Mendes wins FIS race |

Mendes wins FIS race

Racing against the world’s best skiers has cut into something U.S. Ski Team speed racer Jonna Mendes has known since childhood: winning.

The 20-year-old from South Lake Tahoe re-introduced herself to winning at a FIS giant slalom race Saturday in Veysonnaz, Switzerland.

“It’s been so long since I’ve won a race I almost don’t know what to do with myself,” Mendes said. “It definitely came at a good time, though.”

A foot of fresh powder didn’t bother Mendes one bit.

“It was an advantage for me being a California girl. I’ve raced in that stuff all my life,” she said.

Before returning to her hometown for Christmas, Mendes will compete in two super-Gs and a downhill in Switzerland and two super-Gs in Italy.

Shanley keeps Far West grooving

Far West Division skiers continued to dominate the U.S. Freestyle Selection event on Tuesday at Squaw Valley.

Squaw Valley’s Tony Basile, who finished third at nationals last March, placed runner-up to Travis Mayer of Orchard Park, N.Y., in the men’s dual moguls.

However, Laurel Shanley gave Squaw Valley a duals split by surprisingly winning the women’s competition. Shanley’s Squaw Valley teammate Jessica Davis, who was third in Monday’s singles event, came in fourth.

South Lake Tahoe’s Chris Hernandez, who trains at Heavenly Ski Resort, lost to Mayer in the round of eight when the U.S. Ski Team member lost control of his top jump.

“He’s working on his speed, and the mistake he made today was he went too far off the top jump and couldn’t get it back on track,” said Jere Crawford, Heavenly Ski Foundation freestyle coach. “Once he gets his speed down, he will be as good as anybody out there, because he has better technical turns than anybody out there. And, of course, his jumps have always been good.”

Heavenly’s Ryan Hickey lost to Fred Mooney in the round of 32.

“This is a learning event for Ryan,” Crawford said. “He’s still really young, but it’s good to get his feet wet with these really big guns.”

U.S. Ski Team’s Travis Ramos, who won the men’s singles on Monday, and teammate Travis Cabral skipped the duals to focus on Thursday’s second singles competition.

Crawford believes anyone who finished fifth or better on Monday still has a shot at earning the U.S. World Cup spot that presumably goes to the overall winner.

“This is really a big-pressure event. It’s almost more than nationals or World Cup, because this can make or break your season right here,” Crawford said.

The five-day selection competition continues today with the acro competition at 10:30 a.m.

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