Adventure

An Interview with Sara Mancuso (Julia's Little Sister)

At Snowbird, Utah’s Freeskiing World Championships last weekend, rookie Sara Mancuso, age 20, placed fifth and earned the Snowbird North Face Young Gun Award. We spoke to her while she was writing music on a pier by Lake Tahoe about her budding ski career and the influence of her older sister, Julia Mancuso, who won two silver medals at the 2010 Olympics.


In the Freeskiing World Tour this year, you got ninth at Telluride, 12th at Kirkwood, and last weekend, fifth at Snowbird. Not bad for your first…

In the Freeskiing World Tour this year, you got ninth at Telluride, 12th at Kirkwood, and last weekend, fifth at Snowbird. Not bad for your first year on the big-mountain competition circuit.
I would have liked to have been on the podium at Snowbird. I was in second going into the superfinal run, but I almost crashed on my first cliff and my score was hurt by that. So I ended up fifth.

Did you grow up ski racing like your older sisters Julia (who has three Olympic medals to her name) and April (a former NCAA ski racing champion)?
I grew up racing but I had a big injury when I was 14 and had to quit ski racing. I couldn’t ski for a while but when I came back, I started skiing with my friends and riding with the boys and having them take me down the mountain. That’s what got me into dropping cliffs and skiing more big-mountain style.

 

Is that why you decided to sign up for your first big-mountain comp this year?Timmy Dutton [who competes on the Freeride World Tour and won the…

Is that why you decided to sign up for your first big-mountain comp this year?
Timmy Dutton [who competes on the Freeride World Tour and won the Freeskiing World Tour last year] told me I should enter the comps and that I would probably do well. He and Mike Wilson were the two guys who really took me out and taught me how to drop cliffs.

I assume your sisters had an influence as well?Julia helped me get into Freeskiing World Tour—that was awesome. Of course, watching her ski race…

I assume your sisters had an influence as well?
Julia helped me get into Freeskiing World Tour—that was awesome. Of course, watching her ski race growing up pushed me to become a better ski racer, which took my fundamentals further and made me the skier I am today. Skiing has been a big part of our family.

What was it like watching Julia win two silver medals at the Olympics this year?
Our entire family was elated. We are all sobbing in tears. Having that feeling for someone else’s success—I can’t describe the emotion. After her first medal, a journalist from Euro Sport grabbed me and snuck me into media corral. I didn’t have credentials, but I somehow got in. So I was the first one in our family to see Julia.

Last question: I hear you’re a musician?I write music and sing. I’m actually writing music on a pier on Lake Tahoe right now. I’m working on a new…

Last question: I hear you’re a musician?
I write music and sing. I’m actually writing music on a pier on Lake Tahoe right now. I’m working on a new album with my boyfriend, who sings and play guitar. I don’t know how to compare our music to anyone else’s, but my vocal influences are Ella Fitzgerald and Amy Winehouse—I like to have a jazzy twist on rock songs.