U.S. Alpine Championships: Stiegler gets Sugarloaf redemption

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Resi Stieger, center, is interviewed after her win.

CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Resi Stiegler had unfinished business with Sugarloaf.

At the 2006 U.S. Alpine Championships, Stiegler stumbled in her final run of the slalom and finished second behind Kaylin Richardson.

“I was first here in Sugarloaf and straddled on the second run, and so I kind of felt like, ‘If I don’t get this win today, I’ll be a little frustrated.'”

Sunday, 11 years later, Stiegler tamed Narrow Gauge at Sugarloaf by winning the 2017 women’s slalom national title.

“Got it,” she said with a laugh.

Could this be the key to life?

Resi Stiegler told the Sun Journal earlier in the week that her good skiing this season has been doused by disappointing results.

Sunday, she became the national champion in the women’s slalom at the U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf.

“This time, I didn’t race well and and I won,” Stiegler said. “I think I need to stop trying so hard.”

Ski without a skier

Ski racers try to keep their eyes four or five gates ahead.

When Max Richard looked ahead Sunday during the men’s slalom, he saw a man and a ski without a man attached to it.

Richard attended Mt. Blue High School and Carrabassett Valley Academy, and is now a junior on Colby College’s Alpine ski team.

He made the flip by finishing in the top 30 during the first run of Sunday’s slalom, and took the 29th seed into the second and final run.

Devon Toribio, the first skier of the second run, lost his ski near one of the gates. Toribio’s momentum carried him farther down the course, and neither he nor anyone else on the trail was quick to retrieve his ski.

The trouble is, Richard, the second run’s second racer, was already zooming down the course. Toribio started working his way, one side step at a time, back to his ski.

Toribio and Richard seemed like they were on a collision course, but Toribio picked up his loose ski and crouched near a gate as Richard swung around it.

“Sometimes you see someone coming down and they’re in the way, you can make a decision to get a rerun or keep going,” Richard said. “He was out of the way enough that I figured I’d keep going. I had a little mistake there, but nothing major.”

Richard’s time of 52.11 seconds was the 22nd fastest of Sunday’s second run, and he finished 23rd overall.

“It’s cool. This is my first national championship event, and it’s just really cool to go up against the top guys,” Richard said. “It’s fun. No matter where you end up, it’s always a blast.”

Strong seconds

Bates College junior Sierra Ryder had one of the best improvements from the first to second run in the women’s slalom.

“Second run, I was just trying to have a good, clean run, which is definitely difficult in slalom,” Ryder said. “I just kept trying to keep a line all the way down, and it worked out pretty well.”

Ryder made the flip by skiing the 26th fastest time in the first run (55.15 seconds). She improved her time by nearly 2.5 seconds and had the 12th fastest second run of the day (52.60 seconds), placing her 21st overall.

“I’m bummed with my first run,” Ryder said. “I had that mistake, because I think it could have been, like, a really good day, but that’s, you know, ski racing, lots of defeat along the way. But I’m happy my second run was a lot better.”

Ryder was one of five Bates ski racers competing in Sunday’s slalom races, along with Hannah Johnson, Brielle Antonelli, Kelsey Chenoweth and Michael Cooper.

Johnson was the only other Bobcat to make the flip. She placed 17th in the women’s race.

Sam and the slalom

Carrabassett Valley’s own Sam Morse said after Saturday’s super-G that his slalom skiing was “re-inspired” by a strong combined run earlier in the week.

It showed Sunday. Wearing the No. 39 bib (numbers are set based on seeding), Morse had two top-20 runs and finished 17th overall.

“I had a really good combined slalom the other day. The first run was good this morning. That run was so-so,” Morse said after the second run. “But it’s tough. It’s not my best (event), and I try.”

Morse being so young, he’s only 20, means he still skis all four events — super-G, giant slalom, slalom and downhill — to make him a well-rounded skier and avoid specialization too early.

“And it just helps your skiing all-around to be good at this stuff,” he said.

Max Richard, formerly of Mt. Blue and Carrabassett Valley Academy, is interviewed after the race.Sam Morse cross blocks a blue gate at the bottom of the headwall.

Winner Resi Stiegler cross blocks a gate mid-way down the headwall.

#USAlpine Complete coverage of the the U.S. Alpine Championships includes: Race and skier stories Live updates during the races Race schedule How to navigate the Narrow Gauge at Sugarloaf

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