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U.S. Ski & Snowboard Names 2018-19 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team

By Lara Carlton
November, 12 2018
2018-19 U.S. Freestyle Team
(Steven Earl Photography)

The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s moguls and aerials rosters have officially been named for the 2018-19 competition season. Twenty-nine athletes will represent the United States across national and international competitions, including a hometown 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships, presented by Toyota, taking place February 1-10, 2019 in Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain, and Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah.  

“We have a really talented group of athletes and coaches that are ready to get the season started,” said Jeremy Forster, director of the U.S. Freestyle, Freeski and Snowboard Teams. “It will be an exciting season with the FIS World Championships in Deer Valley and the inclusion of team aerials as a new Olympic competition.”

Defending World Champions Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va.) and Jonathon Lillis (Pittsford, N.Y.) headline a young 13-member aerials team, which will compete in seven World Cup and World Championships events across three continents. Aerials will seek to fill 10 World Championship spots, two more than any other nation competing, as both Caldwell and Lillis have already secured their own spots as defending World Champions. New to the FIS World Championship competition roster will be the team aerials event, which turns a traditionally solo discipline into a team effort. Team aerials will add another layer of drama to an already thrilling sport.

“Having the FIS World Champs in Park City in an incredible way to start the four-year cycle,” says Caldwell on this competition season. “We have a young team this year, it will be exciting to see them entering their first World Cups and championships events in this Olympic cycle. Aerials in the Beijing Olympics in 2022 will be one of the biggest events of the Games.”

“Deer Valley is a special place for Freestyle Skiing and we could not be more excited about the opportunity to compete at the FIS World Championships in our hometown,” said U.S. Aerials Head Coach Todd Ossian. “ We have a variety of athletes at different stages of their careers that will all have a solid chance to perform well.  Ashley Caldwell and Jon Lillis looking to defend their World Championship titles is going to be a show of its own!”

Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.), the second-ranked female moguls skier in the world and a 2017 World Championships medalist, along with 2017 World Championship medalist Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.), lead the charge for the 16-member moguls squad, which will compete in 12 World Cup and World Championships events across three continents. A-team members Olivia Giaccio (Redding, Conn.) and Casey Andringa (Vail, Colo.) will look to change the moguls game this season as both have the potential to perform runs featuring the hardest degree of difficulty in their respective genders. Moguls brought home a silver and bronze medal from the 2017 World Championships and will look to add more hardware in 2019.

“This season is not about the past and it's not about the future,” explained U.S. Moguls Head Coach Matt Gnoza. “It's about right now and this team is ready to perform. I know they are going to be successful because they have all put in the time, effort, and hard work it takes to become champions. This season is about the team and not about any one person. They all support one another and when one of them wins they will all share in that moment because they have been on this journey together.”  

“Our team is looking really strong right now and we are definitely all getting anxious and excited for the season to kick off!” said Kauf, “I’m really confident about our team right now and know there will be a lot of great stuff coming from my teammates. I think we’re all excited to show the world what we are capable of and continue working towards being the best we can be.”

At the 2017 FIS World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team took home four medals, including a pair of golds in aerials. Athletes will have the opportunity to showcase their talents on home soil and at a favorite stop on the World Cup circuit - Deer Valley Resort. Freestyle athletes from across the globe will compete under the lights on White Owl and Champion ski runs February 6-9, 2019, for four nights of intense competition in aerials, team aerials, moguls and dual moguls. The competition season for moguls kicks off December 7, 2018, in Ruka, Finland, with the season-opening World Cup event. Aerials will compete in their first World Cup event in Lake Placid, N.Y., January 19, 2019.

2018-19 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team
(Hometown; Club; Birthdate)

MOGULS
A Team
Men
Casey Andringa (Boulder, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/6/95)
Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.; Wasatch Freestyle; 6/5/92)

Women
Olivia Giaccio (Vail, Colo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 8/15/00)
Tess Johnson (Edwards, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 6/19/00)
Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 9/26/96)
Morgan Schild (Pittsford, N.Y.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 8/25/97)

B Team
Men

Jesse Andringa (Boulder, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 12/15/97)
Hunter Bailey (Vail, Colo; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 3/24/96)
Joel Hedrick (Fort Collins, Colo.; Winter Park Competition Center; 5/30/97)
Jack Kariotis (Tiburon, Calif.; Team Park City United; 1/17/97)
Thomas Rowley (Long Beach, N.Y.; Hunter Mountain Freestyle Team; 7/2/94)
Emerson Smith (Frisco, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 2/13/97)
Dylan Walczyk (Rochester, N.Y.; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; 6/25/93)

Women
Nessa Dziemian (East Hampstead, N.H.; Park City Freestyle Ski Team; 4/14/94)
Hannah Soar (Somers, Conn.; Killington Mountain School; 6/4/99)
Avital Shimko (Manhattan, N.Y.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 4/24/96)

AERIALS
A Team
Men
Jon Lillis (Pittsford, N.Y.; Bristol Mountain Freestyle Team; 8/20/94)

Women
Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 9/14/93)

B Team
Men

Alex Bowen (Springville, N.Y.; Buffalo Ski Club; 5/21/92)
Chris Lillis (Pittsford, N.Y.; Bristol Mountain Freestyle Team; 4/10/98)
Eric Loughran (Pelham, N.H.; Loon Mountain Freestyle; 12/4/95)

C Team
Men

Nick Novak (Stafford, Va.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 3/15/96)
Patrick O’Flynn (Penfield, N.Y.; Bristol Mountain Snow Sports Club; 8/5/97)
Justin Schoenefeld (Lawrenceburg, Ind.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 8/13/98)
Harrison Smith (Pittsford, N.Y.; Bristol Mountain Snow Sports Club; 9/12/97)

Women
Megan Nick (Shelburne, Vt,; Elite Aerial Development Program; 7/9/96)
Morgan Northrop (Haymarket, Va.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 4/16/94)
Winter Vinecki (Salem, Ore.; Park City Ski and Snowboard; 12/18/98)
Madison Varmette (Stafford, Va.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 5/8/96)

Official U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Suppliers
Gloves: Auclair
Socks: Smartwool
Bags: High Sierra