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Team USA on Top at Whistler Cup

By Megan Harrod
April, 17 2018
U16 Team USA Athletes at Whistler Cup
U16 Team USA athletes are golden at the 2018 Whistler Cup.

The United States sent six top Western Region U16 and 12 U14 athletes to this year’s Whistler Cup April 12-15, 2018, where first-year U16 athlete Ryder Sarchett (Ketchum, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) led the way for Team USA, snagging first in the giant slalom and second in super-G. Additionally, Team USA emerged victorious in the mixed gender team event – a first for the nation at the Whistler Cup.

Whistler Cup is the only FIS-sanctioned event of its kind in North America, enabling U16s to see how they stack up against the best in the world in their age group. Acting as a sort of Who’s Who of international skiing, U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes have enjoyed great success at the event in the past. Olympic champions Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.), Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.) and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, Calif.) have competed at Whistler Cup in past years.

Team USA returned to the Whistler Cup last season after a brief hiatus from the event. When the FIS age changed from 15 to 16 years old, U.S. Ski & Snowboard acknowledged the importance of elevating the quality and intensity of the U16 program. With the ability to compete on a world stage, these athletes get a glimpse into the depth that exists, further preparing them as they develop into FIS-level athletes.

Ryder Sarchett competes in the super-G.

Ryder Sarchett competes in the super-G at Whistler Cup (Jon Hair, Coast Photo).

The renewed focus on and commitment to exposing U16s to international competition is paying off. Sarchett snagged two podiums and the highlight of the event was Team USA coming out on top in the mixed gender team event over Switzerland in the big final, with France third and Canada fourth. In total, Team USA went home with 11 top 15 individual results. The U14 athletes also enjoyed success, taking home 10 individual top 10 performances, highlighted by Jessica Blackburn's (Ketchum, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) victory in the slalom by over 3.5 seconds. 

We returned to Whistler Cup last year with our first-year U16 athletes to provide initial international exposure as they develop toward the FIS-level,” noted alpine development director Chip Knight. “It’s a well-organized event with high-level competition that is a highlight for everyone who attends. Congratulations to Ryder Sarchett and Team USA for their outstanding results! We will look to build on them in the junior ranks during the years to come.

In the overall Whistler Cup nation standings, Switzerland scored its second consecutive win, with Team USA taking second and Canada in third. 

Name, Hometown; Club (Birthdate)
Justin Bigatel, Park City, UT; Park City Ski & Snowboard (4/29/2003)
Mary Bocock, Salt Lake City, UT; Rowmark Ski Academy (10/7/2003)
Aidan Robin, Stowe, VT; Burke Mountain Academy (4/2/2003)
Dasha Romanov, Thorton, CO; Loveland Ski Club (5/3/2003)
Ryder Sarchett, Ketchum, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (7/28/2003)
Isabelle Washburn, Steamboat, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (1/7/2003)

Coaching Staff:
Ben Brown, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
Kathy Okoniewski, Eastern Youth Development Coach
Gunner Sorenson, Loveland Ski Club
Angela Worrell, Rocky Central Youth Development Coach

Name, Hometown; Club (Birthdate)
Jack Abuhaidar, Park City, UT; Rowmark Ski Academy (2/13/2004)
Kacey Benjaminson, Tahoe City, CA; Squaw Valley Ski Team (8/17/2004)
Jessica Blackburn, Ketchum, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (4/9/2004)
Levi Brown, Lake Oswego, OR; Mt. Hood Academy (2/4/2004)
Dillon Bush, Park City, UT; Park City Ski Team (6/13/2004)
Paige Dehard, Hailey, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (4/25/2005)
Finnigan Donley, Anchorage, AK; Alyeska Ski Club (2/28/2005)
Annaliese Frohlich, Mercer Island, WA; Crystal Mountain Ski Club (11/14/2004)
Nils Galloway, Snoqualmie, WA; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (9/8/2004)
Saba Grossman, Sun Valley, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (5/24/2004)
Colin Hanna, Portland, OR; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (12/15/2004)
Logan Lindstrom, Sun Valley, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (4/9/2004)

Coaching Staff:
Jim Hudson, Squaw Valley Ski Team
Karen Lundegren, Mt. Hood Academy
Troy Price, Rowmark Ski Academy
James Tacktus, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation

Complete results from Whistler Cup are available here.

American Downhiller: Bode-Style

By Megan Harrod
April, 13 2018
Bode Miller and teammates pose for a picture after the Sochi Olympic Games.
Olympic bronze medalist Bode Miller and teammates Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Andrew Weibrecht pose with their Sochi Olympic Games' medals in 2014 (Alexis Boichard, Getty Images).

After keeping fans wondering for nearly two years, Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) officially announced his retirement in November 2017. For his fans and the ski racing community as a whole, it was a sad day. With two overall FIS Ski World Cup globes, six World Cup discipline titles, six Olympic medals, five World championship medals, 33 World Cup wins, and an unorthodox, renegade, "Bode-Style" - he was a rockstar in the world of ski racing. 

Often misunderstood, Miller didn't race for the win. Instead, he wanted to ski his best and do it his way. “Winning is not the only thing I was focused on," reflected Miller. "I think that’s confusing for a lot of people, except for that when you look at your own life you’re not solely driven by one thing, you’re driven by a lot of things.”

Having worked as an NBC commentator alongside Dan Hicks at the PyeongChang Olympic Games, Miller continues to be a strong voice in the ski racing community. In an interview with Reuter's in early January, Miller commented on the upcoming Olympics, pointing out 2017 and 2018 Overall winner Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.) specifically, noting, "I think she’s maybe the best ski racer I’ve ever seen, male or female. She’s so balanced, dynamic, intense and focused, so for me, I think she’s got a chance in any event she skis in."

Check out the full American Downhiller: Episode 6, by Ski Racing Media

The Coach

By Tom Kelly
April, 13 2018
Jimmie Heuga and Bob Beattie
Jimmie Heuga (left) and Bob Beattie at the FIS Ski World Cup in Beaver Creek in 2006. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

It was a chaotic scene in the finish area of Axamer Lizum outside of Innsbruck, Austria. Two 20-year-old men stood locked in an embrace. One was this clean-cut young man from Stowe, Vermont wearing a stocking cap, the other a powerful looking Basque from Lake Tahoe, California.

Between them stood their coach. The two athletes looked stunned after their come-from-behind Olympic medals on the final day of the 1964 Olympic Winter Games. Their coach carried the broadest smile - a bit of relief but more a deeper understanding and intense pride in what that moment would represent in the history of the U.S. Ski Team.

They simply called him Coach or Beats. An icon of the sport of alpine ski racing and one of its most passionate pioneers, Bob Beattie passed away last week at the age of 85. That moment on February 8, 1964, when Vermonter Billy Kidd won silver and teammate Jimmie Heuga took bronze was a seminal moment in a topsy-turvy Olympics where Beattie’s Vince Lombardi-like leadership style came full circle to meet up with success.

“I had a hell of a team in Innsbruck,” said Beattie. “Of the four guys in slalom, any of them could have won! They were that good - Kidd, Heuga, Werner, Ferries.”

The symbolic nature of that day 54 years ago still resonates in the sport decades later. It was literally the birth of the U.S. Ski Team we know today, founded by a brash young coach from New Hampshire who just happened to stumble into ski racing. But like everything in his life, he took it on with fervor.

Life was a battle for Bob Beattie. While he had his detractors, he blazed new territory every day of his life - pioneering a way for futures stars like Phil Mahre, Picabo Street, Julia Mancuso, Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin.

He generated excitement at every turn and brought the sport of alpine ski racing to television. His voiceover with Frank Gifford of Franz Klammer’s legendary 1967 downhill gold at Innsbruck was a singular moment that every skier of that generation will never forget.

Beattie often credited NFL football coach Vince Lombardi as one of his most notable role models. "It was his strong will that made him successful - 'This is the way it is and the way it is going to be,'" said Beattie last summer while reminiscing about his own career. "He was sensational. He’s what made it work. I still feel strongly about that. I don’t know if I accomplished that, but I tried."

Such was Beattie’s style. Whether it was battling Austrian ski officials over race seeding in that historic 1964 season or taking on a community to find a better way for 1,800 young Aspen kids to get involved in the sport, Beattie did it with fervor and passion. He remained true to his principles and never stopped pounding the table to make things better for little kids who found joy in the sport or veteran athletes who needed support to achieve their goals. Fear was not in his vocabulary. He would take on anyone or any organization to give his athletes a fair shake.

He wasn’t daunted by roadblocks to new ideas. His vision of a global series of ski races resulted in the birth of the World Cup in 1967. Today, nearly every sport has a global tour. Ski racing was one of the first. Today we watch ski racing on our phones. Bob Beattie got it on television. Every winter in Aspen, thousands of new kids get on skis. Bob Beattie started that. Each season at resorts across America, tens of thousands run racing gates in NASTAR. Bob Beattie popularized that.

And it all stemmed from that day in Innsbruck in 1964. A year of medal promises had come to a close with the first U.S. men’s ski racing medals in Olympic history.

“Billy Kidd and Jimmy Heuga did not fall down the mountain. On the second run over a more open course, they skied better than any Americans had before,” wrote the legendary Dan Jenkins in Sports Illustrated in his cover story In and Out of a Jam. When the disbelieving throngs stared up at the IBM scoreboard, they saw that Kidd, a whirling figure in cap and goggles, and the bare-headed Heuga had clocked the second and third fastest times overall—and the U.S. had its first men's medals ever … and celebrate the Americans did when Bob Beattie skied down from the top of the run, shouting, waving his poles, literally aflame with pride and joy—was the fact that Kidd finished third in the unofficial alpine combined standings. No American had ever done that, either.”

When Beattie reflected on what success meant, he always came back to focusing on the concept of team. "Winning was about discipline and physical conditioning," said Beattie. "It was about team, team, team - you have to have a team."

If there was one favorite within that team for Beattie it was Buddy Werner from the Colorado cowboy town of Steamboat Springs. Buddy became the first American to win the fabled Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria in 1959. He would die in an avalanche on the slopes of Tre Fleur at St. Moritz, Switzerland just two months later.

Last summer Beattie spent a day thinking back on stories of his career. It seemed like every other one was about Buddy. Despite his acclaim and Hahnenkamm glory, Buddy never won an Olympic medal. It was his last race that day in Axamer Lizum. He finished eighth - his best career Olympic finish.

As Beattie talked about the celebration that day, including his own harried descent to the finish to greet his team, he kept coming back to Buddy. He was the guy everyone expected to be on the medals stand. But this was about a team. And Buddy was the first to greet his teammates and to celebrate their success - the team’s success.

“We made the expectations, recalled Beattie. “Along the way, we were our best friend and worst enemy. But we believed in it. And we achieved it. It was not a matter of individual success, but that of our team.”

Meet Mo Lebel: 2018 U.S. National Downhill Champion

By Megan Harrod
April, 11 2018
2018 U.S. National Downhill Champion
2018 National Downhill Champion Maureen Lebel at the American Downhiller camp in Mammoth Mountain, California (Gabbi Hall, Ski Racing Media).

Do you know Maureen "Mo" Lebel (Truckee, Calif.), of U.S. Ski & Snowboard's National Training Group? If not, it's time to get to know her. A next generation downhiller and California native hailing from a family of skiers, Lebel grew up skiing on the Sugar Bowl Ski Team and later made the move to Mammoth Mountain Ski Team. Though she has struggled with injury and equipment issues, she came out victorious at season's end, and was crowned 2018 U.S. National Downhill Champion at Copper Mountain, Colorado. 

Find out more about the challenges this 19-year-old downhill national champion has overcome in Ski Racing's article Mo' Skiing, Mo' Speed

Ligety Inspires Kids at Solitude Mountain

By Courtney Harkins
April, 9 2018
Ted Ligety
Ted Ligety smiles with kids at Solitude Mountain.

As a part of the National Winter Sports Education Foundation and the YMCA of Northern Utah, Olympic champion Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) spent the day at Utah's Solitude Mountain teaching young kids how to ski.

The event marked the end of a six-week program called “Y I Ski,” which is all about getting local kids interested in outdoor sports, while improving their health and fitness and making new friends. The program allows for children aged 7-17 to get ski lessons, rentals and lift tickets a reasonable cost. 

“It’s so cool to be able to watch these kids evolve on the slopes,” Ligety told Utah’s KSL TV. “A lot of these kids, it’s their second year and to see how much better they’ve gotten over the year and how much fun they’re having. It’s so awesome. I grew up skiing my whole life and it’s so cool to be able to share that experience with these young kids.”

Read more about the Y I Ski program and Ted Ligety's appearance at Solitude Mountain via KSL TV.


Kelly Brush Foundation and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Create New Safety Consultant Position

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 9 2018
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Logo

BURLINGTON, Vt. (April 9, 2018) – The Kelly Brush Foundation and U.S. Ski & Snowboard have teamed up to create a new Alpine Competition and Safety Consultant position to serve as a national resource regarding issues of safety in alpine ski racing. The Alpine Competition and Safety Consultant will provide guidance and share best-practices that ski clubs can implement to improve safety for athletes as they compete and train.  

The Kelly Brush Foundation and U.S. Ski & Snowboard have retained Paul Van Slyke of Lake Placid to be the first Alpine Competition and Safety Consultant. He will be a resource for both organizations, specifically providing guidance to the Kelly Brush Foundation and to U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s alpine community. Van Slyke has more than 30 years experience in alpine sport as an event organizer, program director, coach and official. He presently serves as an International Ski Federation (FIS) technical delegate (TD) commissioner representing U.S. Ski & Snowboard with the FIS. Van Slyke has served as a competition jury member at competitions ranging from Olympic Winter Games, World Cups, and Nor Am Cups to grassroots alpine racing competitions in New York and Vermont.

The new role of Alpine Competition and Safety Consultant will help produce educational resources and provide guidance on safety and venue improvement practices. The Kelly Brush Foundation and U.S. Ski & Snowboard are committed to supporting programs, coaches, and stakeholders at all levels of the sport with the resources they need to provide elite venues for their athletes. The position is jointly funded by U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the Kelly Brush Foundation with help from a grant by the Killington World Cup Committee.

“This partnership will allow us to address some of the concerns we hear from programs and venues around the country,” said Zeke Davisson, Executive Director of the Kelly Brush Foundation. “Together with U.S. Ski & Snowboard we will be able to provide the resources to programs, coaches, officials, volunteers, parents, and racers at all levels of alpine ski racing more effectively than either organization could do alone.”

The Kelly Brush Foundation was founded after Kelly Brush suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury while ski racing. The foundation is committed to protecting the next generation of skiers from experiencing avoidable injuries. The Kelly Brush Foundation provides grant assistance to ski racing venues in order to buy B-netting and other safety equipment as well as undertake venue safety improvement measures such as trail widening.

Tiger Shaw, president and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, was a major advocate for the new position and helped to develop the responsibilities of the alpine competition and safety consultant within the alpine community.

“We are proud to work with the Kelly Brush Foundation to create the alpine competition and safety consultant position,” said Shaw. “Paul will be a resource for venues around the country, helping to drive the message that while our sports are inherently dangerous, we can still take steps to minimize risk while creating the best possible environment for our athletes to succeed.”

“This is an outstanding opportunity for our sport to reach a deeper audience in educating about alpine safety,” said Van Slyke. “This relationship will allow us to engage programs, organizers, coaches and resorts as a resource to provide education and awareness about best practices in alpine safety.”

About Kelly Brush Foundation
The Kelly Brush Foundation is a dynamic and growing Burlington, Vermont-based non-profit inspiring and empowering people with spinal cord injuries to be active and working closely with the alpine ski racing community to improve safety. The Kelly Brush Foundation was founded in 2006 by Kelly and her family after Kelly sustained a spinal cord injury while racing in an NCAA alpine ski race.

About U.S. Ski & Snowboard
U.S. Ski & Snowboard is the Olympic sports organization based in Park City, Utah, providing leadership and direction for elite athletes competing at the highest level worldwide and for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders in the USA, encouraging and supporting all its athletes in achieving excellence wherever they train and compete. By empowering national teams, clubs, coaches, parents, officials, volunteers and fans, U.S. Ski & Snowboard is committed to the progression of its sports, athlete success and the value of team. One of the oldest and most established sports organizations worldwide, directly tracing its roots back to 1905, U.S. Ski & Snowboard receives no direct government support, operating solely through private donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to fund athletic programs that directly assist athletes in reaching their dreams.

Volunteer Applications Now Being Accepted for 2019 World Championships

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 6 2018
Volunteer Applications Now Being Accepted for 2019 World Championships

Applications are now being accepted for more than 600 volunteer positions as Utah prepares to host the 2019 FIS Freestyle, Snowboarding and Freeski World Championships, Feb. 1-10, 2019.

Volunteers for the 2019 World Championships will enjoy a front row seat to all the action and have the pleasure of welcoming more than 1,300 athletes and teams from 36 countries. In addition, volunteers will be rewarded with lift ticket vouchers from the host venues  - Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain and Solitude Mountain Resort. They will also receive official event uniforms and meals during volunteer shifts. A variety of volunteer positions are available, including on-mountain and off-mountain opportunities.

“A strong, dedicated group of volunteers are key to successfully executing this world class event, and showcasing Utah’s Olympic and winter action sports legacy,” said Calum Clark, Chief of Systems and Operations for U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

Volunteers are asked for a minimum commitment of four, eight-hour shifts from January 12 – February 11, 2019 and are primarily based at the three host venues. A minimal number of positions are also available at the Salt Lake City International Airport, Park City Welcome Center and in the town of Park City.

The 2019 FIS World Championships will feature more than 25 different medal events across eight sports, making it the largest winter sports event Utah has hosted since the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain’s history of hosting World Cup events combined with Utah’s rich Olympic legacy and support of sport played a large role in securing the bid for Worlds back in 2014. Solitude Mountain Resort was added to the venue line up in August 2016. All three resorts have successfully hosted test events, including snowboardcross and skicross events at Solitude as part of the 2017 Toyota U.S. Grand Prix.

For the 2019 World Championships, moguls and aerials events are scheduled to take place at Deer Valley Resort. Park City Mountain will host halfpipe, slopestyle and big air competitions and Solitude Mountain Resort will host snowboardcross and skicross.

To apply as a volunteer for the 2019 World Championships, please visit the 2019 World Championships website:

Founder of U.S. Ski Team Bob Beattie Passes

By Tom Kelly
April, 2 2018
Bob Beattie
Bob Beattie, center, with Billy Kidd (left) and Jimmie Heuga at the 1964 Olympic Winter Games.

Bob BeattieAn icon of the sport of alpine ski racing and one of its most passionate pioneers, Bob Beattie passed away Sunday (April 1, 2018) with his family in Fruita, Colorado. Beattie, 85, was the founding coach of the U.S. Ski Team and one of the originators of the Alpine Ski World Cup. He was a driving force for ski racing his entire life and among sport leaders who built alpine ski racing into one of the pillar events at the Olympic Winter Games. Beattie, known often as 'Beats' or simply “Coach,” became well known as a commentator for ABC Sports and ESPN, working for ABC at four Olympic Winter Games.

Beattie, who moved to Aspen, Colo. in 1970 and lived for many years in nearby Woody Creek, was born in Manchester, N.H. January 24, 1933, later attending Middlebury College in Vermont where he was a multisport athlete. He was named acting ski coach for Middlebury after graduation in 1955, standing in for coach Bobo Sheehan who went on to coach the U.S. Ski Team for the 1956 Olympics. Beattie took his Middlebury team to the NCAA Championships at Winter Park, Colo. finishing third and attracting the attention of other college programs.

In 1957 he became the head ski coach at the University of Colorado, leading the Buffs to NCAA titles in 1959 and 1960. In 1961 the National Ski Association named Beattie as its first national team coach. He embraced that role, providing the formative direction to organize the first true national team with heavy promotion leading up to the 1964 Olympics at Innsbruck. The USA won an unprecedented four alpine medals including silver and bronze by the late Jean Saubert, as well as the first men's alpine medals in Olympic history for the USA with Billy Kidd taking silver in slalom and the late Jimmie Heuga bronze.

Beattie often credited NFL football coach Vince Lombardi as one of his most notable role models. "It was his strong will that made him successful - 'This is the way it is and the way it is going to be,'" said Beattie last summer while reminiscing about his own career. "He was sensational. He’s what made it work. I still feel strongly about that. I don’t know if I accomplished that, but I tried."

Among the heroes of the sport in that era was Steamboat Springs, Colo. native Buddy Werner, who became the first American to win the fabled Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria in 1959. Recognizing not just his athletic prowess but also his leadership skills, Beattie recruited Werner to ski for him at Colorado and the two became close friends. Beattie accompanied Werner's body back to America after his tragic death in an avalanche in Switzerland just after the 1964 Olympics.

In his tenure leading up to the 1964 Olympics, Beattie often stirred controversy. But he also pioneered a new era of promotion and fundraising for the fledgling U.S. Ski Team. He partnered with the U.S. ski industry to raise funds and engaged with corporate America to support its national team at previously unheard of levels.

One of the sport's greatest promoters, Beattie partnered with journalist Serge Lang and French coach Honorė Bonnet in 1966 to align the leading ski races around the globe in the first Alpine Ski World Cup. The tour quickly earned the nickname of the White Circus as stars of the sport hopscotched the globe every weekend, quickly growing to become one of the most notable international sports tours. A half-century later, the tour continues to bring alpine ski racing to hundreds of millions of fans globally every year. Today, the World Cup tour concept is common among winter sports - all emanating from the Lang-Beattie-Bonnet concept.

After leaving his coaching career, Beattie started World Wide Ski Corp., pioneering the World Pro Ski Tour in 1970. Strong national television coverage prompted top international athletes to flock to America including triple Olympic gold medalist Jean-Claude Killy and American stars like Spider Sabich. The tour continued until 1982.

At the same time, Beattie also took over promotion of the relatively new NASTAR recreational racing program that had been started by SKI Magazine editor John Fry in 1969. NASTAR continues today, now under the leadership of the U.S. Ski Team, bringing the sport to thousands of new participants at resorts coast-to-coast.

Beattie made his debut as a television commentator in 1969 working for Roone Arledge at ABC. He was later paired with NFL football star Frank Gifford. Their call of Austrian Franz Klammer's gold medal downhill run became legendary. He went on to work Winter Olympics in 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988, as well as the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He was a frequent host on ABC's Wide World of Sports as well as on ESPN where he produced Bob Beattie's Ski World.

He is one of the most decorated officials in skiing. The then U.S. Ski Association awarded Beattie its highest honor, the Julius Blegen Award, in 1964 for his leadership in forming the U.S. Ski Team. He was awarded the AT&T Skiing Award in 1983 for his lifetime contributions to the sport. He was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1986. The U.S. Ski Team and International Ski Federation presented Beattie the FIS Journalist Award in 1997. He was honored with the U.S. Ski Association's Russell Wilder Award in 2000 for his contribution to youth through NASTAR.

In 2012, athletes from seven decades paid tribute to Beattie at an event organized by the World Pro Ski Tour Foundation at the Hotel Jerome in his adopted hometown of Aspen. During the Alpine Ski World Cup Finals at Aspen last March, he was the focal point of a 50 Years of Ski Racing tribute.

After retiring from his broadcast career, Beattie remained passionately engaged in the sport. He was ski racing's biggest, and its most outspoken critic. He continued to be an advocate for change. In recent years his passion led the U.S. Ski Team to create the Bob Beattie Athlete Travel fund, which is now funneling millions of dollars into an endowment to help national team athletes.

When Beattie reflected on what success meant, he always came back to focusing on the concept of team. "Winning was about discipline and physical conditioning," said Beattie. "It was about team, team, team - you have to have a team."

Looking back on the 1964 Olympics, Beattie said: "The pressure was severe. We had promised everything - rightfully or wrongfully - we had promised everyone the world. We loved each other. We were a team. They weren’t individuals. We were together as a team."  

In 1986 Beattie drove negotiations with the Aspen Skiing Co. to provide affordable skiing for kids in the Roaring Fork Valley. The result was the ASK program (Aspen Supports Kids), now called Base Camp. The program thrived and today serves 1,800 kids with affordable entry into the sport.

Beattie married four times. He had a son, Zeno Beattie, daughter Susan, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Among Beattie's credits are several books including My Ten Secrets of Skiing (Viking Press, 1968) and Bob Beattie's Learn to Ski (Bantam Books, 1967). He also had a cameo role as a German skier in the television series Combat with Vic Morrow in 1964 as well as in the 1987 Sylvester Stallone film Over the Top.

Details on a celebration of Bob Beattie's life are pending, but will likely be this fall in Aspen.

Bjornsen Wins 50k National Title

By Tom Kelly
March, 29 2018
Bjornsen Wins 50k National Title
Erik Bjornsen (center) won his third national title Wednesday at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships Wednesday at Craftsbury Common, Vt. Adam Martin was second, followed by Scott Patterson in third. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)

Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) of Alaska Pacific University Nordic regained his 2016 long distance national title, winning the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships 50k classic crown Wednesday at Craftsbury Common, Vt. Bjornsen won a sprint to the finish with Craftsbury Green’s Adam Martin (Craftsbury Common, Vt.) to win by 1.5 seconds. Defending champion Scott Patterson (Anchorage) of APU took bronze, 23 seconds behind Bjornsen.

A huge pack of up to a dozen skiers hung together for much of the first half of the race with Stratton Mountain’s Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) and Paddy Caldwell (East Lyme, N.H.) among the early leaders. In the second half, the group began to splinter with Bjornsen, Martin, and Patterson establishing themselves as the ones to beat.

It was the third national title for Bjornsen.

“It was a good group for about halfway through the race until the ski change,” said Bjornsen. “That made things a bit more tactical.  Scott was pushing the whole time and then we hooked up with Adam.”

Coming into the finish, Bjornsen took the inside track to gain the advantage over Martin.

“I was a little concerned about the start but I was able to get out with the leaders and stay with them,” said Martin. “I was just so stoked to be skiing with Scott and Erik - it was a huge honor. I had a little energy at the end and was able to battle with Erik, but he got me at the end.”

Patterson capped a strong season, including the best ever U.S. men’s long-distance finish at the Olympics, with another medal.

“It was good skiing, really consistent for the entire race,” he said. “I felt pretty decent. It’s the end of the season and I’m tired definitely, not racing quite at the form I was at the Olympics. We had a good crew out there with Adam and Erik and I and pushed pretty hard until the last k when my wheels came off.”

The race wrapped up what was a storybook season for the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team with strong results on the World Cup tour and a host of best-ever Olympic results including gold from Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall in the team sprint.        

Men's 50k classic mass start

Diggins Sweeps SuperTour Finals

By Tom Kelly
March, 28 2018
Sadie Bjornsen, Jessie Diggins, and Kikkan Randall celebrate following the women's 30k classic at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championship Tuesday. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)
Sadie Bjornsen, Jessie Diggins, and Kikkan Randall celebrate following the women's 30k classic at the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championship Tuesday. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Reese Brown)

Olympic champion Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) of Stratton Mountain School made it a clean sweep at the SuperTour Finals in Craftsbury Common, Vt. On Tuesday. Diggins won the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championship 30k classic in a sprint to the finish victory over Alaska Pacific University Nordic Center’s Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.). It was Diggins’ seventh national title. APU’s Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) took the bronze.

Diggins, Bjornsen and Stratton’s Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) packed up early on in the season finale, skiing together from the start. On the third lap, Caldwell dropped back leaving Diggins and Bjornsen to battle for the second half of the race. Diggins took the win at the line by four-tenths of a second over Bjornsen.

“To get to race a 30k with Sadie out there today was just amazing, we had so much fun pushing each other,” said Diggins. “We didn’t really talk about it but we were going to keep pushing each other and duke it out at the end. Pushing each other is how we race fastest and we waited until the final few k’s to drop the hammer.”

Bjornsen concurred, “It was really fun out there today,” she said. “Jessie and I were switching the lead and hurting each other. It has been so fun to chase after her and it has brought me to a higher level. Today I was trying to outdo her and it came down to the line there and she got the win.”

The race was a bit bittersweet as teammates bid farewell to longtime ski racing colleagues Randall and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.).

“For the end of my career, I was hoping to go out on a high note and feel like I really raced hard,” said Randall, who took the bronze by a second over Caldwell. “I really wasn’t sure we were going to catch Sophie and she was right on my tails coming into the finish line. She is a championship sprinter and I wasn’t going to give an inch until we crossed the line.”

There were hugs all around for Stephen, who finished seventh. The longtime spiritual leader of the team, Stephen made her mark on the World Cup as one of the best hill climbers in the history of the Tour de Ski, as well as winning three U.S. titles. 

“Wow, my last race, I’m out of tears,” she said. “You just realize that you have grown up with these girls which makes me feel like somewhere between and big sister and a mom. I am so lucky to have been part of this group and I will miss these days a lot in the future.”

Across the board, the athletes were flying high on the atmosphere and quality of races at Craftsbury. “I can’t remember having this much fun at Spring Series and Craftsbury does such a great job,” said Bjornsen. “I haven’t had great classic skiing like that all season.”

The Spring Series wraps up with the men’s 50k national championship on Wednesday. The live streaming broadcast begins at 8:45 a.m. EDT with racing at 9:00 a.m.

Women’s 30k classic mass start