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Ted Ligety of the United States ...
Doug Pensinger, Getty Images
Ted Ligety of the United States skis to second place in the men’s Super G at the 2015 Audi FIS Ski World Cup on the Birds of Prey on Dec. 5, 2015 in Beaver Creek.

BEAVER CREEK — Ted Ligety hasn’t raced nearly as much as he would have liked the past two years, but life certainly has been eventful for the man who once ruled the world of giant slalom.

At Beaver Creek in 2015 he claimed his third consecutive world championships gold medal in GS. Five months later he married his longtime girlfriend, the former Mia Pascoe, a 2007 graduate of the University of Colorado where she was a midfielder on the soccer team.

The following January he suffered the first serious knee injury of his career, ending his season two months early. He tried to come back last season, but at the season’s first race in Soelden, Austria, he began experiencing back pain. He tried to fight through it with cortisone injections and physical therapy, but it was no use. He shut down his season after only three races and came home for microdicectomy surgery to remove debris from two herniated discs.

This past summer he became a father. Then in October, Mia’s parents lost their home of 38 years in a devastating Northern California fire, taking refuge for six hours in a neighbor’s swimming pool as flames swept the area. Mia’s father, an artist who specializes in impressionistic landscapes of Sonoma County, also lost his studio and a cherished art collection. Through his website (pascoestudio.com) they are trying to raise money for the fire victims of Sonoma County.

“They’re doing good, all things considered,” Mia said of her parents, John and Jan Pascoe. “They took some time off and headed down to Mexico, which was a pre-planned trip, but they decided they needed to get away and reflect on it all.”

Now an Olympic season has begun and Ligety, 33, will be the defending Olympic champion in GS. But when a day of training or racing ends, he gets to go home to Mia their 5-month-old son, Jax. Except for summer training camps in New Zealand and Chile, they have been with him at home and on the road.

“He’s very involved,” Mia said. “I always knew he would be a good dad, I just didn’t know how much it would show a softer side of him.”

Ligety, who plans to race Friday’s World Cup super-G and Sunday’s GS here while skipping Saturday’s downhill, won a gold medal in combined at the 2006 Olympics when he was 21. Since then he won five World Cup season GS titles and 25 World Cup races (14th on the all-time list) with 24 GS wins, second in that discipline to Ingemar Stenmark.

But this season will be special in different ways. He is a family man now.

“Being a dad is awesome, one of the coolest experiences of my life,” Ligety said. “It’s so special to watch his little daily evolutions. To be able to come off the hill and see him after I’m done training is awesome. To be able to hang out with him is a cool release from daily training. You wouldn’t think that having kids would change you so much, but it definitely does. It’s a whole new world and super special, super fun. It’s a lot cooler than I thought it would be.”

Like most new parents, he has noticed his free time is a thing of the past. If he’s not working, working out or racing, he’s with Jax and Mia.

“Playing with him is a really rewarding experience,” Ligety said. “It’s nice to be able to sit down and read a book or watch a TV show, but it’s more fun to be able to hang out with him.”


Beaver Creek men’s World Cup (times subject to change)

Friday: Super-G, 10:45 a.m.

Saturday: Downhill, 11 a.m.

Sunday: Giant slalom (two runs), 9:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m.

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