Friday, April 4, 2014

Sun Valley lands U.S. Alpine finals

National championships coming to Idaho

Express Staff Writer

    The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announced Thursday that Sun Valley Resort will host the U.S. Alpine Ski Championships in 2016 and 2018. It will be the first time in 65 years that the Idaho resort has hosted nationals.
    America’s oldest ski resort, Sun Valley will celebrate its 80th anniversary when it hosts the national finals in 2016.
    Sun Valley last hosted nationals in 1951, the USSA reported in a news release. The organization announced Sugarloaf, Maine, as the site of the 2015 and 2017 nationals. Sugarloaf’s Narrow Gauge Run last hosted alpine nationals in 2006 and 2008.
    The USSA reported, “Sugarloaf, Maine, and historic Sun Valley will host the 2015-2018 U.S. Alpine Championships on alternating years beginning next winter with Sugarloaf. The announcement continues the USSA’s long-term plan to move the annual celebration of American ski racing to top resorts around the U.S.
    “Each resort boasts a rooted history and heritage of ski racing and continues that tradition through strong USSA club programs, Carrabassett Valley Academy at Sugarloaf and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation at Sun Valley.”
    Sun Valley Resort General Manager Tim Silva said, “On March 13-14 of 1937, properly sanctioned by the U.S. Ski Association, the first Sun Valley International Open was run, a downhill and slalom combined. In two years, the race became known as the Harriman Cup Race.
    “The first race attracted the ‘ski clans of the world’ and set the scene for Sun Valley to become a prestigious stop on the European, Canadian and American ski racing circuits. With nearly 80 years of commitment to ski racing, Sun Valley is looking forward to continuing this tradition by hosting the USSA Alpine Championships in 2016 and 2018.”
    Squaw Valley, Calif., hosted 2014 and 2013 alpine nationals, and Winter Park, Co. in 2011 and 2012. Lake Placid, N.Y., had the 2010 finals. In those five years, the national downhill was separated from other alpine disciplines and held earlier in the winter at Aspen and Copper Mountain, Colo.
Sun Valley last hosted races of this magnitude in 1977 when the Alpine World Cup made its first and only stop here with Harriman Cup giant slalom/slalom races on Warm Springs. That year, the resort built a downhill course, but lack of snow caused the national downhill to move to Heavenly Valley, Calif.
In 2011 and 2013, Sun Valley hosted the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) nationals. Last week, Sun Valley hosted a successful six-day Western Region Spring Series event that attracted top U.S. Ski Team racers.

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