Sara Mancuso

Freeskier

Freeskier Sara Mancuso     Photo: Jeff Lipsky

XX Factor: Sara Mancuso

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Yes, she's the younger sister of Julia Mancuso, who, after taking home a pair of silver medals in Vancouver, became the most decorated female alpine skier in U.S. Olympic history. But best to let Sara bring that up. "I'm my own person," she says. That person, it turns out, is one of the most promising young freeskiers of her generation. After a seven-year hiatus from competitive skiing, Mancuso surprised everyone last year by coming in fifth at the Freeskiing World Championships, held at Utah's Snowbird resort. "I raced until I was 13," says Mancuso, who turns 21 in December, "but I stopped having fun with it. When I came back, I was just hanging out with my friends, learning to have fun again." One of those friends happened to be Mike Wilson, 24, a freeskiing phenom who invented an off-axis double-rotation move called, of course, the Wilsonflip. "Sara has more potential than anybody," says Wilson. "She's got the strength to jump cliffs and the skills to handle terrain that a lot of people simply can't." Heading into her sophomore year on the freeskiing tour, Mancuso's goal is to perform consistently in every event. "I try to jump off something bigger and scarier every single day," she says. "My sisters [her oldest, April, is a doctor in Michigan] have achieved a lot. I want to be as successful as them." And if she tires of skiing again, Mancuso already has an alternative career rolling. In July, she released a four-track demo album of indie/pop music with guitarist Jason Powers. She's also relocated to Los Angeles—at least when it's not snowing in the Sierra.

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