Asit Rathod knows Mount Hood.
Ted Ligety proved to the general viewing public what ski racing enthusiasts have known for a long time: the guy is basically unbeatable in giant slalom.
As a recently published and highly recommended New York Times interactive feature demonstrates, Ligety has essentially reinvented modern GS racing with his flawless technique and perfectly round turns. He routinely wins races by huge margins, so it came as little surprise to see Ligety up by almost a second after he ripped through his first run with graceful abandon. He skied more conservatively in the second run, but it was easily good enough to hold onto his lead and win the gold medal.
Steve Missillier and Alexis Pinturault, both of France, won the silver and the bronze.
The Park-City based Ligety is no stranger to Mount Hood, where he first attended Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camps in 1996 at the age of nine. Ligety also runs a summer racing camp on Mount Hood, and he is widely admired as a friendly and laid-back guy who also happens to be a genius at ski racing. He doesn't just blow in and out of his Hood camp celebrity-style but spends real time with the kids and makes connections with the families.
That's pretty down-to-earth behavior for a two-time gold medalist, four-time World Cup giant slalom season champion, and now the only American male racer ever to win Olympic gold in GS.
Have you ever seen helmet camera footage of Ligety training? I recommend it. No one carves turns like Ted the Shred, unless it is 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin, who will go for the gold Friday in slalom.