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Friday's U.S. National Championship downhill to double as final NorAm downhill

Friday’s U.S. National Championship downhill to double as final NorAm downhill{mosimage}MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, Calif. (March 29) – High winds and soft snow have forced cancellation of a scheduled Super Series downhill – the last NorAm DH of the season – scheduled for Thursday at Mammoth Mountain, scene of the Oroweat 2005 U.S. Alpine Championships which open Friday.

Mammoth has received six feet of snow in the last 12 days and work crews have been scrambling to get the courses cleared of snow and prepared for racing. High winds Wednesday and Thursday prevented downhill training and the race jury said that forced cancellation of the Super Series downhill because no one will have skied the mandatory training run. Weather permitting, the U.S. Championships will begin as scheduled on Friday with a downhill and that race will double as the final NorAm.

“The hill crew has done an epic job of dealing with all this snow,” U.S. Alpine Director Jesse Hunt said Wednesday as the cancellation was announced. “They have had to deal with incredible winds on top of so much snow, and to try to stage an extra race would be beyond extraordinary. Having Friday’s downhill count as a NorAm in addition to the U.S. championship is an excellent alternative and we certainly support that move.”

More than 200 athletes from across the country, including World Cup overall champion and Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) and California headliners Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl) and Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley), and a handful of athletes from Canada, are on hand for the final NorAm and the U.S. championships. In addition to winning the overall title, the first U.S. skier to do so since 1983, Miller also won the World Cup super G title – the first American to do so – and took the gold medal in DH and super G at the World Championships, and won seven World Cup races. Rahlves and Mancuso each earned two medals Worlds.

In addition to Friday’s championship downhill, the Oroweat schedule includes: Saturday – super G; Sunday – slalom; Monday – women’s giant slalom; Tuesday – men’s GS.

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