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The Player's Tribune Launches Signature Series with Shiffrin's Story of Grief

By Megan Harrod
April, 29 2022
Mikaela Shiffrin Signature Series
Shiffrin penned a piece in "The Players' Tribune" published on Thursday largely about her late father Jeff, but also about coming up short at the Beijing Olympics. The piece is part of The Player's Tribune's new "Signature Series. (The Player's Tribune-Celeste Sloman)

Two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin still can't quite make sense of what happened in Beijing. She can, and did, put on a brave face to deliver what she called a "generic" answer, but, she said, she truly doesn't know.

Shiffrin penned a piece in "The Players' Tribune" published on Thursday largely about her late father Jeff, but also about coming up short at the Beijing Olympics. The piece is part of The Player's Tribune's new "Signature Series," and provides a parallel message to what she delivered in the finale of the Outside+ series "Passion & Purpose" that followed her life on and off the hill before and after the Games. The fifth and final episodes capture events and interviews at Beijing and in France for the World Cup.

In The Player's Tribune piece, entitled "I Want To Remember Everything," Shiffrin opens up about losing her father and the real nature of grief, writing, “We equate winning with being O.K., and failure with being not O.K. The real truth is that I’m neither O.K. nor not O.K.” It's a piece that everyone can relate to, especially those who have lost a loved one. 

She writes, 

I went into his closet and I just buried my face in his clothes.  

That was the first thing I did when I got home after my dad died.  

I stuffed myself in his shirts and I breathed in deep and I thought of him and sobbed.  

There’s a certain smell that everyone has, you know? It’s not cologne or anything like that. It’s something indescribable. It’s what you smell when they give you a big hug. It’s in their favorite sweatshirts, embedded in the fibers forever. You can’t wash it out. It’s eternal. It’s them.  

I just wanted to smell his smell. I wanted to hear his voice. I wanted to remember everything — everything.  

He left us without warning. An accident. A tragedy. Like something you see in the movies and you cry your eyes out and you think, “God, that’s so sad. But that’ll never happen to us.”  

Then one day, out of the blue, we were living the movie. Me and my mom were in Italy. I had training early, so we watched half an episode of Schitt’s Creek and called it a night. Right as my mom went down the hall to her room, my brother called me, and he never calls me — not like that. It was weird.  

“Hey, I need to talk to Mom.”  

“Mom went to her room. Why do you need to talk to Mom?” 

“I need to talk to Mom.”  

“What’s going on?” 

“Dad had an accident.”  

Dad had an accident. Ha. O.K., did he cut himself doing something stupid? Did he burn his legs making a fire pit again? What did he get himself into this time?  

“I just need to talk to Mom right now.”  

When you hear those words, you just know. When I got to my mom’s room and handed her the phone, I immediately broke down in tears in the corner of the room. I was hysterical. But Mom went into full Nurse Mode. It’s an old reflex. She calmly told my brother that he had to follow the ambulance to the hospital. He had to get as much information as he could. And he just had to stay by Dad’s side, no matter what. We were coming.  

The last thing the doctors told us before we got on the flight was, “We’re going to do everything in our power to keep him alive until you can get here.” 

Read the full piece at ThePlayersTribune.com. 

Lundstam Gets Back To His Ski Racing Roots

By Ski Racing
April, 28 2022
Per Lundstam and Steven Nyman
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Director of Alpine Sports Science, Per Lundstam, with veteran downhiller Steven Nyman in the Xfinity Birds of Prey finish area at Beaver Creek, Colo. (U.S. Ski Team)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Director of Alpine Sports Science, Per Lundstam, worked as the U.S. Alpine Ski Team's head strength coach from 1994 to 2010, before taking on an exciting new opportunity with Red Bull as Director of Performance. Lucky for the U.S. Ski Team, Lundstam returned to the team last fall after an 11-year stint with Red Bull. 

Ski Racing's Edie Thys Morgan recently caught up with Lundstam to discuss his background, work with Red Bull and the U.S. Ski Team, vision for the alpine program, and beyond. 

Lundstam grew up in Sweden as a ski racer, with the dream of racing in the World Cup. At the time, in the late 80s, the Swedish team was very competitive, and Lundstam’s personality seemed more suited to helping his competitors rather than crushing them. His mother, in fact, saw his coaching talent before he did, but as his competitors leaned on him more and more for training guidance, Lundstam also saw the writing on the wall. He quit racing at age 24 and quickly transitioned into a position as conditioning coach for the Swedish national team, a position he held from 1990-94. From there, Lundstam moved across the pond to start working with the US Ski Team in 1994. 

What followed was a time of unparalleled success on the US Ski Team, from a range of athletes across both genders and all disciplines. This included the rise of superstars like Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety and Daron Rahlves, as well as an army of athletes with medals and World Cup success, all supported by a cohesive staff. The success fed on itself. “We had incredible athletes that showed everybody the way and broke down all those paradigms that we were behind the Europeans,” says Lundstam. “You get this momentum and then the biggest piece of all is belief.” 

Lundstam is positively fired up about connecting the clubs, academies, colleges, regions, and High Performance Centers (HPCs) from across the nation with the national team. If that sounds like a big undertaking, that's because it is. But, if anyone can do it, it's Lundstam. As the article says, 

Lundstam is fascinated by how a group of people get to that place and believes much of it lies in creating a cohesive system where all stakeholders feel valued and invested. That is what he hopes to build on now, not only at the elite level, but throughout the American ski racing community, encompassing clubs, academies, colleges, regions, High Performance Centers (HPCs) and the national team. 

Central to this is a shared understanding of the absolute codependence between the elite system and the development system. Says Lundstam: “Without a healthy development system we are nothing at the elite level; and without us moving forward and breaking down every barrier, [developing athletes] don’t have a path either. We need each other and need to be integrated and understand how we work together at a higher level.” 

Lundstam and his team have already started physical testing at the USANA Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, and the testing he's implementing at the elite level is something he hopes will translate to U.S. clubs, academies, colleges, regions, and High Performance Centers (HPCs). "By sharing testing, establishing concrete pathways and even involving clubs, academies, and colleges in the research, the goal is to create more of a national systematic feel than just an elite feel," as Thys Morgan writes. 

Read the full article at SkiRacing.com.  

Brad Wilson Retires After Eleven Distinguished Years

By Lara Carlton
April, 27 2022
Brad Wilson
Brad Wilson made his third Olympic appearance at the 2022 Beijing Games. He retires after 11 years as a mogul skier for the U.S. Ski Team. (Mike Dawson/U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

It was born from a love of skiing, as so many U.S. freestyle mogul skier’s careers are. Brad Wilson went from bumpin’ around his home resorts in Montana to making a serious go of becoming a U.S. Ski team athlete when his family moved to Park City, Utah, so he and older brother Bryon could join Wasatch Freestyle.

Wilson made the U.S. Ski Team at 18-years-old in 2012 and leaves it just shy of his 30th birthday, having skied his last competition in March at World Cup Finals. Over the course of his decade-plus tenure Wilson represented the United States at three Winter Olympics (2014, 2018, 2022), made four World Championships teams (2013, 2017, 2019, 2021), earned two World Championships medals, and 16 World Cup podiums—including three victories. He is a five-time U.S. National Champion and was FIS Rookie of the Year in 2007. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Brad Wilson (@wilsfreestyle)

 

The sport of mogul skiing drew Wilson in, but what kept the three-time Olympian motivated was the community of people he found in the freestyle world. The relationships formed during his career fueled his competitive fire because at the end of the day, no matter the result, he was cared for. 

“Everybody (on the team and the international field) were all respectful. It’s always been that way, nothing’s ever changed. I’m proud and thankful to have been able to spend all of this time with this community.”

Spending his formative years as an elite athlete has shaped and evolved Wilson’s worldview and has taught him many things, most notably that dreams can become reality with hard work. “Being around all of these highly driven and inspiring athletes (U.S. and otherwise) has taught me that really anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I got to experience people, including myself, be successful and achieve their dreams.”

For his next chapter, Wilson will be leading the next generation of mogul skiers in their quest to achieve their dreams as the Head Mogul Coach for Wasatch Freestyle. It’s a fitting new beginning for Wilson who said he would miss progression the most as an athlete. Although he will no longer be personally progressing his run, Wilson will continue to contribute to the progression of the sport and inspire that love for process in the next crop of Olympic mogul skiers. 

In addition, Wilson is also excited to focus time on his creative pursuits with plans to start a woodworking and design furniture business. “I've been thinking about these different projects for a long time now. With skiing, I haven't been able to fully commit to it and I’m excited to do so.”

Wilson would like to thank his teammates, coaches and all support staff for their support during his skiing career. “Thank you to all of the people at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, my coaches, especially the PTs, and everyone else. Everyone at the USANA Center of Excellence really goes above and beyond for our successes, without them none of this (my career) would be a thing.” 

Follow Wilson in his next chapter and creative pursuits via Instagram at @wilsfreestyle
 

Final Episode of Shiffrin's Passion & Purpose Now Live

By Megan Harrod
April, 19 2022
Mikaela Shiffrin Outside Watch Final Episode
Outside Interactive, Inc. released the fifth and final episode of its documentary series featuring the three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and four-time Overall World Cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin, pictured here hoisting her "big globe" at World Cup Finals in Meribel, France, (AFP via Getty Images-Sebastien Bozon)

Outside Interactive, Inc., the world’s leading creator of outdoor content, today released the fifth and final episode of its documentary series featuring the three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and four-time Overall World Cup champion, Mikaela Shiffrin. All five episodes of the series, titled Passion & Purpose, can now be viewed on Outside+.

This final episode is an exclusive view inside Shiffrin’s challenging experience at the 2022 Olympic Games. In never before seen interviews and footage, Shiffrin grapples with the very public disappointment and controversy surrounding her performance in Beijing and her struggle to bounce back at the Olympics.

“There were a lot of really, really tough days at the Games,” said Mikaela Shiffrin. “Life is not a linear journey, and amongst all of the negative stories that came out of my performance at the Games, I am grateful that this series captures my personal experience in such a raw and authentic way.”

The final episode of Passion & Purpose recounts the intense pressure from fans and media during and following the Games. We also see Shiffrin’s resilience in preparing for and ultimately winning her fourth Overall title – the biggest annual prize in ski racing – at the World Cup in Courchevel/Meribel, France. This win led Shiffrin to tie former World Cup alpine skier, Lindsey Vonn, for the second-most overall wins in women’s FIS Alpine Ski World Cup history – a satisfying redemption following the Games.

“Outside+ is the platform for outdoor athletes to tell their stories and inspire viewers to have their own adventures,” said Robin Thurston, Outside CEO. “We hope that by telling Mikaela’s story, we can remind people that it’s not always about winning. The outdoors isn’t a video game – it’s real-life with all of its joys and setbacks.”

The full series documents Shiffrin’s journey both on and off the hill leading up to and following the 2022 Olympic Games. In the past two years, Shiffrin has experienced her fair share of mental and physical struggles, including the unexpected loss of her father, the loss of her grandmother, a severe back injury, and she was diagnosed with COVID-19 during the peak of her Olympic training season. Shiffrin walked into the Olympics with high expectations set on her by the fans and the media based on her prior career success. However, her performance wasn’t as strong as she had hoped, and she left Beijing without receiving any medals – a surprise not only to Shiffrin but also to her team and to anyone watching the Games.

Directed and produced by Jalbert Productions, all five episodes are now available for Outside+ members. Episodes have been released to non-members for 30-day intervals, with the fourth episode still available. To watch the full series, sign up to become an Outside+ member here.

About Outside
Outside is the premier destination for active lifestyle enthusiasts and home to leading brands in the endurance sports, outdoor, and healthy living spaces. Each month, Outside reaches 70 million of the most active consumers in the world across its 30+ media, digital, and technology platforms, creating an experience for both longtime adventurers and those just getting started. Outside believes life is best spent outdoors, experiencing healthy, connected, and fulfilling lives. Outside’s membership offering, Outside+, bundles best-in-class storytelling, meal plans, gear reviews, online courses, discounted event access, magazines, and more. Learn more at OutsideInc.com and by following on Twitter.

About Mikaela Shiffrin
Double Olympic champion, six-time world champion, and winningest slalom skier of all time, Mikaela Shiffrin has elevated women’s ski racing globally – both on and off the mountain. At a mere 27-years-old, Mikaela has 74 World Cup victories across six disciplines to her name and is the only athlete to win in all six disciplines. Philanthropically, Mikaela is passionate about ending plastic waste through initiatives with sponsor Adidas, cancer research, the Kelly Brush Foundation, and so much more. She has raised millions of dollars through the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund (in her late father’s name) to help support up-and-coming athletes on the cusp of breaking through as they’ve dealt with challenges associated with the pandemic.

Release provided by Outside, Inc.

Winters' Impressive World Cup Progression Featured In Ski Racing

By Megan Harrod
April, 19 2022
Luke Winters Meribel Slalom
Olympian Luke Winters competes in the first run of the slalom as part of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup finals in Meribel, France, on March 20, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images-Sebastien Bozon)

Olympian Luke Winters' journey to the top 25 in the world has been a steady progression, one step at a time. In what was his career-best season, Winters finished ranked 23rd in the world in slalom and was highlighted by three top-10 FIS Ski World Cup finishes. Ski Racing Media recently featured Winters' "one step at a time" approach to the top ranks. 

In the piece, Peter Lange writes, 

U.S. Ski Team’s Luke Winters is currently the most successful male American World Cup SL skier. Winters, a quiet man, is talented, but his success has come one step at a time. 

This season Winters broke the U.S. men’s five-season slalom World Cup finals drought when in the last regular-season slalom, Winters finished seventh, earning him his first finals invitation. Previously, the most recent male U.S. athlete to qualify was the retired David Chodounsky in 2016.

Winters’ story begins in Portland, Oregon. Like many, the 25-year-old started skiing young at age three, with his first experience in the spring at the Summit in Government Camp on Mount Hood. However, as a kid, Winters loved other sports as well.  

Keep an eye on Winters and his offseason training via his Instagram account.

Read the full article at SkiRacing.com.

Ben Ogden: Balancing Olympic, NCAA Skiing Ambitions Alongside a New Wave of Top U.S. Skiers

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 13 2022
Ben Ogden
Ben Ogden competed at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, then went on to sweep the NCAA Championships in March (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

In the same year that Ben Ogden raced the Olympics, someway and somehow, he won an NCAA Championship.

That confluence of talent and time has happened exactly twice before Ogden, and once after. The first before came a half-century ago, when fellow Vermonter Stan Dunklee represented the USA at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics before winning NCAAs a couple weeks later. The second before came a mere two hours prior to Ogden, when Novie McCabe (University of Utah) won the this year’s women’s 5 k Classic NCAA Championship. Likewise, the one time after came when Sophia Laukli (University of Utah) won this year’s 15 k Freestyle NCAA Championship.

Read the Full Story at FasterSkier.com

Ferreira Reminds Us That Olympians Are Still Human in "I AM."

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 8 2022
Alex Ferreira
Two-time Olympic medalist Alex Ferreira, pictured above as he claimed his first win of the season at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado in December 2021, comes out with a new film "I AM." through Vital Films. (FIS-Chad Buchholz)

Once again, Vital Films brings us some incredible footage from two-time Olympic medalist Alex Ferreira. “I AM.” gives us a look into his rigorous path from an injury at Mammoth to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. It’s nice to get a look into the more serious side of the olympian. I think it’s always good to get a reminder that Olympians are human, and that they have to work tirelessly to get to that level of competition.

Moltzan Second, Hurt Third In U.S. Alpine Champs Giant Slalom

By Megan Harrod
March, 31 2022
U.S. Alpine Champs GS
The Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships wrapped at Sugarloaf, Maine with the women’s giant slalom on Thursday. Canada’s Britt Richardson impressed, grabbing the victory, while Olympian Paula Moltzan was second to lead the way for the Americans. (Jamie Walter-U.S. Ski Team)

After a series filled with every weather pattern imaginable, the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships wrapped at Sugarloaf, Maine with the women’s giant slalom on Thursday. Canada’s Britt Richardson impressed, grabbing the victory, while Olympian Paula Moltzan was second to lead the way for the Americans. 

The challenging weather persisted, as the women were met with icy conditions for the final event of the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships series. The 18-year-old Richardson won both runs, for a combined time of 2:01.89, with Moltzan right on her heels, .15 seconds back. Teammate AJ Hurt rounded out the podium in third, 1.91 seconds off the pace. Katie Hensien was in third after the first run but finished behind Hurt in fourth, 2.31 seconds back. 

“I’m really excited to take the win in this race,” commented Richardson, who was also the top junior of the day. “The conditions were a little soft, second run especially…but I just tried to do what I could. I knew the course was going to be a little bumpier the second run…so I just tried to keep that in my head and do what I could.” Up next, Richardson will head back to Panorama, Canada for a spring series race.”

Moltzan, who grabbed her career-first national title in the slalom on Monday, was happy to be competing and pushing in Thursday’s giant slalom. “It was fun…it was definitely a challenging start to the day,” Moltzan reflected. “No one really had any idea if it was actually going to happen, it got a little icy last night. So, they did the best they could with the slope, it wasn’t perfect but there was some great skiing…obviously, Britt pushed through, and all of the girls behind us as well.”

Rounding out the junior podium behind Richardson was Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Tatum Grosdidier in second place and the U.S. Ski Team’s Allie Resnick in third. 

Moltzan gave a big shout-out to the volunteers and course workers for all of their hard work during the event, saying “Thank you guys so much for putting hours upon hours of time, effort, and love into the hill because without you guys we wouldn’t be here. I just want to let them know that there really appreciated by all of the staff and athletes on the U.S. Ski Team.” 

In the 2022 Tom Garner Regions Cup, an award for the top region based on results from the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships, the Western Region prevailed, with 1,068 points. The Eastern Region followed with 923 points, and Rocky/Central had 750 points. 

Up next for the U.S. Ski Team athletes are spring camps, as the 2022-23 season has already kicked off. Stay tuned to our social media accounts to see what the athletes are up to in the offseason. 

RESULTS
Women’s giant slalom

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

Moltzan and Seymour Crowned First-Time National Slalom Champions

By Madison Osberger-Low
March, 29 2022
Paula Moltzan Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships
Olympian Paula Moltzan led both runs of the U.S. Alpine Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine, to dominate the women’s slalom on Tuesday. (Jay Riley-U.S. Ski Team)

Olympian Paula Moltzan led both runs of the U.S. Alpine Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine, to dominate the women’s slalom on Tuesday. Moltzan, 27, finished with a combined time of 1:32.28, an impressive 2.81 seconds ahead University of Denver Pioneer Katie Hensien, who moved up from fourth place in the first run to finish second on the day.

Moltzan shed light on what it’s like racing this late in the competition season, despite the weather challenges. “It’s fun to be out here in Sugarloaf with friends and family, the conditions are definitely challenging, the conditions are not the easiest,” Moltzan said. “It’s nice to be back in the U.S. and competing this late in the season.” 

U.S. Ski Team member AJ Hurt was third with a combined time of 1:35.13 to best Canada’s Amelia Smart and Norway’s Kristiane Bekkestad. Allie Resnick of Vail, who was sitting in fifth after the first run, did not finish her second slalom run of the day. 

Eighty women started the race which was held in windy, cold, and tilled ice conditions. Ten women did not finish the second run. The men’s slalom, which was also held on the Narrow Gauge Trail, saw 55 finishers out of 89 who started the day.

In the men’s slalom, Steamboat Springs native U.S. Ski Team member and 2019 NCAA slalom champion Jett Seymour, 23, held off teammate and runner-up Ben Ritchie, whom he led by .16 seconds after the first run.

Seymour gave his input on being the leader in today’s slalom and what the course and conditions were like for him.“It feels amazing, it was a bit of a tough year so it was nice to end on a positive note,” said Seymour. “The surface was great and the course was a lot of fun.”

George Steffey, who had the fastest second run of the day, finished in third after sitting eighth after the first run. Steffey, 24, and a Stratton Mountain School graduate posted a combined time of 1:28.98.

Luke Winters, the four-year veteran of the national team and Beijing 2022 Olympian, finished fourth, and Justin Alkier of Canada took fifth. Aspen native Bridger Gile, like Steffey, notched a big jump in run two, moving up from 10th to sixth place.

Unsettling weather has wreaked havoc on the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships schedule, with the giant slalom races now set for Wednesday and Thursday and the overall event shortened by one day. This is the eighth time in Sugarloaf’s history that it has played host to the U.S. Alpine Championships.

RESULTS
Women’s slalom
Men’s slalom

U.S. ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS - REVISED SCHEDULE
March 30 - U.S. Alpine Championships Men's Giant Slalom 
March 31 - U.S. Alpine Championships Women's Giant Slalom 

 

Forehand Takes Second at Silvaplana

By Annie Fast
March, 27 2022
Men's slopestyle podium
Mac Forehand wins second place at the FIS World Cup finals in Silvaplana. (FIS/Stadler)

Mac Forehand earned a season-best second-place finish at the final Freeski Slopestyle World Cup at Switzerland’s Corvatsch Resort in Silvaplana. The U.S. Freeski Team wins the 2022 FIS Freeski Nations Cup.

On his first run of finals, Forehand stomped what he declared to be the “best run of [his] life.” His run started off with a right 450 gap lipslide continuing 270 off on the down-flat-down rail and stomping a right double cork 1620 blunt, a switch right double 1440 mute, and a switch left double 1620 mute to japan through the jumps, to earn a score of 91.75 and his fourth career World Cup podium.

U.S. men’s results at Silvaplana also included Alex Hall in ninth and Hunter Henderson in sixteenth.

Final Men's Results

Final World Cup Standings 

This final World Cup of the season results with the U.S. Freeski Team winning the FIS Freeski Nations Cup. The U.S. also finished second behind the Canadians in the FIS Freestyle Overall Nations Cup, which includes slopestyle, big air, halfpipe, moguls, aerials and ski cross.

Forehand’s results bump him up into the third place among the FIS Freeski World Cup Men’s Slopestyle standings for the season, followed by Alex Hall in fifth place. Hall also finishes the season in third place in the FIS Freeski World Cup Park & Pipe overall points standings, followed by Alex Ferreira in fifth place. Hannah Faulhaber also earned fifth in the women's standings and second overall in halfpipe standings. 

U.S. Team Head Slopestyle Coach Skogen Sprang had this to say, "I'm really proud of how the whole team has skied this season and supported each other throughout. For Mac to finish it off with with 2nd place in Silvaplana is amazing and builds on the momentum we have going into next season. Also, it’s very cool how strong our Pipe team is, to take home the Nations Cup in park and pipe is an honor for all involved.” 

2022 Nations Cup Standings
2022 FIS Park & Pipe Overall Men’s Freeski Standings
2022 FIS Park  Pipe Overall Women's Freeski Standings