Party Line AMERICAN SKIERS WRAP UP THEIR COMPETITIVE SEASON AT A FESTIVE U.S. ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN WINTER PARK BY ERIC WILLIAMS
When the midway point of a ski racing event is marked
by Sarah Schleper’s 3-year-old son, Lasse, racing alongside
Marco Sullivan in a team ProAm, and the weather report is
calling for five more days of 60s and sunshine, you know
you are at a killer party.
That party was at Winter Park, Colo., from March 23 to April
1 as the NASTAR National Championships (see the story in
this issue) and U.S. Alpine Championships bunked up for 10
days of spring racing in the Rocky Mountains.
Former U.S. Ski Team member Bryon Friedman and
current racer Laurenne Ross provided live music as titles
were defended, new young talent hit the radar and some
international racers provided color and competition.
Fans got one last chance to roar back at Schleper and cheer
for Jimmy Cochran as each closed their careers in the Winter
Park slaloms. Loyalists of Lindsey Vonn and Ted Ligety quickly
forgave the headliners for not making it through a competitive
run and lined up for autographs. Mikaela Shiffrin and Julia
Mancuso signature-seekers, on the other hand, got to their
see their heroes secure medals; one young fan even got to
keep one of Mancuso’s medals. It was that kind of party.
Mancuso, Shiffrin go on the Defensive
Julia Mancuso came to Winter Park hot off of her best World
Cup season in five years; and Mikaela Shiffrin, this year’s
FIS rookie of the year, had showed remarkable potential in
her first real go at the World Cup tour.
Julia Mancuso collected her 14th and 15th national titles in Winter Park a week before it was
announced that next year’s championships will be on her home mountain in Squaw Valley.