Team USA Hosts Top International Skiers In Aspen For World Cup Finale

By Brianna Tammaro | Feb. 23, 2016, 12:20 p.m. (ET)

Jamie Stanton, pictured at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, will compete at the IPC Alpine Skiing world Cup Final in Aspen this week

U.S. skiers will close the world cup circuit on their home snow as they host the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Final in Aspen beginning Wednesday. Giant slalom and slalom races will take place Feb. 24-26 followed by downhill and super-G competition from Feb. 28-March 4.

With the countdown reaching the halfway point until the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, over 75 skiers from17 nations will seek to finish the world cup circuit on a strong note as overall world cup season champions. Athletes will finish the world cup season in the U.S. after traveling across Europe to races in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia; Tarvisio, Italy; St. Moritz, Switzerland and Tignes, France.

Team USA will have a strong contingent competing in Aspen, including young talent aiming for their first overall titles or globes. Paralympians Staci Mannella (Randolph, New Jersey) and Jamie Stanton (Clinton Township, Michigan) helped Team USA to a 34-medal haul in the month of January in the women’s visually impaired and men’s standing divisions, respectively. Nineteen-year-old Mannella, currently ranked first for slalom and second for giant slalom season standings, captured three medals—two of which were gold—at world cups this season. Stanton, 21, added three medals of his own—two silver and one bronze—as he sits second in the overall slalom standings.

In the women’s sitting class, six-time Paralympic medalist Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Massachusetts) is a strong contender for overall titles for the slalom, giant slalom and super-G disciplines. Stephens will face off against five-time Paralympic champion Anna Schaffelhuber and Anna-Lena Forster of Germany as well as 18-year-old Momoka Muraoka of Japan.

Danelle Umstead (Park City, Utah) will look to defend her 2014-2015 overall title in the women’s visually impaired class. She’ll face competition from her Team USA teammate and mentee, Mannella. Umstead has claimed five medals so far on the world cup circuit and is currently ranked second overall for the slalom and third for giant slalom for the overall season.

Men’s sit-skier Andrew Kurka (Palmer, Alaska) has had a consistent season after winning his first world championship medal in 2015, just three months after breaking his femur. He comes off winning gold at the most recent world cup in Tignes, France and will chase Austria’s Roman Rabi for the super-G overall title. Three-time Paralympian Tyler Walker (Franconia, New Hampshire) will miss the chance to take on teammate Kurka after he was injured in a training run last week.

With next week marking the finale of the world cup season, U.S skiers will take a break before hitting the slopes again for the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Championships for technical events at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire, March 21-23.

For updates on the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Final in Aspen, follow U.S. Paralympics on Facebook and Twitter. Visit the IPC website for results and the full schedule for the two weeks of action.