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Ski with Jonny Moseley over the Christmas holidays

By: Jeffrey Weidel/Special to Gold Country News Service
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This might not have made the Christmas wish list, but it could be one to add if you plan to be near Squaw Valley.

Former Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley will be skiing throughout the Christmas holidays at Squaw Valley ski resort, and the public is welcome to join him, starting Wednesday. Moseley will be on the hill Thursday and Friday, and again from Sunday through Dec. 30.

One of the great things about this Christmas wish is the price is right: A few turns on the slopes with Moseley is absolutely free.

 

 

The tours meet at 2 p.m. each day atop the Funitel and typically include 20-25 people at the start. They end several hours later with about half that number. An après ski gathering with Moseley takes place afterward at the Olympic House.

Squaw feels like home to Moseley, who won the gold medal in the moguls competition in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, while a member of the Squaw Valley freestyle team.

Moseley started regularly spending family weekends at Squaw at a young age and eventually entered the resort’s Mighty Mites program, where he blossomed.

“Growing up on Squaw Valley’s ski team, I came to know the mountain like the back of my hand,” said Moseley, who is currently Squaw’s chief mountain host. “I love getting out there with guests and taking them to spots that they may not have found otherwise.”

Skiing with Moseley typically begins with a few runs off the Shirley Lake chair lift and tends to escalate to tougher terrain later in the afternoon.

The complimentary tours began in the 2008-09 season but were designed more for expert skiers and snowboarders, who joined Moseley on some of the more challenging terrain.

 

Now, the tours are made for practically any level of skier or rider and include a chance to talk with Moseley afterward. That means non-skiers can share time with Moseley.

Born in Puerto Rico, Moseley’s parents came to California when he was 3 years old and settled in Tiburon, near San Francisco. Trips to Lake Tahoe resorts began almost immediately, and Moseley quickly demonstrated an aptitude for skiing.

“My parents were cool. They put my brother and me in the Mighty Mites program, and later I was on the Squaw ski racing team,” Moseley recalled. “I had no aspirations of going very far, but one thing led to another. I got on the freestyle team, started doing tricks and skiing the moguls, and the next thing you know, freestyle became an Olympic event and I won a gold medal.”

Moseley is best known for his famed “Dinner Roll,” a trick he developed for the 1999 X Games. It involves a 720-degree off-axis rotation, where Moseley skis off a jump and does two full rotations – one on the horizontal plane and the other on the vertical plane.

At age 35, Moseley is far removed from competition, but it isn’t over entirely. He’s cast on the ABC showSkating with the Stars” and is paired with retired pairs skater Brooke Castile.

A former member of the U.S. Ski Team, Moseley has skied worldwide but retains a great affinity for his home mountain.

“I have skied everywhere in the world, and it’s crazy that one of the best mountains and the best conditions you can find anywhere are right here at Squaw,” Moseley said. “I truly love it here.”

Jeffrey Weidel is a Sacramento-area freelance writer with more than 25 years of skiing experience.