Hometown favorite Julia Mancuso and teen star Mikaela Shiffrin and will battle for national titles at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships at Squaw Valley, Calif. March 20-24.
The event will showcase America’s top skiers competing alongside the best U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association club athletes on “home” snow as the team begins to be defined for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
Squaw Valley is no stranger to hosting major alpine racing events, having played host to the Winter Olympics itself in 1960. Those were the first televised Winter Olympics. The opening ceremony was produced by Walt Disney.
Top female athletes competing in the 2013 event will be Shiffrin and Mancuso, just off gold and bronze medal performances at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Austria. Shiffrin wrapped up the season's slalom title Saturday at the weather-shortened World Cup Finals in Switzerland. Men’s star Ted Ligety, who staged a three-gold medal performance in Austria, will be joined by more local stars Marco Sullivan and Travis Ganong.
Mancuso, currently challenging for the overall World Cup super-G title is an Olympic gold medalist in giant slalom in 2006. She holds a record 15 U.S. national titles and is the defending champion in super-G and giant slalom.
“It’s really cool to see all the great things happening at Squaw,” Mancuso said. “To have the U.S. Championships back just shows the commitment to racing and its roots here at Squaw Valley. It’s nice to be able to stay home and race in my backyard – which I also consider the best resort in America – so I am psyched."
Events get underway Wednesday, March 20 with the men’s giant slalom and continue through Sunday, March 24, ending with the women’s slalom. An autograph session is set for 3 p.m. Friday, following official opening ceremonies.
Photo: Julia Mancuso (examiner.com)