GIRDWOOD - Once Lindsey Kildow's head cleared and she quit worrying, she concentrated on what came naturally: Go really fast down a mountain.
Skiing with a slight concussion sustained a day before in a fall during the downhill, Kildow came back and won the women's super giant slalom in the U.S. Alpine Championships on Saturday.
Kildow, a 19-year-old Minnesotan who won the combined in the nationals last year, said Friday's crash left her more wary than usual entering Saturday's races.
"Normally it isn't that hard for me because I do crash quite a bit - just because I'm sticking my nose down there every time," Kildow said. "It just kind of shook my head more. It wasn't more my body, it was just in my head and I didn't want to crash anymore. I just wanted to get to the finish."
Kildow overcame defending champion Julia Mancuso with a time of 1 minute, 6.93 seconds. Mancuso was second (1:07.28) and Libby Ludlow third (1:07.40) - repeating their respective finishes in Friday's downhill.
Daron Rahlves, the top U.S. skier in the speed events, won the men's race Saturday morning in 1:08.72. Dane Spencer was second (1:09.29) and Jake Fiala third (1:09.67).
The super G courses overlap parts of the downhill run, which Kildow took a nasty spill on Friday. She had a grade-one concussion and a scraped chin, but was cleared to ski on Saturday.
Mancuso and Ludlow had just posted the top two times of the day, then Kildow passed them both on the leaderboard with the only time under 1:07.
Kildow had also crashed in the final World Cup downhill in Sestriere, Italy, on March 10.
"I definitely lost a little bit of confidence yesterday when I crashed, and so it was good just to get that confidence back and know that I can win and beat anyone," Kildow said.
The women's course had fewer gates than the men's leading to the quicker times. The men's race also took place in the morning and much of the course on the western side of Alyeska was still in the shade.
Rahlves navigated through the light without problems for his first national title since the 2001 downhill.
At 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, Rahlves is small for a speed specialist but excels on more technical courses like Alyeska, where turns and terrain compensate for a shorter trail. He clipped a gate with his head on the bottom half after the second of two major jumps on the course, but didn't slow down.
Rahlves, who had a mark on the front of his helmet from the gate pole, took over the lead for good with the eighth run of the morning.
Rahlves didn't arrive in Alaska until early Thursday after staying in Italy a few extra days to test equipment. He won an FIS prelude downhill just hours after his arrival, and placed third in the U.S. downhill Friday.
He was hoping for a decent night of sleep, but woke to an earsplitting fire alarm in his hotel around 11:30 p.m. Friday.
"I was hoping it was a false alarm because I wasn't moving too quick," Rahlves said. "I gave it like five minutes. I was hoping it was a false alarm. I was dressed, I had my backpack, my computer on my shoulder and was about to walk out the door when they said 'go back to your room.'"
Rahlves also won the super G in the 2000 nationals and won consecutive giant slaloms in 1995-96. He hadn't won a World Cup super G until this season, when he became the first non-Austrian to win the event at the prestigious Kitzbuehel races.
Rahlves finished fifth in the overall World Cup standings, 130 points behind No. 4 Bode Miller, who was 12th in Saturday's Super G.
The super G was followed by an alumni race that featured former U.S. stars like Tommy Moe, the 1994 Olympic downhill gold medalist, and Juneau's Hillary Lindh. Miller and Rahlves helped round out the field against their predecessors, who also included 1984 Olympic downhill winner Bill Johnson.
The national championships continue today with the giant slalom and run through Tuesday.
Juneau Empire ©2015. All Rights Reserved.