U.S. women feeling right at home in Beaver Creek | SierraSun.com

U.S. women feeling right at home in Beaver Creek

John LaConte
jlaconte@vaildaily.com

Julia Mancuso smiles while talking to media about the upcoming World Cup Championships Sunday in Beaver Creek.

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Now here for a few days, the women of the U.S. Ski Team are feeling comfortable at their first-ever World Championships at home.

Speaking from a slopeside hotel on Sunday, Squaw Valley Olympian Julia Mancuso, the U.S. women's skier with the most medals in major events, said it's the little things that are making the difference.

"Being able to get cold-pressed juice, that's stuff you just can't find up in the European Alps," she said "Also having a king-size bed with a down comforter … those types of things make a big difference to me."

With the extra comforts come more obligations, though. The media event at which Mancuso made that observation was one of them.

Mancuso's teammate, Laurenne Ross, said it's a small price to pay.

"There are media events, dinners and different gatherings, but I don't find these ones more demanding or intimidating than they have been in the past," she said. "I actually think the comfort of home makes it a little bit more tolerable."

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FUN AND FAMILIAR

Mancuso, Ross and several other members of the women's team spent a few days training at Golden Peak this week. U.S. women's speed team member Stacey Cook, a native of Truckee who now skis out of Mammoth Mountain, said it felt like the early season all over again. The U.S. team spends a lot of time at Golden Peak leading up to the slalom opener in Levi, Finland, and the North American World Cup events.

"A lot of the same teams we trained with in November were there," Cook said. "It was a lot of that familiar, fun environment that we get in November."

They trained both super G and giant slalom.

"Conditions were a little bit variable," Ross said. "It was a little warm, but it was cool being there with all the other teams."

A CHANCE TO BE PROUD

Mancuso said with the women's team not having much experience on the new Raptor course at Beaver Creek, the World Championships will be a chance to leave their mark.

"I think that being here in Vail there's the support to do your best and be really proud to be a ski racer," she said. "I've always felt that inspired skiing is what gets me to the top of the podium. I just want to ski my very best and focus on myself because everything is possible. You can get to the bottom and be really proud of your run and watch the other girls do the best they can. I think the most disappointing thing is when you don't do your best or when you hold back a little because you want to play it safe."