caliber skiers.

With a margin of 0.82 seconds, Ligety was pleased. In 2008, he lost the giant slalom at Beaver Creek by just one one-hundredth of a second to Austria’s Benni Raich.

“It’s nice to have a win with a little authority, I guess, behind it,” Ligety said.

Jansrud and Ligety are friends. They said they were just chatting and joking around at the top of the hill before the second race. Jansrud said it was a really calm way to begin a race, sitting up top with friends and having a good time.

When Jansrud finished, he took the lead with only Ligety left to race.

“I was thinking, like when I saw the board, ‘Yeah this is going to be tough for Ted,'” Jansrud said. “I came out feeling like this was a good run, but not perfect, but still felt like Ted was going to have a hard time.”

Races always depend on the course, though, Jansrud said. Sometimes you feel like you’re ahead, but other skiers are right there behind you, he said.

“You get what you deserve … in this sport,” Jansrud said. “It’s fair.”

Third place finisher Hirscher said he was happy with a podium finish at Beaver Creek, a course he said has always been a struggle for him.

“Normally my best result (in Beaver Creek) was 20th place,” Hirscher said. “I’m very happy with this situation at the moment.”

For Ligety, the win on his home turf – at the only World Cup races held in the United States each season – made the win that much sweeter.

“It’s nice to have a good redemption day from yesterday and to win in that kind of fashion in front of the home crowd is awesome,” Ligety said. “I’ve never won this early in the season or at home – it’s really a great day.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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