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Ligety, Shiffrin headline Alpine Championships at Squaw



The next stop for Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin? Squaw Valley ski resort in Lake Tahoe.

After a great day on the slopes in Switzerland, U.S. skiers Ligety and Shiffrin were no doubt looking forward to the trip back home.

For the first time in more than a decade, Squaw will be hosting a major event. The U.S. Alpine Championships come to Squaw, running from March 20-24.

On Saturday, Ligety continued his tremendous season by wining his sixth giant slalom title at the Alpine ski World Cup finals.

A triple world champion this season, Ligety edged Marcel Hirscher of Austria by 0.37 seconds for the victory at Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Ligety's win came an hour after teenage teammate Mikaela Shiffrin had taken the women's slalom World Cup with victory in the event's final race at this Swiss resort.

Ligety joined Ingemar Stenmark as the only men in the 47-year World Cup history to get six GS victories in a season. Stenmark's 10-race sweep in 1978-79 is the record.

"It's very surreal for any ski racer," Ligety said in an Associated Press story. "He is at another level that's not really achievable."

Ligety now has 17 career World Cup wins in his specialist event, but is still are a long way from Stenmark's 46 victories.

There will certainly be some local flavor this week at Squaw Valley.

Getting a chance to ski on their home mountain will be quite the thrill for Olympic skier Julia Mancuso, Olympian Marco Sullivan and young Olympic hopeful Travis Ganong, who all have roots to Squaw Valley.

"It's really cool to see all the great stuff happening at Squaw," Mancuso said. "To have U.S. nationals back just shows the commitment to racing and its roots here in Squaw Valley. It's nice to be able to stay home and race in my backyard - which I also consider to be the best resort in America - so I am psyched."

This ski season, Mancuso upped her already impressive major championship medal total to eight with Super G bronze at the Schladming, Austria World Championships in February. Mancuso owns a record of 15 U.S. titles and is the defending giant slalom and super G champion.

"We're absolutely honored to be hosting the 2013 U.S. Alpine Championships," said Andy Wirth, Squaw Valley's president and CEO. "Squaw has a very proud heritage of hosting the Winter Olympics and producing a great number of Olympians and world class athletes. We are excited to offer unique and challenging terrain for the competitions on what are some of the most spectator-friendly courses that the Alpine Championships has ever seen."

Wednesday, March 20
Men's giant slalom

Thursday, March 21
Women's giant slalom
Audi Ski Challenge

Friday, March 22
Men's and women's super G
Opening Ceremonies
U.S. Ski Team Autograph Session

Saturday, March 23
Men's slalom
U.S. Ski Team Day - Dawn Patrol and ProAm Race

Sunday, March 24
Women's slalom

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Author Jeffrey Weidel, an award-winning writer from the Sacramento region,  can be spotted skiing the powdery slopes at Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts or trying to lower his handicap at local golf courses. He can be reached at skiweidel@gmail.com

Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.



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