Sam Morse curls around a gate during downhill training runs for the U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley on Tuesday. Jamie Walter/Sugarloaf

CARRABASSETT VALLEY — The U.S. Alpine Championships are off to a rough start at Sugarloaf.

Sunday was too wet. Monday, the course had soft spots. Tuesday, the wind was too fierce.

Sunday’s and Monday’s downhill training sessions were postponed to Tuesday morning and pushed the downhill national championship races to a late morning start.

After several delays Tuesday morning, the wind died down enough for skiers to get in training runs, but the decision was made in the afternoon to postpone the downhill national championship races to Wednesday.

This is the eighth time that Sugarloaf has hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships, which are taking place concurrently with the Nor-Am series finals at the resort through next week.

Tuesday’s downhill races were going to count as both the U.S. championships and the Nor-Am finals. Since skiers were able to test the course during training Tuesday, it is now expected that there will be separate downhill races for the national championships and the Nor-Am finals.



Carrabassett Valley native and U.S. ski team member Sam Morse is among the favorites in the men’s downhill. Morse finished third in the downhill at the 2021 national championships in Aspen. Also, nine of his 11 World Cup starts this season were in the downhill, while the other two were super-G races.

During Tuesday’s training, Morse skied the second-fastest downhill time among U.S. skiers.

The fastest American in training was Jared Goldberg, the two two-time defending national downhill champ. Goldberg shared the title with Thomas Biesemeyer in 2020 and won it outright last year. He also placed third in downhill in 2019, behind Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Biesemeyer, the last time the U.S. championships were held at Sugarloaf.

Another top downhill contender is Erik Arvidsson, who was third at the 2020 championships. He skied the fourth-best training time. Like Morse and Goldberg, Arvidsson is on the U.S. Ski Team’s B team.

Isaiah Nelson, who is on the U.S. C team, had the United States’ third-fastest training time.


Carrabassett Valley native Luke Kearing had the seventh-best training time.

The women’s downhill features four skiers who represented the United States at the Winter Olympics in Beijing last month.

Jacqueline Wiles speeds down the Narrow Gauge course during downhill training runs for the U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley on Tuesday. Jamie Walter/Sugarloaf

Jacqueline Wiles, who took 21st in the Olympic downhill, was the fastest in Tuesday’s training, followed by Isabella Wright, who participated in the super-G (21st) and Alpine combined (did not finish) at the Olympics.

Keely Cashman was third in Tuesday’s training. She placed a U.S.-best 17th in downhill at the Olympics and also competed in the super-G (27th) and the combined (DNF).

Tricia Mangan (11th in Alpine combined at Olympics) was fourth-fastest in training.

The women’s downhill title is up for grabs, as the 2021 champion, Laurenne Ross, has retired, while the 2020 and 2019 winners, Breezy Johnson and Alice Merryweather, are both recovering from injuries.


Three students from Sugarloaf-based Carrabassett Valley Academy will participate in the downhill: Abbygail Byers, Josie Alexander and Athlea Noyes.

Skiers Isabella Wright of Salt Lake City, left, and Lauren Macuga of Park City, Utah, play cards while waiting for winds to die down at the U.S. Alpine Championships on Tuesday at Sugarloaf ski resort in Carrabassett Valley. Strong wings delayed the start of the downhill race scheduled for Tuesday until Wednesday. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) AP


Rather than hold the races during a stretch of consecutive days, this year the national championships in four disciplines will be contested during a 10-day stretch.

The speed events are this week: men’s and women’s downhill on Wednesday, men’s and women’s super-G on Thursday.

The technical events will take place next week: men’s and women’s slalom on March 30, men’s giant slalom March 31 and women’s giant slalom on April 1.

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