Tommy Ford captures slalom title

WINTER PARK, Colo. -- Tommy Ford has a knack for shining on sun-baked snow.

Ford used a strong second run on a soft course to capture the slalom title at the U.S. championships Thursday.

Ford, who was third after the opening pass, finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 32.20 seconds, holding off Leif Kristian Haugen of Norway by 0.01 seconds. Michael Ankeny was third.

Lately, the national championships have become his personal stage. He's now captured seven U.S. titles, including three last season. Ford will compete in both the super-G and giant slalom this weekend.

"It's always fun to win," said Ford, who's from Bend, Ore. "I haven't skied much slalom this year. This feels good."

Three-time World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety was one of the favorites entering the slalom event, but he went wide on a turn in his first run and was out of the race.

This was the last competition for Jimmy Cochran, who plans to retire after nearly a decade with the U.S. ski team. Leading after the first run, Cochran hooked a tip on a gate and didn't finish.

"I'd like to do that again, but that's ski racing," Cochran said.

The two-time Olympian plans to keep a foot in skiing, possibly as a coach.

"I feel like I've been living a charmed life," the 30-year-old Cochran said. "Met a lot of great people, traveled to a lot of great places. (Winter Park) is not a bad place to end -- nice day, nice people, nice hill. I think I did my first race as a ski team member right over there -- a good place to do the last one, too. Full circle."