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Olympians Take A Somewhat Unfamiliar Center Stage

By Megan Harrod
July, 30 2018
Speaker Bureau

U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes are used to competing on the big stage – particularly those who have made the U.S. Olympic Team. However, what doesn’t often come naturally is the ability to speak confidently publicly – both in front of crowds and to the media. Just last week, though, a new program known as the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Speaker’s Bureau was launched through their Athlete Career & Education (ACE) team, led by Director Julie Glusker.

Offered to 10 elite-level U.S. Ski & Snowboard Olympic and World Championship athletes – both current and alumni – U.S. Ski & Snowboard partnered with the Slomoff Consulting Group to lead a year-long, intensive training program for a select group of athletes looking to learn what it takes to be a successful keynote speaker.
  

“We teach all of our clients to approach speaking the way great athletes approach their skill, by developing awareness, control and consistency."
- Danny Slomoff, Slomoff Consulting Group

Danny Slomoff, who has worked closely with U.S. Ski & Snowboard President & CEO Tiger Shaw for the last several years, was first introduced through Board of Trustees contacts. For the last three years, Slomoff has offered generous pro bono work to athletes and staff of U.S. Ski & Snowboard from across all sports. Oftentimes, those who have met with Slomoff have said his training has been some of the most beneficial they’ve received from the organization, off the snow.

Glusker is particularly excited about the program because it is an excellent opportunity for these athletes to share their compelling sport and life stories, build public speaking skills progressively throughout the year, and develop as effective, impactful speakers. Slomoff and his team of skilled professionals will provide personalized, targeted coaching to each of the athletes during the year, as well as introduce them to corporations and organizations and help them prepare for U.S. Ski & Snowboard events, galas, engagements, media and personal sponsor activities. Speaker’s Bureau topics include preparation and practice of presentations and talks, marketing, slide and video development, writing and publishing articles. All of this valuable, meaningful coaching is being donated by Slomoff Consulting Group.

Slomoff takes great pride in the work he does, and it certainly shows, as he grew emotional at the end of the two-day Speaker’s Bureau, following the final presentations – almost akin to a proud father.

“We teach all of our clients to approach speaking the way great athletes approach their skill, by developing awareness, control and consistency,” Slomoff remarked. “These world-class athletes understand the work needed to develop a new skill and are accustomed to putting in the coaching and practice time to master it. They were able to make progress very quickly and take leaps and bounds toward greatness. We cannot wait to see them reach their potential as peak performing speakers.

The Speaker’s Bureau entailed two full days of training with the first day being more of a group setting. Athletes met for an initial welcome session before breaking into two groups to work in small group scenarios with four skilled coaches. In these small groups, they broke down the basics of successful speaking through improv work, with the belief that successful public speaking is acting more than it is public speaking. They discussed topics like awareness of body language, tone, tempo, diction and the psychology of public speaking and connecting with your audience.

Without giving away too much, some of the key points were: try not to have an ego, care for the listener, when your content and your energy match, there is authenticity, the importance of talking with your face, voice, and fingers and having a strong message and purpose. The coaches worked with each individual athlete utilizing their strengths and improving their weaknesses. They broke down the skills and then rebuilt them over the next two days so there was a progression that athletes could see. This approach, of course, coincides well with the type of performance/feedback loop the athlete is accustomed to in their sport.

The final goal is to get these current and former U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes into speaking engagements, but more so it is to build professional skills and allow them to experience the courage it takes to make mistakes and then make improvements and move forward in a setting that may be more uncomfortable to them than the mountain. The results were positive, and the athletes may have surprised themselves more than anything.  

“It was a great opportunity to work on a skill set that will benefit athletes long after their competitive careers are over."
- Alex Deibold, U.S. Snowboard Team

U.S. Alpine Ski Team alumnus and four-time Olympian Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, Calif.) commented on how beneficial the training was. “It was amazing to me that the room was full of Olympians and World Champions of our respective sports but we were all acting like beginners when it came to addressing a crowded room of people,” Sullivan said. “Everyone was excited to overcome our anxiety and luckily, we are all very coachable so we made huge gains with Danny and his team in just the two days that we were together. I think that speaking and being able to express ourselves is part of being a professional sportsman that often gets overlooked. I am excited to see all of the athletes in our group progress over the next year. I think it can only be positive for the individuals and U.S. Ski & Snowboard.”

World Championship gold medalist and Olympian aerialist Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va.) echoed Sullivan’s sentiments. “I loved the Speaker's Bureau this weekend. I was a little nervous going into the training but came out feeling much more confident speaking in front of any size group of people,” reflected Caldwell. “Danny and his team were awesome to work with. It was incredibly fun and humbling to learn and be embarrassed with a group of your peers, who happen to all be Olympic athletes. We all walked out of our two-day series exponentially more confident and excited about sharing our stories!”

2014 Olympic bronze medalist snowboard cross athlete Alex Deibold (Boulder, Colo.) – perhaps one of the most comfortable in front of crowds going into the two-day Speaker's Bureau – walked away with a lot of valuable learnings from the two days that have made him even more comfortable center stage. “I thought the Speaker's Bureau was a challenging and insightful experience. It was a great opportunity to work on a skill set that will benefit athletes long after their competitive careers are over. I’m looking forward to honing my newfound knowledge and hopefully putting it to use.”

Shaw was there to watch athletes give final presentations and was very impressed with how they worked together and the progress they made as a group, “I’m very excited to see you work together over the next year,” noted Shaw. “I’ve worked with Danny for years now, but it’s heartwarming to see world-class athletes mesh as a group from different sports in the organization and pair up with world-class coaches. All involved did a very good job.”

Athletes involved included: 
Mac Bohonnon (Madison, Conn., Aerials - Freestyle)
Maddie Bowman (South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Pro Halfpipe - Freeskiing)
Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va., Aerials - Freestyle)
Alex Deibold (Boulder, Colo., Snowboard Cross)
Nick Goepper (Lawrenceburg, Ind., Pro Slopestyle - Freeskiing)
Hannah Kearney (Norwich, Vt., Moguls - Freestyle)
Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo., Moguls - Freestyle)
Steve Nyman (Sundance, Utah, Alpine)
Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, Calif., Alpine Alumnus)
Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, Calif., Alpine Alumnus)

Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation Breaks Ground on Athlete Housing

By Lara Brucker
July, 27 2018
Groundingbreaking ceremony at the Utah Olympic Park
Leaders of the project, including Colin Hilton, president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation; Chris Robinson, Summit County Council; Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biksupski; Utah State Senator Wayne Niederhauser; and Luke Bodensteiner, chief of sport for U.S. Ski & Snowboard; as well as U.S. Snowboard Team member Jake Vedder, officially broke ground on the facility at the Utah Olympic Park.

The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation broke ground on a new 72-unit athlete and workforce housing facility July 19 at the Utah Olympic Park. With the toss of some dirt with their golden shovels, leaders of the project, including Colin Hilton, president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation; Chris Robinson, Summit County Council; Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biksupski; Utah State Senator Wayne Niederhauser; and Luke Bodensteiner, chief of sport for U.S. Ski & Snowboard; as well as U.S. Snowboard Team member Jake Vedder, officially broke ground on the facility.

“This facility is a testament to the vitality of Utah’s Olympic venues and a reflection of our ever-expanding commitment to Olympic winter sport,” said Hilton.

In an increasingly competitive real estate market, finding athlete housing in Park City becomes more challenging each year. The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation’s $13.6 million facility will provide peace of mind for many athletes who come to train, whether they do so at the Utah Olympic Park or at U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Center of Excellence, among other training sites in the area. The 72 units will provide 146 beds, of which 29 units will be used for short-term stays and 43 units will be used for long-term apartment rentals. The target price ranges for long-term units will be $600 – $700 per month and for the short-term units $35 – $40 per night.

“This athlete housing facility is going to add a new dimension to what we’re doing at the Legacy Foundation,” Bodensteiner said. “For our Olympians and Olympic hopefuls, easy access to low-cost housing is a real challenge for them. To be able to have access to housing like this, right where they train, is a huge benefit to their performance. I think we’re going to see that show up in Olympics in the future. And I expect this residence will attract more athletes to come train here, not only from the U.S. but also probably from around the world. And that will help Utah become known as an international Olympic training site.”  

The creation of athlete housing and continued investment in the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation cements Utah as the premier place for winter sports. Leaders of the project hope this housing development will showcase Utah’s commitment to hosting another Olympic Winter Games in the not-so-distant future.

Women’s XC Intensity Camp Returns to Lake Placid

By Reese Brown
July, 26 2018
Lake Placid Camp 2018
The U.S. Women’s Cross Country Team returned to Lake Placid, N.Y for a 10-day camp focusing on intensity training. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard / Reese Brown)

The U.S. Women’s Cross Country Team returned to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the first time since 2015 for 10 days of intensity training and adventure running. The group consisted of Ida Sargent (Craftsbury, Vt.), Sophie Caldwell (Stratton Mountain, Vt.), Jessie Diggins (Stratton, Vt.), Katharine Ogden (Landgrove, Vt.), Julia Kern (Waltham, Mass.) and visiting German National Team member Steffi Böhler.

Also attending the camp were several New England-based club members including Liz Guiney, Kaitlynn Miller, Caitlin Patterson, Alayna Sonnesyn, Kelsey Phinney, Kyle Bratrud, Ben Saxton, Adam Martin, Ben Lustgarten, Akeo Mayfield-Carucci along with members of U.S. Biathlon.

“We’ve had an excellent week of weather, intensity training, and a bit of adventure running,” noted Head Women’s Coach, Matt Whitcomb. “It has been encouraging to watch our veteran athletes like Ida, Sophie, and Jessie handle our first intensity camp of the year. We used to make special training adjustments so that they could survive a camp like this.  Now we just sit back and watch them handle the load. It’s a natural progression and is an important reminder for the younger athletes that they can be confident in a patient, stepwise approach.”

“We have had an awesome Lake Placid camp this year where we’ve been able to take advantage of training together by getting in a lot of intensity sessions in addition to going for some long adventures in the Adirondacks,” Caldwell said. “It’s nice to return to Lake Placid after a couple years off because everything is familiar but fresh. The team is looking strong and we’re looking forward to our next camp in New Zealand in a few weeks!”

The men’s and women’s team come together next for the New Zealand camp beginning August 18 at the Snow Farm.

“I feel strong, healthy and happy with how my training season has been going, and I’m very much looking forward to New Zealand camp,” Diggins said. “It’s my all-time favorite camp because it’s such high-quality training and living with 50k of ski trails right out the door and some good racing opportunities to fire up the engines again.”

The 2018-19 World Cup season opens Nov. 24-25 with men and women’s classic sprint competition, women’s 10k classic and men’s 15k classic events in Ruka, Finland.

Shiffrin, Kim, Diggins and Randall Nominated for Sportswoman of the Year

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
July, 25 2018
Mikaela Shiffrin competes in the 2017 Xfinity World Cup in Killington, V.T.
Mikaela Shiffrin competes in the 2017 Xfinity World Cup in Killington, Vt.

Four U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes have been nominated for the 2018 "Sportswoman of the Year" awards, presented annually by the Women's Sports Foundation since 1993. Sportswoman of the Year is awarded to both an individual and a team.

Two women are nominated in the individual category: three-time Olympic medalist Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.), alpine skiing; and Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim (Torrance, Calif.), snowboarding. Olympic gold medalists Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska), cross country skiing, are nominated for the team category.

Fans can vote through August 3rd at sportswomanoftheyear.com

Click to read the full story at TeamUSA.org.

Men’s XC Team Finishes High-Intensity France Camp

By Reese Brown
July, 24 2018
Men's France Camp
The U.S. Men’s Cross Country Team concluded a high-quality camp with a classic roller ski up Alpe d’Huez. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Chris Grover)

The U.S. Men’s Cross Country Team just completed a small camp in Villard-de-Lans, France with a focus on high-quality sessions, including roller skiing intensity, long mountain runs and beautiful hikes up several prominent peaks. The camp concluded with a classic roller ski up Alpe d’Huez.

Attending the camp were Erik Bjornsen (Anchorage, Alaska), Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.), Paddy Caldwell (Lyme, N.H.) and Ian Torcia (Marquette, Mich.). They were joined by Adrien Backscheider from the French National Team and U.S. Women’s Cross Country team member Sophie Caldwell (Stratton Mountain, Vt.), who each participated for a few days.

“Our training camp in France was incredible,” said Hamilton. “The venue on the Vercors plateau was an ideal place for cross country ski training with its 8k rollerski track, an unbelievable network of trails for running and endless limestone peaks for high mountain adventures. We capped off 10 high-quality days of training with a ski up the famous Alpe d’Huez, followed by a run on the downhill ski area. It’s a tough climb for sure, averaging around 9 percent for 15k. But you forget all about how hard you’re breathing and that your legs are tired when you are getting yelled at encouragingly from base to summit by people from all over the world who came to watch the Tour (de France).”

“It was great to have a camp in my second home, Villard-de-Lans,” said Bjornsen, who came to the camp directly following his wedding on July 9 to Marine Dusser-Bjornsen in Villard-De-Lans, Rhone-Alpes, France. “We had three intensity sessions in 10 days with a fair amount of volume. I was a little tired after the wedding week, but intervals felt relatively easy compared to wedding planning. We finished off the camp by skiing up Alpe d’Huez, which was pretty cool.”

“On our final day of camp we rollerskied up Alpe d'Huez, one of the most famous Tour de France mountain stages,” commented Paddy Caldwell on his favorite moment of the camp. “The Tour was going up d'Huez two days later so when we skied up the road it was totally packed with bikers and people camping along the road to stake out places to cheer. It was amazing seeing the energy of the Tour fans, being part of the spectacle and skiing in such a beautiful place!”

The men’s and women’s team come together next for the New Zealand camp beginning August 18 at the Snow Farm in New Zealand.
 

Junior World Championships Snowboard & Freeski Teams Named

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
July, 23 2018
Junior World Champs
Cody Laplante (left), Hailey Langland and Jaxin Hoerter are among the 52 athletes nominated to represent the USA at the 2018 FIS Junior Freeskiing & Snowboard World Championships Aug. 24 - Sept. 8 at Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wanaka, New Zealand.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard has nominated a strong team of young athletes to compete in the 2018 FIS Junior Freeskiing & Snowboard World Championships Aug. 24 - Sept. 8 at Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wanaka, New Zealand.

The event will feature the best junior athletes as part of the Winter Games NZ. Thirty snowboard athletes and 22 freeski athletes have been chosen to represent the United States in snowboardcross, skicross, team snowboardcross, halfpipe, slopestyle, big air, parallel giant slalom, and parallel slalom.

The snowboard team is led by 18-year-old Hailey Langland (San Clemente, Calif.), a 2018 Olympian who finished sixth in the slopestyle at Pyeongchang, Korea, this past winter. Langland landed her first career World Cup slopestyle podium in Cardrona in 2015. For the men, Jake Vedder (Pinckney, Mich.), the 2016 Youth Olympic snowboardcross gold medalist, is one to watch; along with rookie team halfpipe members Tessa Maud (Carlsbad, Calif.), Jack Coyne (Edwards, Colo.) and Jade Thurgood (Salt Lake City, Utah); and rookie slopestyle team members Ty Schnorrbusch (Frisco, Colo.), Courtney Rummel (West Bend, Wisc.) and Luke Winkelmann (Bowling Rock, N.C.).

The United States also sends a strong Freeski Team to compete, including rookie slopestyle team members Cody Laplante (Truckee, Calif.) and Mac Forehand (Winhall, Vt.); and rookie halfpipe team members Svea Irving (Winter Park, Colo.), Anna Gorham (Bend., Ore.) and Jaxin Hoerter (Breckenridge, Colo.).

U.S. Ski & Snowboard coaches include JJ Thomas (snowboard halfpipe); Nichole Mason and Dave Reynolds (snowboard big air/slopestyle); Peter Foley and Jeff Archibald (snowboardcross); Justin Reiter and Lynn Ott (PGS/PS); Jeremie Livingston (freeski halfpipe); Dave Euler (freeski big air/slopestyle). Joining the coaching staff are Stratton Mountain School’s Jesse Mallis (freeski big air/slopestyle) and Killington Mountain School’s Jeff Juneau (ski cross).

2018 USA SNOWBOARD JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TEAM
Name, hometown, U.S. Ski & Snowboard club, birthdate, age at start of championships

SNOWBOARD

Snowboardcross
Stacy Gaskill, Golden, Colo., Winter Park Competition Center, 5/21/2000, 18
Kiersten Edwards, Londonderry, Vt., Carrabassett Valley Academy, 1/13/2000, 18
Livia Molodyh, Hubbard, Ore., 6/30/1999, 21
Emma Downing, Carrabassett Valley Academy,  7/19/2001, 18
Isabella Gomez, Issaquah, Wash. (Summit at Snoqualmie) 9/11/2001, 17
Allie Nowicki, Stratton, Vt. (Stratton Mountain Club) 3/16/2000, 18
Mike Lacroix, Shrewsbury, Mass. (Team Utah Snowboarding, Inc.) 7/12/1998, 20
Kurt Hoshino, Huntington Beach, Calif., 2/20/2001, 18
Jake Vedder, Pinckney, Mich., 4/16/1998, 20
Zachary Stewart, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, (Carrabassett Valley Academy), 2/10/2001, 18

Slopestyle
Luke Winkelmann, Bowling Rock, N.C., Kirk’s Camp, 12/18/2000, 17
Dylan Okurowski, Vail, Colo., Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, 6/15/2000, 18
Jack Coyne, Edwards, Colo., Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, 1/7/2002, 16
Will Healy, Riverside, Conn., 3/11/2002, 16
Judd Henkes, La Jolla, Calif., Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Tea, 4/3/2001, 17
Jake Canter, Evergreen, Colo., Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, 7/9/2003, 15
Ty Schnorrbusch, Frisco, Colo., 5/15/2002,
Courtney Rummel, West Bend, Wisc., Wisconsin Advanced Ski & Snowboard Program, 11/12/2003, 14
Jade Thurgood, Salt Lake City, Utah, Park City Ski & Snowboard, 1/27/2002, 16
Hailey Langland, San Clemente, Calif., Tahoe Select Snowboard Team, 8/2/2000, 17

Halfpipe
Tessa Maud, Carlsbad, Calif., Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team, 10/10/2003, 15
Kayleigh Carew, Breckenridge, Colo., Method For Life Academy, 9/13/2001, 16
Jade Thurgood, Salt Lake City, Utah, Park City Ski & Snowboard, 1/27/2002, 16
Kinsley White, Mammoth Mountain Ski and Snowboard, 6/19/2003, 15
Jake Canter, Evergreen, Colo., Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, 7/9/2003, 15
Jack Coyne, Edwards, Colo., Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, 1/7/2002, 16
Hunter Goulet, Salt Lake City, Utah, Park City Ski & Snowboard, 2/2/2004, 14
Peter Danner, Telluride, Colo., 8/27/2001, 17
Toby Miller, Mammoth, Calif., Tahoe Select Snowboard Team, 2/14/2000, 18

PGS
Karina Bladon, Wayland, Mass., Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, 12/17/1998, 19
Kaiya Kizuka, Sinking Spring, Penn., Ski Roundtop Racing Club, 5/26/1999, 19
Alexa Bullis, Slinger Wisc., 3/1/2000, 18
Ethan Coherd, Monkton, Md., Roundtop Mountain Resort), 12/10/1999, 18
Cody Winters, Steamboat Springs, Colo., Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, 4/20/2000, 17
Jacob McCarthy, Edina, Minn., G Team, 12/27/2000, 17
William Taylor, Minn., G Team, 4/12/2001, 17

FREESKIING
Skicross

Mazie Hayden, North Clarendon, Vt., (Killington Mountain School), 10/2/2000, 17
Zoe Livran, Vail, Colo., Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, 4/28/1999, 19
Justin Wallasch, Acton, Calif., 3/19/1997, 21
Stuart Whittier, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Carrabassett Valley Academy, 6/13/2001, 17
Leo Brougher, Los Altos Hills, Calif., Squaw Valley Ski Team, 4/17/2000, 18
Noah Giron, Carson City, Nev., Squaw Valley Ski Team, 9/11/1999, 18

Slopestyle
Marin Hamil, Park City, Utah, Park City Ski & Snowboard, 4/5/2001, 18
Rell Harwood, Park City, Utah, Park City United, 6/1/2001, 17
Svea Irving, Winter Park, Colo., Winter Park Competition Center, 2/27/2002, 16
Eileen Gu, San Francisco, Calif., Squaw Valley Ski Team, 9/3/2003, 14
Montana Osinski, Fairfield, Conn., Killington Mountain School, 4/1/2003, 15
Ashton Glass, Park City, Utah, Park City Ski & Snowboard, 9/7/2000, 17
Mac Forehand, Winhall, Vt., Stratton Mountain Freestyle, 8/4/2001, 17
Kiernan Fagan, Brownfield, Maine, 1/18/2002, 16
Ryan Stevenson, Washington, N.J., 3/29/2000, 18
Cody Laplante, Truckee, Calif., Squaw Valley Freestyle and Freeride Team, 2/15/2002

Halfpipe
Svea Irving, Winter Park, Colo., Winter Park Competition Center, 2/27/2002, 16
Eileen Gu, San Francisco, Calif., Squaw Valley Ski Team, 9/3/2003, 14
Hanna Blackwell, Hailey, Idaho, Winter Park Competition Center, 4/20/2000, 18
Anna Gorham, Bend., Ore., 7/22/2000, 18
Dylan Ladd, Lakewood, Colo., Winter Park Competition Center, 8/29/2001, 17
Jaxin Hoerter, Breckenridge, Colo., 7/17/2000, 18
Connor Ladd, Lakewood, Colo., Winter Park Competition Center, 9/26/2003, 14
Hunter Carey, Winter Park, Colo., Winter Park Competition Center, 6/12/2002, 16
 

Cook Reflects On 15-Year U.S. Ski Team Career

By Megan Harrod
July, 20 2018
Lake Louise Sweep 2014
Stacey Cook, Lindsey Vonn, and Julia Mancuso swept the women's downhill podium at Lake Louise in 2014. (Getty Images)

Her life on the mountain began at the age of four at the mighty Mammoth Mountain in California, but just last week, four-time Olympian Stacey Cook (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) announced her retirement after 15 years with the U.S. Ski Team.

During her tenure with the Team, Cook or “Cookie” – as teammates called her – snagged nearly 250 FIS Alpine World Cup starts, 27 top 10 finishes in downhill and super-G disciplines, and three podiums – all second-place finishes in downhill, on her favorite track in Lake Louise, Canada. She was fourth in the overall downhill World Cup standings in 2013. She also earned 11th in downhill at the Vancouver Olympic Games, and two top 10 finishes at World Championships in 2009 and 2013, in Val d’Isere, France, and Schladming, Austria, respectively. However, it was December 6, 2014, that will be cemented in Cook’s memory. That day, of course, was the historic day that she and her teammates swept the podium at Lake Louise, Alberta – the first non-European podium sweep in the history of the sport.

"My fondest memory was when Lindsey, Julia and I swept the podium. I think – in their careers – that was a small item, but we grew up racing alongside each other, we are all the same age, and they were such stars of the sport and it was such a privilege to be alongside them every step of the way and to watch all of their success and that’s kind of the one piece of the puzzle where I really fit into their success,” Cook reflected. “We set history with that and it was the first non-European podium sweep and it was really cool, and something that we accomplished very much together. Obviously, result-wise that day, but also in pushing each other when we were little girls on the mountain. So that is something I am very proud of and will mean a lot to me well into the future.”

Cook is a part of the famous ’84 birth year club – a club that features teammates and Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.), Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, Calif.), Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah), and World Cup standouts like Germany’s Felix Neureuther, France’s Adrien Theaux, Italy’s Christof Innerhofer, among others. That said, with such strong competition, it was no easy feat to reach the podium…and Cook showed her strength and perseverance, doing it three times at Lake Louise.

Lake Louise quickly became a favorite track for Cook – and it certainly showed. She was 10th and eighth in 2005, and fourth the following year – and it was 2012 that she took home her first podium on that track. That’s when she found her stride. Twice in the 2012 Lake Louise speed series, Cook was second in the downhill, behind Vonn. She attributes the North American success at Lake Louise to Americans having an advantage from the NorAm circuit. As younger ski racers, Cook and her teammates could race on that track before the Europeans, which was a huge advantage. She also thinks the track is a “real downhill” – perhaps one of the only on the circuit. Why?

“I really liked the speed on the course, it felt like a real downhill and I always thought it was cool that we basically had the same set as the men did,” Cook said. “There aren’t many venues like this – where men and women were on the same track with the same set. I just felt like it was a downhiller’s downhill and I was very comfortable with the speed and the slope and the terrain there. It’s incredibly beautiful there, which is – of course – inspiring when you’re standing in the start gate. The hotel was always fun with all the Christmas decorations and it’s your first time around all the other girls from the other countries. It was just a really uplifting vibe, and I think I was just buying into that energy. I went into Lake Louise with an open mind and without any sort of expectations because it was a new season, a brand-new opportunity, and your mind was just very clear and that’s definitely when I excelled as an athlete.”

What Cook truly holds closest to her heart, though, is the relationships built in this sport where you’re basically one big traveling international family. What was that like for Cook? “When you’re young you enter into the World Cup viewing everyone there as your hero, and then when you leave the World Cup, you look at everyone as your friend,” she noted. Who will she miss the most? Obviously, her American speed teammates and “Reusch Speed Unicorns” – fellow U.S. Ski Team alumna Leanne Smith (North Conway, N.H.), Alice McKennis (New Castle, Colo.), Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.), and Jackie Wiles (Portland, Ore.) – but there are many others internationally.

“The Italians were always some of my favorites, and I think Verena Stuffer and Johanna “Hanna” Schnarf will be friends for life; they are so welcoming and caring and they have a passion for the sport that I think matches the Americans. I don’t know exactly where that comes from, maybe because it’s not the biggest sport in their nation kind of like here, but whenever we got to train with the Italians it was always some of the most fun experiences. Some of the older generation of the Swiss women’s ski team – I can’t name all of them, but that whole generation was just very dynamic and really kind of showed the power of team, because they were the top downhill team when I came into the circuit I looked up to a lot of them. They were my heroes. I really enjoy Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter; we were obviously on different circuits but whenever we saw each other she was just an electric personality that I really respect and always cheer for. On the men’s side too, there’s just so many nice humans.” Of everything Cook will miss in the sport, she will miss the people the most.

Humble as she is, Cook isn’t quick to acknowledge the fact that she was an integral part of the most successful women’s speed team in the world for much of the last decade. The 2013 season was a particularly special one for the American women, with every single member of the team landing on the podium at some point in the season. Additionally, in her final season with the team, the American women were the fastest downhill team in the world. Cook feels that inspiration came from former teammate Kirsten Clark.

“Kirsten Clark showed an example of being a good teammate to me and I learned a lot from her even though we only overlapped for three years, she was definitely an influence throughout my career,” Cook said. “I believe that we were the best speed team in the world the year that – I think it was 2006 – when she was around.

“So, one of my first years on the World Cup, to my last year of the World Cup being the most successful women’s ski team in the world – it’s a feat that is not often recognized but we recognize as a team. You don’t get an award for it. It’s not something that we even got a round of applause for, to be honest, but we felt it as athletes,” she added. “That was special; to be a team and to be powerful on a world stage. You know, even with being the most dominant speed team, probably within the last decade – I would be interested to see the statistics on that – we always still felt like the underdogs.”

Being an underdog team in a European sport, largely based on European soil where North Americans live out of duffle bags traveling from one hotel to the next for four months straight and being the fastest in the world – that’s quite the accomplishment. “I think we had more fun in the process and being an underdog was one of the things that lead to our success,” she said.

Current women’s speed team head coach Chip White was the head coach in that special 2013 season, and Cook credits White’s guidance as a mainstay throughout her career for her success. Head women’s coach Alex Hoedlmoser, who is still a coach with the women’s speed team, is someone from whom she also learned a great deal.

“I just look back to that 2013 year when pieces fell into play for every single member on the team, to a level that none of us had ever really experienced before was so much fun. I will remember that feeling of being on top of the world longer than I’ll remember what results I accomplished. So that power of team when we made that click and when we felt it together is really really something special and something I’ll seek as I move into the future as well because it’s really fun to accomplish something bigger than you and something that you don’t necessarily think is possible and in the 2013 case, something that no one thought was possible.”

Cook would also like to thank her technicians, with whom athletes work very closely in their career – Primoz “Papi” Gregoric, Miha Dolinar and “Chief” – as well as women’s speed team assistant coach Karin Harjo. Harjo is the first woman to have set a World Cup slalom course in history. Cook said that “Harjo is the first female coach I had on the U.S. Ski Team and is definitely talented and has become a friend.”  

Finally, Cook would like to thank her sponsors. “I want to give a thanks to both Mammoth Mountain and Clif Bar. They have been my staple sponsors and companies that I both believe in and have been lucky to be a part of. You can’t do it without companies like that and to have them by my side has meant the world to me. I am grateful for their support and for allowing me to learn and grow in this amazing atmosphere.”

Cook often gives back to the next generation of ski racers, leading her “Chix on Stix” camps, and more, at Mammoth Mountain. She feels a great sense of satisfaction in passing on the knowledge she’s gained throughout the years and hopes to continue to do so. Her parting words?

“I had some great mentors that did that to me and provided me a platform to be able to participate in the sport at the highest level, and it would be a waste if I didn’t pass that on to the next generation. I wanted to excel so much personally, but when you give back that always felt so much better and that feeling lasted so much longer. Sharing your passion and your knowledge with others is very important, more important than any individual goal to me. I think that athletes can learn a lot about themselves, but also find great satisfaction by looking beyond their own goals and helping others. That’s a very important part of sport. I love looking at the little kids I coach and seeing their raw passion. They are unaffected by the pressure of high-level sports and they are in it just because they want to be there and that is contagious, and would remind me on my worst days of why I was out there. It’s definitely not a glamorous sport, so if you can find some of the heart to give back to others and show them the good and what they can gain in life by pushing through the hard times and not always having fun in every circumstance, then they are going to be well ahead of their peers and it's very rewarding to experience that take on them.”

 

2019 World Championships To Showcase New Olympic Sports

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
July, 19 2018
Snowboardcross at Solitude Mountain Resort
Team Snowboardcross, a newly named Winter Olympic discipline for Beijing 2022, will make its World Championship debut in Utah in February 2019. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

The IOC has announced that seven new winter sports will be incorporated into the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China. Four of these sports are International Ski Federation (FIS) events that will be on show at the 2019 Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships taking place in Utah on February 1-10.

The events on show at the 2019 World Championships that have been added to the Beijing 2022 calendar are; Freestyle Skiing, mixed team aerials; men and women's Freeski Big Air; and in Snowboard, Team Snowboardcross. Both Freeski Big Air and Freestyle Mixed Team Aerials will be making their World Championship competition debuts for the very first time at the 2019 World Championships in Utah next February.

The awesome men’s and women’s Freeski Big Air event will take place at Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Next up on the new Olympic discipline roster will be the Team Snowboardcross event, which will take place at Solitude Mountain Resort on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2018. Rounding out the latest additions to the Olympic Winter Games is the Freestyle Skiing Mixed Team Aerials event under the lights at Deer Valley Resort on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 — sure to be a crowd favorite. The 2019 World Championships will be the first time that Mixed Team Aerials and Freeski Big Air will be included in the FIS World Championship program.

“We are grateful to the IOC, FIS, Beijing Organizing Committee and the Nations for working cooperatively toward the inclusion of these new events in 2022,” said Jeremy Forster, U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Director of Snowboard, Freeski, and Freestyle. “The addition of these incredibly exciting events is not only good news for fans of the Winter Olympic Games, it is also a critical step in continuing to engage new fans, in particular, the young skiers and riders who are the future of our sports. Having the opportunity to showcase both Freeski Big Air and Mixed Team Aerials as World Championship disciplines for the first time at the events we will host in February 2019 is a great honor. We are all excited about the chance to give them their global World Champs debut in what promises to be an incredible 10 days of competition next year.”

The eyes of the world will be on the athletes competing for World Championship glory in the United States from Feb. 1 through Feb. 10, 2019, when the world’s best snowboarders, freeskiers, and freestyle athletes will descend on Utah. For more information about the events go to the 2019 Snowboard, Freeski and Freestyle World Championships website at https://2019worldchamps.com/

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Athletes Take Home Six ESPY Awards

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
July, 19 2018
Kims ESPY Award Winner
Chloe Kim won three ESPY Awards for Best Female Athlete, Best Female Action Sports Athlete, and Best U.S. Female Olympian. (Getty Images)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard stars Chloe Kim, David Wise and Shaun White took home six ESPY awards in a big night for snow sports at the 2018 ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, Calif.

Kim, the 2018 Olympic Winter Games gold medalist in women’s halfpipe snowboarding, left the event with three awards - Best Female Athlete, Best Female Action Sports Athlete, and Best U.S. Female Olympian. Kim’s U.S. Snowboard teammate Shaun White added to his ESPY awards collection with wins in the Best Olympic Moment and Best U.S. Male Olympian categories; and David Wise, the double-Olympic gold medalist in men’s freeski halfpipe, won the Best Male Action Sports Athlete award.

In total, eight U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes were nominated for 2018 ESPY awards, with superstars Mikaela Shiffrin and Red Gerard joining Kim, Wise, and White at the events in Los Angeles.

“This is a very big night for everyone at U.S. Ski & Snowboard who worked so hard with our incredibly talented athletes to help their dreams come true,” said Tiger Shaw, president, and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, who also attended the 2018 ESPY Awards. “These awards, voted for by the public, show how much love and support there is for our athletes among sports fans, and what they’ve achieved is receiving the recognition they deserve.

Moving on to the finale of the event, Tiger said that “everyone who watched the awards tonight could not fail to be moved by the many amazing stories that were showcased, but to finish the event with so many brave survivors on stage together, highlighting the horrific abuse they had to endure, was the right thing to do. Ridding sport of the scourge of abuse of all kinds has to be the priority for anyone engaged in sport at all levels today, and to give those fearless athletes the stage was exactly the sort of tribute the world of sport should be making to the brave people who brought this issue into the spotlight. If you or anyone you know is affected by abuse, report it. The US Center for SafeSport wants to hear from you so go to safesport.org if you have anything you need to report.”
 

New Certified U.S. Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence Opens in South Lake Tahoe

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
July, 13 2018
Robert Maloff Center
The Robert Maloff Center provides personalized rehabilitation and sports performance for elite and Olympic snowsports athletes. (Barton Health Photo)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - U.S. Ski & Snowboard has a brand new certified Center of Excellence in South Lake Tahoe, providing state-of-the-art medical facilities to the elite team athletes based in that community, as well as the thousands of skiers and snowboarders who dream of future Olympic success.

The facility is part of a dream to improve community health and well-being at the Robert Maloff Center, located on the Barton Health medical campus in South Lake Tahoe. The 26,000 square foot state-of-the-art medical facility houses the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness, which breaks the mold of regional healthcare by combining orthopedics, rehabilitation, performance-based training programs and overall wellness therapies. This new model of care addresses the entire patient, not just illness or injury.

Made possible by a $10 million donation from the “Angel of Tahoe” Lisa Maloff, the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness, inside the Robert Maloff Center, focuses on coordinated care, integrated treatments and education, a philosophy known as the continuum of care. Here, the patient’s journey is guided by care navigators, tapping any or all of the services offered by health care providers and certified practitioners at the Center.

“The Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness’ innovation is something we’ve been conceptualizing for over a decade,” said Barton Health CEO Dr. Clint Purvance at the Center’s grand opening event on July 12, 2018. “Now, with the support of our community, stakeholders, team members and donors we are providing a healthcare system that offers our community a new model of care, tailored to their personal goals and health journey.”

Designed to improve the health of the community, the Center combines traditional orthopedic medical care with integrative medicine and wellness treatments such as acupuncture, mindfulness classes, nutrition counseling, as well as personalized rehabilitation and sports performance. This proactive approach not only gets the patient moving again, but back to their active lifestyle – whether competing in Olympic trials or day hiking with grandchildren.

While offering multiple services for the entire community, the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness is also a certified U.S. Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence. This designation represents advanced credibility for elite and Olympic snowsports athletes, attracting local competitors such as Kyle Smaine, Lila Lapanja, and Travis Ganong.

 “The Sierra Nevada is a hotbed of ski and snowboard sports, home to many elite athletes and more than 2,000 young skiers and snowboarders who represent the future generations of American Olympians. The Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness gives them access to a world-class facility and support to achieve their goals of competing,” said Luke Bodensteiner, U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Chief of Sport.

Barton Health’s orthopedic physicians are well-known in the area and around the world, as these doctors help residents keep up with mountain activities as well as providing medical care for the U.S. Ski Team. Barton has a deep history with providing orthopedic care for Olympians, going back to the 1960s when Dr. Paul Fry launched the first orthopedic treatment practice after the Winter Games at Squaw Valley. The Fry family donated $1 million for the installation of hot and cold therapy pools at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness to carry on his legacy.