Julia Mancuso did not have her best season. Known for Olympic medals and dominating the World Cup field, Julia was frustrated as she missed podium after podium. After a good start in December—sharing the Lake Louise downhill podium with teammates Lindsey Vonn and Stacey Cook—she could not take back her reign of the World Cup.
Then, right before World Cup Finals, Julia made the hard decision to leave the World Cup and head home. It came out that her hip had flared up again, an injury she had battled throughout her whole career. It triggered a flood of media and fans alike asking the question, “Does this mean Julia is retiring?”
Julia sat down with us to answer questions about her World Cup career, her newfound love of backcountry skiing and, most importantly, her skiing future.
U.S. SKI TEAM: Why did you decide to leave the World Cup? How did you make the decision?
MERIBEL, France (March 19, 2015)—The World Cup Finals super G kicked off on another beautiful, bluebird day. Dustin Cook of Canada, who has been dancing around the top spot all season, took his first World Cup win. Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) was the top American racer, taking 15th.
Kjetil Jansrud of Norway had already secured his super G globe coming into the Finals, but didn’t ski like it—taking second, just .05 seconds behind Cook. This brings his tally to two crystal globes—one in downhill and one in super G—and sits in second in the overall hunt. However, with tech specialist Marcel Hirscher of Austria taking fourth in the super G and getting ready for the giant slalom and slalom, Hirscher will likely take the overall. Brice Roger of France was third.
MERIBEL, France (March 19, 2015) - Standing in the start house, Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) knew the scenario - Austria's Anna Fenninger was in the lead and it would take a win to claim the title. Even with that pressure on her shoulders, Vonn skied aggressively down the Roc de Fer and claimed her 67th World Cup victory and 19th Audi FIS Ski World Cup crystal globe, sweeping the speed titles in the World Cup Finals at Meribel. Fenninger was second, expanding her overall World Cup lead over third place Tina Maze of Slovenia to 32 points with two races to go.
Vonn's 19 World Cup titles is the most of any woman in history, and matches the mark set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark.
MERIBEL, UT (March 18, 2015)—In the first World Cup Finals race of the week, Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) was the top American, taking fourth place in the downhill. Kjetil Jansrud of Norway won the race, and snagged the downhill crystal globe.
It was a beautiful day for the downhill in Meribel, France, with sunshine and warm weather stoking the roaring crowd. Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) was the first American racer out of the start, and took eighth overall—a solid finish for the World Cup veteran. Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) took ninth and Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) was 24th.
MERIBEL, France (March 18, 2015) - Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) began the finale of her comeback season in high style Wednesday, scoring a convincing victory and claiming her 18th career crystal globe in winning the Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill title. Vonn was flawless under the clear blue skies, skiing to a .24 second victory over Austria's Elisabeth Goergl.
Vonnn brought a 35 point lead over Fenninger into the final, essentially needing to stay ahead of the Austrian. Fenninger skied 16th, one spot before Vonn, and had a troubling run to drop into fourth. All Vonn needed was a top-15 to take the title. But she went out charging in the soft snow to move into a convincing lead. Goergl was the only challenger and couldn't top Vonn. Slovenia's Tina Maze was fourth, narrowing the gap behind Fenninger to just 12 points for the overall - a battle that is expected to go down to the final race this week.
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, ME (Mar. 17, 2015)—While a group of World Cup skiers take on the World Cup Finals in Meribel, France, the first race of the 2015 U.S. Alpine National Championships kicked off on Tuesday at Sugarloaf Mountain. Julia Ford (Holderness, NH) was crowned the champion for the women, while Wiley Maple (Aspen, CO) won the men’s downhill.
Sugarloaf experienced some classic Maine March weather, resulting in canceled training and a delayed race. More than eight inches of snow fell on the ski area, followed by heavy winds that whipped the snow into a halfpipe down the Narrow Gauge downhill track. The start had to be delayed, while the race crew attacked the course with snowcats. A shortage of forerunners also resulted in a snow seed starting ahead of the top-seeded racers.
PARK CITY, UT (March 17, 2015) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has announced plans to hire an alpine development director, responsible for all aspects of domestic alpine development. The director will be responsible for all elite domestic programs below the U.S. Ski Team’s A, B and C Teams, reporting directly to USSA Alpine Director Patrick Riml.
The new position stems from the USSA’s recognition of the importance of alpine development in the USA, and its commitment to further evolving and refining its programs.
“Best in the World at every level is our goal,” said Riml. “With that in mind, it is imperative to look at our future and how we optimize the development of our talent and create young, strong alpine teams going forward. Athlete development is the cornerstone for future success at the junior, World Cup and Olympic levels.
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 17, 2015) – Eastern U.S. ski resorts will play a pivotal role in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association ski racing scene the next weeks. Top alpine athletes from the USA and foreign countries will compete at Eastern resorts including Sugarloaf, Burke Mountain and Waterville Valley as hosts to the final races in the International Ski Federation (FIS) NorAm tour. The month will end with the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf.
The NorAm tour is the steppingstone for athletes to the Audi FIS Ski World Cup circuit. The top two athletes in each discipline on the NorAm earn a start position in the next season’s World Cup, in addition to the regular quota of top national team athletes.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO (March 17, 2015) – America’s Ski Town U.S.A, Steamboat Springs, will honor 10 new inductees to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame as the site of the annual induction ceremony capping off the April 6-12 Skiing History Week in the famous Colorado resort. The celebration of skiing history coincides with the centennial of Steamboat’s famous Howelsen Hill.
The Class of 2014 Hall of Fame inductees include a host of notable athletes and sport pioneers from Olympic champion Ross Powers to World Championship medalist Erik Schlopy, along with big mountain skier Chris Davenport, Professional Ski Instructors of America founder Curt Chase, ski goggle pioneer Bob Smith and more.