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Wiley Maple and Julia Ford take national titles in downhill at Sugarloaf

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CARRABASSETT VALLEY, ME - With light snow falling steadily throughout the day and clouds hampering visibility, Wiley Maple of Aspen, CO took the home the title of U.S. National Champion in the men's downhill at Sugarloaf today, while Julia Ford of Holderness, NH took home the women's national title. 

Carrabassett Valley, ME native Sam Morse finished in fourth place among American men with a time 1:18.18, missing a spot on the podium by nine one-hundredths of a second.  

The national championship downhill race was held today on the legendary Narrow Gauge trail at Sugarloaf as part of the North American Tour (NorAm) speed finals, and served as a prelude to the full U.S. Alpine Championship program that will take place March 25-29.  

Despite the challenging weather conditions, which caused several delays throughout the day, Maple was able to top the field with a final time of 1:16.90. Kipling Weisel of San Francisco, CA finished in second place among the Americans with a time of 1:18.00, while Bryce Bennett of Squaw Valley, CA rounded out the top three on the American side with a time of 1:18.90.  

On the women's side, Ford overcame the heavier snow during the morning hours to take home the title with a time of 1:19.55. Jacqueline Wiles of Aurora, OR and Breezy Johnson of Victor, ID finished in second and third place among Americans, with times of 1:19.57 and 1:20.48, respectively.

The Canadian national championship downhill race was held concurrently, with Tyler Werry of Calgary, BC taking the top position for the men, and Mikaela Tommy of Wakefield, QC logging the fastest time on the women's side.  

The NorAm speed finals continue this week with the NorAm downhill final tomorrow, and the NorAm Super G championship on Thursday.   The full U.S. Alpine Championships begin on Wednesday, March 25, and continue through Sunday, March 29.  

For detailed information on the upcoming U.S. Alpine Championships, please visit www.sugarloaf.com/usalpine.  

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About Sugarloaf - Located in Carrabassett Valley, ME, Sugarloaf is largest ski area in the East, and is home to the only lift-serviced above treeline skiing and riding in the East, as well as the number one golf course in Maine, according to Golf Digest. Sugarloaf is a member of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts and attractions. Follow: www.sugarloaf.com, www.facebook.com/sugarloaf, and http://twitter.com/sugarloafmaine