Training in Vail, Ligety eyes overall title
VAIL – Ted Ligety has a big, simple goal: To be the best overall World Cup skier this season.
Ligety won the World Cup giant slalom title last year and in 2008, but he has struggled in the slalom over the last few years.
He is trying to fix that this week in Vail.
Ligety was training slalom Tuesday at Golden Peak with the rest of the U.S. Ski Team men’s technical skiers – as well as three-time reigning women’s overall champ Lindsey Vonn.
“My slalom has been pretty poor over the last few years, to put it bluntly, and I feel like I need to get it back there,” Ligety said Tuesday as he walked back to his hotel from the slopes. “If I want to compete for the overall title, which is one of my big goals, I have to be one of the top slalom skiers.”
Ligety took about eight training runs on Tuesday. Part of the goal for the day was just getting “mileage” in the slalom, and part of it was testing different equipment set-ups, he said. He switched to Head skis this season.
The 26-year-old Utah native finished seventh in the overall World Cup standings last season. He failed to medal in the Vancouver Olympics earlier this year, but won a gold in the combined at the games in Torino, Italy, in 2006.
At the first race of the season last month, he looked as fast as ever in the giant slalom, finishing second in the first leg of race in Soelden, Austria. Unfortunately for Ligety, the second run was canceled due to fog.
“There were a lot of people questioning how fast I was, and I proved I still have a lot of speed, and it just felt good,” he said. “I didn’t even feel like I put my best run in. It was disappointing that we didn’t get another run in, but it was definitely too foggy to have a safe race.”
Ligety, like Vonn, said it’s great to be training in the U.S. rather than South America, New Zealand or Europe.
“Being in the U.S. is always so nice for us,” he said. “When you’re on the road for so much, it gets pretty old, just always living out of your duffle bags and not having ESPN and not having all kinds of food and all that stuff. So it’s nice being here and enjoying the semi-home life and getting good training, too.”
Ligety will train in Vail for 10 days and will then go to Europe to compete in the slalom in Levi, Finland, Nov. 14.
“It’s a super-important training block for us because once the season starts, you don’t get 10 days of training,” he said.
The men’s team will be back in Eagle County for the Birds of Prey races at Beaver Creek Dec. 3-5.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or email@example.com.
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