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U.S. Ski & Snowboard Honors Service to Sport at Annual Awards

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 30 2018
Julius Blegen Award winner Bruce Crane
The organization’s highest honor, the Julius Blegen Award, will be awarded to the late Bruce Crane, acknowledging his lifetime of service to skiing and snowboarding.

PARK CITY, Utah (May 1, 2018) – U.S. Ski & Snowboard will recognize more than 50 athletes, coaches, clubs, and leaders who have supported skiing and snowboarding at this week’s annual U.S. Ski & Snowboard Congress. The awards include gold awards, silver awards, athlete, coach and club of the year awards in each sport, and sport-specific awards.

The organization’s highest honor, the Julius Blegen Award, will be awarded to the late Bruce Crane, acknowledging his lifetime of service to skiing and snowboarding. Crane spent much of his life serving his passion both professionally and as a volunteer in the sport of ski racing. Throughout his career, Crane served as a competition director for multiple organizations and worked at the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He was world acclaimed for his work in race timing and scoring, athlete ranking systems, and racecourse homologation. Crane was honored many times for his service, including the Westhaven Award for service as a technical delegate in 1997 and the Bud and Mary Little Award for his work with the International Ski Federation (FIS), and the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2002.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced various gold awards, including Olympic champion Jessie Diggins as the recipient of this year’s Beck International Award, Rowmark Academy’s Troy Price (Salt Lake City) as development coach of the year, Dave Reynolds and Mike Ramirez as international coaches of the year and Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center as club of the year. Additionally, Brad Ghent (Edwards, Colo.) will receive the Westhaven Award for his service as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard and FIS technical delegate.

The Utah Olympic Park, Waterville Valley Resort, Craftsbury Outdoor Center and Central Cross Country Skiing will receive silver awards for their service to and support of the sports. The Utah Olympic Park, winner of the John J. Clair Jr. Award, serves as a training center for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team for elite and development level athletes in multiple Olympic disciplines. Waterville Valley and Craftsbury Outdoor Center will receive the Paul Bacon Award for their event organization, including the 2018 U.S. Freestyle Moguls Championships at Waterville Valley and two SuperTour stops at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Central Cross Country Skiing will receive the Russell Wilder Award for service to youth through its Nordic Rocks program.

Other silver award recipients include Tom Johnston (Bud and Mary Little Award) for his service to the FIS and the U.S. Olympic Committee, Ritchie Date (West Family Award) for his work as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard official, Dr. Jamie Watkins (J. Leland Sosman Award) for his service as a team physician and Olympic Champion Kikkan Randall (Buddy Werner Award, and Team Athlete Giving Back Award) for her sportsmanship and leadership as well as her work with the Fast & Female program.

All of this year’s awards will be presented at the Chairman’s Awards Dinner on May 3 in Park City.

 

2018 U.S. SKI & SNOWBOARD JULIUS BLEGEN AWARD RECIPIENT

Bruce Crane (Park City, Utah)

 

U.S. SKI & SNOWBOARD GOLD AWARD RECIPIENTS

Westhaven Award (top U.S. Ski & Snowboard technical delegate) – Brad Ghent (Edwards, Colo.)

 

U.S. SKI & SNOWBOARD SILVER AWARD RECIPIENTS

Paul Bacon Award (event organization) – Waterville Valley Resort + Craftsbury Outdoor Center & Nordic Ski Club

John J. Clair Jr. Award (service to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team) – Utah Olympic Park

Bud and Mary Little Award (service to FIS/USOC) – Tom Johnston (Pinedale, Wyo.)

Buddy Werner Award (athlete sportsmanship, leadership) – Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska)

Russell Wilder Award (service to youth) – Central Cross Country Skiing, Nordic Rocks

J. Leland Sosman Award (service as team physician) – Jamie Watkins, MD (Snowmass Village, Colo.)

West Family Award (U.S. Ski & Snowboard official) – Richie Date (Park City, Utah)

Team Athlete Giving Back Award – Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska)

Diggins Honored With Beck International Award

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 30 2018
Coaches
Erik Flora (left), Jason Cork, Kikkan Randall, Jessie Diggins, Chris Grover and Matt Whitcomb. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard / Reese Brown)

PARK CITY, Utah (April 30, 2018) – U.S. Ski & Snowboard will recognize 31 individuals and organizations for Athlete, Coach, and Club of the Year awards at the upcoming U.S. Ski & Snowboard Congress. Top honorees this year include Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.), recipient of the Beck International Award, U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s top athletic honor, U.S. Snowboard Team’s Mike Ramirez and David Reynolds for Coach of the Year, Troy Price for Development Coach of the Year and Alaska Pacific University for Club of the Year.

Jessie Diggins made history this season when she and teammate Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, Alaska) brought home the gold medal in the team sprint at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. It was the first U.S. women’s cross country medal and only the second cross country medal ever following Bill Koch’s silver at the 1976 Games. Diggins also had a spectacular World Cup season with eight podiums, including victories in Seefeld, Austria and Falun, Sweden.

“It is an honor to be receiving the Beck International Award, and I’m extremely grateful to the team that created so many extraordinary racing opportunities this season,” said Diggins. “Our coaches and staff have worked tirelessly, putting the rest of their lives on hold to travel the world with us and help us achieve athletic excellence. Our teammates have put in thousands of hours of training to push the level of skiing in this country forward. This season wouldn’t have happened without such amazing support!”

U.S. Snowboard Team coaches Mike Ramirez and Dave Reynolds led their team of 18 athletes to four Olympic medals, including two gold, three X Games medals, 11 World Cup podiums and an overall World Cup title. Their guidance and dedication to their team have helped U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s slopestyle and big air teams become the “Best in the World!”

As junior program director at Rowmark Ski Academy in Salt Lake City, Troy Price has fostered a high level of development for his athletes at Rowmark and the entire intermountain division. He established the division’s development committee nine years ago and has served as committee chair since its inception, playing a key role in managing development projects, running the Tri-Divisional Championships and fielding a Western Region team for this season’s Whistler Cup.

Alaska Pacific University has long supported the development and success of cross country skiing athletes at every level. This season, APU had a total of nine current and alumni athletes compete at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, including Olympic Champion Randall, Sadie and Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) and Rosie Brennan (Park City, Utah).

All award recipients will be recognized at the annual Chairman’s Awards Dinner on May 3 in Park City.
 

2018 U.S. SKI & SNOWBOARD ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
  • Beck International Award: Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.; SMS T2)
  • Alpine Athlete of the Year: Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle/Vail, Colo.; Burke Mountain Academy/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail)
  • Adaptive Athlete of the Year: Tyler Walker (Franconia, N.H./U.S Paralympic Team)
  • Cross Country Athlete of the Year: Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.; SMS T2)
  • Freestyle Athlete of the Year: Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club)
  • Freeskiing Athlete of the Year: David Wise (Reno, Nev.)
  • Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year: Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, Wisc.; Flying Eagle Ski Club)
  • Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year: Kevin Bickner (Wauconda, Ill.; Norge Ski Club)
  • Snowboarding Athlete of the Year: Jamie Anderson (S. Lake Tahoe, Calif.; USASA South Tahoe Series)
     
2018 U.S. SKI & SNOWBOARD COACHES OF THE YEAR
  • International/Snowboard Coach of the Year: Mike Ramirez + Dave Reynolds (U.S. Snowboard Team)
  • Development/Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year: Troy Price (Rowmark Ski Academy)
  • Adaptive International Coach of the Year: Graham Watanabe (U.S. Paralympics)
  • Adaptive Domestic Coach of the Year: Erik Leirfallom (National Ability Center)
  • Alpine International Coach of the Year: Chip White (U.S. Women’s Alpine Ski Team)
  • Cross Country International Coach of the Year: Jason Cork + Matt Whitcomb (U.S. Ski Team)
  • Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year: Bryan Fish (U.S. Ski Team)
  • Freestyle International Coach of the Year: Matt Gnoza (U.S. Ski Team)
  • Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year: John Dowling (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail)
  • Freeski International Coach of the Year: Ben Verge + Andrew Woods (U.S. Freeski Team)
  • Freeski Domestic Coach of the Year: Jesse Mallis (Stratton Mountain School)
  • Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined International Coach of the Year: Uroš "Balki" Vrhovec (USA Nordic)
  • Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Domestic Coach of the Year: Colin Delaney (NYSEF)
  • Snowboard Domestic Coach of the Year: Brady McNeil (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail)
     
2018 U.S. SKI & SNOWBOARD CLUBS OF THE YEAR
  • Club/Cross Country Club of the Year: Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center
  • Alpine + Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Club of the Year: Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
  • Freestyle Club of the Year: Winter Park Freestyle Program
  • Freeski + Snowboard Club of the Year: Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Wins Big at Team USA Awards

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 26 2018
 Team USA Awards, Best of the Games
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Vice President, Communications Tom Kelly, Olympic Gold Medalist Chloe Kim, and U.S. Cross Country Ski Team coach Jason Cork were among the Team USA Awards, Best of the Games award winners. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

WASHINGTON (April 26, 2018) – U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes, coaches, and staff brought home four awards from the Team USA Awards, Best of the Games, recognizing Team USA’s outstanding performances and awe-inspiring achievements from the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

Shaun White (Carlsbad, Calif.) was named Male Olympic Athlete of the Games, Chloe Kim (Torrance, Calif.) was named Female Olympic Athlete of the Games, U.S. Cross Country Ski Team coach Jason Cork was named Olympic Coach of the Games, and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Vice President, Communications Tom Kelly received the Building Dreams Award.

With an impressive 97.75-point final run to claim gold, White became the first snowboarder to win three Olympic gold medals and is the first American man to win gold medals at three Olympic Winter Games. He now owns the second-most gold medals among U.S. men in Olympic Winter Games history.

In her first Olympics, Kim nailed a 98.25-point on her victory lap run in halfpipe, that included two back-to-back 1080s, after posting a 93.75 on her first run to secure the gold medal. She is the youngest woman from any nation to win a gold medal in snowboarding.

As a coach for the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, and the personal coach of two-time Olympian Jessie Diggins, Cork was instrumental in leading Team USA to its first-ever Olympic medal in women’s cross country skiing, and the first U.S. gold medal in the sport. In addition to the historic gold medal in the team sprint, Cork also guided Diggins to three individual top-five finishes – the best-ever for an American woman in Olympic cross-country skiing (prior to the gold medal).

In a career that has spanned 32 years and nine Olympic Winter Games, Kelly has dedicated his life’s work to telling the incredible stories of Team USA athletes and highlighting the historic milestones that have made U.S. Ski & Snowboard a perennial power on the world’s biggest stage. In a pioneering move that reimagined media coverage at the Olympic Games, Kelly was the mastermind behind the USOC’s Managing Victory tour, which is designed to help Olympic medalists capitalize on their success and promote their sport in the immediate aftermath of their podium performance. Now a cornerstone of both summer and winter versions of the Games, Team USA celebrated the sixth installment of the program at the PyeongChang Olympics, which also marked the final Games for Kelly in his current role with U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

Other Team USA, Best of the Games winners include:

  • Olympic Team of the Games – U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team
  • Female Paralympic Athlete of the Games – Oksana Masters, Nordic skiing
  • Male Paralympic Athlete of the Games – Dan Cnossen, Nordic skiing
  • Paralympic Team of the Games – U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team
  • Paralympic Coach of the Games – Gary Colliander, Nordic skiing
  • Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award – Kristi Yamaguchi, 1992 Olympic gold medalist, figure skating

The six athlete and team award winners were determined by online fan voting at TeamUSA.org/Awards, where nearly 600,000 fan votes determined 50 percent of the final tally. Members of the Olympic and Paralympic family – including an esteemed panel of Olympic and Paralympic journalists – accounted for the other 50 percent. For coaching awards, National Governing Bodies selected their nominees and the winners were determined via selection committee.

The awards were presented during a live recording of the Team USA Awards, Best of the Games ceremony, held on April 26 at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. The awards show will be televised as a 90-minute feature for the first time ever and will air May 12 from 6-7:30 p.m. EDT on NBCSN.


 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Update - April 2018

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 24 2018
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Logo

In this update from U.S. Ski & Snowboard, I’m writing to share important topics with which our team is currently engaged.

Reflecting on the 2018 season, we have much to be proud of - from the Olympic Winter Games to the World Cup and Grand Prix circuits, to all major events in which our incredible athletes excelled. While we have had a number of great successes, this season has also revealed areas where we are simply falling short of our ambitious goals and objectives. My laser focus and that of our entire organization is on improving our operations, the culture of our teams and the effectiveness of our overall athletic development systems, all of which is aimed at helping our athletes become, and remain, the Best in the World while providing a safe and healthy environment.

Like every organization striving for excellence, we have, and always will have, challenges to face and tackle. We must always be committed to a culture of continuous improvement. We have made plans to address key challenges and opportunities over the last several years that we are already executing. At the same time, we are also carefully listening and responding to input and challenging every assumption and plan. We embrace public dialog and the feedback we receive from all quarters. We also hear and understand the need for more transparency. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you some key updates within our organization:

  • Team structures: We are restructuring our freestyle and alpine departments to provide a new and renewed focus on domestic and development level programming combined with supporting our national teams. These restructuring efforts will be ongoing, and are focused on improved culture and domestic program integration.

  • Athlete safety is of paramount importance and a fundamental priority for our organization. We are continuously evaluating how we improve SafeSport training, awareness and enforcement at all levels of U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s operations. Additional details on this critical work will be discussed further during U.S. Ski & Snowboard Congress in early May.

  • Financial transparency is of critical importance and a goal of this organization. We publish information which gives clear details of our operating budget (available here), and will publish mid-May when our 2019 budget is final and approved, additional information about sport-specific athlete costs and benefits involving funding allocations and the specific steps we are taking to increase funding and decrease costs for our athletes. This includes the Bob Beattie Travel Fund and other campaigns supporters have so generously helped us all to create. Benefits of being a team member will also be detailed, including our highly utilized significant career and academic support.

The upcoming U.S. Ski & Snowboard Congress, May 1-5 in Park City, Utah will be the perfect opportunity for attendees to learn more about the important topics that our team is engaged with, and to provide thoughts, ideas and feedback on the changes we are implementing to help us achieve our vision and goals by executing our mission. Those who know me and this organization know that we always welcome any and all feedback. We are listening carefully and working hard to make U.S. Ski & Snowboard stronger, with our core focus, as ever, on athletes.

Thank you for your continued support.

Tiger Shaw
President & CEO
U.S. Ski & Snowboard

Chloe Kim Named to 2018 Time 100

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 19 2018
Chloe Kim Olympic Celebration
Chloe Kim won her first Olympic gold medal at 17 years old. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim (Torrence, Calif.) is one of four Olympians named to Time's 100 Most Influential People in 2018.

Kim made history at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, performing two back-to-back 1080s - a first for women's snowboarding - in her halfpipe run to claim the gold. Under an immense amount of pressure, competing in her parents home country, Kim rode brilliantly and shined brightly as one of Team USA's biggest stars.

Read David Chang's Time essay on Chloe Kim.

Jesse Hunt Returns to U.S. Ski & Snowboard as Alpine Director

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
April, 18 2018
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Logo

U.S. Ski & Snowboard has announced today that Jesse Hunt has returned to the organization as Alpine Director, a role he last held with U.S. Ski & Snowboard in 2009 after 16 years with the organization. Jesse takes up the role with immediate effect, returning to U.S. Ski & Snowboard after nine years with Park City Ski & Snowboard where he was Program Director and General Manager.

During Jesse’s previous tenure with U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the U.S. Ski Team enjoyed arguably its most successful run of results in alpine racing in its history, including four FIS Overall World Cup titles, 12 Olympic medals and 18 World Championship medals.

“Jesse is re-joining our team at a pivotal time,” said Luke Bodensteiner, U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Chief of Sport. “Some of our alpine team’s greatest successes have been propelled by the work that Jesse accomplished during his first tenure with us. He’s the right person to lead our team right now, as we continue to maximize the capability of our elite team, while also activating the roadmap in our development efforts to build our team for the future. The nine years that Jesse has spent at Park City Ski & Snowboard, one of our largest club programs, allows him to return to us with a fully rounded perspective of all levels of the sport, and positions him uniquely to lead our collaboration with clubs nationally, and our efforts internationally.  He will bring a unique, comprehensive, and American perspective to the position, and we’re incredibly happy to welcome him back to the team.”

“Firstly, I want to thank everyone at Park City Ski & Snowboard for being such an incredible group of people to work with over the last nine years. I leave with many happy memories, but I am delighted that Tiger, Luke, and the whole U.S. Ski & Snowboard team have given me the chance to come back home,” added Jesse, originally from Burlington, VT and a Park City resident since 1990. “We have an exciting challenge ahead of us to give our alpine ski racers the chance to be Best In The World, but that is precisely the challenge that motivates me the most, helping athletes achieve everything that they are capable of. We have a strong mix of highly experienced athletes and those coming up through the ranks in both the men’s and women’s teams, in speed and tech, and the chance to help all of them achieve greatness is one I could not turn down.

“Additionally, the recent announcement the team made that Sasha Rearick is joining Chip Knight in the alpine development program means we have a very strong team in place to help us achieve our goals in the World Cup program for years to come, and, in particular at the 2022 and 2026 Games, and beyond. I cannot wait to start work and am thrilled to be back.

“Our whole alpine program will benefit tremendously from the leadership and clear direction Jesse will bring,” said Tiger Shaw, CEO and President of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “We had a successful 2018 Winter Olympic Games, but we know we did not achieve all our goals in alpine. Jesse’s appointment adds an incredible amount of value to our elite athlete alpine program, but he will also be a key part of the plan we have been activating for some time now in development. I am confident that we have the right mix of experience, passion, dedication and a strong plan that will help our alpine program achieve more than they think possible, both internationally and back home in the USA.”

 

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. 

2018 WHISTLER CUP U16 TEAM
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

2018 WHISTLER CUP U14 TEAM
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.”