Mancuso speaks skiing |

Mancuso speaks skiing

AP File Photo/Matt HageOlympic Gold medalist Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley shown at the U.S. Alpine Championships at Alyeska Resort last year is preparing for another World Cup season. See what she had to say in a recent Q&A with the U.S. Ski Team.

Olympic champ Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley battled for the World Cup title down to the final weekend last year, picking up four wins and a World Championship medal along the way. With great summer training in Chile, New Zealand and Hawaii, shes ready to rejoin the battle in Saturdays opener on the glacier in Soelden, Austria.The U.S. Ski Team recently conducted the following Q&A with Mancuso:With a strong summer of dryland and on-snow training, hows your confidence?Ive been training in Hawaii and my bodys feeling good. Im already into being pretty balanced and getting to where I can push it [skiing]. I can go full speed a month ahead of last year. Ive been focusing on refining things more. In the past, a lot of times I could go fast, but this time Ive been working on getting my turns really balanced. Going fast wasnt my focus I concentrated on perfecting the basics of the turn and then going faster from there.Living in Hawaii, do you miss the mountains?I wasnt in Tahoe much this summer, so Ive just been spending more time in the ocean. I miss the mountains but I get my fix all winter. Its become winter in the mountains and summer in the ocean. I love being in the ocean; the waves dont matter, but I just love the ocean.You had a record five straight podiums at one point and were in contention for the World Cup title into the final week. What do you bring into the 2008 season from that experience?That was good for my confidence, of course. Its important for me to remember the good results as well as the bad results, and to do the best at every opportunity. I try to keep focused and moving forward.With no World Championships this season, are you pointing for one particular race?Ill be taking it one race at a time. I have some favorite venues, like Cortina [dAmpezzo, Italy], but I look at the rest of the season as a good opportunity to take in every race … to figure out what works best. Ill focus on every race instead of trying to peak for Worlds or the Olympics.So, there wont be any distraction from preparing for Worlds?I think every season is fun. Going to World Champs is fun, theres so much going on. Ill miss that, but there will be a couple of fun races. Going to Whistler [the 2010 Olympic Alpine venue north of Vancouver] will be awesome. I have a lot of family and theyll be there, and then Ill have the opportunity to go home for a couple days.I love going to Whistler. Theres always so much snow. Im excited about it.You put in quite a bit of time traveling when you werent training. On top of your training camps and personal training, hows that fit into your recovery time?Its fine. I cant help the travel there are a lot of places I havent seen … and I want to see. We [she, teammate Resi Stiegler and Briton Chemmy Alcott] have wanted to explore Thailand. I didnt surf there but I did that in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.Speaking of eating, are you now a big Thai food fan?I love sushi and Thai food. Its just so refreshing to the spices they put into Thai food. It keeps your metabolism going. I can feel extra metabolism.So, in the end, balance is key?I need balance in taking care of my body and being healthy. If youre working every day, theres only so much time to do something, but it makes a difference if you take those 15-20 minutes to exercise and get your heart rate up. I think everyone should be encouraged to do that push your limits …My philosophy through everything is balance and being healthy. We work hard, but theres also such a thing as overworking. Im a strong advocate for balance in life, from surfing to a couple of hours in the gym, or how you eat.

The Olympic champion will open her season Oct. 27 in Soelden, Austria, and will be among the top contenders when the World Cup returns for the Dec. 7-9 Aspen Winternational. There, Mancuso and company will be topping the speedometer at 70-plus mph on the Aspen downhill.

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