Julia Mancuso sliced through spring-like Winter Park snow bump her national title record to 15 with giant slalom victory at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships (USSA/Sarah Brunson)
WINTER PARK, CO (March 31) - Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA/Squaw Valley Ski Team) powered through exaustingly soft snow at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships to take giant slalom gold and up her own national title record to 15. Nineteen-year-old Norwegian Kristine Gjelsten Haugen was second ahead of 17-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO/Burke Mountain Academy). Anna Marno (Steamboat Springs, CO/Steamboat Spings Winter Sports Club) was third among juniors to conclude women's racing in Winter Park.
Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) bumped her own national title record to 15 with a giant slalom win to close women's competition at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
It was Mancuso's fourth straight giant slalom title and sixth of her career. She also has four super G titles, four combined titles and one downhill title.
Junior Kristine Gjelsten Haugen of Norway was second ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO), also a junior who won the women's slalom earlier in the week.
Anna Marno (Steamboat Springs, CO) was third for her third junior podium of the championships.
World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) started the first run, but made an early exit after getting late into a hair pin turn.
Temperatures soared into the mid 60s creating exaustingly soft snow conditions for the final run.
The Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships conclude Sunday with men's giant slalom.
QUOTES Julia Mancuso I've got 10 years of experience on these girls [Haugen and Shiffrin], so it's kind of scary that they're giving me a run for my money.
These girls are skiing fast and it’s a highlight for young racers to ski well here and if I can help them get highlights it’s even better for me.
First run was really good conditions, for the second run it is so warm here it was tough, but nothing too bad. I really have fun skiing in the spring and I like these conditions so I never feel unsafe or that I am risking anything by being out here, it’s more that if I stay home I’m risking missing out on all the fun.
Kristine Gjelsten Haugen It’s been great, I never thought I could be top three here so I am really happy. This is one of my best results actually, maybe fourth at junior worlds was one of my best before this but I think it’s right up there.
Being on the podium with great skiers like Julia [Mancuso] and Mikaela [Shiffrin] is pretty special.
Mikaela Shiffrin I didn’t do so well in the GS at nationals last year. I have worked a lot on my GS this year so this is a really great way to end the season. Kristine Haugen got second place today and she is just making some awesome turns and I always love skiing with her and watching her. I’m sure she is going to be coming up the ranks with me for the rest of our careers. I’m very excited to be on the podium with those two.
This was a great championships. It was so much fun to race at Winter Park with my teammates and the racers from all over the country. It's just a cool way to end the season. I spent three and a half months in Europe this winter and it feels so good to celebrate the end of the season at home in Colorado.
TV NBC will air the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships on April 7 at 3:30 p.m. ET