POC 10 Insights – Julia Mancuso, an Olympian free spirit
Olympic champion and all round wonder woman, Julia Mancuso, is an icon on and off the ski hill. Commonly referred to as ‘Super Jules’ by her team mates on the US ski team she has been involved with POC almost from day one and has played a key role in the development of many aspects of the company. As such taking a closer look at Julia seemed like a simple decision to kick off our special insight celebrating POC’s first 10 years.
Julia’s relationship with POC dates back to 2006, when she burst onto the world stage with Olympic gold in the giant slalom in Turin, Italy. She has since gone on to become an integral part of the U.S. women’s alpine skiing Olympic history, earning four medals across three Games, including a Combined bronze in Sochi in 2014.
Julia started ski racing as an eight year old so it’s natural that most people would associate Julia with skiing against the clock, but there are many different shades to Julia Mancuso, the world-class skier, fitness guru, role model, underwear model, philanthropist, brand ambassador and overall free spirit. Combine them and you’ve got a Squaw Valley native who never worried about which rules she was supposed to follow and who has found herself exactly where she wants to be - doing what she loves.
Surfing is one of those loves and a passion that takes her towards the warmer climes for big parts of the year. However, it’s not just about being somewhere warm and beautiful, it’s the association and proximity to mother nature which provides a healthy antidote to the pressures and intensity of ski racing.
‘Surfing requires a different type of focus as it’s an environment full of powerful forces, constantly on the move. But relaxing and feeling your way in a wave is critical, if you try to force it too much there is only ever one winner.’
‘Bobbing around in the Pacific is a very different environment to the competition scene, but if you take away the clock it’s easy to draw parallels between surfing and ski racing, especially how you need to adapt to the conditions under foot; constantly making millisecond micro movements to stay upright. Skiing is similarly about feel and if you think or try too hard it’s easy to find yourself in the nets.’
Unfortunately, injuries and crashes are part and parcel of a racers life which is why safety is so important in ski racing. Julia and POC have worked closely for years on safety products and even developed the current Julia Mancuso signature collection, which includes the Skull Orbic Comp helmet, Retina Big goggles, award-winning Super Palm Comp glove and the “Julia Red” Know sunglasses.
Julia, who has also created her own lingerie company, has long been an advocate for equipment to look as good as it performs. ‘It's important to look good while competing which is a reason I love my signature “Julia Blue” colorway. Knowing that I am protected from my hands to my head means I can concentrate more on what’s ahead of me and go fast in style’
Although Julia is currently recuperating from hip surgery her eyes are firmly focused on the Olympics in 2018 and a chance to add to her medal tally. No doubt whatever she does, she will do it in style.