Maine’s Sugarloaf ski area will host the first US Alpine Speed Championships in March, US Ski & Snowboard announced Wednesday.
Downhill, super-G, and Alpine combined events will be held March 16-21. Just two days later, the US Alpine Championships will shift to Waterville Valley in New Hampshire for slalom, giant slalom, and parallel slalom races on March 23-26.
Sugarloaf has played host to the US championships seven times before, but this is the first time the event will include downhill, super-G, and combined. The event, sanctioned by FIS, the international governing body for ski racing, will be open to athletes from around the world.
“Sugarloaf has always been an excellent resort partner with a challenging, high-caliber track,’’ said Calum Clark, US Ski & Snowboard’s chief of systems and operations. “As I’ve said before, the east boasts a high percentage of our US Ski & Snowboard club membership base, and therefore the fans are wildly passionate about the sport. We look forward to heading to Sugarloaf in March 2019 for the first official US Alpine Speed Championships.’’
Adding speed events to the US championships is part of US Ski & Snowboard’s Project 26 initiative to elevate ski racing in the US and produce medal contenders by the 2026 Olympics. The US won three medals in Alpine skiing at the PyeongChang Olympics in February.
Project 26 was designed to address shortcomings in the US Ski Team’s development programs by restructuring how the team’s feeder system works.
The US Alpine Speed Championships races will be held on Sugarloaf’s famous racing trail, Narrow Gauge.
“We couldn’t be prouder to host the first-ever U.S. Alpine Speed Championships at Sugarloaf,’’ said Ethan Austin, director of marketing at Sugarloaf.