Tahoe's Jitloff Raising Mondey for Breast Cancer

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Tim Jitloff was scheduled to jet over to Europe in the next few days for some training ahead of the World Cup ski season.

However, the technical specialist will arrive a little later in Soelden, Austria, than his teammates.

Worthy causes can buy extra time at home.

Jitloff will substitute his skis for sneakers as he participates in the Susan G. Komen Northern Nevada Race for the Cure on Oct. 4, raising money for the organization.

So far, his regiment of runners have rounded up nearly $3,000 in support, not to mention a local sponsor - Grand Sierra Resort and Casino - kicking in another $5,000.

The cause became near to Jitloff after his mom, Pam, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2007. She's now cancer free after going through radiation treatments.

Still, Tim Jitloff will never forget the day he found out.

"Talk about getting punched in the gut," said the 24-year-old, who's hoping to earn a spot on the U.S. squad for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. "Your mom has cancer? Whoa. It totally changes your frame of mind."

That's why he got involved. He'll be joined in the race by his mom, dad and other family members.

"My goal is enjoy myself and spend time with my mom," he said.

And swap stories - a lot of them involving ski racing.

Jitloff grew up in the Reno/Tahoe area as the youngest of three brothers. They were all skiers, so naturally he followed in their tracks.

His mom never grew weary of chauffeuring him around to different races. They would travel 10 hours to a mountain venue just for a weekend race. The conversations always made up for the miles.

"She's the rock in our family," Jitloff said. "If my brothers or myself have a problem, she's usually the first one we go to."

Like when he took a spill in Valloire, France, in 2006. He crashed while skiing on chunky ice and landed awkwardly, tearing his left ACL.

There went a season that looked so promising.

"I was emotionally beat up," he said.

That's where Pam Jitloff stepped in. She comforted him on the phone and got everything lined up back home for his rehab. She also enrolled him at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he took an English class and an upper level history course.

"When anybody has an injury, the more involved you can be and the more normal your life can be, the better you do," Pam Jitloff said. "You have to move through life."

She's been following her own advice since being diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I always felt, 'Give me the plan and I can do it,"' she said. "We all need goals."

These days, Jitloff's goals center on securing a trip to Vancouver.

He was solid all last season, finishing 19th in the giant slalom right out of the chute at the World Cup opener in Soelden.

Jitloff followed that by taking 15th in the slalom at Alta Badia, Italy, and rounded out his season with a career-best fifth-place finish in the giant slalom in Sestriere, Italy.

He remains a relative unknown outside of skiing circles, living in the shadows of Americans like Bode Miller, Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn.

Being a dark horse, though, suits him just fine.

"I'm under the radar," said Jitloff, a former junior world champion. "I can cruise right in under there."

Jitloff attended a training session in New Zealand last month, quickly recapturing his form. But he had to leave early after aggravating a sports hernia.

Now fully healed, he is anxious to return to the slopes - after the run with his family.

"It's a moment I'm going to treasure," Jitloff said.