By Steve Keating BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - The giant slalom on Friday is the final chance for American Ted Ligety to defend one of his three alpine ski championship gold medals in what could produce one of the classic battles of the competition. Ligety, the world and Olympic champion in the discipline known as Mr. GS for his domination of the event, has seen his reign challenged by Austrian slalom maestro Marcel Hirscher, who has already claimed the American's combined world title. Ligety, who has owned the GS crown since the 2011 worlds, has 39 World Cup giant slalom podiums and 23 career wins but this season has reached the top step on the podium just once. I don't see it as a burden, I see it as more of an advantage." Certainly no skier has taken more advantage of home snow than Ligety with eight giant slalom podiums at Beaver Creek, including four straight wins. Click here to read full news..