Vail’s Kildow wins national super-G
Vail’s Lindsey Kildow overcame tricky racing conditions Saturday to win the women’s super-G – the second national title of her career – at the U.S. Alpine Championships in Girdwood, Alaska.
Defending champion Julia Mancuso took silver for the second day in a row and Libby Ludlow was the bronze medalist for the second straight race at Alyeska Resort.
Kildow, who crashed Friday on the lower half of the downhill title race, carried her speed across a traverse and into the final section to win in 1 minute, 06.93 seconds – by 0.35 seconds over Mancuso.
Ludlow was third in 1:07.40 with Kaylin Richardson, the Nor Am slalom champion who has been adding to her technical repertoire, the surprise fourth-place finisher. Downhill champion Jonna Mendes was fifth in the field of 47.
Awhile the men raced largely in shadow and cold at mid-morning, before the sun rose over the mountains, the women found a sun-splashed run with temperatures in the mid-20s when they took off at 12:30 p.m.
“I was a little nervous at the start,” Kildow said, referring to her downhill crash. “I didn’t want to crash again, but I pulled it through.”
She said the Glacier Bowl speed run was “a little bit of everything. It was a technical, but it wasn’t extreme; it was kind of a cruiser, which is the kind of course I ski best.”
She likened to a super-G course this season in Haus, Austria, which was set by U.S. coach Alex Hoedlmoser – where she came out of the No. 45 start to finish sixth, winning the World Cup’s WinStar Award, which goes to outstanding results from a skier beyond the No. 40 start.
“My tactic was just simply to ski and relax,” she said. “I build up too much pressure against myself and it gets me nervous, and I end up getting tense, and I don’t ski my best.”
She kept the pressure away, Kildow said, by drinking hot chocolate and taking a couple of free-skiing runs. In super-G, as opposed to downhill where racers must have at least one training run on a speed course, racers never get to train on the course.
Starting 13th, she said, “I skied a little bit rounder (wider on turns) than most of the lines, but I had no problem. I seemed to carry my speed pretty well.”
In visualizing the course, she said, she paid extra attention to where she fell in the downhill.
“That was kind of a big one. It was definitely still bumpy on that section up on the traverse.
“I looked at it a little more carefully than I did (Friday), but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was no problem.”
Noting she had taken the gold medal in combined a year ago at sun-baked Whiteface Mountain outside Lake Placid, N.Y., Kildow – who took two medals home from the 2004 World Junior Championships – laughed as she said, “I’ve never won an actual event. It’s my first, so I’m pretty excited. It feels pretty good.”
The women turn to slalom Sunday, have an off day Monday and conclude the championships Tuesday with giant slalom.