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Downhiller McKennis Suffers Injury in Mammoth

By Megan Harrod
May, 22 2018
McKennis Hero Image
Two-time Olympian Alice McKennis suffered a left leg tibia-fibula injury while coaching at the American Downhiller camp at Mammoth Mountain, Calif. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

Two-time Olympian Alice McKennis (New Castle, Colo.) suffered a left leg tibia and fibula injury last Thursday while coaching at the American Downhiller camp and will be sidelined for 2018-19 summer conditioning and prep period camps, but plans to return to snow in the fall. 

“While I am very disappointed with my recent injury that was the result of a freak accident while slipping a course,” McKennis said, “I am feeling positive about the recovery ahead and confident in my experience coming back from injuries before that will make this journey easier. This injury is the least complex of all my previous injuries, which leaves me hopeful going into the 2018-19 season. Although I will miss much of the prep period, I am very, very experienced on what it takes to reach top form again and will be doing all I can to reach my best and build off my successes from the previous season. 

“I want to give a special thank you to all those in Mammoth that were on the scene and those in the hospital for the wonderful support and care!”

McKennis is no stranger to fighting back from injury and finding success on the FIS Ski World Cup stage. After winning her first World Cup downhill – also her first ever podium – at St. Anton in Austria in 2013, she suffered a tibial plateau injury. That injury resulted in her shattering her right knee into 30 pieces, and was put back together again with 11 screws and a metal plate. She affectionately calls the 11-inch scar left from that injury “The Shark.” Five years after her first World Cup podium – and a lot of hard work, determination and grit – later she narrowly missed an Olympic medal, landing in fifth place at the Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.  

At World Cup Finals in Are, Sweden in the final downhill of the 2018 season, McKennis soared from bib 23 to find the podium once again – landing in third place, just .28 off the pace set by teammate Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.). McKennis is one of four American women to have scored a podium finish in women’s downhill during the 2018 season.

The U.S. women’s downhill team was the most successful downhill team on the women’s circuit this past season, and look forward to bringing that momentum into the 2019 season, highlighted by World Championships in Are, Sweden.

2018-19 U.S. Freeski Team Nominations

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
May, 21 2018
18-19 Freeski nominations
Maggie Voisin, Devin Logan, Brita Sigourney, Maddie Bowman, Torin Yater-Wallace, Alex Ferreira and David Wise are among 38 athletes nominated to the 2018-19 U.S. Freeski Team. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard / Peter Morning)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard has announced its U.S. Freeski Team halfpipe and slopestyle nominations for the 2018-19 season. Nominations include those active athletes who qualified based on published selection criteria in the prior season.

Nominations for this year’s team include a strong group of Olympic medalists and veteran athletes, as well as a contingent of young talent from freeski programs around the country. Coming off a spectacular season with four Olympic medals, six X Games medals and more than 30 World Cup and major event podiums, The U.S. Freeski Team is poised for another year of “Best in the World” performances.

Each athlete accepting the nomination to U.S. Freeski Team receives world-class program support, along with access to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence, as well as athletic benefits including an elite coaching, sport science, sports medicine and high performance staff, and education opportunities.

An official team announcement will be made in the fall.

U.S. Freeski Team
2018-19 Team Nominations
(Hometown; Club; USASA Series; Birthdate)

HALFPIPE
PRO TEAM

Men
Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 4/12/96)
Lyman Currier (Boulder, Colo.; Winter Park Freeski Team; Rocky Mountain Series; 8/28/94)
Alex Ferreira (Aspen, Colo.; Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club; Aspen/Snowmass Series; 8/14/94)
Birk Irving (Winter Park, Colo.; Winter Park Freeride Team; Rocky Mountain Series; 7/26/99)
Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, Colo.; Telluride High School; Southwest Colorado Series; 10/1/91)
Taylor Seaton (Avon, Colo.; 7/16/90)
David Wise (Reno, Nev.; 6/30/90)
Torin Yater-Wallace (Basalt, Colo.; Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club; Aspen/Snowmass Series; 12/2/95)

Women
Maddie Bowman (S. Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Sierra-at-Tahoe Education Foundation; South Tahoe Series; 1/10/94)
Annalisa Drew (Andover, Mass.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Southwest Colorado Series; 5/28/93)
Devin Logan (West Dover, Vt.; Mount Snow Academy; Southern Vermont Series; 2/17/93)
Brita Sigourney (Carmel, Calif.; Intermountain Series; 1/17/90)
Carly Margulies (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.; Mammoth Mountain Freeski Team; Unbound Series; 12/24/97)

ROOKIE TEAM
Men
Jacob Beebe (Bend, Ore.; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; Big Mountain West Series; 6/15/99)
Hunter Hess (Bend, Ore.; Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation; Central Oregon Series; 10/01/98)
Jaxin Hoerter (Breckenridge, Colo.; 7/17/00)
Dylan Ladd (Lakewood, Colo.; Winter Park Competition Center; Rocky Mountain Series; 8/29/01)
Sammy Schuiling (Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 7/16/00)

Women
Anna Gorham (Bend, Ore.; Central Oregon Series; 7/22/00)
Abigale Hansen (June Lake, Calif.; Mammoth Mountain Freeski Team; Unbound Series; 5/26/98)
Svea Irving (Winter Park, Colo.; Winter Park Freeride Team; Rocky Mountain Series; 2/27/02)

SLOPESTYLE
PRO TEAM

Men
Bobby Brown (Denver, Colo.; Rocky Mountain Series; 6/5/91)
Joss Christensen (Park City, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard; 12/20/91)
Nick Goepper (Lawrenceburg, Ind.; Hanley Consulting Inc.; Rocky Mountain Series; 3/14/94)
Alex Hall (Salt Lake City, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard; Big Mountain West Series; 9/21/98)
Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, Colo.; Telluride High School; Southwest Colorado Series; 10/1/91)
Colby Stevenson (Park City, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard; Big Mountain West Series; 10/3/97)
McRae Williams (Park City, Utah; Intermountain Series; 10/13/90)

Women
Caroline Claire (Manchester Center, Vt.; Stratton Mountain School; Southern Vermont Series; 2/2/00)
Julia Krass (Hanover, N.H.; Park City Ski and Snowboard; New Hampshire Series; 6/7/97)
Devin Logan (West Dover, Vt.; Mount Snow Academy; Southern Vermont Series; 2/17/93)
Darian Stevens (Missoula, Mont.; Missoula Freestyle Ski Team; 10/29/96)
Maggie Voisin (Whitefish, Mont.; Park City Ski and Snowboard; Big Mountain West Series; 12/14/98)

ROOKIE TEAM
Men
Willie Borm (Chaska, Minn.; Midwest Freeskiing Association; 5/21/97)
Mac Forehand (Winhall, Vt.; Stratton Mountain School; Southern Vermont Series; 8/4/01)
Cody LaPlante (Truckee, Calif.; Squaw Valley Freestyle and Freeride Team; Far West Series; 2/15/02)
Richard Thomas (Orono, Minn.; Midwest Freeskiing Association; 8/16/01)

Women
Marin Hamill (Park City, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard; Big Mountain West Series; 4/5/01)
Rell Harwood (Park City, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard; Big Mountain West Series; 6/1/01)
Grace Henderson (Madbury, N.H.; Waterville Valley BBTS; New Hampshire Series; 4/28/01)

2018-19 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Nominations

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
May, 19 2018
2019 Freestyle Team Nominations
Jaelin Kauf and Morgan Schild are among the 35 athletes nomination to the 2019 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.

The U.S. Ski Team has announced its freestyle nominations for the 2018-19 season. Nominations include those active athletes who qualified based on published selection criteria in the prior season.

A total of 35 athletes have been nominated to the team, including 13 2018 Olympic team members. Top World Cup finishers and World Championship medalists Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) and Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.) lead the charge for the 17-member mogul squad while defending World Champions Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va.) and Jon Lillis (Pittsford, N.Y.) headline a team of 18 aerials athletes. In addition to the schedule of domestic and international World Cups, the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team will compete on home soil this winter at the 2019 FIS Freestyle, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships Feb. 1-10 in Park City, Utah.

Athletes accepting their nominations to U.S. Ski Team receive a high level of world-class program support, along with access to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence, and numerous athletic benefits including elite coaching staff, sport science, sports medicine and high performance staff, and education opportunities.

U.S. Ski Team
2018-19 Freestyle Nominations
(Hometown; Club; Birthdate)

MOGULS
A Team
Men
Casey Andringa (Boulder, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/6/95)
Brad Wilson (Butte, Mont.; Wasatch Freestyle; 6/5/92)

Women
Olivia Giaccio (Vail, Colo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 8/15/00)
Tess Johnson (Edwards, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 6/19/00)
Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 9/26/96)
Keaton McCargo (Telluride, Colo.; Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club; 10/7/95)
Morgan Schild (Pittsford, N.Y.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 8/25/97)

B Team
Men
Jesse Andringa (Boulder, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 12/15/97)
Hunter Bailey (Vail, Colo; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 3/24/96)
Joel Hedrick (Fort Collins, Colo.; Winter Park Competition Center; 5/30/97)
Jack Kariotis (Tiburon, Calif.; Team Park City United; 1/17/97)
Thomas Rowley (Long Beach, N.Y.; Hunter Mountain Freestyle Team; 7/2/94)
Emerson Smith (Frisco, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 2/13/97)
Dylan Walczyk (Rochester, N.Y.; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; 6/25/93)

Women
Nessa Dziemian (East Hampstead, N.H.; Park City Freestyle Ski Team; 4/14/94)
Hannah Soar (Somers, Conn.; Killington Mountain School; 6/4/99)
Avital Shimko (Manhattan, N.Y.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 4/24/96)

AERIALS
A Team
Men
Mac Bohonnon (Madison, Conn.; Stratton Mountain Freestyle; 3/27/95)
Jon Lillis (Pittsford, N.Y.; Bristol Mountain Freestyle Team; 8/20/94)

Women
Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 9/14/93)
Kiley McKinnon (Madison, Conn.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 9/1/95)

B Team
Men
Alex Bowen (Springville, N.Y.; Buffalo Ski Club; 5/21/92)
Chris Lillis (Pittsford, N.Y.; Bristol Mountain Freestyle Team; 4/10/98)
Eric Loughran (Pelham, N.H.; Loon Mountain Freestyle; 12/4/95)

Women
Madison Olsen (Park City, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard; 4/7/95)

C Team
Men
Nick Novak (Stafford, Va.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 3/15/96)
Patrick O’Flynn (Penfield, N.Y.; Bristol Mountain Snow Sports Club; 8/5/97)
Nik Seemann (Winter Park, Colo.; Winter Park Competition Center; 8/28/97)
Justin Schoenefeld (Lawrenceburg, Ind.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 8/13/98)
Harrison Smith (Pittsford, N.Y.; Bristol Mountain Snow Sports Club; 9/12/97)
Zach Surdell (Marcellus, Mich.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 3/6/98)

Women
Megan Nick (Shelburne, Vt,; Elite Aerial Development Program; 7/9/96)
Morgan Northrop (Haymarket, Va.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 4/16/94)
Winter Vinecki (Salem, Ore.; Park City Ski and Snowboard; 12/18/98)
Madison Varmette (Stafford, Va.; Elite Aerial Development Program; 5/8/96)

2018-19 Cross Country World Cup Calendar Announced

By Courtney Harkins
May, 17 2018
Sadie Bjornsen

At FIS Congress in Greece, the 2018-19 cross country World Cup calendar was confirmed. It includes classics like the Tour de Ski and the Drammen city sprint, along with the World Championships in Seefeld, Austria and World Cup Finals in Quebec, Canada.  

See the full 2018-19 World Cup calendar below.Cross country calendar

FIS Announces 2018-19 Alpine World Cup Calendar

By Courtney Harkins
May, 16 2018
Ted Ligety

At FIS Congress in Greece, the 2018-19 alpine World Cup calendar was confirmed. It includes two stops in the United States—Killington and Beaver Creek—along with classic tour stops in Europe, like Kitzbuehel, Wengen and Cortina d’Ampezzo. Other highlights include a stop for the women in Sochi, Russia—home of the 2014 Winter Olympics—and a return to Bankso, Bulgaria for the men. The season is highlighted by the World Championships in Åre, Sweden and punctuated by World Cup Finals in Soldeu, Andorra.

See the full 2018-19 World Cup calendar below. 

World Cup calendar

BRASS Educates Athletes, Staff at Snowbird

By Megan Harrod
May, 11 2018
BRASS Foundation
This is the second year BRASS has teamed up with the American Institute for Avalanche Awareness Research and Education (AIARE) to offer Level 1 and level 2 courses. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

This spring, the Bryce and Ronnie Athlete Snow Safety Foundation (BRASS Foundation) hit the slopes of Snowbird, Utah, offering free avalanche education for 55 U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and staff from across numerous sports, featuring Olympians David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, Colo.), Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo,), Tommy Ford (Bend, Ore.), Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City, Utah).

The BRASS Foundation was formed in 2016, in memory of promising U.S. Ski Team athletes Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack. On January 5, 2015, Ronnie, Bryce and their teammates stood at the top of an ungroomed slope which was open and not roped off. It was located between Pistes 1 and 30, within the boundaries of Soelden ski resort in Austria. The athletes saw fresh ski tracks in the powder. The slope below them had received substantial snow accumulation, plus wind loading the night before, but had not been controlled for avalanche mitigation. The athletes were unaware that a level three regional avalanche warning, which means “considerable risk” was posted that day for the Soelden area.

As they were skiing down the slope, a massive snow slide surprised the athletes and engulfed Ronnie and Bryce. Their four teammates narrowly escaped.

Since inception, the responsibility of BRASS has been to drive avalanche awareness, create educational resources, offer training programs and direct grants related to athlete safety and security nationwide. This is the second year BRASS has offered such training featuring BRASS/American Institute for Avalanche Awareness Research and Education (AIARE) Level 1 courses and Level 2 courses, expanding the knowledge of U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and staff who frequent the mountains they call their office and home. Among Level 1 participants was also Laura Astle, mother of Bryce Astle.

“BRASS is unique in that we focus our avalanche education on ski and snowboard athletes,” said Michael Silitch, BRASS Executive Director. “U.S. Ski & Snowboard has more than 35,000 members and by the time they're a U14, they don't have time to take avalanche courses. November, December and early January when courses typically take place are important training periods for these athletes. We have created a unique opportunity for athletes to take multi-day BRASS/AIARE Level 1 and 2 courses at the end of their season. We're fortunate to partner with Snowbird, one of only a few venues who can host a successful avalanche course in late April. We found plenty of dangerous winter snow layers still buried deep in the spring snowpack.”

BRASS Foundation operates with a “Know Before You Go” approach, educating U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and staff that the following five steps will help prepare them properly for travel in the backcountry: get the gear, get the training, get the forecast, get the picture and know how to get out of harm’s way.

According to Silitch, athletes and staff have walked away from these courses with a widespread disbelief that they ever went off-piste skiing without taking this course. For Silitch, it is important to balance these athletes’ elite level of skiing and riding with an overall understanding of the environment in which they spend most of their time. “All of our athletes will retire one day and we want them to have the skills for a lifetime of safe skiing," reflected Silitch.

Chodounsky, a veteran alpine athlete and two-time Olympian, took advantage of the training opportunity this spring, partaking in both the Level 1 and Level 2 courses. “Avy safety is super important since our entire life as ski professionals is spent in the mountains,” noted Chodounsky. “Most of it is in resorts and on controlled slopes, but we definitely find ourselves in avalanche terrain, whether we know it or not. We especially get into avalanche areas when freeskiing around in Europe – where just by going off the groomed runs you can find yourself on uncontrolled snow, which is how the tragic accident happened with Bryce and Ronnie.” For Chodounsky, this training was invaluable, and he walked away with a wealth of knowledge.

Athletes and staff across all sports – including representation from nordic combined, cross country, snowboard, freestyle and alpine – participated in BRASS avalanche courses this spring. Freestyle skier and Olympian Kauf echoed Chodounsky’s sentiments about the importance of knowledge of the backcountry and added that it is essential to “think ahead and plan for the unexpected.”

“Skiing is part of our everyday lives and we spend most of the year chasing the snow around the globe,” reflected Kauf. “We often find ourselves in Europe skiing uncontrolled ski resorts and we are put in the position where we have to decide if it is safe to ski on normal aspects of the resort. It’s a completely different world than the U.S. and the responsibility lies with us and the coaches. I think that avalanche training is important for myself, fellow athletes and coaches because it helps us understand snow conditions and grows our awareness of our surroundings. It gives us the tools to better understand.”

Kauf was quick to call out that you don’t walk away from the BRASS course as an omniscient avalanche guru who is fearless in the mountains. “If anything, it makes you a little more timid," said Kauf. "It makes you conscious of the consequences when dealing with the mountains and aware of the small factors that can cause an avalanche.”

World Cup assistant men’s alpine speed coach Scotty Veenis’ official home is Park City, Utah, but his second and third homes - and where he spends most of his time - are hotel rooms and mountaintops across the globe. Last year, Veenis completed the Level 1 course and he followed it up this spring with the Level 2 course. His biggest takeaways were that he wished he had been able to take the class sooner and that everyone involved in snow sports of any kind should make avalanche awareness a major priority.

“Being from Virginia originally, I came out here and knew nothing of avalanches,” recalled Veenis. “Unfortunately, it has taken me since 2003 – so almost 15 years – to take a class. For the athletes, I think this training should be mandatory. The mountains are our playing field. Because we travel so much and ski so much terrain around the world, we should all take the time to put towards avalanche training. The importance of not only basic awareness – but knowledge of the tools and how to use them, whether it’s Austria, France, Japan or back at home – is important. In Europe, especially, the out-of-bounds is different from the out-of-bounds at home in North America, where everything is roped off.”

The consensus from all athletes and staff was that the courses were an incredible value-add, and the instructors are world-class AIARE educators who presented the information in an engaging and effective manner. Best of all, they say, it was applied learning from classroom to mountain. On the first day of the Level 1 course, participants participated in a classroom session and beacon test, on the second day they were shoveling pits and looking at the different layers of snow and then the third day it was all route-finding and applying what they had learned from the previous two days to work collectively in a group to make decisions out in the field. This meant U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and staff across all sports were given the chance to spend time and work together in a #oneteam approach to find solutions.

Chodounsky walked away from the course full of gratitude, “A very big thank you to the BRASS Foundation, AIARE and everyone who helped to set this up for us!” he said. “It's a very valuable experience and tool for us to have as I know winter life in the mountains will always be in the future for all of us. It's important to remember Bryce and Ronnie as well. I wish it wasn't because of their accident that we are doing this, but their names are living on for a wonderful cause."

New National Development Group Hits the Mountain

By Megan Harrod
May, 9 2018
National Development Group training at Squaw Valley
National Development Group athletes focused on improving athletic movement, including flexion, extension, and up forward movement at Squaw Valley. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

While club, academy and university coaches attended annual Congress meetings hosted by U.S. Ski & Snowboard in Park City, Utah, head men’s development coach Sasha Rearick hit the mountain with a strong crew of young, development-level male athletes at both Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain in California.

In the spring of 2016, U.S. Ski & Snowboard began a comprehensive study of its own alpine development system and an appraisal of other major nations in the sport. As a result of that study, a plan was created to bring about a sea of change in how U.S. Ski & Snowboard, along with its affiliated regional and club networks, approached future national team selection and development programs, specifically looking toward long-term success at the 2022 and 2026 Olympic Games and beyond. These changes led to the introduction of an innovative methodology for inviting and managing athletes into its alpine development program, deemed the Development Team (D Team) and National Development Group (NDG).

The goal is to expose the nation’s best athletes at the development level to value-added programming that will help them make the next big step to C Team, to the top of the NorAms, and, ultimately, to the World Cup podium. For now, it all starts with the Squaw and Mammoth camps early in the 2018-19 prep period, with athletes who are in line to make Development team criteria and others who are close.

Former head men’s FIS Ski World Cup coach Rearick is at the helm of the men’s alpine development program, working in close partnership with regional and club coaches. The camp is focused on three core areas: technical, tactical and cultural. From a technical standpoint, Rearick would like to see athletes maintain a balanced athletic stance through the turn. Tactically, the emphasis will be on the pressure in the fall line. Culture has been a key topic this spring for U.S. Ski & Snowboard, led by President and CEO Tiger Shaw, and the Development Team plans to come together for discussions that will allow them to create the team culture that they want and need to progress. In doing so, they will ask questions including, “What is the environment we want to create?” and “How do we prepare the team to grow within adversity?”

“This initial National Development Group project has been a great example of the hard work and strong collaboration between the national team, led by Sasha, and the regional and club networks,” noted Chip Knight, alpine development director. “The success of this new development initiative will require very clear communication between all entities, and Sasha has done an incredible job leading the way out of the gate.”

For this initial camp, Green Mountain Valley School's U19 Men’s Coach Nate Bryant and Burke Mountain Academy's Head Men’s FIS Coach JP Daigneault have joined Rearick. The intention is for them to bring back to their clubs what they have learned for future implementation at their own camps.

Even at the elite level, Rearick has stressed the importance of fundamental skills for athletes. The spring project started with a conditioning element at U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, followed by PSIA, slalom and giant slalom fundamentals sessions at Squaw Valley and culminating with a speed fundamentals block at Mammoth Mountain. Another unique element of the camp includes support from Matt Schiller, owner of the Park City Boot Room, who was on site assisting with boot fitting and conducting tuning clinics. Additionally, U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Athlete Career & Education (ACE) Director, Julie Glusker, traveled to Squaw Valley to lead study sessions and offered virtual academic support for the duration of the camp.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard also invited PSIA instructor Michael Rogan and his Austrian counterpart Christopher Krabath, to lead the charge. “Chris is doing real work on lower leg engagement,” Rearick explained. “And what we’ve found was that part of the reason we’re out of balance is that we’re not rotating the femur inside the pelvis – internal rotation of the femur to establish the platform. So, we’re doing a lot of exercises to pinpoint that, which then allows the upper body to stay much more stable. We’re trying to get more athletic movement through the skiing – so flexion, extension, up-forward movement and forward movement are a big part of what they’re doing with athletes.”

The camp featured two days of free skiing on giant slalom skis, using the Squaw Valley terrain for off-piste-type mogul runs, and steep crud skiing to further enhancing the athletic, balanced stance and movement through skiing. Add to this, Rearick’s focus on “constraint-based training” featuring variable course sets that are extremely demanding, encouraged athletes to express themselves in these environments. From there, athletes go back to normal rhythm and timing in giant slalom and slalom sets. This facilitates a focus on skill acquisition so they learn movement correctly, and then skill adaptation.

During the slalom portion of the camp, the alpine athletes worked with the U.S. Ski Team moguls athletes. Unconventional? Yes! Effective? Definitely! The moguls team focused on carving skills, while the alpine crew learned how to keep the skis on the snow and have better upper and lower body separation.

The transition from the World Cup level to the development level has also been positively challenging for Rearick. “There’s a lot of communication with the clubs, coaches and parents prior to traveling to camp, trying to get a sense of what they need,” reflected Rearick. “This is not a full-time program. Rather, these are added opportunities that athletes are invited to. We’re trying to put together a program that athletes can do programming they’re familiar with at their club programs, yet at the same time take advantage of more opportunities led by U.S. Ski & Snowboard. The key here is supporting the clubs by identifying what is possible and communicating the steps they have to make. It’s been going great. We’re on the hill four and a half hours a day, so it’s been long days.”

This project is just one of many development projects for which Knight and new alpine director Jesse Hunt will be championing and Rearick will be implementing. The new initiative was a key topic of discussion at U.S. Ski & Snowboard Congress and was received with positivity and constructive conversation among key stakeholders at the club, academy and university level.

New Requirements For SafeSport, Background Screening

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
May, 1 2018
SafeSport Update

The 2018-19 season brings the following changes for Coach, Official, and Club Volunteer members.

  • Background screening
    • Now required every two seasons
    • Minimum age requirement 18 years
  • SafeSport Training: Now required every two seasons with a refresher in between
  • Fast Start Coaching Course: Now required for Level 100 certification

These changes are in part due to legislation passed by Congress called ‘Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and SafeSport Authorization Act of 2017.’  Federal law now requires that adults who have frequent contact or are in positions of authority over athletes must receive consistent education on prevention and reporting.

More details regarding SafeSport are available on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard website.



 

Olympian Jon Engen Passes

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
May, 1 2018
Jon Engen
Jon Engen (left) is recognized in 2014 by U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chairman Dexter Paine for his years of service to cross country skiing.

PARK CITY, Utah (May 1, 2018) – Olympian and long-time U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Sport Committee Chair Jon Engen passed away last week after a battle with cancer. Engen was a three-time Olympian, one of the rare athletes to compete in both cross country and biathlon, and a passionate supporter of both sports in the United States.

Originally from Norway, Engen emigrated to the U.S. to ski for Montana State University, graduating in 1983 with an engineering degree. He made his first Olympic team in 1988, competing in cross country, and followed that up with two more Olympic appearances in 1992 and 1993 as a biathlete.

“The whole U.S. Biathlon family is saddened by the news of Jon’s passing,” said U.S. Biathlon President and CEO Max Cobb. “He was a great competitor and a force for development within both the biathlon and the cross country skiing communities as one of the few individuals to compete for Team USA at the Olympics in both sports. His dry wit and enthusiasm were legendary. Jon will be greatly missed.”

Engen served as U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Cross Country Sport Committee Chair from 2006 to 2014. He was involved in every aspect of the sport - as an athlete, coach, industry representative and sport leader - and is regarded as one of the committee’s most impactful leaders. He was inducted into the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame in 2014 and will be honored this week at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chairman’s Awards dinner with the Al Merrill Award for his service to nordic skiing in America.

“Much of the success we are enjoying now in cross country stems from the period when Jon’s committee and community leadership played a major role in the growth of the sport in America,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief of Sport Luke Bodensteiner. “Most of all, though, he was just an amazing, kind individual who just wanted to help the sport find success in America.”

Services for Engen are being planned for this summer.

Organizational Update on SafeSport Training, Background Screening

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
May, 1 2018
Sunrise with gate

SafeSport education and implementation, and the protection of youths and people of all ages engaged in sport at all levels are the number one priorities today for National Governing Bodies (NGBs) across the United States.

Thousands of people take part in U.S. Ski & Snowboard events, training programs and competitions annually, from grassroots levels right up to elite, and U.S. Ski & Snowboard is placing the very highest possible emphasis on making sure every participant can do so in an environment that is free from abuse, hazing, and bullying.

Recently, the US Congress passed the “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017”, which now makes failure to report suspected child sexual abuse to police a violation of federal criminal law. This is an important step up in policy and one that U.S. Ski & Snowboard applauds and has implemented across our organization.

Federal law now requires that adults who have frequent contact with athletes or are in positions of authority over athletes must receive consistent and regular education on the critical importance of prevention of all forms of abuse, bullying, and hazing, and are empowered to report whenever they suspect something untoward is taking place.

At our recent Congress, U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced a number of operational updates to ensure that our organization is implementing best practice across all levels of our organization in this critical area. This will start from the grassroots with U.S. Ski & Snowboard member clubs, and extend to all areas of the Center of Excellence.

All employees of U.S. Ski & Snowboard must complete SafeSport training and background screening before their first day of work. All interns, volunteers and contractors who have access to the Center of Excellence, or who frequently interact with athletes, and those who have access to confidential U.S. Ski & Snowboard information related to the organization or athletes, must also complete SafeSport training and background screening before their first day of interning, volunteering, or beginning contract work.

The changes will also impact U.S. Ski & Snowboard member clubs, as they will be required to implement the same standards of SafeSport training and education, and background screening, as all those who work at or with U.S. Ski & Snowboard in Park City, and at the FIS events in the United States. These mandatory requirements will include:

  • Criminal background screening for all employees, coaches, officials, and volunteers who are in regular contact with athletes, or in positions of authority over athletes
  • Consistent education on prevention of sexual abuse, bullying, and hazing, and clear reporting structures in place to enable anyone who is concerned about any of these areas to be able to come forward and report
  • The development and implementation of policies to limit, as much as possible, one-on-one interactions with athletes at any time
  • Implementation and enforcement of policies and preparation for and quick response to random audits for compliance by the US Center for SafeSport
  • Background screening and SafeSport training: Now required all employees, coaches, officials, and volunteers who are in regular contact with athletes, or in positions of authority over athletes every two seasons
  • Fast Start Coaching Course: Now required for Level 100 certification

These policies and processes are in the process of implementation across all levels of U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s member programs. More details regarding SafeSport are available on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard website.

 

Break the Silence - Safesport