Schumacher, Shiffrin Awarded Beck International Athlete of the Year
The Beck International Trophy is the highest athlete honor from U.S. Ski & Snowboard, recognizing the top athletes in international competition for the year. It’s also the organization’s oldest, dating back to 1931. The 68 recipients over nearly a century represent a remarkable cross section of the greatest U.S. Olympic ski and snowboard champions of all time. For only the second time in history, two athletes tied for the penultimate honor - Mikaela Shiffrin, whose World Cup tally is now at 66, and cross country junior world champion Gus Schumacher.
Beck International Trophy
Alpine Athlete of the Year
(Edwards, Colo./Ski & Snowboard Club Vail)
It’s an incredible honor to share the award with three-time World Junior Champion cross country skier Gus Schumacher.
- Mikaela Shiffrin
The 2019-20 story of Mikaela Shiffrin (Edwards, Colo./Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) was told less in her six World Cup wins and 13 podiums, and more in how she fought through professional and personal challenges that tested her at every turn. Shiffrin was honored with the Beck International Trophy as overall athlete of the year, along with the comparable award in alpine.
It was a season of highs, including a late January weekend in Bansko, Bulgaria where she won two speed events and amassed 250 World Cup points in front of her parents, to the deepest of lows with the death of her father a week later. While the entire World Cup family grieved with her, she fought back courageously to return to the tour a month later, only to have the season end prematurely a day before her return. It is the fourth time Shiffrin has won the Beck International Trophy, and the fifth time she has won Alpine Athlete of the Year.
“Wow. I am SO humbled,” said Shiffrin. “It’s an incredible honor to share the award with three-time World Junior Champion cross country skier Gus Schumacher. It’s super impressive to see a junior athlete receive this prestigious award, and I’m looking forward to following Gus’ success throughout his career with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team. I’d also want to thank my team and teammates, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, and the ski community as a whole for your outpouring of love and support through what has been an unimaginable time in my life. Your words and thoughts lifted me up when I needed it most.”
Beck International Trophy
Cross Country Athlete of the Year
(Anchorage/Alaska Winter Stars)
Wow, I didn’t know how big it was until I realized Mikaela was the other recipient.
- Gus Schumacher
At just 19, Alaskan Gus Schumacher (Anchorage/Alaska Winter Stars) is rewriting the cross country skiing history book in America! He becomes the first junior skier to win the Beck International Trophy since cross country skier Bill Koch won in 1975. At the Junior World Championships, Schumacher took the first individual gold by an American junior in the 10k classic. To top it off, he anchored the USA men to their second straight relay gold and third straight medal performance in the team event. A product of the Alaska Winter Stars program, Schumacher has been a catalyst on a junior team that has been winning Junior Worlds medals over a three-year span.
“Wow, I didn’t know how big it was until I realized Mikaela was the other recipient. After that call, I realized it was a super big deal. It was cool because she’s just a regular person - she was so nice and seemed genuinely interested in my skiing. I’m honored to be sharing the Beck Award with her.”
Sport Athletes of the Year
Freeskiing Athlete of the Year
(Whitefish, Mont./Whitefish Mountain Resort Freestyle Team)
Strength and determination overcame uncertainty for two-time Olympian Maggie Voisin (Whitefish, Mont./U.S. Slopestyle Pro Team), who came back from knee surgery to score five consecutive podiums. She was recognized with the Freeskiing Athlete of the Year Award.
Her hard work led to exponential progression through the X Games tour, winning slopestyle bronze in Aspen, then hitting big air silver and slopestyle gold in Norway. Her X Games medals came on the wings of landing a perfect double cork 1260 safety to close out a season that also saw her on the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix and Dew Tour podiums. Voisin’s positivity and encouragement has positioned her as a team leader.
“I can’t thank the U.S. Ski & Snowboard community enough for this award. I don’t know what my life would look like without skiing and it’s truly hard to express the kind of love and excitement it gives me every day. To keep it simple, I absolutely love what I do and am so grateful for the support and love to all the people who helped me along the way.”
Freestyle Athlete of the Year
(Alta, Wyo./teamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
Veteran moguls skier Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo./U.S. Freestyle Moguls Team) scored four World Cup podiums including a win to close out the season ranked third in the world. She was honored with the Freestyle Athlete of the Year Award. Kauf is consistently one of the fastest women on the moguls World Cup circuit and this season brought two new tricks to competition - a cork 7 and a back mute. Her athletic progression is a tribute to her strong work ethic and her desire to be the best at what she does - all contributing to her confidence on the course. Known as a team leader, she attributes much of her success to the strength of her teammates in always pushing each other. Kauf also won the award in 2018.
"There is so much that goes into what we do,” said Kauf. “I have an amazing support group of family, friends, sponsors and this entire organization that make it possible for me to do what I love and have fun with it! I love skiing and competing, and my passion for the sport is what continues to drive me."
Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year
(West Fairlee, Vt./New York Ski Education Foundation)
A second straight season title came to Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, Vt./New York Ski Education Foundation) this season, on the wings of five Continental Cup wins and two podiums. She was recognized as U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year. Along the way she impacted the youth of the world, serving as a sport ambassador for the International Olympic Committee at the Youth Olympic Games and was named Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year by the International Ski Federation. Women make their FIS World Cup debut next winter, as well as being a part of the World Championships next February in Oberstdorf, Germany. Geraghty-Moats has established herself as a notable international figure in the push for Olympic inclusion. It was the second straight year she has earned the athlete of the year recognition.
"To see my hard work translate into a graceful step forward for gender equality at the Youth Olympic Games, that was special and will give me motivation for years to come. I am honored to receive this award and thank my coach, Tomas Matura, my family and my supporters around the globe, especially those at U.S. Ski & Snowboard and USA Nordic.”
Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year
(Eau Claire, Wis./Flying Eagles Ski Club)
Wisconsin teen Andrew Urlaub had a breakout season at every level of international competition. Urlaub, an 18-year old out of the Flying Eagles Ski Club in Eau Claire, Wis., scored five top-30 finishes on the FIS Cup, including a fourth in Zakopane, Poland - just a point off the podium. He also notched it up a level with five top-30s on the higher level Continental Cup. And he came away with a top-20 finish at the Junior World Championships in Oberwiesenthal, Germany.
“To win this award shows me that my dreams as a kid are coming true,” said Urlaub. “I owe it to my parents, teammates, and supporters who constantly push me to be my best. Thanks to everyone who followed my season through the ups and downs, and cheered from home.”
Snowboard Athlete of the Year
(Mammoth Lakes, Calif./Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team)
Wow, what a breakout season 17-year-old Dusty Henricksen (Mammoth Lakes, Calif./U.S. Snowboard Rookie Team) had! Henricksen made history at the U.S. Open, landing the first-ever backside quad cork 1800 in slopestyle competition. He also took Youth Olympic Games gold in slopestyle and earned his first World Cup win at the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix at his home of Mammoth Mountain. What stood out all season was his maturity, optimism and positivity as he solidified himself as a top contender in the world of competitive snowboarding.
“This season was huge for me and I realized how much I love snowboarding. There’s nothing that can beat the adrenaline rush when you learn a new trick or land your full run. I am incredibly thankful for everyone that contributes to this development process, which is so important to my success and the pursuit of my dreams.”