Competition meets celebration at Squaw Valley this week.
The resort hosts the 2014 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships through Sunday. A celebration of Olympic athletes returning home will be held as part of Friday’s festivities.
The free welcome home celebration features an athlete parade, fireworks, an athlete Q&A, an athlete autograph session and live music. The welcome home party begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 21 at the KT Base Bar in the Village at Squaw Valley.
Athletes attending the homecoming celebration include Julia Mancuso, Mikaela Shiffrin, Andrew Weibrecht, Travis Ganong, Marco Sullivan, Nate Holland, Jared Goldberg, Tim Jitloff, Nolan Kasper, David Chodounsky, Stacey Cook, Julia Ford, Megan McJames, Laurenne Ross, Leanne Smith, Resi Stiegler and Jaqueline Wiles, according to a press release from Squaw Valley.
Mancuso will also be competing on home turf during the Alpine Championships following her super combined bronze medal at the Sochi Olympics.
“It’s great to get to race at my home mountain and it’s awesome to have Squaw’s support for ski racing,” Mancuso said in the release. “They did an exceptional job last season, so I definitely look forward to some more great races on home snow during Nationals.”
Ganong will also compete on familiar slopes following a fifth-place finish in the downhill competition at the Winter Olympics.
Olympians Bode Miller, Marco Sullivan and Ted Ligety are also set to compete this week.
The men’s giant slalom kicked off Wednesday in the resort’s Red Dog area. The venue provides onlookers with a great view of the skiing action, said U.S. Ski Team spokesman Doug Haney.
“You can see pretty much the entire event from the base area,” he said.
The event represents the culmination of the racing year and tends to be a very relaxed, with athletes mingling in the crowd following their runs, Haney said.
“Last year was just a phenomenal event,” he added. “It wasn’t a difficult decision to come back.”
The event will not be short on competition though.
“We’re going to have a world-class field,” Haney said.
The women’s giant slalom starts at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, with live music kicking off at 1 p.m. and an athlete autograph signing scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday evening’s festivities include the athlete parade, the national anthem sung by Sara Mancuso, welcome home video presentation, athlete Q&A, fireworks show and live performances by Drop Theory and West Water Outlaws. On Saturday, the men’s slalom will start at 9 a.m., with the women’s competition taking place at the same time Sunday. Live music starts at 1 p.m. both days.