Julia Mancuso wins giant slalom after three feet of snow falls at Alpine nationals


Julia Mancuso wins giant slalom after three feet of snow falls at Alpine nationals{mosimage}MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, Calif. (April 4) – Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) produced the fastest second run Monday and won her second gold medal at the Oroweat U.S. Alpine Championships in 24 hours, capturing the giant slalom, which ended the women’s races, by more than a second at Mammoth Mountain.

Outdoor Life Network will broadcast coverage from the Championships Saturday night at 10 ET.

After an overnight snowstorm left more than three feet of snow on the mountain, the first run was held in soft conditions, which caused a couple of delays in the start. Mancuso, fifth in the first run, relaxed between runs instead of free-skiing in the new powder, then came out and led the final run.

Her total time was 2:53.46 as Mancuso, who took the combined gold medal Sunday by finishing third in slalom, also extended her own U.S. record of earning a medal in 11 consecutive U.S. Championships races.

“Yeah, it’s a nice way to end the season. I was skiing powder on that first run. Somebody said it was three to five feet of snow [during the night], but Mammoth did another great job pulling it off,” she said. Mammoth has been blanketed by upwards of 10 feet of snow in the last two weeks.

“I just wanted to ski my second run more in control. I stayed in the lodge between runs and didn’t go free-skiing, so I wasn’t as tired as I might have been,” Mancuso said.

Canadian Allison Forsyth was silver medalist in 2:54.70 and first-run leader Kristina Koznick (Eagan, MN) finished third (2:54.90).

Coach Trevor Wagner credited a near-epic team effort by national and club coaches, working with Mammoth’s Race Department staff, to set the course after a night of snowfall. “We let the course sit overnight and they worked on it with grooming machines and then everyone was out at 7 o’clock and we were pulling B-nets [for safety] and, really, it was the coolest thing – it’s amazing the race got pulled off,” he said.

“It was perfectly sunny for the first run but there was all this fresh snow from the storm, and it wasn’t packed down. It was tough, especially tough for the first group of skiers,” Wagner said, “but as the race went on, the course got a nice groove and even got down to the hard snow.

“For the second run, we cleaned itup a bit and decided to use the same course. It was tough, that first run, hard to pressure your, the soft snow made it tough to make a dynamic turn.”

By the second run, he said, racers had a better chance to make a more solid run because the snow condition was more consistent. “There was some good skiing here and there, and Julia certainly laid down a good one,” he said. “She’s had quite a season and this is a fitting end for her.”

The Championships conclude Tuesday with the men’s giant slalom. Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH).

2005 OROWEAT U.S. ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Mammoth Mountain, CA – April 4, 2005
Women’s Giant Slalom
1. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, Calif., 2:53.46
2. Allison Forsyth, Canada, 2:54.70
3. Kristina Koznick, Eagan, Minn., 2:54.90
4. Lindsey Kildow, Vail, Colo., 2:55.08
5. Bryna McCarty, Concord, Vt., 2:55.32
6. Shona Rubens, Canada, 2:55.60
7. Jonna Mendes, Heavenly, Calif., 2:55.80
8. Kirsten Clark, Raymond, Maine, 2:56.11
9. Stacey Cook, Truckee, Calif., 2:56.24
10. Julia Littman, Vail, Colo., 2:56.61

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