U.S. Alpine Ski Championships to start Sunday at Sun Valley

“The excitement level is probably at an all-time high,” said Sun Valley General Manager Pete Sonntag
“The excitement level is probably at an all-time high”
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 7:25 PM MDT
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SUN VALLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — A big event on the alpine skiing calendar is coming to Sun Valley.

The U.S. Alpine Championships featuring men’s and women’s Slalom, Giant Slalom, and Super G races will start Sunday morning.

“The excitement level is probably at an all-time high,” said Sun Valley General Manager Pete Sonntag.

But for building downhill ski racecourses, all of the recent snow is adding layers to the already labor-intensive course preparation.

“One of the big projects that we have to do is we bring the Snowcats out and push snow off the course, which just seems crazy, but whatever it takes to put on a great race,” said Pete Sonntag, Sun Valley General Manager.

Another part of putting on a great race is manicuring and watering the slopes - to create a hard and fair surface.

“It’s hard as a rock, I mean the firmer the better, so that it’s a fair track for everyone because if it’s soft then the course will deteriorate and get slower for each person,” said Finnigan Donley, a local competitor. The (ski) edge is only digging in a millimeter into the snow, so it’s definitely a mental battle to trust it, but once you can get that confidence, it’s an amazing feeling.”

The racing will take place at the Warm Springs side of the resort. The Super G competition will be unique, according to Chief of Race Will Brandenburg.

“It’s actually the max vertical drop you can have, legally, in ski racing, but it’s kind of short because it’s so steep, so it’s a really interesting equation for our hills,” said Brandenburg.

For the 14 Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation athletes or graduates competing, including Haley Cutler, it helps to be on home snow and know the terrain of Grayhawk - where the races will be.

“Have you seen the pitch on that hill? It’s the real deal,” Cutler said. “And having that background of just growing and skiing on that hill every day is something I’m really going to take forward with me for a confidence level,” said Haley Cutler.

For an event schedule, click here.