Jackson Hole, WY Mar. 27--Shouting the word "finally" as he checked the scoreboard at the finish line, Paul Casey Puckett won his first US Alpine Championship title today, edging friendly rival Erik Schlopy by 0.45 seconds to win the men's giant slalom.
In dramatic fashion, Puckett came off a bump and into the crowd's view at the bottom of the coarse with one ski in the air and one on the snow. As the crowd ooh'd and ahh'd, Pucket regained his line and shot himself to the finish with the fastest time.
"I came off the pro-bump in a strange position," Puckett explained, "but I pulled it together. I didn't feel good. I didn't think I had it."
A ten-year US Ski Team member, Puckett has skied in many of these competitions before, coming up short every time, until today.
"I've had so many seconds and thirds throughout the years, I started to think that I was never going to win," Puckett said. "Today at the bottom, I told myself to point it. I said, I want to win."
And win he did, smiling all the way to the top of the podium.