Breakpoints

No Retina
Retina
XS Screen (480px)
SM+ Screen
SM Screen (768px)
SM- Screen
MD+ Screen
MD Screen (992px)
MD- Screen
LG+ Screen
LG Screen (1200px)
LG- Screen
XL+ Screen (1600px)

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.

Watch Maggie Voisin’s First-Ever Film, Swiftcurrent

By Andrew Gauthier
September, 24 2020
Swiftcurrent

Two-time Olympian, X Games gold medalist, and now film producer Maggie Voisin has premiered her first-ever ski film Swiftcurrent. Maggie teamed up with Good Company’s Kyle Decker to piece together competition, backcountry, and lifestyle content making for one of the most well-rounded ski segments to hit the internet.

;

Maggie started filming in February of 2019 with a sled trip to Cooke City, Montana. Later that winter, Maggie confronted the harsh reality of sustaining a torn ACL and was forced to shut down production due to surgery. In classic Maggie fashion, she decided to mount her comeback at the biggest event of the year, taking home the bronze at X Games Aspen. Following a strong debut in Aspen, Maggie immediately collected podiums at the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix, Dew Tour as well as an X Games Norway big air silver and slopestyle gold. 

It is no surprise that Maggie set her sights on pushing women’s freeski progression in the world of film, as she has been pushing the boundaries of competitive skiing since she joined the U.S. Freeski Team at the age of 15. 


Learn more about Swiftcurrent through an exclusive interview with Maggie below: 


Q: How long have you envisioned this project in your mind?

A: When I was a young girl, I was always searching the internet on my parent’s computer looking for all kinds of ski edits. Especially films and short clips that focused on female skiers. For me, it didn’t matter the type of mountain features or the style of skiing, I would watch everything from terrain park to backcountry. The dedication and passion that ski edits instilled in me were a major inspiration to pursue a career as a professional skier.

My career as a professional skier began when I was fifteen years old and the dream of having my own video project and ski edit goes back even further. Fast-forward to the last two years, my schedule and opportunities from my sponsors all came together to finally bring that dream to life.

From a visual and storytelling aspect, I never really knew what a ski edit would look like for me. With the majority of my time spent as a female contest skier, the idea of combining my park skiing with backcountry skiing seemed like a really unique concept. I’m not claiming to be the first to incorporate the two different worlds of skiing, but it is rare nowadays to see female competition skiers break from their incredibly busy contest schedules to make a film. Especially a film that incorporates backcountry skiing.

Q: What were your goals for the film?

A: My one main goal was to make an edit that I could be truly proud of. It was never about creating the most insane female ski edit, doing the craziest trick, or skiing the gnarliest line. I wanted this film to be about pushing myself out of my usual comfort zone [park skiing] in a whole different way than I am used to. I feel that is exactly what I achieved. 

I think people will be surprised to see that most of the skiing is not done sliding rails and hitting massive jumps. That aspect of my skiing is only one piece of what I want to do in my career. I grew up skiing in the mountains of Montana with my father, Truby Voisin. The mountains and backcountry are elements of my skiing that I am truly passionate about and I want to share with other people. 

Also, a progression of my park tricks in the backcountry brings another female competitive skier into a male-dominated field of ski film making. Overall, this film project has sincerely opened my eyes to the world of backcountry skiing. I have so much more to learn in the backcountry and I’m excited to keep challenging myself in new ways and finding out what the future has in store for me.

Q: Is this just the beginning of your film career? What’s next?

A: I have had the opportunity to be a part of a couple of other ski edits over the years, but this is my first solo film project and it is definitely just the beginning. The majority of my time and focus is on being a contest skier. That being said, I believe that it is possible to be just as successful at competitive skiing while working on other film projects. With me having an already solid and successful career in the contest scene, I want to start diversifying my skiing in fun and new challenging ways. Now that I have opened my eyes to the film world, ideas are already coming to mind on what the next edit will look like. 

At the top of the list is skiing bigger and more technical lines in the Alaskan mountains and taking more of my park tricks to the backcountry. As I have said before, I am humbled by the dynamic and ever-changing challenges of backcountry skiing. With so much to learn, I feel like my younger self again learning and evolving in a whole new way. I have a full heart for what’s next. 

However, in the next couple of years, I will be putting a significant amount of time and focus into the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Making the United States Olympic Team is an important goal of mine and I will do everything possible to be at the top of my game when that time rolls around.

Q: When you saw the final version of Swiftcurrent for the first time, what was the first thought that came to mind?

A: That moment is hard to put into words. Being a part of the whole film process was super exciting and showed me how much work it takes to make all of the little things come together. Unfortunately, while we were dialing in on some of the finishing touches, I found out that my left knee required surgery again after a training accident. So, when the finished product was finally ready to watch from start to finish, it was a bit of an emotional time.

For those who don’t know, I received my second ACL surgery on my left knee in April of 2019 and worked extremely hard to get back in time for the 2020 contest season. The contest season was above and beyond what I imagined for myself. With such a quick turn around from the ACL surgery, I had the most successful contest season of my entire career and finished filming for Swiftcurrent

As it goes and due to the ski season being cut short by the pandemic, I was initially worried that the edit wouldn’t be finished at all. We originally still had a couple of park shoots planned and another backcountry trip that we were working on for the end of the season. The film would probably have been a bit different if I was able to finish those filming trips. With that all being said, I'm so grateful for what we were able to get done and so proud of how the final product turned out.

Q: What do you want people to take out of this film?

A: What an amazing question and I honestly haven’t really thought about it up until now. I say this because it is something that I really wanted to do for myself. Thinking on it, I more than anything just hope that the film is fun and inspirational for everyone who gets to watch. Similar to the days when I was a young girl watching ski edits and dreaming of being a professional skier. 

In the end, it's a great privilege that as skiers and athletes we get to create content that we are passionate about. It’s gratifying to think that something I’ve created will hopefully spark positive emotions and inspiration into whoever stumbles upon my project.

Q: What was your favorite moment when filming this project?

A: It’s so difficult to pick one specific moment, but my favorite memories were made in the backcountry. One moment that sticks out was the day I did the double backflip. We left Park City, Utah, that same day and drove straight to the backcountry. Due to snowy weather, we had originally planned on building a jump and then hitting it the next day once the weather cleared. As we finished building the jump, the snow slowed down and we just decided to give it a go.

Before that day, I had never done a straight-up double backflip, even on a trampoline, but the idea of doing the trick was in the back of my head leading up to the trip. I didn’t even know if I was going to try it, but after I did one single backflip off the jump, I knew I could do it. It was a bit of a battle and it took me six tries to land the double backflip. I was determined to stick it to my feet and the reward of landing it was so thrilling. We had a solid crew at the bottom of the jump who kept the stoke going and that session really set the tone for the rest of the trip.

Q: Is there anyone you would like to thank?

A: First and foremost, I want to thank my agent Tom Yaps. He is the reason that this whole project came together. Not only would I have been unable to do this without him logistically, but he’s been one of my biggest supporters throughout my entire career. 

Next, I want to thank Kyle Decker, the man behind the lens! I can’t say enough great things about Kyle. It was incredible having a filmer who was equally as excited as I was about the entire project. Kyle was so patient with me every day, even when I would constantly get my snowmobile stuck! Most importantly, he was my hype man through it all and he made me feel so confident, even when I was so out of my element. 

I couldn’t think of a better team to make this happen and I can’t wait for us to work together again. I was also lucky enough to join Tom Wallisch on a backcountry ski trip to Utah. He has always been a role model and I would not have been able to get done what I did without him on that trip. I just want to keep personally thanking everyone, but you all know who you are and I am so grateful.

Last but not least I want to thank my sponsors because without them I wouldn’t be living the life I get to live. Spyder, Monster Energy, and K2 Skis thank you so much for supporting this project specifically and making my dream a reality. I would also like to thank Land Rover for their ongoing support.
 

Ogden Shares Her Sport Passion Through Little Bellas

By Tom Horrocks
September, 21 2020
Ogden, Sargent
Davis U.S. Cross Country Team athlete Katharine Ogden (left) spent the summer as a Ride Program Lead for Little Bellas, recruiting former U.S. Cross Country athlete and fellow Little Bellas Ambassador Ida Sargent to lend a hand.

When Katharine Ogden wasn’t racing on two skis, recovering or studying last winter, she was planning out her summer on two wheels as a Ride Program Lead for Little Bellas

Little Bellas is a 13-year-old nonprofit that creates opportunities for girls to experience success using mountain biking as the platform and pathway to personal growth, building community, and competency.

Katharine Ogden

Indeed, this past season was a busy one for Katharine, who has re-joined the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team for the 2020-21 season after skiing collegiately for the past couple of seasons. In addition to planning for the summer Ride Program, she was also studying toward a degree in psychology and a minor in education at Dartmouth College, with plans on graduating next spring. Plus, she was posting top-30 results at the FIS Cross Country World Cup Tour de Ski in Europe.

“It’s amazing how much energy she has,” said Sabra Davison, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Little Bellas with her sister Lea Davison, winner of multiple U.S. National Mountain Bike championship, and a two-time Olympian. “While performing at such a high-level last season at the Tour de Ski, she would call me in the evenings to discuss plans for the summer.

“All of the ambassadors do so much for the girls, but Katherine is our all-star. And that’s an impressive complement considering the many other ambassadors!"
- Sabra Davison, Little Bellas Executive Director

"She started as an ambassador, and she said ‘that’s not enough,’" Sabra said. "She wanted to be a mentor and spend more time with the girls. From there, she wanted to run a program that mitigated the drop out rate of kids participating in sports and mountain biking, which aligned with her current studies.”

For the past two summers, Katharine participated as a Pro Ambassador and mentor with Little Bellas. But for this summer, she was presented with a new opportunity as a Ride Program Lead. The Ride Program offers a unique opportunity for girls ages 12-16 to learn how to ride from Little Bellas’ most experienced mentors. Oriented around having fun, these group mountain bike rides take participants on trails they may (or may not) know to really give the girls a chance to try, learn, and hone their skills. 

“Most of the programs that they are running across the country are for a younger audience,” Katherine said of the Little Bellas weekly and day camp programs. “The Ride Program has an emphasis more toward riding. It’s non-competitive, and super supportive, introducing the girls to a group/shop ride set up. 

“It is amazing to be there to watch these girls,” she added. “Even though we’re not coaching them, we’re not doing skills, to watch their confidence and abilities grow exponentially over the summer.”

The first American woman to ever win a medal at the Junior World Championships (bronze in skiathlon in 2017 at Soldier Hollow), Katharine grew up mountain bike riding with her father and older younger Ben (who is also a member of the Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team) on the trails surrounding their home in Londonderry, Vermont. 

“My father and his riding buddies built all of those trails,” she said of the network of singletrack around Londonderry and Peru, Vermont, some of which can be found on TrailForks.com. But to experience the good stuff, you’ll need Katharine, Ben, or one of the many members of the Stratton Mountain School Cross Country Team to show you the way. Katherine’s hometown trails are just one of the many dozens of trail networks through Vermont and New Hampshire. With so many riding options, planning out her summer Little Bellas’ Ride Program provided a unique opportunity for her to share her trail knowledge and passion for mountain biking to the 14 participants.

“We rode at eight different trailheads for the eight-week program this summer throughout the Upper Valley (New Hampshire and Vermont),” she said. Originally, the program was slated for 10 weeks, but due to COVID-19 pandemic, it was reduced to eight weeks.

In addition to riding a new area each week, Katherine also recruited former U.S. Cross Country athlete and fellow Little Bellas Ambassador Ida Sargent. “She is one of my mentors,” Katharine said of the two-time Olympian. “The girls were really psyched. She is a great mentor and it was sweet to have her.”

With the summer slowly fading to fall, and the cross country season fast approaching, Katharine is in full-on training mode with her eyes toward the 2021 FIS Cross Country World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany, and of course the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. But in the back of her mind, she’s planning once again to share her summer passion for mountain biking and working with kids.

“When I’m retired from competition, I want to work with that age group of kids,” she said. “It’s cool for them to get that opportunity to connect with adults, in that type of setting, so that they also see us as peers.”

“We feel lucky to have her and give her a platform because she is such a great role model and athlete,” Sabra said. “And I’ve seen first hand how the girls have flourished under her leadership.”

Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund Launches; Helps Fuel Athletes’ Olympic Dreams

By Megan Harrod
September, 20 2020
Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund

On February 2, 2020, two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin’s world stopped turning when her dear father, Jeff Shiffrin, unexpectedly and tragically passed away. Shortly thereafter, the entire world came to a halt as COVID-19 swept the globe. 

With challenges, come opportunities. 

The name Mikaela Shiffrin has become a household name across America and around the world over the last several years. At just 25 years old, the skiing phenomenon is already a two-time Olympic Champion, five-time World Champion, and a 66-time World Cup victor. She was featured on the March 2020 cover of Sports Illustrated, which named her the world’s most dominant athlete. Anyone who has seen Mikaela ski knows they are watching history in the making, and it’s thrilling. The powerhouse that is Mikaela Shiffrin—the speed, the precision, the focus, the resiliency—reflects the values and discipline instilled in her by her parents from a very young age. In 2020, it is the gift of resiliency that has taken center stage.

Following a tragic accident at the family home, Dr. Jeffrey Scott Shiffrin—known to his family and friends as Jeff—passed away with his family by his side. Like so many fathers, Jeff was the foundation of the family and his absence is felt deeply by them every day. As Mikaela said, he was “our mountains, our ocean, our sunrise, our heart, our soul, our everything. He taught us so many valuable lessons...but above everything else, he taught us the golden rule: be nice, think first.” 

He has also left a strong legacy behind in his two children, Mikaela and Taylor, and in the many lives he touched throughout his journey as a doctor, husband, father, friend, and mentor. Raised in Dover, New Jersey, Jeff often spent weekends with his family at Stratton or Sugarbush in southern Vermont. At age 13, he joined the race team at Great Gorge Ski Resort (now Mountain Creek). He later raced on the Dartmouth Ski Team and remained active in the sport all his life, oftentimes seen with his camera around his neck on the side of the mountain, or in the finish area.

In March, Mikaela returned to Europe with a plan to get back in the start gate. However, COVID-19 caused an abrupt end to the season for Mikaela and her U.S. Ski & Snowboard teammates. In response to the COVID-19 crisis and setbacks it has created for U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes across all sports, a group of generous donors (six families) have stepped up and offered to match, dollar for dollar, every single contribution raised up to $1.5 million, creating the “Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund.”

“To me, resiliency is the ability to experience something really difficult—hardship, pain, struggle—to experience that, and to get to the other side of it, holding on to some form of strength or purpose,” said Mikaela. “And it doesn’t mean you were the same person that you were before…but you keep that strength, you keep that toughness or that determination you had before. In a sense, it’s just holding on to the fire that you had, that kept you going…that kept you motivated and moving forward. So, really, resiliency is just not giving up.”
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

There is something about trying to explain something that’s unexplainable. From the moment my brother called, to the 10 hr plane ride, to the following 9 hrs that I laid in that hospital bed with my dad waiting for them to say it was time to go and simultaneously hoping they never would, to the moments this summer with my mom and brother where we could actually smile or laugh together, to the overwhelming amount of *everything* that has cascaded down on us for the last 7 months, to now. This moment, where I’m trying to explain something that’s unexplainable. Why? Because hidden somewhere deep down within every single one of us is this incredible thing that I want to share with you in hopes that you may find it within yourself. A thing that exudes Hope. Bravery. Sadness. Anger. Joy. Pain. A thing that reveals our scars as if they branded us only yesterday, yet also finds a way to envelope them in a thin layer of the softest fabric. Something that can slightly dull the ache, the screaming coming from every fiber of our being. Resiliency. That thing is resiliency. And it has become more essential to my life over the last 7 months than I ever thought it would be. I’m sure a LOT of people have felt and currently feel that way. So maybe if I give you some hope, you can give me some too. Maybe if I share some strength, you might kindly return the favor. After all, we are in this together. The stories we are sharing through the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency fund will send shivers down your spine, make you want to get up and dance, make you want to cry, and make you laugh, all at the same time. They are stories of heart and soul, and they are being told hand in hand with a massive effort to help the athletes of @usskiteam continue training and competing in their sports during one of the most challenging, frustrating and confusing times any of us have faced and may ever face. I am so incredibly proud to share this with you now. And I am so incredibly thankful to everyone who has helped bring this to life for our athletes. Throughout it all, together we can keep the flame alive. Learn more at keeptheflamealive.org. #keeptheflamealive

A post shared by Mikaela Shiffrin ⛷💨 (@mikaelashiffrin) on


In creating the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund, the Shiffrin family, coupled with these generous donors, wanted to honor both Jeff’s legacy, as well as contribute to the ongoing pursuit of excellence for all athletes across all sports. Better days are still ahead, and the thrill and challenge of athletes’ Olympic dreams are worth fighting for. 

In honor of Jeff’s life and legacy, U.S. Ski & Snowboard is proud to announce the launch of the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund campaign. The Shiffrin family believes that great goals can be achieved through hard work, discipline, and resiliency. 

The goal of the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund is to keep athletes’ skis and boards on the snow, despite potential storms ahead. Funds raised will assist in U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s ability to support all athletes and teams during these uncertain times. The Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund will sustain coaching, training camps, and competition expenses now, and hopefully, help bridge the gap through the end of the 2022 fiscal year.

“We thank Mikaela, her mother Eileen, and brother Taylor, for their generous and incredible time and energy in working with our Foundation in honoring Jeff’s legacy,” stressed Tiger Shaw, President and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “We are deeply grateful to the six families that have committed more than $1.5 million to launch the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund: Phill & Liz Gross, Paul & Wendy Raether, Eric & Sara Resnick, Andy & Linda McLane, Steven & Mary Ann Read, and Steve & Diana Strandberg.”

“Donor contributions will support athletes across the U.S. alpine, freestyle, freeski, snowboard, and cross country teams as we continue our journey to the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games and address ongoing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund will allow us to be nimble in being prepared for unexpected expenses in the run up to and during the Olympic Games. ”

Mikaela rallied a crew of alumni athletes and current athletes who embody the definition of “resiliency,” including Olympic champions Jonny Mosely, Kikkan Randall, Jessie Diggins as well as three-time World Champion Jeremy Bloom and three-time World Cup winner and Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team downhiller Steven Nyman, to share their unique stories of resilience. The 185 alpine, cross country, freestyle, freeski and snowboard athletes will be encouraged to share their stories of resilience, and those who have inspired them, in U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s social media challenge to #KeepTheFlameAlive. 

Prior to this public launch, U.S. Ski & Snowboard raised more than $800,000 in contributions towards the $1.5 million match goal. For more information about the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund and to donate, visit keeptheflamealive.org.

 
DONATE NOW

USASA Golf Fundraiser Live Throughout September

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 18 2020
USASA Golf Fundraiser

The United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA) is hosting a golf fundraiser with two different ways to participate and support the grassroots development of U.S. snowboard and freeski athletes.

USASA is a 501(c)3 non-profit that acts as the first step in the Olympic pipeline, supporting the development of U.S. snowboard and freeski athletes through 500 regional events held annually. By supporting USASA you're fostering the development of the next generation of U.S. Ski & Snowboard icons and Olympians.

SUPPORT USASA VIRTUALLY:

From Sept. 1-25, USASA, along with 18Birdies App, will be hosting a virtual golf fundraising event. Golfers participate in individual stroke play at the golf club of their choice and compete against other virtual USASA tournament players. 18Birdies will weigh each courses’ difficulty using their customized algorithm creating a virtual leaderboard that lets you know where you stand throughout the event period (Sept. 2-25). Prizes will be awarded to the top golfers.

HOW TO JOIN AND PLAY!

Play your round of golf at over 35,000 courses listed in 18Birdies App anytime between Sept. 1 and Sept. 25

  • Click here to buy tickets to attend the event virtually
  • Once you purchase your ticket, you will get an event code in your email
  • Download 18Birdies App on googleplay or the appstore to your smartphone
  • Enter your event code
  • Choose any course and play your round of Individual Stroke Play
  • Check 18Birdies virtual leaderboard to see where you rank with your friends and other USASA virtual players

SUPPORT USASA IN PERSON: First Annual USASA Golf Classic: 

On Sept. 25, USASA will also be hosting the First Annual USASA Golf Classic fundraiser presented by Alpine Valley and Devil’s Head Resort with guest Olympians Justin Reiter and U.S. Snowboard Team Alumnus Jonathan Cheever at the McHenry Country Club in McHenry, Ill. The tournament will be Best Ball format with loads of fun prizes including a $20,000 hole-in-one and a four day golf package at French Lick Resort.

Click here to learn more about USASA and to enter the USASA Golf Classic
 

The Woman Behind the Numbers: How Lily Koffman Helps Mold Better Athletes Through Science

By Lara Carlton
September, 17 2020
Katie Hensien
Katie Hensien on the edge of the start gate at the 2020 Flachau World Cup (Max Hall - U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes perform quite literally on the edge—on their skis and their boards—gaining an edge over the competition is the difference between earning a podium or not, and in one medal versus another. As skiing and snowboarding has evolved over time, so too has U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s understanding of what makes an athlete successful. When the difference between success and failure is on the edge, finding a competitive advantage becomes paramount. 

Enter Lily Koffman. In 2019 during her senior year of undergrad, Lily read an article in Faster Skier describing U.S. Ski & Snowboard Performance Data Manager Gus Kaeding’s work using data to better inform Team criteria, specifically for the cross country team. As an undergraduate at Harvard University studying statistics on the hunt for a thesis project, and a member of the Harvard Cross Country Ski Team, Lily thought to herself: “That’s cool. I wonder if he needs any help.” Her outreach to Gus led to a summer fellowship, funded by the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation and Women in Sports Tech, which just wrapped its second year. Although Lily didn’t find her senior thesis, she is playing an instrumental role in helping U.S. Ski & Snowboard mold better athletes through science. 

 

Lily Koffman
Lily competing for the Harvard Cross Country Team (Photo: @flyingpoint)

 

Athletes and coaches are no strangers to collecting and analyzing data, including: daily nutrition, sleep habits, levels of fatigue and stress, repetitions and loads in the gym, number of jumps, number of training runs, snow conditions, etc. But how do you turn those numbers and logs into useful information and calls to action? Think of Lily and Gus as the codebreakers; these two analyze and interpret data across all sport disciplines for meaningful insights. 

“A lot of the information we have previously relied on [for developing athletes] is anecdotal,” explained Gus. “I think especially in skiing and snowboarding we have lots of opportunities to make decisions going forward based on fact, not just something your coach told you that his or her coach told them before that.”

Gus started with U.S. Ski & Snowboard three years ago and since then has streamlined how athlete data is collected, managed and analyzed. “Now we have enough data that we can have these dedicated projects and attract talented people like Lily to help us. We have the problem, here’s the data, now solve this.”

Lily focused on three major projects for U.S. Ski & Snowboard including analyzing Mikaela Shiffrin’s data, the entire Alpine development system, and ACL injuries across sport. And because she’s partially funded by the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (Birkie), she investigated female participation in the Birkie event. 

The American Birkebeiner is the largest, and one of the longest, cross country ski races in North America. It sees about 20% female participation annually and the organization employed Lily to make recommendations, based on the data, of what they could do to attract and retain more women. Through her research, Lily found that this problem isn't unique to the Birkie. Lily was surprised to learn that the Norwegian Birkebeiner also has about 20% female participation as well. 

“Skiing is super popular in Norway. [So these findings were] somewhat reassuring. It’s not specific to the American Birkie, but a worldwide problem in skiing. Conversely, world marathon running participation is about 40% female. So there’s lessons to be learned, what did running to do increase participation and how can we apply this information to skiing?” 

Lily made several recommendations based on running’s successes. “A lot of growth in women’s distance running is attributed to social and charity running groups. Skiing can benefit from a similar focus on community and charity. It’s also important to make marathon skiing more accessible. On snow training every day isn’t essential to being able to ski the Birkie. There’s this perception of this really competitive culture. If you’ve never done a ski marathon it’s hard to show up and have confidence that you can do it too, especially if you don't have a skiing background.” 

Lily recommended training plans and equipment guides, similar to what’s prevalent in the marathon world, as well as identifying community ambassadors who can encourage women to try skiing the Birkie, and to come back year after year. 

As a woman in a largely male-dominated field, Lily’s perspective as a woman can help bring women-specific issues to the forefront of sport science. A review of 1,382 exercise medicine studies published between 2011 and 2013 found that females made up 39 percent of total study participants. Among 188 studies published in two academic journals in early 2015, females made up 42 percent of study subjects. Among studies in sport science, females accounted for only three percent of participants.   

“I think it's one of the things that I am personally interested in,” Lily said. “It’s important to grow the presence of women in data roles so [more people start] paying attention to the gender angle. I’m trying to do my part to make [those stats mentioned] more 50% [across the board].”

Lily’s first project with U.S. Ski & Snowboard was to overlay two-time Olympic champion, five-time World Champion and winningest slalom skier of all-time, Mikaela Shiffrin’s training and wellness data with her race data to discover what the most important variables were in the week before a race. It was an exciting endeavor, but not as straightforward due to Mikaela’s overall success, “It’s a hard thing to look at, to measure performance, especially with someone like Mikaela,” Lily explained. “The problem is, what is success? [Mikaela] might win, and she wins often, but it might not be a ‘great’ race.” 

“Because Mikaela wins so often, having a win doesn’t really tell you how good of a race it was itself,” added Gus. Lily had to come up with a new metric that showed which races were actually Mikaela’s best performances. Lily presented this information to Mikaela’s team earlier this summer, with the intention of repeating the process this season, to determine successes and new learnings.

From there, Lily took on the daunting task of analyzing the entire alpine development system from youth to National Team athletes, as well as NCAA skiers. “This was the first comprehensive analysis that lays out the entire alpine environment from youth to elite skier,” said Gus. “It was a pretty hard analysis. We’re fortunate to have Lily for this because I’m pretty confident that she is one of few in the entire ski world who has the skill to do such a task; it’s very complex. [We now have a] historical analysis from everything that’s happened (how skiers move through the system compared to other nations), which can help shape the direction going forward.”

“Going into a project I have no goal of what I want to see,” Lily explained. “[For the alpine project] the question was ‘What does the career path of different skiers in the U.S. look like?’ The first step is to make a lot of visualizations. Then something might grab my attention, so I focus on that aspect.” 

Although her fellowship is wrapped for the summer, Lily will continue to work on the ACL project as she pursues her master’s degree in biostatistics at Harvard this year. This is of particular interest to U.S. Ski & Snowboard, as being able to actively prevent season and career-ending injuries could be a serious game changer. 

“Our ACL data is among the biggest data sets of ACL injury that I have ever seen,” explained Gus. “One thing that we have that no other ACL data sets have is that we know a lot of what athletes are doing before they were injured.” Other ACL data sets mostly come from a medical perspective, the starting point for this data is once the person is injured, not what happened beforehand. “For [our athletes] we know their strength numbers in the gym, what kind of snow they were skiing on, how many snow days in a row they had… we know if they had traveled the week prior, if there was another existing injury beforehand. There’s lots of things to look at.”

“[I want to see] if I can identify any trends in who is getting injured, what they were doing when they got injured and return to snow timeline protocols,” said Lily. 

“No data set is perfect,” said Gus. “But we have the whole lifecycle and as much data as you could hope for given the lack of frequency we have for this injury. Our goal is to continue [that trend] of lack of frequency [in ACL injuries].”

Data analysis is increasingly a critical element in high performance innovation. Using data to first identify problems and then make decisions based on proven trends means working smarter. Having talented, passionate individuals working behind the scenes making sense of what’s actually happening in the field is crucial in empowering athletes to reach their full potential. 

“We’re fortunate because we have cool things to work on,” said Gus. “That’s attractive for a young person in the field of data. We should be taking advantage of these young people who think differently [than how I or someone else was taught].”

U.S. Ski & Snowboard is taking applications for its female data fellowship program for 2021. If you’re a female in sports tech interested in opportunities with U.S. Ski & Snowboard, please contact Gus Kaeding at gus.kaeding@usskiandsnowboard.org.

About the American Birkebeiner® Ski Foundation
Located in Hayward, Wisconsin, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF), a 501(c)(3) organization, is known for its signature American Birkebeiner “Birkie” Ski Marathon held each February.  The ABSF creates inspiring events to assist all ages and abilities in living a healthy, active lifestyle.  Learn more at www.birkie.com.

About Women in Sports Tech, Inc. 
WiST is a non-profit organization driving growth opportunities for women in sports tech and innovation, from interns to executive leadership roles, while providing a pathway for highly motivated college students to discover and explore opportunities within the field. Corporate support includes Nike, IBM Sports, the NBA, Spartan Race, and Catapult Sports. To learn more about how WiST is working to #ChangeTheRatio for women, go to womeninsportstech.org.

 

Halvorsen Details Struggle With Body Image Issues In FasterSkier.com Story

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 16 2020
Hannah
Hannah Halvorsen competing at the 2019 World Cup Finals in Quebec City.

The title of the story provides a hint of Hannah Halvorsen's struggle with body satisfaction her entire life: I Don’t Have a Six Pack, but a Car Hit Me and I Survived.

Hannah is returning to cross country racing after being hit by a car last November in Anchorage, and in the story she goes into great detail the struggles she has faced with the images of having an "athletic body."

Read the full story at FasterSkier.com

 

Corning, Blackwell Tackle Film World with Teal

By Andrew Gauthier
September, 16 2020
Teal Hero

The nature of a competitive athlete is to be on the road, traveling the globe to chase podiums, climb rankings, and secure a position at the top of one’s sport. For snowboarders, the “top of one’s sport” takes on a few different meanings. Does it mean landing a closing segment in a Teton Gravity Research annual film? Is it going viral with a street edit? Or is it earning a spot at the top of an Olympic podium?

There are many elements of snowboarding that riders would like to pursue but can’t find the time, energy, or funding to commit to a project outside of their particular specialization. Last season, seven-time FIS Crystal Globe winner Chris Corning and U.S. Snowboard Pro Team member Chase Blackwell made it a point to film alongside a grueling event schedule with the goal of producing their first-ever film, Teal

“I wanted to showcase our riding in a different light than what people are used to,” said Chris. “I wanted to bring the street riders into the eyes of competition fans and get the competition riders in front of the powder and street followers.“

Riders on the project included Windham Miller, Brett Moody, Sam Klein, Colton Carroll, Conor Carroll, TJ Holman, and Sam Anderson. Alex Harvey took on the responsibility of filming and editing with filming support from Calen Albert. It was all hands on deck with athletes also assisting in capturing secondary footage from different angles. 

Although the project isn’t complete, Chris and Chase both agree that like competition, producing a snowboard film is not easy with many unique challenges.

“I’d say competition and filming are both pretty difficult, but we are out of our element when producing a snowboard film,” said Chase. “In a contest, it’s very routined and we have a set schedule. That’s often not the case when filming. Plus, we don’t have to build the jumps or the pipe we’re competing on.”

Chris also noted a major difference related to the timeline in both worlds. 

“Doing well at a contest has such instant gratification compared to producing a movie,” he said. “I think it’ll take longer for the emotions around successfully completing the movie to set in.”

Whether filming or competing, it helps to enjoy spending time with your fellow athletes. While Chase and Chris are both friends and U.S. Snowboard Teammates, their schedules are very different as riders who compete in halfpipe and slopestyle. The two riders may not share an event schedule, but they do share the motivation and interest to get out and create. 

“Working on the Teal project with Chase was rewarding in the sense that it allowed us to become closer friends,” said Chris. “We compete in different disciplines, so we don’t always get to travel together, so this was a great opportunity for us to ride and have some fun.”

For Chase, riding with Chris offered up more than just comradery, it was a chance to feed off Chris’s experience and his eye for the backcountry. 

“I had so much fun working with Chris,” Chase reflected. “He’s done more backcountry filming and filming in general than I ever have. Chris was really helpful and knowledgeable about what we were hitting and what tricks/angles for shots were going to look the best. All in all, we’re just really good friends, so getting to shred backcountry with him was all time.”

The movie title Teal speaks to the riders in the film. Like the color, each rider is unique and has yet to truly find their place in the mainstream. Teal sets out to give these riders a home. They may not all belong to one crew, but they came together to embrace each other’s out of the box styles with out of the box features. 

In a world where content rules, filming has become a critical element in building any snowboarder’s personal brand. Last season, Chase and Chris managed to find the best of both worlds, successfully competing at an elite level while working on a collaborative film project. With riders usually having to be laser-focused and dedicated to one element of the sport to find any level of success, it’s a beautiful thing when athletes like Chris and Chase make time to pursue a passion project. 

As Chase and Chris pack their bags for U.S. Ski & Snowboard training camp at the Stomping Grounds Park in Saas Fee, Switzerland, they have more than just on-snow pursuits to look forward to this Fall. Stay tuned for the release of Teal coming soon!


FOLLOW

Instagram

@chriscorning
@chase_ing_snow
 

Corning Films Teal

Blackwell In The Powder

Inaugural Aerials Development Camp Fosters Future Talent

By Lara Carlton
September, 11 2020
UOP
Six up-and-coming aerial skiers trained for four weeks at the Utah Olympic Park with U.S. Ski Team Coach JC Andre during the inaugural Aerials Development Camp.

Up-and-comers in aerial skiing had the opportunity to participate in U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s inaugural Aerials Development Camp. The six athletes that qualified included Karenna Elliott, Tasia Tanner, Bobbi Vornheder, Derek Krueger, Finnean Mceneany and Connor Curren. All participating athletes already train together as members of Park City Ski & Snowboard (PCSS). This unique scenario made the camp possible during the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Aerials World Cup Coach J.C. Andre and PCSS Head Aerial Team Coach Jack Bouczuk collaborated together to coach these athletes over the course of 4 weeks from early August to early September. Engaging with member clubs is important in creating a seamless transition to the Team and a strong development pipeline. 

“It’s a way for us to connect the next up-and-coming aerials athletes with the Team, and to connect those club coaches with ours,” explained U.S. Ski & Snowboard Sport Development Senior Manager Ashley Diebold. “We are trying to develop a common language amongst National Team coaches, club coaches and development athletes so that we’re all working from the same foundation. The goal is that by creating this opportunity for collaboration between the U.S. Ski Team coaches, club coaches and development athletes we will strengthen our development pipeline and thereby improve athletic experience and outcomes.”

Although the goal is to work towards coaches speaking the same language, a unique perspective is always welcomed by athletes.

“Things can get repetitive in aerials, Jana [Johnson] and I have been coaching these specific athletes for two years,” explained Jack. “So having another coach come in, with a different voice, mixes things up and helps keep these athletes motivated. When development athletes hear “U.S. Ski Team,” [attached to the camp] it gives them hope and courage in pursuing that ultimate goal of making the Team.”

Athletes were asked to set individual goals at the beginning of camp and work with JC on making noticeable improvements throughout the month. “The number one focus was good technical skills, making sure they were all square coming out of the jump and coming into the landing,” explained JC. “Most thought we would be doing more DD (degree of difficulty tricks), but I think the basics are most important. We want the basics to be as close to 100% as possible so that once we move on to DD, there aren’t as many mistakes. I think a lot of them thought they’d be hucking off things, so there was a reality check there. But [towards the end of camp] we’re back to DD, and they see their tricks are better.”

“The main thing that I worked on was making my lay-in on my lay tucks, lay lays, and lay fulls straighter,” said Tasia. “I didn’t really succeed with this until the last couple days of the camp but it’s something that’s really going to make me a better aerialist and I’m really excited to do it on snow.”

“Overall the camp was very productive,” said Derek. “JC helped me perfect all of my skills by starting with the basics and slowly adding on flips and twists until we eventually got to double full full (double backflip with three twists). This past camp I learned that perfecting the small details will make me a better jumper in the long run.”

Opportunities for club coaches and athletes to work with U.S. Ski Team staff creates a more collaborative process in putting athletes on podiums, and facilitates identifying and growing young talent. With such a successful first iteration of the program, both JC and Jack look forward to expanding the camp next year. “Coaching together, hopefully we can create more of a relationship for next summer and in the future,” said JC. 

World Suicide Prevention Day and QPR Training

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 10 2020
QPR Hero

September 10 marks World Suicide Prevention Day, an opportunity to remember those affected by suicide, create awareness, remove stigma, and to focus efforts on directing treatment to those who need it most.

Mental health and suicide prevention are more than just topics to focus on for one day or one month a year. Findings from a national survey involving over 2,000 U.S. adults (conducted by The Harris Poll) released Sept. 1 found the overwhelming majority (81%) believe, as a result of COVID-19, suicide prevention needs to be a national priority.

As the Olympic National Governing Body of skiing and snowboarding in the United States, U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s mission is to empower athletes to achieve excellence, including providing the resources and tools necessary to ensure mental well being. Through a partnership with The Speedy Foundation, U.S. Ski & Snowboard will provide mandatory QPR Institute training for all staff. QPR Training will also be free and highly encouraged for U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes, members, and board members. 

QPR Training is based on three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide: Question, Persuade, and Refer. The QPR Institute’s mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. Those trained in QPR learn how to recognize suicide warning signs and are better equipped to question, persuade and refer someone in potential danger to help. QPR can be learned in as little as one hour. 

To register for complimentary (normally $29.95), online & on-demand QPR training via The Speedy Foundation, follow the steps below:

1. Click here: qprtraining.com/setup
2. Enter this code: SPEEDYFOUND
3. Select Create Account
4. Complete and submit your registration form
5. QPR will display (and email you) the newly created Username and Password
6. You can then log-in to begin training at qprtraining.com
7. Learn to save a life.

Mandatory staff QPR training is an important step in U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s recently revamped internal mental health committee’s plan and oversight of the organization’s mental health resources. This internal committee is led by USOPC Sr. Sport Psychologist Alexander Cohen and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Sports Medicine Director and Lead Physical Therapist Gillian Bower, with participation from key staff members and coach and athlete representation. U.S. Ski & Snowboard has also made an annual commitment to complete the NCAA Mental Health Best Practices Self Assessment. Results and recommendations are reported directly to the mental health committee for review and implementation.

More detail on the newly structured committee will be posted on the organization’s mental health and wellness section of usskiandsnowboard.org prior to the start of the 2020-21 competition season.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an urgent mental health issue, we encourage you to text HOME to 741741, or call (800) 273-8255 to speak to a mental health professional. In the process of helping yourself, you may be inspiring courage in others to seek help as well.

If you are a U.S. Ski & Snowboard athlete, member, or staff, and feel you need support or would like to talk, don’t hesitate to reach out to USOPC Sr. Sport Psychologist Alexander Cohen as a resource.

Alexander Cohen, Ph.D., CMPC
Sr. Sport Psychologist
United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
alexander.cohen@usoc.org
(O) +1 719-866-3180 (M) +1 719-216-6376


QPR Institute
QPRInstitute.com
QPR For Sports
QPR Quiz

Mental Health Resources
USOPC/Team USA
The Speedy Foundation
Michael Phelps Foundation
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Crisis Text Line
Mental Health First Aid