Of the 43 skiers who competed in the women’s super-G on Wednesday at Sugarloaf, six were born outside the United States. Among those six, five are from Canada. The other, Josefine Selvaag, is a native of Norway. 

Selvaag, born in 1998, had the top finish among the under-18 group. She finished 14th with a time of 1 minute, 24.90 seconds. Selvaag beat out Nina O’Brien (1:25.58) for the top finish for the U-18 group. 

“Speed is my thing,” Selvaag said. “I think it’s just the fact that it’s the U.S. Championships and it’s so legit. A lot of good people and it’s really an experience.” 

Selvaag made her trip to the United States in the fall to attend Burke Mountain Academy in East Burke, Vt. U.S. slalom skier Mikaela Shiffrin attended Burke Mountain Academy in middle school. 

“My coach from Norway grew up in Vermont so he recommended I go there,” Selvaag said. 

During her time in the U.S., Selvaag has skied in Colorado, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maine and across the border in Nakiska, Alberta. This is Selvaag’s third trip to Sugarloaf, having made her debut in February and returning just last week for the FIS Nor-Am Speed Championships. 


Selvaag has four victories and six podiums in 28 career events. Her first victory came in the super-G at Whiteface, N.Y. She posted consecutive giant slalom victories at Sunapee, N.H. In her career, Selvaag has competed in the super-G, giant slalom, slalom and downhill.

The language barrier hasn’t been an issue for Selvaag, who said she first started learning English in Elementary school and has been improving ever since. She is still adjusting to the competition.  

“The skiing is similar,” Selvaag said. “There’s a lot of good U.S. skiers. The competition is is harder in some races for sure.” 

Selvaag wasn’t the only non-U.S. skier to make some noise on the first day of competition. Canada’s Valerie Grenier grabbed a spot on the podium after a second-place finish in 1:22.58. She finished one tenth of a second behind the U.S.’ Alice McKennis. 

“My run was a pretty good run,” Grenier said. “I made some mistakes in a couple places, but it ended up being pretty good to finish second, so I’m pretty happy.” 

Grenier came into the U.S. Alpine Championships with a bit of momentum following a strong showing at the Nor-Am Cup. She finished first on the first day of the giant slalom and took fifth and fourth, respectively, in the two-day slalom event. 


Canada had three skiers in the top 10. Mikaela Tommy (1:22.93) and Candace Crawford (1:23.09) finished fifth and seventh, respectively. 

It wasn’t all young guns competing in the field, although there were quite a few. Among the most experienced skiers was three-time Olympian Stacey Cook, who said her first U.S. Championships appearance came in 2001, when many of the participants were only a few years old. Cook placed eighth in 1:23.17 despite arriving at Sugarloaf around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. 

Despite the short turnaround, Cook skied well. Looking around at the field, she remembered her first U.S. Championships, and knows how big of a moment it is for some of the younger racers. 

“I remember going to my first nationals and how special it was,” Cook said. “I kind of got my eyes open to a bigger competition for the first time. My advice to them is to live it up and embrace the situation and keep striving for more because it only gets bigger and better from here.” 

Along with McKennis, who led nearly wire to wire, the United States had three of the top four finishers. Jacqueline Wiles (122.69) placed third and Breezy Johnson (1:22.79) was fourth. 


Sun Journal coverage of the U.S. Alpine Championship includes:

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