Ted 'the Shred' Ligety eyes World Championship hat-trick repeat

Ted Ligety: skier and businessman
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Story highlights

  • Ted Ligety eyes World Championship success at Beaver Creek
  • U.S. has strong team going into event including likes of Ligety, Steven Nyman and Travis Ganong
  • Ligety has launched his own range of Shred ski gear

(CNN)He's a two-time Olympic gold medalist, successful businessman and has a killer nickname that attests to his daredevil nature on the slopes.

But what Ted 'the Shred' Ligety most wants is a repeat of his triple gold-medal-winning performance at the 2013 Alpine World Ski Championships.
The U.S. star took top prize in the Giant Slalom, Super Combined and Super G events in Schladming, Austria, two years ago -- the first time any skier had achieved such a feat since the legendary Jean-Claude Killly did so in 1968.
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    Now the 30-year-old has his sights firmly set on doing it all again as he prepares to make his first appearance at the 2015 World Championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
    "It would be awesome to repeat that," Ligety recently told CNN's Alpine Edge. "There's a reason it hasn't been done in 45 years. It's because it's so hard, because so many different guys are specializing in different disciplines."
    "To be able to do that in three very different disciplines is a tremendous feat and definitely the biggest achievement of my career."
    In the period since he became "The King of Schladming," Ligety has gone on to secure Giant Slalom Olympic gold in Sochi (to add to the Super Combined gold he won in Turin 2006) and the fifth World Cup crystal globe of his career in 2014 for the same discipline.
    Yet he's far from had it all his own way.
    "The Shred" finished way back in 12th and 14th position in the Super Combined and Super G events in Sochi respectively. And he currently lies in 12th position in this year's overall World Cup standings, way off the impressive pace set by Austria's Marcel Hirscher.
    Hirscher has won the overall title for the past three years and is heavily fancied in the giant slalom at Beaver Creek. Other challengers include the in-form Kjetil Jansrud of Norway who has won three downhill events this season and picked up Super G gold in Sochi last year.
    The likes of Alexis Pinturault, Hans Reichelt and Dominik Paris will also fancy their chances of tearing up Ligety's dream script.
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    But Ligety feels the intricacies of the Birds of Prey course could help play into his hands.
    "(The course) is really great in every discipline and downhill it's probably the most fun course around," he said, adding that "the Super G hill is really good for me ... in giant slalom I've had a tonne of success there over the last five years."
    Having the backing of an enthusiastic home crowd will also doubtless help.
    "I've always liked racing in the US," he said. "I think it's kind of an understated disadvantage for North Americans in general having to race World Cups which are generally in Central Europe."
    "So it's nice to be able to take those Euros out of their element and make them live out of their duffel bags for a couple of weeks and experience the travel side of things."
    With the likes of Steven Nyman and Travis Ganong on form and Lindsey Vonn back after a lengthy injury layoff, hopes are high for the U.S. contingent.
    Some have even suggested this could be the strongest U.S. side ever going into a World Championship.
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    "We've got an amazing team right now," Ligety said.
    "I think we have a really good chance to get some medals on the downhill side of things and on Super G ... (there's) myself and Andrew Weibrecht.
    "On the women's side you have Lindsey (Vonn) who's already dominating again which is pretty incredible. Mikaela (Shiffrin), who's found her stride again in the middle of this year, is dominating ... and winning Giant Slalom as well.
    "So I think we have a lot of different athletes on both the men's and the women's side that could win a lot of medals."
    Ligety reserves particular praise for Vonn who broke the record for all-time career wins with her 62nd World Cup triumph late last month.
    "I think most of us are so taken aback by how fast she came back from having a two-year break," he said. "Being able to dominate so quickly, I think that's the biggest thing we're surprised about.
    "I think none of us are surprised that she's won (now 64) World Cups or something because that was kind of an inevitability I think in a lot of our minds. (But) that's cool that she's able to achieve that for sure."
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    Away from the slopes Ligety has been kept busy building his own Shred brand of ski clothing and equipment in recent years. He describes it as a fusion of the best technical and most stylish gear on the market.
    So successful has the venture been that some of his biggest rivals on the slopes, like Alexis Pinero and Carlo Janka, have even been spotted using Shred goggles.
    But the stresses of the business world will be way to the back of Ligety's mind when race time arrives over the coming weeks.
    Of more concern will be winning and making the most of the unique set up of the World Championship event.
    "I think the World Championships is awesome because there's so few races we're racing men and women together so it's kind of cool to be able to feed off that energy.
    "Normally we'll have a giant slalom and a slalom one place and then you have to ... get in your car and drive a couple of hours and then you go do a downhill and a Super G the next weekend.
    "It's nice to be able to do everything all in one place. The World Championships, like you said, it's second Olympics. It's really cool to have those races that really mean a lot and then to be able to do it in the United States is a huge opportunity for us."