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Sustainability

U.S. Ski & Snowboard, a national and global leader in snow sports, is committed to addressing climate change and stewarding sustainability of winter sports. Millions globally are inspired by winter sports and enjoy healthy, active lifestyles in winter environments. Climate change threatens our winter environments with receding glaciers, rising sea levels, volatile weather cycles and less snowfall.

Fletcher 15th In Planica Grand Prix

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 23 2018
Fletcher jumping
Taylor Fletcher scored 88 points the HS140 jumping portion of Sunday's Grand Prix. (Romina Eggert)

Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) posted the third-fastest roller-ski time to finish 15th in Planica, Slovenia at a Summer Grand Prix.

"Today was a solid day. Nothing too special. I was late on my jump which caused me to miss out on a bunch at the end of the jump," Fletcher said. "The race was good, for sure, but I was all alone and didn't get any help out there. With that, I am still happy with today as it was handfuls better than any competition from last year. Progress is all that matter and I am moving forward."

Fletcher scored 88 points in the HS140 jumping portion, then turn a 10k time on 23:09 in the roller ski, just 5.9 seconds from the top time of the day.

Austria's Mario Seidl posted a jumping score of 127.8 and held on for an 8.5-second victory. Norway's Espen Bjoernstad was second and Aguri Shimizu of Japan was third. 

"It was a pretty good day for Taylor and we're happy with the overall result," said USA Nordic Head Nordic Combined Coach, Martin Bayer.

RESULTS
Men's HS140/10k
 

Funding Myths Debunked: Featured in Ski Racing

By Megan Harrod
September, 20 2018
B Team Member River Radamus Crushes in Sun Valley
B Team athlete River Radamus competes in super-G at Sun Valley, Idaho at the end of the 2018 season (Oliver Guy).

In a recent interview with Sean Higgins from Ski Racing Media, U.S. Ski & Snowboard CEO and President, Tiger Shaw, and Vice President of Athletics, Luke Bodensteiner, debunked myths associated with athlete funding at U.S. Ski & Snowboard. 

"If you were to take a poll of issues that get people the most riled up when it comes to ski racing in the United States, U.S. Ski Team fees would undoubtedly be close to, if not the top item on the list. Each off-season, the majority of national team athletes reach out to their respective communities and sponsors to raise the money necessary to be a full-fledged member of the U.S. Ski Team. Ranging from a few grand to tens of thousands of dollars, online donation pages, private fundraisers, personal gear sales, and filling out applications for grants are all methods used by athletes to scrape together these funds. The backlash this situation creates among the larger skiing community has been a thorn in U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s side for years." 

A big conversation in the community after the PyeongChang Olympic cycle this spring, executives at U.S. Ski & Snowboard have made an effort to be more transparent, seeking a cultural shift within the organization. This has meant an improvement in both internal and external communication. More direct, more transparent and more fact-based. 

“Do we want to get that team fee to zero?” adds Shaw. “Yeah, you’re damn right. We’re trying and there’s a plan to get there but that’s where we are now.”

Read the full article on SkiRacing.com

Miller, Weibrecht, Kelly To Be Inducted Into U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 19 2018
Weibrecht, Miller 2014 Super G Podium
2014 Olympic super G silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht (left) and bronze medalist Bode Miller (right) will be inducted into the 2019 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. (Getty Images)

Six-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller, two-time Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht, and Tom Kelly, who served as Vice President of Communications for U.S. Ski & Snowboard for 32 years, lead the 2019 class of inductees in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.

A formal U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame induction will be held for the star-studded group of eight noted skiing and snowboarding pioneers, athletes and sport builders on April 6, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

One of the most successful alpine skiers in American history, New Hampshire's Miller, captured the attention of the world with his incredible athletic balance and ability to produce jaw-dropping performances on skis. Raised in an electricity-free home, the two-time World Cup overall champion, four-time World Champion and six-time Olympic medalist is one of the most prolific international athletes in winter sports history.

“I always tried to ski in a way that inspired myself and ski racing fans and I appreciate this support from the industry.” - Bode Miller

Weibrecht took up skiing after he begged his parents to let him join older brother Jonathan at the 1980 Olympic mountain of Whiteface, New York. From a kid swinging on his parents’ chandeliers at their luxury Mirror Lake Inn and Resort to becoming a two-time Olympic super G medalist, Weibrecht became one of the most exhilarating ski racers to watch kick out of the start gate.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Ski Hall of Fame. It’s a tremendous honor and I’m very excited that the voting commission felt my accomplishments worthy of recognition, especially within such an amazing group of ski industry powerhouses. I was always lucky enough to be joined by Bode on my Olympic podiums, so it almost seems fitting that we will be inducted together. I am truly honored to be a part of such a prestigious induction class, across the board.”
- Andrew Weibrecht

As VP of communications for U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Kelly worked tirelessly to promote the athletes and their sports to the mass media. Throughout his career, he was active within the USOC and International Ski Federation, including 14 years as chairman of the FIS PR and Mass Media Committee.

"I've been fortunate in my career to work with some remarkable athletes and to engage others by telling their story,” Kelly said. “Skiing has been a passion of mine since I was seven years old and it is an honor to be included in the Hall of Fame."

The 2019 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame induction will kick off in Park City with a “Snowsport History Celebration” April 4-6, 2019, with several events to welcome the class of 2018 to Utah. This three-day celebration will culminate with the induction ceremony in Salt Lake City at the Little America Hotel. The annual induction honors not only athletes but industry icons, innovators and inventors with lifelong national and international achievements in all facets of snowsport. With the legacy of the 2002 Winter Games and the long lineage of celebrated athletes, Park City Mountain provides a spectacular backdrop for Snowsport History Celebration events culminating with the induction ceremony.

Among the eight inductees are the late Tom Sims, inventor of the “skiboard”, William Jensen nationally renowned resort operator, and the late Don Henderson, a pioneer of ski racing. Two women round out the class with Kristen Ulmer, known as the first female extreme skier and Hilary Engisch-Klein a world-dominating freestyle skier.

Patient Notes: Breezy Johnson

By Megan Harrod
September, 19 2018
Breezy Johnson, In Her Element
Breezy Johnson, in her element in Jackson Hole (Greg von Doersten).

Editor's Note: 
Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID) recently sustained an ACL tear that has sidelined her for the 2019 season. Throughout Johnson's road to recovery, she'll be sharing the ups and downs of rehabilitation here in a column of her own, entitled "Patient Notes," in hopes that you will follow along for the journey to learn how challenging it is both physically and mentally to return to snow at the elite level. Being an injured athlete can be challenging and lonely, and we're hoping that by writing this column, Johnson will be able to stay connected to the community and her sponsors.

Johnson will go into surgery tomorrow and plans to write a post-surgery update. She's thankful for your support and invites you to follow along on her Instagram. All of the words below are Johnson's thoughts, prior to finding out about the ACL tear, straight from her journal to your computer screen.

Enjoy the journey, 

Megan 
Alpine Press Officer

------------------

9/9/18: five days post-crash

I’ve been in this sport for a long time...more than 15 years of racing now. I have watched countless teammates, friends, and fellow competitors go through this injury. Long ago I came to terms with the fact that it would come for me too. But knowing that it would come and that it did are two different things. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL): the three little words that so many ski racers have experienced there’s barely any of us left on the World Cup without scars on our knees.

To back up, I crashed five days ago. For me crashing and spectacularly go together like peanut butter and jellyand this crash was no different. Maybe I’ll send it in to Slalom Tokyo Drift…I feel like perhaps others should enjoy that moment, or perhaps others shouldn’t watch people’s seasons end. We will see. Anyway full yard sale later I sat up (gotta make sure the coaches know you are alive) and did my standard body check. Crashes for me have so much going on it usually takes me a minute afterwards to feel the pain. Feet, hands, shoulders, knees. I felt your standard beat up that you get when you crash at 60mph but not too bad. My shoulder hurt, but I’ve injured my shoulders before so I knew it would be fine. I had a busted lip and a bloody nose so I quickly set to trying to keep my suit from getting covered. My knee hurt a tiny bit but I’ve been though MCL tears, LCL tears and tibial plateau fractures and this pain was nothing I couldn’t handle. Really, I felt fine.

The doctor checked my knee but determined that it was probably fine. Two runs later and several instances of instability and I decided I was not fine. But I didn’t feel terrible either. The check engine light may have been on but there were not warning lights blaring in every direction, or at least I didn’t notice them.

Now here I am sitting on a plane headed home. An MRI showed a 30 percent partial ACL tear but our doctors didn’t like the Chileans’ findings. The later knee tests didn’t feel as good as the first to our doctor. They want to do their own tests and make sure that 30 percent really is 30 percent. Perhaps you’ve been here too. I guess part of writing this is coming together as skiers who risk our knees every day. Skiers, many of whom have sat where I am sitting nowhoping beyond hopea little voice in the back of our heads nervously chewing imaginary fingernails and saying ‘Has my luck finally run out?’

I’m scared. I’ll admit it. I’m scared to the point of waking up in a cold sweat forcing extension of my knee to try to prove something to myself. I’ve been here before. Two springs ago I was told by a team doctor, ironically one of the same doctors who looked at me this time, that I had torn my ACL. I forced myself not to hope. I didn’t want to get my hopes up just to have them crushed again. For almost 24 hours I told myself I had torn it. I quashed the voice of hope relentlessly and unequivocally. But then it turned out it wasn’t torn.

Now, two years later, I just can’t stop myself from hoping against all odds. Not because they were wrong once before, but because then it was March and now it is September. Tearing my ACL now means a season. Then it meant September return to snow. I have so many goals. Goals I haven’t even written down yet (I usually write goals half way through my September camp). It’s not an Olympic year. I did that already. But the reality is that I love the World Cup. In some ways, I love it more than the Olympics, and the thought of missing a season with the best competitors, of waiting another 14 months to feel the rush of a ski race is just more than I can bear.

I don’t have answers for myself. I don’t know what I will do but perhaps just writing down my fears and hopes is enough. Perhaps hearing your stories will help me come to terms with my own issues. I know that even if it is torn, it’s not the worst news. I know teammates who have done much, much worse. I know that knee injuries are still relatively lucky in the grand scheme of life and death. But that doesn’t mean I won’t still miss this sport. We will see in a couple of days if I need to write another one of these. Maybe I will have dodged the bullet again, maybe not.

Mikaela Shiffrin 2.0: Featured in Ski Racing

By Megan Harrod
September, 14 2018
Shiffrin poses with her fifth slalom globe in six seasons.

Recently, in a three-hour interview with Biddle Duke for Ski Racing Media, three-time Olympic medalist Mikaela Shiffrin reflected on the most successful season of her career yet — the highs and lows and everything in between. 

"The first half of 2018 was remarkable for Mikaela Shiffrin. During the season that began in late 2017 and concluded in the spring of 2018, she podiumed 18 times and won 12 World Cup races in three of the sport’s four disciplines."

Shiffrin's three downhill podiums "silenced doubters about her ability and progression in downhill and super-G. Then, she won a gold and silver medal at the Olympics in South Korea and put a cherry on top with her second overall FIS Ski World Cup title in as many years, and her fifth slalom title in six seasons. 

"And yet, Shiffrin struggles under the mantle of greatness. Fans, sponsors, media, and Shiffrin herself, have come to expect evermore podiums. Even in a golden year like 2018 — where she clobbered the field in the final slalom of the season, beating the second-place finisher by almost two seconds — she feels like she could have carried more speed, won more medals, taken more risks. Just more."

Shiffrin's goals for 2018-19? As you can imagine, they're big. Because "big" is the only way for this 23-year-old athlete — one of the fiercest and most focused competitors on the circuit. 

“To be the top name in skiing, that’s something that’s developed over the years, especially as a result of the Olympics. But for this season, it’s all about putting up giant slalom and slalom results, being a contender in Super-G and downhill, and the overall globe.”

Read the full article on SkiRacing.com

Johnson Heartbroken with ACL Tear

By Megan Harrod
September, 12 2018
Breezy Johnson waves to the crowd in the PyeongChang downhill finish area.
Breezy Johnson waves to the crowd in the PyeongChang downhill finish area at the Winter Olympics (Matthias Hangst).

Breezy Johnson (Victor, Idaho) was born to ski. And to ski fast...with a name like “Breezy,” she had no other choice, right?! Ski racing is a no risk, no reward kind of sport – especially for downhillers, who have to be tough-as-nails physically and mentally in order to hurl themselves down a mountain at upwards of 80mph. Another season on the FIS Ski World Cup and all of the excitement it brings was on the horizon for Johnson.

Indeed, Johnson had a lot to look forward to, with her first Olympic bid under her belt and a host of super solid results from the 2017-18 season. Speaking of which, of her 15 downhill and super-G starts, Johnson was in the points 10 times, top-15 five times, top-10 four times, and narrowly missed her first podium in Garmisch, Germany, finishing in fourth place. In PyeongChang, South Korea, she grabbed a solid 14th-place result in super-G and a seventh in the downhill. Incredible results for the first-time Olympian.

However, the 2018-19 season ended almost as soon as it had started, as Johnson is sad to announce that she has torn her right Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) at a recent training camp in El Colorado, Chile training with the women’s speed team.

Johnson has been competing in the sport she loves so much for more than 15 years. Through it all, she has watched countless teammates, friends and fellow competitors suffer from knee injuries. Hurling herself down a mountain at upwards of 80mph, she knew, at some point, it would likely happen to her as well. “But knowing that it would come and that it did are two different things,” she reflected. “Anterior Cruciate Ligament: the three little words that so many ski racers have experienced, that there’s barely any of us left on the World Cup without scars on our knees. Last week, I, unfortunately, joined that vast majority.”

Johnson is undergoing further evaluation and has yet to determine when she will have surgery. Though she is going through all of the emotions elite level athletes do when they experience a heartbreaking injury, she knows she is young and strong and is positive about her rehab in the months to come. She is fully aware it will be challenging, but she’s up for the challenge.

“When I was younger, I thought an ACL tear was the worst thing that could happen to a ski racer. Now I know better,” Johnson said. “ACL tears are, relatively speaking, pretty lucky in our world. Perhaps that makes things better. I have less fear about the surgery and rehab to come. Yes, I know it will be difficult, painful, and aggravating, but I am no stranger to any of those things. However, that luck cuts me like a two-edged sword because I also look to the future and see myself waiting for 14 excruciating (and I say excruciating in a mental sense) months to once again throw myself down a World Cup course, and all of that for a little ACL tear, which makes it feel a bit like a curse from the universe.”

She’ll miss the people, the places, and the experiences – like the chance to celebrate teammate Lindsey Vonn's (Vail, Colo.) potentially historic moment if she breaks the World Cup wins record (Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark holds the record with 86, while Vonn has 82 victories). She even hoped to join Vonn on a podium before the legend retires. However, what Johnson will miss most is racing.

The women's speed team celebrates four in the top 15 on downhill day at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The fastest women's speed team on the World Cup circuit in 2017-18 celebrates four in the top 15 on downhill day at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.


“Perhaps I was born to be a racer because while I love skiing, racing is my true passion” Johnson said. “That feeling of flying down a course at 80mph, body, and brain both working at full capacity to try to make you go even faster…because, to me, that feeling is living. No, I will not miss an Olympics…and World Championships come back around in this sport. But for me, the thought of spending 14 months without that true feeling of living, that feeling of racing, kills me a little bit inside. I would love to think that everything happens for a reason – that anything is possible – but my experience with this sport has dissuaded me from those illusions. So, while I am grateful that this injury isn’t worse, the next 14 months feel like they might be the hardest I have ever faced.”

Johnson is incredibly thankful to the community for the support and wants everyone to know - from sponsors to fans and beyond - that she will return. Stay tuned here and to Johnson’s Instagram for frequent updates from Johnson as she experiences the highs and lows of returning to the mountain.

Successful First Ever U.S. Moguls Ski Team Fundraiser

By Lara Brucker
September, 10 2018
The U.S. Moguls Team at their fundraising event at Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club
The U.S. Moguls Team at their fundraising event at Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club

On Saturday, September 8, the U.S. Moguls Ski Team raised nearly $100,000 of funds that will all go to the B Team at Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club outside of Vail, Colo. With an initial goal of raising $30,000, the event was a huge success. Hosted and underwritten by U.S. Ski & Snowboard Trustee Jim Benedict and his wife Jeffy, guests and fans were treated to a cocktail reception, silent auction, autograph signings, and athlete presentations.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard supports athletes’ journeys to be “Best in the World.” The Moguls A Team was inspired to come together to support the B Team as part of their mission this season to be ever closer as a whole team. This incredible fundraising effort was an all-team effort spearheaded by A Team members Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) and Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.).

“It was really awesome to see how many people support us and want to be a part of our team,” said Kauf of the event’s success. “We got to help the B Team athletes, which helps us all go into our big training camp in Zermatt (Switzerland) more relaxed and focused. Doing this event as a whole team really brought us together.”

The generosity of the Vail community runs deep, something Tess Johnson is no stranger to. As a member of Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, Johnson was thrilled the inaugural event was held in her hometown.

“My entire career, Vail has supported me, the entire community,” Johnson said. “Whether donating to me personally, or watching me, or congratulating me. To see the whole community now supporting our team and joining in our team’s journey was even more special. It wouldn’t have been possible without the Benedict family’s support. We all stayed at their house. They are amazing and we are so grateful for their support.”

During the event, both Kauf and Johnson presented and spoke of the rich moguls' history in the Vail Valley, as well as the importance of this season for the team. It is critical that the athletes are able to dedicate their time and attention to their sport – their World Championships event will be held on home soil, at Deer Valley Resort on February 8 and 9, 2019.

B Team member Dylan Walczyk (Breckenridge, Colo.) shared with the audience what their support means to him. “There’s one piece of competing that stands out…the moment of contest,” Walczyk explains, “Everything you’ve worked for is on the line…You look down the course, you see the crowd cheering, you get a rush of adrenaline…You push out of the start gate…This is the purest moment I’ll ever find.”

The Moguls Team proved that many things are possible with some drive and dedication in more than tripling their initial goal. The week heading into the event, the Team had already raised more than $80,000.

“To go into the event with that was really awesome,” Kauf reflected.

“Jaelin and I took the reigns in organizing [the event]. We worked really hard and it was all worth it,” added Johnson.

The Moguls Team now heads to Zermatt for three weeks of training buoyed by their success. And though competition season looms large over them, knowing that their fans want to participate in their journey gives them all the more reason to ski hard.

If you’re interested in donating to the athletes of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, click HERE

Whole Athlete Development: Featured in Ski Racing

By Megan Harrod
September, 10 2018
Tommy Biesemeyer Smiles at the Start Gate

Julie Glusker, Director of Athlete Career & Education (ACE) at U.S. Ski & Snowboard recently worked with Ski Racing Media to publish a piece entitled "Whole Athlete Development: Planning for the Season." In this piece, Glusker takes a deeper dive on the notion of a whole athlete development plan and what it entails. 

As Glusker writes, "Like many sports that require dedication, organization, sacrifice, and tenacity, ski racing is an excellent environment within which athletes can practice and hone their whole human development. Skiers of all levels must frequently cope with challenges, including weather, equipment, terrain, injury, finances, logistics, sacrifice, discomfort, adversity, and even (yes) success. Skiers must learn to listen, attempt, follow, fail, adjust, try again, and practice. They ultimately need to master technique and skill and also must learn to lead as competitors and teammates. All of this development occurs in an iterative process every day on the slopes, in the gym, on the trails, in the classroom, or in a workplace."

The aim is to development the athlete as a whole person, equipping them with the resources and tools necessary to create a plan towards achieving balance in order to feel organized, prepared and productive - enabling them to achieve goals.

"A whole athlete development plan provides a detailed outline of activities and tasks required to accomplish a goal, and it  breaks down the process into actionable steps based on a given timeline. No matter the end goal, a plan offers a clear roadmap for how to get there."

Read the full article on SkiRacing.com

Corning Opens World Cup Season with Big Air Win

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 8 2018
Chris Corning
Chris Corning stomped a backside quad-corked 1800 melon grab to win Saturday's World Cup opener. (Winter Games NZ / Jason Kerr)

Chris Corning (Silverthorne, Colo.) celebrated his 19th birthday in big-time fashion by landing on the top step of the podium in the FIS Snowboard World Cup big air opener in New Zealand Saturday. Kyle Mack (West Bloomfield, Mich.), the 2018 big air Olympic silver medalist, just missed the podium, finishing fourth.

With a perfectly stomped backside quad-corked 1800 melon grab on his second run, Corning produced a jaw-dropping World Cup victory with one of the highest big air World Cup scores ever seen – 98.00!

“I couldn’t ask for a better birthday,” said Corning. “I haven’t done the quad since the Olympics and I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth since (finishing fourth there). I’ve been thinking about doing it and when I landed my first trick today I knew I had two chances to go for it.”

Conditions at Cardrona Alpine Resort for the final snowboard event of Winter Games NZ were once again clear and calm, setting the stage for some truly astonishing big air action on the perfectly shaped 75-foot jump. Competitors each had three runs on the day, with their best two-jump scores being combined for final rankings.

At the end of the first run, Corning was sitting in second place having put down a tidy flat spin 1440 for a 90.60, while 2018 junior world champion Takeru Otsuka of Japan held the lead with a score of 95.6 for his cab 1620 indy. 

But there would be no stopping birthday boy Corning, the defending overall World Cup slopestyle champion dug into his bag of tricks and pulled out the quad, relegating Otsuka to second. Corning then upped his score on run three with a frontside 1440 chicken salad for the win. 

Otsuka’s frontside triple 1440 mute on run three was enough to secure him second place and his first career World Cup. Norway’s Mons Roisland claimed his third World Cup podium with a third-place result.

In the women’s big air, 16-year-old Reira Iwabuchi of Japan held the lead from her very first run for her second career World Cup big air victory. Japan’s Miyabi Onitsuka finished second, and Slovakia’s Klaudia Medlova was third. No American women participated.

The FIS Snowboard World Cup season continues with another big air competition November 3 in Modena, Italy. 

RESULTS
Men’s big air finals
Women’s big air finals
 

Corning wins Cardrona World Cup