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)
Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Visa Big Air Presented By Toyota Kicks Off in Steamboat

By Annie Fast
November, 30 2021
U.S. Snowboard Team Rider Jake Canter sits ready to drop in.
U.S. Snowboard Team Rider Jake Canter readies to drop into the VISA Big Air at Steamboat. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard/Mike Dawsy)

The U.S. Snowboard and U.S. Freeski teams are heading into the first and only Big Air qualifying event of the season for the U.S. in Steamboat, Colorado this week. Snowboarding is set to make its second Olympic appearance at the 2022 Winter Games and Freeski Big Air is set to make its Olympic debut!

This weekend also marks the first time that the FIS Snowboard World Cup has been hosted at Steamboat, which has rolled out to white carpet to create the 60-foot big air jump despite unseasonably warm conditions. The action at the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota is guaranteed to be Olympic caliber as the athletes bring their biggest tricks to kick off the World Cup qualifying season.  

Both teams have been training hard ahead of the event, including two weeks of training at Stubai Prime Park in Austria through November.

The Freeski Field 

The Freeski team parlayed their training into the season-opening World Cup Slopestyle event at Stubai, where U.S. Freeski Rookie Team member Hunter Henderson earned a fourth-place finish. Henderson will be joined by two-time World Cup big air winner Alex Hall, 2021 Aspen Grand Prix World Cup winner Colby Stevenson, Mac Forehand, Cody LaPlante, and two-time Olympic medallist Nick Goepper in the men’s field. In the women’s field, seven-time X Games medalist Maggie Voisin, Marin Hamill, and Caroline Claire continue their push to the podium.

The international field is also packed, with Tess Ledeux (FRA), Sarah Hoefflin (SUI) and Elena Gaskell (CAN) among the women and Matej Svancer (AUT), Teal Harle (CAN) and Birk Ruud (NOR) as well as reigning big air World Champion Oliwer Magnusson (SWE).

The Snowboard Field

U.S. Snowboard Team athletes Hailey Langland and Red Gerard are both coming into Steamboat following second-place finishes at the 2021 Aspen Grand Prix World Cup and Brock Crouch is coming in with a top-five finish at the recent Big Air World Cup, Chur. Also competing are Julia Marino, Ty Schnorrbusch, Courtney Rummel, and Jade Thurgood in the women’s field. The men’s field is stacked, with 2018 Olympic Big Air Silver Medalist Kyle Mack, Chris Corning, Sean Fitzsimons, Jake Canter, Judd Henkes, Dusty Henricksen and Luke Winkelmann among the 60 competitors slated to drop. 

The international field includes heavy-hitters like Kokomo Murase (JAP), Anna Gasser (AUT), Jasmine Baird (CAN) and Brooke Voigt (CAN) among the women. In the men's field, there's a heavy contingency from Canada including Mark McMorris, reigning big air Olympic gold medallist Sebastien Toutant, and Max Parrot; and Japan including Takeru Otsuka, Ruki Tobita and Hiroaki Kunitake, plus Rene Rinnekangas (FIN) and Jonas Boesiger (SUI). 

The VISA Big Air kicks off in Steamboat, Colorado, with qualifying Dec. 2-3, followed by Snowboard and Freeski Big Air finals on Saturday, Dec. 4th with a full day of action. 

Following this weekend’s event, the FIS snowboard and freeski World Cup season will roll into Copper Mountain, Colorado with the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix, Dec. 10-11.

HOW TO WATCH 
All times EDT

Saturday, Dec. 4
11:30 a.m. FIS Snowboard World Cup Visa Big Air Presented by Toyota Men and Women’s Finals - LIVE - Streaming Peacock
3:00 p.m. FIS Freeski World Cup Visa Big Air Presented by Toyota Men and Women’s Finals - LIVE - Streaming Peacock
9:00 p.m. FIS Snowboard World Cup Visa Big Air Presented by Toyota Men and Women’s Finals - Same-day broadcast - NBCSN
11:00 p.m. FIS Freeski World Cup Visa Big Air Presented by Toyota Men and Women’s Finals - Same-day broadcast - NBCSN

Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021
4:00 p.m. FIS Snowboard World Cup Visa Big Air Presented By Toyota Men and Women's Finals, Steamboat, CO, Broadcast NBC
 

10 Questions With Nick Page

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
November, 30 2021
Nick Page
Nick Page won the 2021 U.S. Freestyle Moguls Championships at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, his first National Championship title. (@usskiteam)

2021 Rookie of the Year Nick Page caught up with FIS for their 10 questions Q&A series:

We’re wrapping up our Q&A series with the final installment before we kick off the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup season later this week in Ruka, and today we present you another good one with 2021 moguls “Rookie of the Year” - Nick Page (USA). Enjoy!

Q: Looking back at 2020/21 season, no doubt it was a very successful season for you. First World Cup podium, top-10 in the overall standing and some impressive results at World Championships in Almaty that led to the Rookie of the Year award. What does it all mean to you?

A: Last season was great. I made some nice steps in getting closer to where I want to be and I was excited with the progress when we finished in March. As I recount all the accolades that came from the 2020/21 season, it was nice to see the work I had put in was paying off — and at the same time served as a great reminder to work even harder to reach the next step. It’s easy to take for granted how lucky I am to travel and compete against the best in the World; and when you look back on, it’s really special. 

Q: Let’s look back at last year’s event in Idre, where you scored your first your first World Cup podium. Can you tell us something more about that day? We reckon it must have been a pretty special day for you…

A: Idre last year was awesome. With it being my first podium, it was one of the first times I really felt like I was ready to contend and compete at the highest level of our sport. I remember so vividly standing up at the top before Super-Finals with the other five guys I was competing against (Ikuma, Ben, Brodie, Brad, and Oskar). There was almost this 'unspoken energy’ at the time — we all wanted to win, but at the same time we all wanted each other to ski their very best runs. We were all looking to beat each other at their best; and I think that positive and competitive energy is what our sport is all about, and it was definitely something I will never forget.  

Q: What is the biggest challenge for you when competing during a worldwide pandemic and how do you deal with it?

A: Competing and traveling during the pandemic was absolutely a curve ball. I don’t think anyone could have predicted what that was going to entail, but all around I think FIS as well as the US Ski and Snowboard Team handled it extremely well. The uncertainty of what our schedule was going to look like or if we’d even be able to travel were some challenging roads to navigate, and it’s hard to forget the countless amount of COVID tests. I still tear up every time I get one poked up my nose! However, with all the negatives that the pandemic brought I think it brought along some positives as well. With training centres and gyms being shut down, I was really able to focus on getting my fitness to a new level. I built a gym in my basement and was able to take advantage of all that new free time in a productive way that would pay off once we got back into competing; and as I moved from 28th to 9th in the World. I think it did just that. 

Q: Now looking ahead to the new season with the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing on the horizon, what are your goals for 2021/22?

A: We’re coming up to an exciting year — there’s a lot on the line and I’m so excited to see what happens. The Olympics are definitely on my mind, as I’d love to represent Team USA in Beijing; but on top of that, I want to continue to work on getting into contention. Being able to bring your best when it matters most is so important in competition; whether that be in a World Cup start gate, the golf course, or any situation where something is on the line. I think that’s something you can only learn by putting yourself in the situation — seeing what works and what doesn’t, and ultimately learning how to fail in order to succeed.  I’m really looking forward to showing off all the work I’ve put in during the off season and see what happens by the end of the competition year! 

Q: The US moguls team looks like one big family. You spend a lot of time together training, traveling and competing. What is like to be part of such a successful team? Who pushes you the most and how? 

A: Our US Team is really special. I think the backbone of it comes from our staff who put in every effort to help make us our best. I really feel like I’m held accountable for everything I do, which makes our staff full of exceptional allies, on top of being already great friends. The athletes on the team are full of hard workers, and it’s great to train alongside them because I think that kind of culture makes everyone better. It’s pretty cool; there are lots of people around me who challenge me to be my best. I grew up idolizing Bryon Wilson. I went from watching him in 2010 to being able to call him one of my closest friends and most trusted coaches; he helps make me better everyday. I remember as I started to develop as a skier I constantly chased athletes like Brad Wilson and Morgan Schild around at every opportunity I got. I was obsessed with being around them because I knew they would make me better — as a skier and a person. Fast forward to today: and it’s no different… now we just wear the same jacket as teammates. 

Original article on FIS-Ski.com

Baumgartner Third in Secret Garden SBX

By Annie Fast
November, 28 2021
Three snowboardcross competitors cross the finish line.
Nick Baumgartner (left) earning a third place finish, with Alessandro Haemmerle of Austria (middle) earning first, followed by Omar Visintin of Italy (right) earning second. (FIS Snowboard)

The U.S. snowboardcross team came into this first World Cup of the season following a stellar 2020-21 season, which included the team winning the Nation’s Cup and earning the title of the best snowboardcross team of the season. Nick Baumgartner kept the momentum going into this season, earning a third-place finish in a heated men’s final in the season-opening FIS World Cup.  

For the Secret Garden Olympic test event, the riders competed on a course almost identical to the planned Olympic course, with 45 features set along the 4,110-foot-long course. The start gate of finals was a stacked field, with Austrian Alessandro Haemmerle taking the lead early, leaving Baumgartner to battle against Italian veteran Omar Visintin, and Austrian Jakob Dusek. Baumgartner was sitting in the second position until the final set of rollers, where Visintin was able to overtake him for second, with Haemmerle taking the win.

Head Snowboardcross Coach Peter Foley says, “It was so great to see Nick lead the team to the podium today.  The races were really close all day with a bunch of passing in every heat. Nick made some amazing passes and rode rock solid all day.”

U.S. Snowboard Team athlete Mick Dierdorff was on track to make the big final but was pushed off course in the semi-final. He still had a great finish earning sixth in the small final.

In the women’s field, U.S. Snowboard Team athletes Stacy Gaskill earned an eighth-place finish, followed by Faye Gulini rounding out the top 10. The Czechoslovakian 2018 Olympic bronze medallist Eva Samkova took the win, followed by Great Britain’s World Champion Charlotte Bankes, and Italian 2018 Olympic champion Michela Moioli.

The Secret Garden Olympic SBX Test Event was a great preview of the Olympic course to come. Foley says, “The course is an interesting combination of both gliding skills and power, so it takes a really well-rounded and incredibly strong snowboarder to do well here.” He adds, “The wax tech crew did an amazing job of finding the fast wax, working past midnight pretty much every day this week.”

The team now heads back to Europe for the next stop in Montafon, Austria, December 10–11 with single and mixed-team events slated.

Secret Garden SBX Final Results
Men
Women

World Cup Standings
Men
Women

 

Shiffrin Wins Fifth Consecutive Killington Slalom

By Mackenzie Moran
November, 28 2021

In yet another exciting battle between Mikaela Shiffrin and Slovakia's Petra Vlhova, Shiffrin has once again been crowned the Queen of Killington, winning her fifth consecutive slalom race on home soil in Vermont.

Shiffrin came out in her second run guns a-blazin' to close the gap between her and her closest rival, who led the field by two-tenths after the first run. Thanks to an aggressive push, and an agile recovery in the mid-section of the course, Shiffrin was able to best Vlhova by 0.75 seconds, after Vlhova made a significant mistake second run. Switzerland's Wendy Holdener rounded out the podium in third.

"I hope everyone enjoyed watching (the race) because that's the most show that we have," Shiffrin commented on her battle with Vlhova. "It takes someone who is not only able to do the work and to ski that way, but really does it, and takes care of the fine details. She and her team, they have what they need and they're pushing the limits, and we're trying to do the same...every race is an enormous test and it's very nerve-racking as well." 

With her 71st World Cup victory and 46th World Cup slalom victory, Shiffrin has officially tied with the legendary Swede Ingemar Stenmark's 32-year-old record for wins in a single discipline. A thrilling conclusion to a highly anticipated weekend back at the Homelight Killington World Cup—a venue and a race, that has always meant so much to Shiffrin over the course of her career. Emotions were high after securing the slalom win, with Shiffrin feeling the love from a rambunctious crowd of American fans, as well as from missed loved ones on high.

"Getting to the finish knowing I put everything I could into it, that's always a special feeling," reflected Shiffrin. "I've had a lot of incredible memories at this race over the years, and I've shared it with family and all the people I love, the people who I love the most in the world. And this year, two of them are not here anymore. So it's emotional, it's one of the more emotional ones for sure." 

Paula Moltzan

Paula Moltzan also had an excellent showing in Killington, coming into the second run full steam ahead and holding on to her position in the top 10, finishing seventh overall.

As an alumnus of the University of Vermont Catamounts, Moltzan's performance was well celebrated by a large showing of friends and family who traveled far and wide to cheer her on at her collegiate stomping grounds. For Moltzan, having her support system on the ground while she made her first big push of the season towards achieving her Olympic childhood dream was incredibly meaningful.

"I literally have 20 people here that I'm blood-related to, and my entire fiancee's family too," said Moltzan. "I've dreamed of going to the Olympics my whole life and today was maybe the first punch in my ticket, so I'm hoping I can keep building off of this so I can build steam into the Olympics this year.

Fellow American competitors Nina O'Brien, Katie Hensien, AJ Hurt completed their first run, but did not qualify for the second run of slalom. Allie Resnick, who was starting in her inaugural slalom World Cup, also started but did not qualify for the second run. Resnick's best friend and fellow Dartmouth peer Zoe Zimmermann also started in just her second World Cup, but did not finish the first run. 

The North American action continues next week, with the men's team competing in two downhills, and two super-G's in Beaver Creek through December 1-4. The women will head north to compete in speed in Lake Louise, Canada.

RESULTS
Women's Slalom – Killington World Cup

STANDINGS
Women's World Cup Overall
Women's World Cup Slalom

Follow the U.S. Alpine Ski Team:
Instagram: @usskiteam
Facebook: @usskiandsnowboard
TikTok: @usskiandsnowboard
Twitter: @usskiteam

 

 

Brennan Fifth, Diggins, Schumacher 11th In Cold Ruka Pursuit

By Tom Horrocks
November, 28 2021
Gus Schumacher
Gus Schumacher was 11th in Sunday's 15k freestyle pursuit in Ruka, Finland, Sunday. (© Modica/NordicFocus)

Rosie Brennan once again proved her early-season form, finishing fifth to lead four of her Davis U.S. Cross Country athletes into the top 30 in Sunday’s brutally cold FIS Cross Country World Cup freestyle pursuit in Ruka, Finland. 

"I felt really good, or as good as one can racing in so many layers," Brennan said. "But struggled with my tactics and confidence today. I am very happy to remain in the mix and to know my body is there but have some to gain on the mental side. It was a good first weekend for me and really gave me a good starting point. I know where I am now and where I need to go to meet my goals later in the season. I am working with a new wax technician this season to add a little more chaos into the mix, but am feeling good about our start! I know we will be dealing with some subpar snow conditions so that will be the next hurdle to tackle next week."

Jessie Diggins continued to make strides in her early season form, finishing 11th. Hailey Swirbul and Katharine Ogden each scored the season’s first World Cup points, finishing 26th and 30th respectively. Julia Kern just missed the points, finishing 31st, with Sophia Laukli in 32nd, Caitlin Patterson in 35th and Novie McCabe in 37th.

Norway’s Therese Johaug caught Saturday’s race winner, Sweden’s Friday Karlsson, just past the 5k mark of Sunday’s race as she skied to her first World Cup victory of the season. Karlsson held on for second, with Norway’s Heidi Weng out-sprinting Finland’s Krista Parmakoski and Brennan for the final podium spot. 

The women’s race was postponed until later in the afternoon due to the cold conditions, which saw more than a dozen women choosing not to start. "We had to be flexible as the race kept getting delayed and finally rescheduled for the afternoon," Brennan said. "It's always hard to warm-up, have to stop, go back home and then start over again and in the dark...I am happy I managed to deal with the punches and make the best of it."

In the men’s race, Gus Schumacher found a spark in the bitterly cold day, finishing 11th in the six-up sprint to the line in the men’s 15k pursuit. David Norris was 37th, Zanden McMullen was 40th; Hunter Wonders 45th; Ben Ogden 55th; and Luke Jager 60th.

"Honestly, it felt like it wasn’t too different than yesterday," Schumacher said of the cold temperatures, "but I rocked the full face tape and double under layers. Stayed warmer than yesterday actually. And yea, my skis were rockets, really fun to be able to use that to my advantage!"

With the Norwegians opting not to start due to the cold conditions, Russia swept the podium with Alexander Bolshunov taking the win, followed by Sergey Ustiugov in second, and Artem Maltsev in third.

The FIS Cross Country World Cup continues next week in Lillehammer, Norway.

RESULTS
Women’s 10k Pursuit 
Men’s 15k Pursuit

STANDINGS
Women’s World Cup overall
Men’s World Cup overall
Women’s World Cup distance
Men’s World Cup distance

2021-22 FIS World Cup Schedule
2022 Olympic Winter Games Schedule

Follow the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team:
Instagram: @usskiteam
Facebook: @usskiandsnowboard
TikTok: @usskiandsnowboard
Twitter: @usskiteam

 

Brennan 5th in Ruka Pursuit

Ryan Cochran-Siegle Leads Americans in Lake Louise Downhill

By Mackenzie Moran
November, 27 2021

After the disappointment of Friday's downhill cancelation in Lake Louise, the American Downhiller's got a second chance to kick out of the start gate for the first time in Saturday's downhill on Nov. 27.

In his first race back from injury, Ryan Cochran-Siegle led the charge for the American men, grabbing his first top-10 finish of the season in tenth.

Cochran-Siegle, who underwent neck surgery after a hard crash on the Hannenkahm in Kitzbuehel, Austria early on 2021, skied a smooth top half of the course, coming into the notorious C-Turn carrying plenty of speed. Unfortunately, Cochran-Siegle felt he lost a little bit of intensity on the last left-footed turn before the flatter section of course, where he scrubbed just a tad more around Claire's Corner, taking him out of contention for a higher spot in the ranks. Either way, coming off of a serious downhill injury, Cochran-Siegle was satisfied with how he handled the course.

"I'm looking to the positives and addressing what the difference was between my 10th place, which I'm pleased with, and where I was at earlier in the week," reported Cochran-Siegle after the race. "I definitely could have fought for a much better position. But it's a good start, especially in downhill for me. This is my best start to the season in downhill, but we all know we're more capable, not just myself but Bryce, Travis, Steven, all of us... I'll be trying to bring intensity tomorrow and obviously Beaver Creek."

Bryce Bennett and Travis Ganong also snagged top-30 finishes, tying for 25th overall. Steven Nyman and Erik Arvidsson finished 35th, and 37th respectively, followed by Sam Morse in 41st. Jared Goldberg had a short run, skidding out in the top section of the course and losing a ski.

"For myself, it's an okay day, but I think for the U.S., probably a little disappointing," explained Cochran-Siegle. "We don't want to be contending for 10th or 25th or whatever it is. We want to be winning and fighting for those top spots. There's still work to do, and the first race is always a little funky. So we gotta focus on what we can control and what we can bring to the table next time so we're more competitive."

On Sunday, the men's series in Lake Louise will wrap after the first super-G of the season takes place on Sunday, Nov. 28. Next, the men head down south to compete on home soil at Beaver Creek from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5. 

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021

MEN
2:15 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Super G - LIVE, Lake Louise, CAN, Streaming PeacockSki and Snowboard Live.

WOMEN
9:45 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - run 1- LIVE Killington, VT, Streaming Peacock
12:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - LIVE Killington, VT, Broadcast NBC
12:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - run 2 LIVE Killington, VT Streaming, Peacock
5:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - Same-day delayed broadcast, Killington, VT, Broadcast NBCSN

Current television broadcast and streaming schedules for all sports are available here. For more information on how to watch broadcasts and streaming, visit our full "how to watch" breakdown.

Coach Matt Christensen Left A Lasting Impact On Athletes

By Tom Kelly
November, 27 2021
Brian Curratt, Speedy, and Matt at Deer Valley Score Event in 2007

It’s easy to measure a coach’s success by medals and globes. It’s harder to evaluate the impact a coach has on the lives of athletes. But one thing’s for sure: Longtime U.S. Freestyle Ski Team aerials coach Matt Christensen was a gold medalist in each category.

Christensen, who coached the U.S. aerials team from 1998 until 2010, passed away October 31 in Hawaii, where he lived. In the time since his passing, his athletes and fellow coaches have remembered him as a friend who always stayed in touch and as a coach who had a special way of helping his athletes achieve not only their athletic dreams but to find their pathway in life.

His career with the U.S. Ski Team was bookended with a 2002 Olympic silver from Joe Pack and a 2010 Olympic silver from Jeret “Speedy” Peterson. In 2009, he was at the helm when Ryan St. Onge won the World Championship in Japan. He left the U.S. Ski Team in 2010 for an opportunity with Red Bull where he used his knowledge of acrobatics to help global athletes across a wide range of sports.

Matt Christensen

 

Canadian Athlete

A Canadian native, he grew up in Guelph, Ontario and later moved to nearby Toronto making his way to the Canadian Freestyle Team - a ski ballet national champion who turned aerialist. As an international athlete, he had 14 top-10 World Cup finishes in aerials and acro (ballet) and was 14th in aerials at the 1993 World Championships. 

Traveling the world as a Canadian athlete, he was quick to pick up friends, building what would become one of the largest Rolodexes in the sport - a network of friends and colleagues that would serve him throughout his life.

What was unique about him as an athlete was his ability to translate his initial career in ballet into aerials. “How he transformed his acrobatic awareness from ballet and kind of showed up on the aerial hill one day was pretty fascinating to me,” said world champion freestyle skier Trace Worthington, who competed at a similar time. “I'll never forget - there are only a couple of people who've really done that successfully - Matt Christensen and Richard Pierce - who became aerialists from being a good ballet skier.”

As the 1998 Olympics loomed in the foreground, he saw that he was not likely to crack the top selection for a trip with Canada to the Nagano Games. So he started to set his sights on new opportunities. And he looked south across the border to America.

 

Coming to America

That winter, Christensen did show jumping to get by. But his focus moved to coaching. He landed a job with aerials guru Nick Preston at the training pool in Lake Placid. At the same time, U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Head Coach Wayne HIlterbrand was in the market for another coach for his growing aerials team. 

“I knew that I had a pretty big need for an additional coach,” said Hilterbrand, who oversaw the entire freestyle program as well as coaching aerials. “So I offered him the job as C Team aerials coach, essentially our development team. He accepted.”

Just months after Eric Bergoust and Nikki Stone swept aerials gold at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the fledgling new coach was now hooked into the red hot U.S. aerials team. It was also a transitional period, with a generation of athletes retiring and a new wave coming on. 

Hilterbrand recalls the new thinking that Christensen brought to the team. “He had a lot of ideas that really made sense and I hadn't thought of,” he said. “They were ideas that made a pretty big difference.”

One of those ideas was greater integration of trampoline skills as a means of raising skill level. “I had used trampoline for learning tricks and then taking them to snow. Matt was trying to extend their skills on a trampoline more extensively than I was. That was huge. It really helped athletes to be able to perform better. As a young coach, he brought stuff to the table that I hadn’t really thought of and it was great.”

 

Matt Christensen with Emily Coo

 

Uncompromising Belief in Athletes

Young aerialist Emily Cook met Christensen at her first aerials World Cup in January of 1998 at Mont Tremblant. A month earlier he had competed in his final event at Tignes. “Matt was there and I think he just decided at that event like, ‘All right, I’m done.’ And the next fall he came on as our C Team coach - my coach.”

Cook saw early on that he was more than a coach. “He was a dynamic human being,” she said. “He was good at keeping in touch with people. You would always get a random text or phone call. While some of us just hunker down and move on, he wasn’t like that.”

Despite going on different pathways in life, Christensen stayed in touch. “I actually saw him three weeks ago at a Red Bull event,” said Cook. “He was just the same as he had always been.”

Over the next three seasons, Cook would grow into one of the best aerialists in the world. She was ranked sixth in the 2001 World Cup - the top American. She won the Olympic qualifying Gold Cup at Lake Placid and was soaring into the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games as a medal favorite.

But the euphoria came crashing down two weeks before the opening ceremony when she shattered her feet in a dramatic training crash in Lake Placid. She wouldn’t compete again for three years.

“Matt was a fiercely loyal coach,” said Cook, who was devastated by the injury. “He believed in me every step of the way.”

She recalls lying half asleep after the accident on the couch in a condo her father Don had rented in Lake Placid. Matt was there talking to her father. “Matt was saying to my dad, ‘Everything is going to be OK. We’re going to take care of her. She’s going to get healthy and come back better than ever.’

“But what struck me was that he had so much going on. He was preparing for a hometown Olympics. But he took the time to spend that day with my dad and myself. It was so hard for us. But he set the stage for everything that afternoon. I knew that he was the type of coach that had every bit of belief in me.”

During Cook’s comeback, Christensen was always there for her. “I always knew that he had my back,” she said. “Without that, I don’t know what those years would have looked like or what my future in the sport would look like.”

 

Just Loved Working With Athletes

“He just loved working with the athletes,” said Worthington, who retired in 1997 and was beginning his own career in broadcasting. “You could just tell they just really loved jumping for him. And he made it fun. He did a lot of things outside of just coaching. He was a guy who truly was engaged in athletes’ personal lives and cared about what they were doing.”

After two seasons as C-Team coach, Christensen stepped up to the head aerials coach position when Hilterbrand retired in 2000. As he embarked on his new role, he took the helm of a team in transition. With the development of summer training pools in both Lake Placid and Park City in the ‘90s, aerials was booming in America. And a new wave of future stars like Cook, Peterson and Pack was beginning to rise up.

“Matt Christensen was a big piece of who I was and how well I did,” said Pack, who soared to Olympic silver in front of hometown fans at Deer Valley Resort. “He managed the personalities of the men's aerials team. We didn't do things very traditionally, if you will. But we produced results. Matt was so good at making sure the athletes made it fun. And when they needed support, he did it for everybody - he didn't pick favorites.”

“He was the head coach of the aerials team when being a member meant being family,” said St. Onge. “He kept that family together while we were competing and the decade since.”

Leading into the 2006 Olympic season, Christensen organized a Navy SEALS camp with the team’s high performance director Andy Walshe. “That camp really brought us all together,” said Cook. “I mean, that was the closest team I’ve ever been on. And he was the anchor.”

It was also a period where the sport was growing. Aerials had debuted at the 1994 Lillehammer Games. The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team was one of the hottest global brands in ski sport. And the Deer Valley World Cup was becoming the marquee stop on the international tour.

“The team was getting bigger, there was more fundraising, the jump sites were getting better and there was more TV,” said Pack. Christensen saw that and pushed his teams into the national and worldwide spotlight.

Peterson, a sometimes unpredictable athlete from Boise, Idaho, was becoming the calling card for the team with his seemingly crazy Hurricane - a quintuple-twisting triple flip that carried a high degree of difficulty and a ton of risk. Unlike typical triple flips that featured single twists on two flips plus one double, the Hurricane included a single twisting flip coming in and going out, but sandwiched a triple twist on a flip in between. It was amazing to watch!

“Matt and Speedy, they were like brothers,” said Luke Bodensteiner, who was head of athletics during Christensen’s tenure. “That was one of the tightest coaching relationships I've ever experienced. He'd been through all of Speedy’s roller coaster rides. But he believed in Speedy so much. They worked one-on-one for so long. They were absolutely best friends.”

“Matt was really good at helping keep Speedy between the lines,” said Jeff Wintersteen, a former athlete who became head freestyle coach in 2000.

“Speedy and I were both products of Matt's coaching,” said St. Onge. “I can't think of two more different and difficult athletes to coach. Speedy was a force of nature, a hurricane, and Matt expertly predicted where he was headed and cleared the way for him to land. I know Speedy would agree, there was no other person in the world that could have coached him better.”

Going into the 2006 Olympics in Torino, NBC drew a sharp focus on Peterson. During the final week of the Games, all eyes were on the tiny village of Sauze d'Oulx for the men’s aerials finals. After the first round, he stood third with the top three each throwing full-double full-full - a pretty traditional opening round jump.

That set the stage for Speedy. He and Christensen talked between jumps and Speedy opted to go big, shooting for gold with the Hurricane. The crowd was mesmerized as Peterson started spinning. He nearly stuck the landing, but ever so delicately touched a hand to the snow behind him. The judges saw it, dropping him down to what would become seventh place.

“We were struggling with speeds during that whole comp,” said Wintersteen. Continually falling snow forced athletes to change their start spots. “Speedy was just a little bit slow. And when you're slow, he had to pull in for that second flip. If you can stretch down to the landing, it's easier to stick it. When he had to pull just a little bit, it's hard to keep the momentum from going back, and that's why he touched.” 

 

Teammates Carry Speedy After DV Record Score Win

 

The Night the Sport Will Never Forget

It was a cold night in Deer Valley as thousands of fans screamed in celebration. Up on the knoll, Christensen stood on the edge as Peterson launched off the kicker.

With the triple twist in the middle of the Hurricane, Speedy had virtually no visibility of the ground at any time. As he launched skyward, Christensen began to yell. The coach’s commands were the athlete’s lifeline, as Christensen called him through his four seconds to fame.

January 11, 2007 was a night freestyle will never forget. 268.70 - a record two-jump aerials score that may never be eclipsed.

“With Speedy, it was always like, ‘I want to go for it,’” recalled Wintersteen. “Matt was really good with Speedy. He knew when to press the gas with him and when he had to tap the brakes.”

After the 2006 Olympics, Christensen looked to shore up his staff. He approached longtime athlete Brian ‘Curdog’ Currutt, who had retired in 2003. Curdog couldn’t resist.

“Speedy threw a lot of caution to the wind,” said Currutt. “He would say, ‘I’m just doing it. It doesn’t matter. This is MY jump! And Matt always encouraged that, which I think was awesome. That’s one of the things that brought out the best in Speedy. Matt was like, ‘all right, let’s go for this.’”

For Christensen, and Peterson, it was a special night. “It was just kind of Speedy,” said Wintersteen. “It was a hill we're used to. And more importantly, I think Speedy just was a little bit bigger at Deer Valley. He just had a little bit more confidence. He felt a little bit more invincible. When Speedy was feelin’ it, well, it was hard to say ‘no, let’s just back off a bit,’” said Wintersteen. There was no backing off that night.

As teammates swarmed Peterson in the finish, Christensen put on his own show, literally flying off the knoll, ski boots postholing as he sprinted down the landing hill, relishing every second of that special night as teammates hoisted Speedy to their shoulders.

 

Matt Christensen with 2010 Olympic Team

 

The Culmination

A decade into his career as head aerials coach, Christensen brought a strong team of aerialists into the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. 

“Vancouver was kind of the culmination of everything,” said Currutt. “We knew things were going to be different after that.”

After the first jump, Peterson stood fifth with St. Onge eighth. Canadian home snow favorite Kyle Nissen held a commanding lead. But the stage was set to unleash the Hurricane one more time.

There was little discussion between Christensen and Peterson. It was go big or go home. Speedy hit the jump and soared higher than ever. Christensen, ever his co-pilot, screamed at the top of his lungs as Speedy twisted and rotated, sticking the landing and pumping his fist.

“We do a subjective sport,” said Currutt. “But I think Matt in his mind thought that Speedy had won - and we all did. But the silver was just fine too, you know? That silver was kind of a culmination of everything that Matt did.”

To Christensen, the Olympic medal was more than an athletic accomplishment. 

“With the road Speedy was on and everything that those guys had been through over the years as friends and as coach-athlete relationship, the demons that Speedy had tried to work to overcome - Matt was there the whole way,” said Currutt. “So for Speedy to win that, that medal, that was everything for Matt.” 

The silver medal was the 21st for U.S. Ski & Snowboard at Vancouver, sealing its unprecedented run to become best in the world.

 

A Friend Forever

In the social media posts that have been shared and in conversations with mutual friends from the past since his passing, one message has remained vividly clear. Matt stayed in touch.

Wintersteen heard from longtime Chinese coach Li Yang, a colleague from his past. “He told me, ‘Yah, Matt and I just talked.’” 

Stone, who won Olympic gold in 1998, only crossed paths with Christensen as a coach for a few years. Her social media post summed up what others were saying. “He was an incredibly thoughtful person. Every so often, I would find a package in my mailbox filled with these Wunderbars. Matt knew they were my favorite so every so often when he went to Canada (they are only sold there), he’d send me some. Just because...” 

Christensen was Kate Reed Currutt’s coach for her entire World Cup career, from her debut in 2000 at Deer Valley through her World Cup podiums in Ruka and Mt. Tremblant and to two World Championships. She wrote:

“As I sift through “grief quotes” a common theme is: grief does not exist without love. And with that, Matt was loved by so many. So many fun times around the world (literally). ALWAYS a competition around who would get upgraded on the flights, who would make 1K first. I can say that a number of times I did beat him in the above, however if it were a chicken wing eating contest…I gracefully bowed out of that one. We will miss you, Matt. The world is a little less bright and sarcastic.”

St. Onge laughed about all the texts he would receive. “The messages would come at a random hour of the night and often months since any of us have reached out to each other,” he said. The messages showcased Christensen’s mastery of sarcasm and humor, some of them pushing the envelope just a bit. “I'm sure that everyone had side splitting laughter for about a minute as messages were passed back and forth between Matt and the rest of the Team.”

 

Farewell

In August 2011 friends and teammates gathered in Boise to remember Speedy. It was a profoundly sad time for the freestyle community. For Christensen, it was like losing a brother. Maybe even deeper.

As hundreds gathered, Matt clutched a piece of paper on which he had written words about his friend. But the grief was overwhelming. Cook reached out to console him, taking the note from his hand, offering to convey his words to the crowd.

Christensen wrote about Speedy as more than an athlete. Even more than a friend. They shared a great comfort level. For a decade, Matt Christensen had been so much more than a coach in the troubled life of an athlete that featured the highest of highs and lowest of lows. He balanced an aerials team of diverse personalities that shared the common bond of competing in a sport that put them constantly on the edge of life and death.

“We shared countless wonderful times together,” Christensen wrote. “It didn’t matter if it was celebrating a podium or a win at the bottom of an air site or if we were sitting on a plane for 14 hours going someplace we dreaded (China comes to mind) or marching at the Opening Ceremony. Speedy and I could find fun in just about anything,” he wrote.

A tear welled up in Cook’s eye as she read along, ever mindful of her coach’s emotions.

“I can tell all of you Speedy’s competitive history, results, world records, scores, where and what events he competed his signature Hurricane, where he won, etc. There are some things I can’t tell you. I cannot tell you all of the nice things he has done for his teammates, coaches, friends, and incredibly, the nice and thoughtful things he did for people he didn’t even know. I can honestly say that there are only a few people who have walked into my life and changed it forever and Speedy Peterson was one of them. I miss him so much.”

Ten years after Speedy’s passing, friends and teammates are reading those words from the Speedy Foundation yet another time. Once again, they are mourning the loss of a friend. And they remember not so much the statistics, the wins, the losses, the athletic innovation that he brought to the sport in 12 years with the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team or his 11 years with Red Bull. 

What they remember is the kindness of Matt Christensen that touched so many.

Nikki Stone summed it up well: “I wish I could tell Matt how special he was. In honor of Matt, please do something kind and unexpected for a friend today. I’m sure he’d love to know this kindness was being forwarded on his behalf.” 

“Matt had a big job pushing me up the hill every day,” said St. Onge in retrospect. “Most of my career I felt like if I wasn't progressing then I was failing. Matt did everything in his power to push hard with me to search for the next improvement. But it was Matt's unending belief in his athletes that helped me to realize that most of the time, you're already good enough.”

 

Remembering Matt Christensen

A private celebration of Matt’s life will be held at the Granite Club in Toronto on November 30. Given limited space, interested attendees are asked to RSVP to matthewgraniteclub@gmail.com by November 22. Donations in Matt’s memory may be made to the Ian Walsh Menehune Mayhem Foundation, a youth-related cause in Hawaii that was important to Matt, through GoFundMe.

 

Wind, Weather Cancel HomeLight Killington Cup Giant Slalom

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
November, 27 2021

Due to inclement weather, the women's giant slalom at the Homelight Killington World Cup on Saturday, Nov. 27. has been canceled. Killington Resort reported 19 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours.

Heavy snow and high winds held off just long enough for the first nine racers to push out of the gate before the jury called an official cancelation. Among the athletes able to take their first run was Olympic champion, Mikaela Shiffrin, along with other top competitors on the women's giant slalom circuit – Slovakia's Petra Vlohva, France's Tessa Worley, Austria's Ramona Seibenhofer, Switzerland's Lara Gut Behrami, and Michelle Gisin, and Italy's Marta Bassino, Federica Brignone, and Sofia Goggia.

Weather, visibility, and some issues with timing led to an extended course hold, and the race never restarted.

Despite adverse conditions and low visibility, Shiffrin commented that the course itself held up well, much better than anticipated by a majority of the athletes. Before the official race cancelation, her plan was to come into the second run with aggression, and put on a good show for the home crowd. Tune into her full interview with NBC Sports above.

Sunday's slalom first run is scheduled for a 9:45 a.m. start.

HOW TO WATCH 

All times EST

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021
9:45 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - run 1- LIVE, Killington, VT, Streaming Peacock
12:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - LIVE, Killington, VT, Broadcast NBC
12:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - run 2 LIVE, Killington, VT Streaming, Peacock
5:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - Same-day delayed broadcast, Killington, VT, Broadcast NBCSN

Current television broadcast and streaming schedules for all sports are available here

Sport-specific broadcast and streaming schedules are available below:

Broadcast and streaming are updated on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard website throughout the season.

 

Brennan Sixth in Dark, Cold Ruka Classic

By Tom Horrocks
November, 27 2021
Rosie Brennan
Rosie Brennan finished sixth in Saturday's 10k classic on a cold day in Ruka, Finland. (© Thibaut/NordicFocus)

Racing under the late afternoon darkness, on cold, hard snow, Rosie Brennan put her head down, settled into a fast pace, and led the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team with a sixth-place finish in the women’s FIS World Cup 10k classic in Ruka, Finland, Saturday.

Starting bib 38, Brennan settled into a comfortable pace and flirted with the podium at each interval, tickling fourth place at the 3.1k, 5k, and 6.1k marks. However, Sweden’s Frida Karlsson, starting bib 52, lit up the dark sky to earn her second World Cup victory, and in the process, relegated the legendary Norwegian Therese Johaug into second place. Germany’s Katharina Hennig was third.

"We had a solid morning of worrying about what layers to wear and how dark it was going to be," Brennan said. "All worked out in the end and I stayed warm out there and only had a few moments where it was truly too dark to see where I was going. I had really good skis and tried to just dig in and see where my body was at. I didn't quite have the extra push I needed in the end but stayed consistent and strong to hold on for a good result. I am really happy to be in the mix and to have a strong group to go chasing with tomorrow."

Among the other eight Americans, Jessie Diggins was 18th; Katharine Ogden 38th; Hailey Swirbul 41st; Caitlin Patterson 43rd; Novie McCabe made her World Cup debut finishing 53rd; Julia Kern was 55th, and Sophia Laukli was 61st.

"It was pretty good!" McCabe said of the World Cup debut. "For sure a bit overwhelming at times but luckily I always have great teammates around to point me in the right direction and I’m excited for tomorrow and the next few weekends over here!"

In the 15k classic men’s race, Gus Schumacher was the top Davis U.S. Cross Country Team finisher, just missing the points in 32nd after rebounding from a slow start. Schumacher hit the 1.1k mark of the 15k race in 59th position. At the 5k mark, he moved up to 29th, and then 24th just past the midway point of the race. 

“I tend to do better when I hold it in at the start and keep my lap times more consistent, and that felt like it worked for me today,” Schumacher said. “Generally, I felt like I had energy but didn’t quite have the shape to push super hard yet. Excited for tomorrow, and looking forward to having some higher gears.”

Finland’s Iivo Niskanen won, followed by Russia’s Alexey Chervotkin in second and Alexander Bolshunov in third. David Norris was 51st; Zanden McMullen finished 55th in his World Cup debut; Luke Jager was 60th; Ben Ogden 62nd; and Hunter Wonders in 67th.

"My performance wasn’t as I would have hoped dealing with ‘first race of the season sluggishness’ and some side cramps on the last lap," McMullen said of his inaugural World Cup experience. "But nonetheless it was very cool racing right next to skiers I’ve watched on TV since I was in middle school - surreal experience to say the least. I even laughed a little on the very first downhill of the race out of awe being in a World Cup race! Overall today only made me more pumped for tomorrow knowing I have more in me!"

Racing concludes Sunday in Ruka with a 10k women’s freestyle pursuit and a 15k men’s freestyle pursuit.

RESULTS
Women’s 10k Classic 
Men’s 15k Classic

STANDINGS
Women’s World Cup overall
Men’s World Cup overall
Women’s World Cup distance
Men’s World Cup distance

FIS Cross Country World Cup
Ruka, Finland
Schedule/U.S. Starters

Sunday, Nov. 28
Men’s 15k freestyle pursuit

  • Gus Schumacher
  • Hunter Wonders
  • Zanden McMullen
  • Ben Ogden
  • David Norris
  • Luke Jager

Women’s 10k freestyle pursuit

  • Jessie Diggins
  • Rosie Brennan
  • Hailey Swirbul
  • Katharine Ogden
  • Sophia Laukli
  • Julia Kern
  • Novie McCabe
  • Caitlin Patterson

HOW TO WATCH 
All times EDT
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021
4:20 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Women’s 10k Pursuit - LIVE,  Ruka, FIN, Streaming Peacock, Ski and Snowboard Live
6:30 a.m. FIS Cross Country World Cup Men’s 15k Pursuit - LIVE,  Ruka, FIN, Streaming Peacock, Ski and Snowboard Live

Current television broadcast and streaming schedules for all sports are available here

Sport-specific broadcast and streaming schedules are available below:

Broadcast and streaming are updated on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard website throughout the season.

2021-22 FIS World Cup Schedule
2022 Olympic Winter Games Schedule

Follow the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team:
Instagram: @usskiteam
Facebook: @usskiandsnowboard
TikTok: @usskiandsnowboard
Twitter: @usskiteam

 

Men's Downhill in Lake Louise Canceled

By Mackenzie Moran
November, 26 2021
Steve Nyman during men's downhill training in Lake Louise, 2019.
Steve Nyman during men's downhill training in Lake Louise, 2019.

Heavy snowfall last night and throughout the day in Lake Louise has caused the jury and local organizing committee to cancel the men's downhill scheduled for Friday, Nov. 26. The downhill will be rescheduled for a future date, yet to be determined.

There's still plenty of opportunities to satiate the racing bug this holiday weekend. As of Friday, Saturday's downhill and Sunday's super-G in Lake Louise are planned to run as scheduled. The women's field will compete in giant slalom and slalom events on Saturday and Sunday this weekend at the Homelight Killington Cup. 

HOW TO WATCH
All times EST

Saturday, Nov. 27
10:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Giant Slalom - run 1 LIVE, Killington, VT, Streaming Peacock
1:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Giant Slalom - run 2 LIVE, Killington, VT, Streaming Peacock
2:15 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Downhill - LIVE, Lake Louise, CAN, Streaming PeacockSki, and Snowboard Live
3:00 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Giant Slalom - same-day broadcast Killington, VT, Broadcast NBC

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021
9:45 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - run 1- LIVE Killington, VT, Streaming Peacock
2:15 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Super G - LIVE, Lake Louise, CAN, Streaming PeacockSki and Snowboard Live
12:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - LIVE Killington, VT, Broadcast NBC
12:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - run 2 LIVE Killington, VT Streaming, Peacock
5:30 p.m. FIS Alpine World Cup HomeLight Killington Cup Women's Slalom - Same-day delayed broadcast, Killington, VT, Broadcast NBCSN

Current television broadcast and streaming schedules for all sports are available here. For more information on how to watch broadcasts and streaming, visit our full "how to watch" breakdown.