CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — A broken ski pole didn't discourage David Chodounsky in his first run. A few tiny bobbles up top couldn't deter him in his second, either.
Chodounsky successfully defended his slalom title Sunday with a fast second run in the last event at the U.S. Alpine Championships.
Trailing after the first run, the 30-year-old Chodounsky navigated the tight course at Sugarloaf resort in a combined time of 1 minute, 43.88 seconds. He edged AJ Ginnis by 0.15 seconds. First-run leader Tim Kelley was third.
"This feels great," said Chodounsky, who broke his ski pole on a gate, the third time he's shattered one this season. "It hasn't been the best year for me. I've kind of struggled, at the end especially. I really wanted to come back home and make a strong showing at nationals. It really does mean a lot to win here and end the season on a good note."
Chodounsky, of Crested Butte, Colorado, won the event last spring at Squaw Valley, California. He also captured the 2009 national slalom title in Alaska. His best finish in the discipline on the World Cup circuit this season was 11th at a Jan. 11 race in Switzerland.
In addition, Chodounsky was crowned the combined champion at the nationals by virtue of his slalom time coupled with his super-G time last Wednesday.
"This is awesome," he said. "I'm so psyched."
Ginnis, who was born in Greece and lived in Austria before moving to Green Mountain Valley School in Vermont, put down quite a final run. Chodounsky knew it, too, hearing the ecstatic voice of the race announcer all the way at the top of the hill.
"That was the only thing in my head, 'All right. Let's go, 100 percent.' So I went for it," Chodounsky explained. "I had a few mistakes up top and was able to clean it up."
Chodounsky and Kelley have taken the 20-year-old Ginnis under their wing on the World Cup tour this season. Ginnis certainly appreciated all the guidance.
"It means a lot," said Ginnis, who gave his racing bib to a youngster in attendance as a souvenir.
Chodounsky recognizes the potential of his teammate.
"He's such a talented skier. Everybody's known it all season," said Chodounsky, who was the 2005 NCAA slalom champion while at Dartmouth. "He's coming on strong, going to be a great skier. We're helping him along. I have no doubt he's going to start winning these races soon."
All content copyright ©2015 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.