Two in a row for Kildow
Vail’s Lindsey Kildow collected her second U.S. championship in 24 hours Sunday, as the newly crowned super-G champion also won the slalom at Alyeska Resort.
Julia Mancuso, second in all three races so far, won the combined gold medal.
Kildow, 19, who started racing at Buck Hill while growing up in Burnsville, Minn., before the family moved to Vail, took the first-run lead and widened it to win by nearly a half-second with a time of 1 minute, 35.53 seconds. Mancuso finished in 1:36.01 and Katie Hitchcock was bronze medalist in 1:36.92.
Mancuso’s combined gold medal follows three titles (downhill/super-G/giant slalom) a year ago at sun-drenched Whiteface Mountain outside Lake Placid, N.Y. Megan Hughes was silver medalist with Bryna McCarty third in the combined tally. Kildow won the combined title last season.
After skiing off course Friday in the downhill, Kildow has been dominant, winning the super-G and posting the fastest time Sunday on both runs.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “Although the downhill didn’t go as well as I planned, I’m really excited slalom did go really well, better than I expected.
“It’s just been great … definitely been a great end to my season,” she said.
When Kaylin Richardson, the Nor Am SL champion who was second on the first run, struggled on her second run, going off before coming back to finish way out, Kildow said she reminded herself to stay focused for what could be another gold-medal run.
“I knew I had to finish with a fast time … I told myself ‘You don’t have to go that 100 percent – don’t risk everything. Just ski the way you know how to ski, don’t push it any further’ and that’s what I tried to do today.”
In inspection, she said, she paid special attention to the bottom of the course, especially a fallaway on right side of the run.
“I’ve had a problem leaning in on my career, and carrying speed from the flat to the finish was a big thing.”
Kildow said she dealt with the disappointment of her downhill by “relaxing and forgetting about it, and moving on to the next day … Just because I crash one day doesn’t mean I can’t win the next.”
Or the next two.
It was also a great day for another local racer. Vail’s Laura Littman finished 10th with a time of 1:40.41. Earlier in the week she finished eighth in the downhill. Add that with her slalom result and she finished fourth in the combined.
Littman was also third in the downhill in the Under-21 division and second among U-21s in the combined.
The women have an off day Monday, then complete their Chevy title races Tuesday with giant slalom.