Skiing royalty returns to Squaw Valley: Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso regales at mid-mountain |

Skiing royalty returns to Squaw Valley: Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso regales at mid-mountain

Kiwi Kamera/submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.comOlympian Julia Mancuso signs the helmet of a young Squaw Valley ski team member.

SQUAW VALLEY USA and#8212; What do thongs and tiaras have in common? For Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso the thongs are part of her and#8220;Kiss My Tiaraand#8221; lingerie line, named after the tiara she was first spotted wearing at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Mancuso, who has been accused of being a bit of a princess herself, is indeed downhill skiing royalty as evidenced by the large turnout of devotees who withstood chilly temps of the endless winter at Squaw Valley’s High Camp swimming lagoon and spa on Saturday, April 9 to catch a glimpse of the local hometown girl and grab a souvenir signed poster.

It was the kick-off of Squaw Valley’s first big pool party of the spring calendar season with Julia’s and#8220;Kiss My Tiara Pool Party.and#8221; Mancuso signed autographs for fans as DJ Tracy Too Dread spun lively reggae music. After the party ended, the pied piper-like Olympian led a pack of energetic young skier wannabes down the mountain where she introduced hit singer Donavon Frankenreiter on Squaw Valley’s KT Sundeck. It was just another day flush with fun and skiing celebrities at Squaw Valley USA.

Attendees included former Olympian Tamara McKinney and her daughter Francesca; former Olympic Coach Tom Kelly and son Todd Kelly; local photographers Keoki Flagg and Gary Moore (aka Kiwi); Adam Baillargeon of High Fives, U.S. Ski Team photographer John Margolis; Julia Mancuso’s manager local Galen Gifford; Squaw Valley Marketing Director Christine Horvath; Squaw Valley Marketing Manager Sean Kristl, Daryl Simms, local videographer Mark Jennings and scores of youngsters hoping to one day follow in Mancuso’s footsteps.

The outdoor event blended several parts cross country skiing and snowshoeing exercise with 18 tastes from the finest local restaurants. The successful recipe yielded the 10th annual Gourmet Ski Tour at the Tahoe Nordic Center in Tahoe City recently. Great weather and live music contributed to a fun-filled afternoon on the trail with a near-record turnout for the event, which is the primary fund raiser for the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association. Programs benefiting from this fundraising event include a free Skiing For Schools event, Strider Gliders, the Winter Discovery Center, and the North Tahoe Middle and High School Nordic ski teams.

For the second year the Gourmet Ski Tour was a near zero-waste event, thanks to the IVGID Waste Not program and Madonna Dunbar. The compostable service ware and food waste from all the booths were collected to be made into compost, with only one bag of trash being taken to the landfill.

Some of those skiing and sampling the food were Dana Spencer, Doug Read, Ann and Doug Greenwood, Diane and Frank Rosman, Teresa Anderson, Deed Verutti, Diane and John Pang, Bill and Chris Funicella, Bill and Jamie Sharbrough, Paul and Karen Honeywell, Lynn and Gene Trivett, Cathy and Larry Spector, Lucy and Jeff Archer, and event coordinator Patti Lovely.

and#8212; Vicki Kahn may be reached at

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