Local locks up NorAm GS title
Jake Zamansky finished 13th in Friday’s FIS downhill at the U.S. Alpine Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine – another strong result in what has been a memorable season for the local U.S. Ski Team member.Zamansky assured himself a World Cup start in giant slalom next season after he won the NorAm Cup’s GS title at the regular season finale in Panorama, British Columbia, on March 15.The title was Zamansky’s to lose. Before the finale in Panorama, he had finished either first or second in the previous four NorAm giant slaloms.Zamansky is expected to compete in the remaining races at the national championships, which continue today with another downhill. On Sunday there is a super G, followed by a slalom on Monday, a men’s GS on Tuesday, and the concluding women’s GS on Wednesday.Zamansky has been a member of the U.S. Ski Team for the past four seasons. This season he had one World Cup start – a giant slalom at Beaver Creek in December, where Zamansky failed to finish his first run.The best World Cup finish for the local was a 61st in downhill in Val Gardena, Italy, in December 2004.J.J. Johnson of Park City, Utah, won Friday’s race with a time of 1 minute, 15.75 seconds. Scott Macartney of Redmond, Wash., was second (1:15.98) and Erik Fisher of Middleton, Idaho, was third (1:16.17).Thirteen-year U.S. Ski Team veteran Daron Rahlves, who plans to retire at the conclusion of this season, was eighth in 1:16.71.On the women’s side, Kirsten Clark, who grew up racing at Sugarloaf, edged Olympic teammate Stacey Cook of Truckee, Calif. by six-hundredths of a second. Clark finished in 1:19.86.Julia Littman of Vail completed the podium with a time of 1:16.17.”It’s always good to race here,” Clark said in a U.S. Ski Team news release. “The first day of training I was smiling all the way down. I’ve skied this course a lot of times.”Johnson, who returned to the U.S. Ski Team this year after a six-year hiatus, said the win was “a little redemption.”He hopes to repeat in today’s downhill.”I was on a roll for a couple of years and I thought I was ready for this season, but it didn’t work out that way, so now I want to finish on an up note and start getting ready for next season.”
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This decision is part of a game plan to focus on giant slalom and slalom in the early part of season. Shiffrin will likely also pass on a speed stop in Val d’Isere from Dec. 18-20.