CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine ??вЂќ Local favorite Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME), who grew up racing at Sugarloaf USA, edged Olympic teammate Stacey Cook (Truckee, CA) by six-hundredths of a second Friday in a FIS downhill on the opening day of the TD Banknorth U.S. Alpine Championships while J.J. Johnson (Park City, UT) found some redemption for not making the Olympic Team by winning the men’s DH.
Clark, a Carrabassett Valley Academy graduate before moving on to the U.S. Ski Team and racing on the World Cup tour and in the last three Olympics, had a time of 1:19.86. Cook was timed in 1:19.92 for the silver medal in the field of 53 skiers and completing the podium was Julia Littman (Vail, CO) in 1:16.17.
Earlier, Johnson was clocked in 1:15.75 with Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) taking the silver medal in 1:15.98. Erik Fisher (Middleton, ID), bronze medalist in DH at the 2005 Junior World Championships, was third in the field of 71 men with a time of 1:16.17 in the 30-degree weather on Narrow Gauge race course.
“It’s always good to race here. The first day of training I was smiling all the way down,” said Clark. “I’ve skied this course a lot of time…a lot…racing, training with CVA, chasing my brother down it…it’s a fun course.”
Snow conditions, Clark said, “are really good. It gets a little more bumpy each day, but that happens when you’ve got men and women training and racing the same course.”
“This was a little redemption,” said Johnson, who said he was aiming for the downhill title to help further soothe the frustrations of the season. “I was on a roll for a couple of years,” he said, referring to his return to the U.S. ski Team after six years away, “and I thought I 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.”
He said the 1.9K course was in good shape although it got a little dicey over the last few gates. “The track was fine, really fast,” Johnson said.