Ready to Shred
This week, skiing superstar and Olympic champion Ted Ligety will sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner with his U.S. Alpine teammates. And so far, this year, he has plenty to be thankful for.
The Park City native started out the season making it onto a World Cup podium in the first competition of the year in Soelden, Austria. Following up last year, where Ligety claimed the World Cup giant slalom championship, it was a great way to make a strong statement early. He is hoping to continue making headlines after the holiday break on his home stage at the Birds of Prey event next weekend, Dec. 4-7, in Beaver Creek, Colo.
"Beaver Creek has always been one of my favorites," Ligety said.
No wonder. Beaver Creek is located just a day’s drive from Park City and Ligety is expecting lots of his friends and family to make the trip to watch him. It is also the only U.S. stop on the World Cup circuit, which bodes well for the Americans.
"It’s always good to get the Euros out of their element," Ligety said.
There was a small glitch for Ligety after Soelden. In the second World Cup in Levi, Finland, he had some trouble. He was in second after the first run but then suffered a fall on the second run. Still, Ligety wasn’t fazed.
"I was happy with the way I was skiing, but it’s slalom," he said. "I don’t get too worked up about it."
He’ll have plenty of time this week and next to work out the kinks. Between serving up candied sweet potatoes and cranberry stuffing, the team will be in Colorado to train on whatever nearby mountain has the most snow. Actually, Ligety may avoid kitchen duty. More the dinner rolls and drinks guy, he admits he has never been in charge of cooking anything, but is looking forward to just sharing the day with his teammates.
"We’re all pretty close. We’re like a family," he said.
He is a little sad that we won’t be with his family over the holiday, but is comforted by the fact that they will all be in town the following week for the World Cup. Besides, he will be home for Christmas this year.
"It’s a decent tradeoff," he said.
He did get to spend some time in his hometown last week after Levi, reconnecting with family and friends. The only bummer was there was no ticket for the much hyped BYU/Utah football game on Saturday. He said he is still trying to figure how to parlay his Olympic legacy into a few more local perks.
"I need to get the lowdown on how to get the hook-ups," Ligety said. "They need a gold-medal-winner entrance."
It was still a good weekend at home that he spent relaxing and focusing on his goals in Beaver Creek.
Heading into the Birds of Prey races, he has his sights set on performing well in the giant slalom and the super combined, but he isn’t too worried
"It’s always been a good hill for me," Ligety said. "And it’s always nice to do well in front of family and friends."
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