In November of 2015, Julia Mancuso made the tough decision to undergo hip surgery and miss the entire 2015-16 competitive ski season. The Olympic gold medalist has had persistent hip issues for years and surgery was the only effective option after exhausting more conservative treatments. At the time, the American said that her ultimate objective was to compete at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.
“If I were to try to push through, get more treatments and try to ski this season, I would just be setting myself back towards the real goal, which is PyeongChang 2018,” she said last fall. “My goal is to be strong enough to freeski at the end of March, but conservatively, it depends on the outcome of the surgery.”
It’s been a tough road back to this point for Mancuso, both physically and financially. She ran a $10,000 fundraising campaign last winter to help finance her rehabilitation costs, which went beyond the support of USSA and the USOC. However, Mancuso was able to get back on snow in March at her home mountain of Squaw Valley, where a women’s World Cup will be held this coming season.
In the last few months, Mancuso has also shared photos of a heli-ski trip on social media as well as continuing her rehab in Hawaii, leaving everyone wondering: What is her plan for a comeback?
“I’m heading to New Zealand in a week,” she shares excitedly. “Feeling really good and excited for this next phase of recovery. I think I will be back in gates end of October.”
Down under, the American will reunite with her teammates and try out some on-snow drills.
“I just can’t wait to get back in the gates and race and feel good,” she says. “Being injured has been tough, but it’s been a really great break, and I am super motivated to go fast again!”
During her break, Mancuso’s life has been eventful, including an engagement to her long-time boyfriend and starting a health and wellness business, Pure Golden Wellness.
Her fiancé, Dylan Fish, lives with her in Hawaii and the pair plans to tie the knot next summer. While prepping for her wedding is nothing like prepping for the Olympics, Mancuso dove bravely into the process and has already tried on wedding dresses.
Fish is a surfer and the two met in Fiji where he was the general manager of a resort before stealing the California girl’s heart.
“He is an amazing surfer, and it’s been fun taking him into the opposite element of winter,” Mancuso says of her future husband. “It’s really fun because he actually grew up in Maui and left around the time that I moved there, so we have a lot of mutual friends that we weren’t aware of when we met.”
When she isn’t busy with wedding planning, the Olympian is growing her business. Pure Golden Wellness launched in February in conjunction with Mancuso’s new gig as a health coach. She is running the business with Olympic snowboarding medalist Torah Bright and their sisters, and Mancuso personally uses all of the products.
“I was really surprised on how much I love everything I get,” Mancuso notes. “My favorite is my new face ritual. I think being in the elements definitely ages you, and this is something that has literally given me back years.”
Aside from the face products, Mancuso is also a fan of the vegan nutritional products, though she has not given up meat entirely.
“I believe we put enough strain on the Earth by just eating meat, at least I can get the nutrients I need in supplement form from a more environmentally friendly place,” she explains. “And the best part is that I have been getting better results and feeling better on the products. It sounds totally funny, but it really is authentic. There are so many studies out there that actually prove imbalances in hormone levels from using make-ups and lotions with parabens and mineral oils. By changing to all natural products it really can enhance your life quality.”
If you have ever wanted to talk with the Hawaii-based Olympian, Pure Golden Wellness is your foot in the door. By contacting Julia through her business email, you can set up a phone consultation and get down to one degree of separation from the ski racing celebrity.
Mancuso does hope to be able to keep up with all her side hustles even while training and racing full time, which she admits seems crazy.
“I really hope to continue (health) coaching on Mondays,” she explains. “We normally have time. It makes me grow as a person to help others, so I feel it’s just another added benefit to stay busy. As far as the wedding goes, I think that’s when mom will take over, and she will be happy about it!”
As if she wasn’t busy enough planning her comeback, she even fit in a trip to the Indy 500 with Spyder Active Sports where she did a ride along – no doubt getting the feel for the hot, aggressive speed back before returning to the World Cup circuit this season.