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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Gold Medal Gala Raises Record $1.7 Million For Athlete Funding

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
November, 2 2021

History was made at the 55th Annual New York Gold Medal Gala as the event raised more than $1.7 millionthe most in its historywhile the Olympic excitement carried throughout the event as just one day earlier, we celebrated 100 days until the opening ceremony of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. 

Following the success of last year’s virtual Gala broadcast due to the pandemic, this year’s event was hosted in a hybrid format which allowed guests to participate either in-person or online. Guests arrived at the Midtown venue to the sound of excited chatter from reuniting one year after missing the infamous in-person event last year. It seemed, though, as if no time had gone by and guests were picking up right where they had left off: celebrating the teams, the athletes, and each other. Attendees at Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City were joined by viewers across the globe to support the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team as the athletes continued to train and prepare for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games.   

It was an action-packed event with a huge impact highlighted by keynote speaker, two-time Olympic champion, and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin. Shiffrin capped the night by auctioning off the FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom leader bib from her recent victory in Soelden, Austria, to help the Team reach and exceed its fundraising goal. Asked about the night, Shiffrin said, “What an incredible evening...thank you to all of the generous donors for your support. For a governing body like ours [that doesn’t receive government funding] the overwhelming support virtually and in-person makes all the difference. It was the most successful gala to date, and that is because of all of you. To merely say ‘thank you’ is not enough. Your support TRULY means the world.” 

Unfortunately, current active team athletes were unable to attend the event to ensure their utmost safety heading into this competition season, but luckily U.S. Ski & Snowboard legends stepped in and provided the star power for the night. In attendance were some of the greatest U.S. Ski & Snowboard legends and Olympic medalists, including Hannah Kearney, Alice McKennis Duran, Ted Ligety, Shannon Bahrke Happe, Donna Weinbrecht, Andrew Weibrecht, Danny Kass, JJ Thomas, Ross Powers, Kaitlyn Farrington, Alice Merryweather, Sam DuPratt and host of the evening, Jonny Moseley. Additionally, CEO Emeritus Tiger Shaw passed the torch to new President & CEO Sophie Goldschmidt, and with help from CEO Emeritus Bill Marolt, the Team recognized a very special honoree, Dexter Paine for his contributions to the organization and sport.  

“I could not have asked for a better way to cap off my second week with U.S. Ski & Snowboard,” newly appointed President and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said, “It was truly an honor to witness the passion and support we all have for our sports, and the athletes.”

All funds from the event will support year-round athlete training, development, competition, and educational needs. Unlike other countries, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team receives no government funding. The New York Gold Medal Gala is the organization’s largest fundraising event and the success of this year will help light the fire for athletes on their journey to Beijing.  

Mikaela Shiffrin Keynote

Shiffrin Joins TODAY Show for 100 Days Out Celebration

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
October, 28 2021
Mikaela Shiffrin Olympics
Two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin joined the TODAY Show for Team USA's "100 Days Out" celebration, alongside other Olympians, including teammate Ryan Cochran-Siegle. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

Two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin joined the TODAY Show for Team USA's "100 Days Out" celebration, alongside other Olympians, including teammate Ryan Cochran-Siegle. Shiffrin talked about mental health, the loss of her father, her recent FIS Ski World Cup victory—her 70th—in Soelden, Austria at the World Cup opener, and more. 

As Scott Stump wrote for the TODAY Show

The sudden death of Mikaela Shiffrin's father last year had the superstar Olympian questioning whether she would ever ski competitively again.

With Thursday marking 100 days before the Winter Olympics in Beijing, Shiffrin shared on TODAY Show much she struggled with finding the motivation to continue after her father, Jeff Shiffrin, died at 65 from a head injury suffered in an accident in Colorado.

"I wondered if it was really worth it," she told TODAY co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. "There was a really long time that I didn’t really feel like it was worth it to care about anything, so it seemed like I’m not going to go ski race again because the most fundamental thing of an athlete is that you have to care about your sport and you have to care about doing well at your sport, and I just didn’t."

Shiffrin has already put together an incredible career at only 26 with two Olympic gold medals and one silver, which makes her "the most decorated U.S. alpine skier ever," and three overall World Cup titles. She already has won 70 World Cup races, the second-most all-time by any female skier behind only the 82 by retired legend Lindsey Vonn.

She considered walking away from all of it after losing one of her biggest supporters. Her father was an anesthesiologist and an avid photographer who could often be seen taking pictures of his daughter on the medal podium after races.

"I just thought I don’t care about actually really anything in life," she said. "It’s been a long process to get that motivation and actually the feeling of caring back. A lot more good days than bad now, but it’s still difficult."

Following her father's death, Shiffrin shared a photo on Instagram of him with his camera, writing that her family was "heartbroken beyond comprehension."

Shiffrin said on TODAY his loss is "the most difficult thing" she has "ever survived."

Over a year and a half after losing him, Shiffrin is right back to her winning ways. She won her 70th World Cup race last weekend when she took the women's giant slalom in Soelden, Austria.

She shared on TODAY that she has the lofty goal of competing in all six alpine skiing events at the Winter Olympics in February.

Shiffrin has also now reached a place where she can speak about the devastation of losing her father.

"It’s OK to talk about it," she said. "Over the last couple years it’s been important to talk about, and a lot of people actually seem to be able to relate to that on some level because aside from the pandemic, everybody’s dealing with something on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, and there’s a lot of loss and grief and sadness out there, but there’s also a lot of strength and hope.

"And I think it’s important for us to all be able to connect on the more positive side of it."

Story courtesy of Scott Stump and the TODAY Show

Shiffrin on TODAY Show

Radamus Dons Snow Leopard Hairstyle, Snags Career-Best Sixth

By Megan Harrod
October, 24 2021
River Radamus Soelden Career-Best Sixth
It was another perfect day on the Rettenbach glacier, with the young River Radamus donning a new Chad Fleischer (U.S. Ski Team alumnus)-inspired “snow leopard” ‘do leading the charge with a career-best sixth-place under the sunshine in Soelden, Austria. (SEPA.Media /Getty Images - Martin Rauscher)

It was another perfect day on the Rettenbach glacier, with the young River Radamus donning a new Chad Fleischer (U.S. Ski Team alumnus)-inspired “snow leopard” ‘do leading the charge with a career-best sixth-place under the sunshine in Soelden, Austria to kick off the highly-anticipated Olympic season. 

A young American squad led by veteran and 2020 Bormio World Cup super-G victor Ryan Cochran-Siegle, including Radamus, Bridger Gile, and Global Racing’s George Steffey and Patrick Kenney (University of New Hampshire) took on the what is the longest, steepest, most sustained pitch of any FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom on the tour. For the young squad, it was a promising start, despite Radamus being the only one to qualify for the second run.

Veteran teammate Tommy Ford, who had a season-ending crash last year at Adelboden, Switzerland, sustaining knee and hand injuries and a concussion, posted a message of encouragement to his teammates on Instagram early Sunday morning. In the post, he said, “I miss my team and the cold mornings. Go team go! My knee is coming back. It has felt slow, but it hasn't even been a year.” Radamus replied to the message, saying “miss ya tommy❤️ i’ll try to send one for ya today.” And “send” he did! 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tommy Ford (@tommyford)

Coming out of the gate bib 26, Radamus didn’t want to leave anything on the piste, taking risks left and right and making two incredible Bode Miller-esque recoveries in his first run, crossing the finish line in an incredible ninth place and setting himself up for a stellar second run. When asked by the media if he was trying to channel U.S. Ski Team alumnus and Olympic champion Miller, Radamus replied, “I wasn’t trying to imitate anyone…I was just trying to make it down, to be honest with you.” He continued, “I’m really trying to take that mentality—the fearless mentality—like Bode and a lot of guys from America have, so yeah—I’m really proud of the recoveries I had to make there. And I really hope to keep pushing the limit on the next run too.” 

The margins were super-tight in this deep men’s giant slalom field, with Austria’s Roland Leitinger in leading the charge, followed by France’s Mathieu Faivre .19 seconds back, and rounded out by Swiss phenom Marco Odermatt, .21 seconds out. Radamus was .85 out father the first run, and knew he had to put it all out there in the second run in order to score a solid result. With yet another run that put fans on the edge of their seats with thrilling recoveries and solid skiing, Radamus skied down into the lead ahead of Norway’s Lucas Braathen by a slim margin of four-hundredths of a second. It looked as if his lead would hold for a while, as he sat in the leaderboard with a big smile on his face, donning his new snow leopard hairstyle. 

In the end, Radamus—whose previous best was 14th last season in Bansko, Bulgaria—ended up an impressive career-best sixth place on the track that former teammate, hero, and mentor Ted Ligety won a record four times in the span of five years. Radamus was ecstatic with the result, saying, “I really felt like I’ve had a lot of races where I’ve done well the first run, and haven’t been able to execute the same way on second run…whether it’s conscious or unconscious, just backing off – so I really really tried to make sure I left it all out there and made sure I left no regrets on the table,” he said. “I made a couple of mistakes again, but I was pushing my limits again, and I’m happy with the performance. I felt like I’ve had the pace all summer, and with that it almost feels like more pressure because I had more expectations on myself to perform. So coming here and executing the way that I did gives me a lot of confidence rolling into the rest of the season…but at the end of the day I try to keep the mentality that I do everything I can to prepare, and I live with the results regardless. But this is an easier one to live with for sure.”

On the topic of his hair...which was turning many heads, Radamus shared, “The last three years I’ve done a special haircut for Soelden—I did a mullet bowl cut last year, and the year before I did it all blue and green…so I just like to do this little tradition of mine to change it up and get a new look going for the season.” He continued, “This year it’s inspired by past U.S. Ski Team speed legend Chad Fleischer, who used to have hair like this—the snow leopard—I wanted to carry that tradition forward, and carry that, sort of like, free spirit American-style forward.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by U.S. Ski Team (@usskiteam)

Cochran-Siegle, who suffered from a “minor broken neck”, when he crashed on the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbuehel, Austria last season, returned to competition for the first time in 275 days. He missed qualifying for the second run by a mere one hundredth of a second. In the sport of ski racing, missing the flip by a margin this tiny can be defeating, though Cochran-Siegle is putting it into perspective and knows there’s a long season ahead—in which he’ll focus on the speed events and less so on giant slalom. 

“I thought I was skiing well, I was just holding on too much,” he said. “The conditions, and also the strength of every other skier here is really competitive, and I just needed to bring more on this run.” 

Up next for the men’s and women’s U.S. Ski Team crew is a training block at U.S. Ski Team Speed and Tech Center at Copper Mountain, Colo., then a parallel World Cup event in Lech, Austria, before returning to the North American races on the World Cup tour. 

RESULTS
Men’s giant slalom 

Shiffrin Grabs Victory Number 70, Leads Four into Top 25

By Megan Harrod
October, 23 2021

On a sunny, bluebird day on the Rettenbach glacier with perfect conditions, two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin notched her career-70th World Cup victory to lead four women into the top 25 in the Olympic season opener—the best U.S. Ski Team women’s giant slalom results in this era. 

On a first-run course set by coach Mike Day, with the best conditions this crew has seen in a while, the U.S. crew ripped, with Shiffrin in second by a mere .02 seconds, followed by teammate Nina O’Brien in 11th, AJ Hurt in 18th, and Paula Moltzan in 27th. Switzerland’s Lara Gut showed the world that, as a veteran, she remains one of the fastest giant slalom skiers on the planet, sneaking in front of Shiffrin by a hair. Austria’s Steph Brunner sat in third, .54 off the pace. 

During the second run, the athletes put on quite the show for the 9,000+ spectators in the venue, and the millions of those watching across the world. Having had the second-fastest time in the first run, Shiffrin was running 29th. She came down with a healthy lead of 1.3 seconds over Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova, but Gut was yet to come. Gut skied a near-perfect run, with fast splits all the way down, but in the end, Shiffrin bested her by .14 seconds.

This victory was an emotional one for Shiffrin, who lost her father during the 2019-20 season and struggled to find her normal acute focus and drive during the 2021-22 season. Overcome with emotion as she stood atop the podium, Shiffrin looked relieved...perhaps not because she proved to the world that she still had what it takes to win, but she proved to herself that she has what it takes.
 


A solid prep period in the offseason coupled with teammates that have been pushing the pace was a recipe for success for Shiffrin. “My teammates are pushing the pace really high, so I’m pushing too, so it’s been a really good build-up and a great way to start the season,” she reflected. “It’s so cool. Like I said, the last two weeks we’ve all been pushing each other, and I see them skiing and think, ‘I have to keep raising my level too, because you’re here and you’re hungry...and everybody’s hungry, and I feel that motivation. It’s so amazing to have the pace coming from the United States. That’s...special. I’ve never experienced that, in this way, in my career so far...so it’s really cool.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nina O'Brien (@nina_obrien)


O’Brien, who finished in a career-best ninth place, was happy to be racing again, yet is hungry for more. “It felt great to be racing again, I don’t think we could have asked for a better day...unbelievable snow, clear skies all day, and it feels so good to have the crowd back. For me, personally, I was really nervous before the first run, so it’s definitely a relief to have one race done. I showed some good skiing, I feel like I have a little more...but all in all I’m satisfied. Teammates AJ Hurt and Paula Moltzan both finished in the top 25 as well, in 20th and 23rd, respectively. It was a great start for this relatively young squad in the first Olympic qualifying event of the season. 

Keely Cashman, who was returning to the World Cup start gate for the first time in 10 months, after sustaining a minor MCL strain, hematoma in both hips, and a temporary loss of feeling in her foot from bruising from a super-G training crash at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, did not qualify for a second run...but she did overcome some demons by sending it down the Rettenbach glacier track. 

On the men’s side, veteran and 2020 Bormio World Cup super-G victor Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who suffered from a minor broken neck,” as he stated on his Instagram, will be returning to competition for the first time since his crash on the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbuehel, Austria. Cochran-Siegle will lead a promising group of up-and-comers, including River Radamus, Bridger Gile, George Steffey, and the former University of New Hampshire Wildcat Patrick Kenney—who will get his inaugural World Cup start. 

As far as viewing goes, fans have two options. NBC’s Peacock will once again be streaming the event live and it will be available on-demand, and the races will also be offered free of charge with English commentary at Skiworldcuplive.

WOMEN’S RESULTS
Giant Slalom

MEN’S STARTERS
Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Bridger Gile
Patrick Kenney*
River Radamus
George Steffey

*First World Cup start

HOW TO WATCH

Sunday, Oct. 24
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 1 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Peacock
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 1 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Ski World Cup Live
7:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 2 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Peacock
7:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 2 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Ski World Cup Live

Sport-specific broadcast and streaming schedules are available below:

Broadcast and streaming schedules on Peacock Premium will be updated on a weekly basis throughout the season.

 

Alpine World Cup Kicks Off in Soelden, Austria

By Megan Harrod
October, 22 2021
Paula Moltzan
Paula Moltzan takes some final turns in the Soelden, Austria "Ice Box" prior to Saturday's FIS Ski World Cup opener, and first official Olympic qualifying event. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Marc Amann)

The anticipation is palpable as the FIS Ski World Cup season kicks off at Soelden, Austria on the Rettenbach glacier for what is the longest, steepest, most sustained pitch of any giant slalom on tour. Soelden is like the start of a new school year after a long summer break—hugs, happiness, and high stoke levels for a new season of ski racing. The energy is high, the nervous vibes can be felt, and the athletes are ready to kick out of the start gate. 

Speaking of kicking out of the start gate, two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin will kick out the gate bib number one. Teammate Nina O’Brien, who made an impressive leap into the top-15 last season, will start 11, followed by Paula Moltzan in bib 27, AJ Hurt 34, and Keely Cashman 56. Cashman will return to the World Cup start gate for the first time in 10 months, having crashed while training super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany mid-2020-21 season, sustaining a minor MCL strain, hematoma in both hips, and a temporary loss of feeling in her foot from bruising. 

Soelden is always a bit of a pariah on the World Cup circuit...it’s three weeks before the rest of the season kicks off, and everyone is trying to get their feel and see where they stack up against their competitors. On top of that, it’s an unrelenting, often brutal track in which athletes have to capitalize on the steeps and carry their speed onto the flats...and flats there are. In fact, in Friday night’s team meeting, coach Magnus Andersson reminded the athletes to “take advantage of the flats...I saw Ted Ligety win a lot of races here on the flats.” Like, for instance, in 2012 when he won by an unthinkable 2.75 seconds. Wow. Imagine that. 

Yet, athletes still don’t feel prepared coming into Soelden...including the likes of Shiffrin, one of the best skiers of all time. In a press conference prior to Soelden, she said, “I never feel ready for Soelden. Maybe there are some athletes who are like, ‘Okay, it’s time to race, I’m so ready to race now.’ But I’m pretty much ‘no I don’t want to race, I don’t want to race I’m not ready yet’ until it’s time to go and you don’t have a choice and then you go.” Ever-understated is the 69-time World Cup victor Shiffrin. 

Fans will remember last year, as Shiffrin sat out due to a tweaked back, teammates Moltzan and O’Brien shined. Moltzan skied from bib 62 to take 10th place—her best FIS Ski World Cup finish ever at the time, while O’Brien also snagged a best-ever giant slalom result at the time, finishing 15th. All of the women have been training fast and have a solid preparation period under their belts as they tackle Soelden—a welcome change from last year’s season, which was affected due to COVID-19. 

On the men’s side, veteran and 2020 Bormio World Cup super-G victor Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who suffered from a “minor broken neck,” as he stated on his Instagram, will be returning to competition for the first time since his crash on the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbuehel, Austria. Cochran-Siegle will lead a promising group of up-and-comers, including River Radamus, Bridger Gile, George Steffey, and the former University of New Hampshire Wildcat Patrick Kenney—who will get his inaugural World Cup start. 

As far as viewing goes, fans have two options. NBC’s Peacock will once again be streaming the event live and it will be available on-demand, and the races will also be offered free of charge with English commentary at Skiworldcuplive.

STARTERS

Women
Keely Cashman
AJ Hurt 
Paula Moltzan
Nina O’Brien
Mikaela Shiffrin

Men
Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Bridger Gile
Patrick Kenney*
River Radamus
George Steffey

*First World Cup start

HOW TO WATCH

Saturday, Oct. 23
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's GS - run 1 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Peacock
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's GS - run 1 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Ski World Cup Live
7:15 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's GS - run 2 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Peacock
7:15 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women's GS - run 2 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Ski World Cup Live

Sunday, Oct. 24
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 1 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Peacock
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 1 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Ski World Cup Live
7:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 2 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Peacock
7:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 2 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Ski World Cup Live

Sport-specific broadcast and streaming schedules are available below:

Broadcast and streaming schedules on Peacock Premium will be updated on a weekly basis throughout the season.

Top to Bottom Training for Moguls in Zermatt

By Lara Carlton
October, 22 2021
Jaelin Kauf, Olivia Giaccio, Landon Wendler
Jaelin Kauf takes a selfie with Olivia Giaccio and Landon Wendler in front of the Zermatt mogul training course (Jaelin Kauf @jaekauf)

The mogul skiers of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team put skis to a full-length mogul course for the first time this prep season during their on snow camp in Zermatt, Switzerland that wrapped October 17. 

The annual Zermatt camp is usually the marker of the first real push of the new season, and although Mother Nature interfered with several planned training days, the team was happy to be back on the glacier having been unable to do so last year with COVID travel restrictions.

 

 

“When we did finally get up after five-straight weather cancelation days, we were pleased with the quality of the training course and the quality of the snow. It was worth the wait,” said Head Mogul Coach Matt Gnoza. 

Objectives of the camp varied by athlete, different athletes were focused on different aspects of their program. Some were working on upping their jump package degree of difficulty while others focused on foundational skills. One commonality was everyone’s high spirits during the time they had on snow. “One theme I heard throughout the camp was that any day here was better than last year (which was zero),” said Gnoza. “Even without this camp last year we had a successful season. So any day here is seen as a bonus. It was an exciting atmosphere to have that much appreciation for what we were doing.”

Tess Johnson worked on bringing her cork 7 to a full course and came away from camp feeling strong and proud. “I’m psyched to be bringing this trick to competition this upcoming season as I’ve put a tremendous amount of work towards it for years and years. That being said, things went incredibly well in Zermatt, and despite some adversity with weather and in my personal life, I was determined to execute the cork on both airs and in a top-to-bottom. Very proud of myself and thrilled for more fun and challenges to come!”

The Zermatt camp also marks the first time the international moguls community comes together and gives athletes and coaches the opportunity to see what the competition might look like this season. “You could feel the anticipation of [everyone getting on hill together], it kept us on our toes, made the athletes work hard,” said Gnoza. 

“After two and a half years of rehabbing from injury I had the chance to test my mogul legs out at this camp to see how I could stack up to the international field that was present,” said Morgan Schild. “The environment on-hill mimicked a World Cup training course and returning to this pace felt like coming home. The girls on the U.S. team made quite the impression at Zermatt and we could feel how close the Ruka World Cup opener is. Personally I am ecstatic with my progress at this camp and feel quite hungry to step into a competition gate for the first time since 2019!”

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Morgan (@morganschild)

 

The Moguls Team has a few weeks to catch their breath and recharge in anticipation of their World Cup prep camp and season opener. Gnoza wants athletes to “play some golf, go for a bike ride, if there’s snow, go ski. But ski for your passion and spend time with family and friends and remember why you’re doing it.”

Moguls World Cup season kicks off Dec. 4 in Ruka, Finland. 

To support the U.S. Freestyle Mogul Ski Team, please click here for more information.

U.S. Ski Team Kicks Off at Copper Mountain

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
October, 22 2021
Copper Mountain
The U.S. Ski Team Speed Center is expected to open in early November for super-G and downhill training on Andy’s Encore and Rosi’s Run trails. (Copper Mountain)

Each fall, the Athlete’s Mountain hosts ski racers from around the globe for early-season alpine training. This Friday, Copper will welcome over 300 athletes, including local, regional and national talent, to train on Copperopolis and Ptarmigan trails. The U.S. Alpine Ski team will begin to arrive at Copper Mountain within the next two weeks, utilizing the resort’s U.S. Ski Team Speed Center and Alpine Technical Center to fine-tune their speed and tailor their technical skills in preparation for the 2021-22 Alpine World Cup season and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The U.S. Ski Team Speed Center is expected to open in early November for super-G and downhill training on Andy’s Encore and Rosi’s Run trails. Copper has facilitated early season race training at the Speed Center since 2011. The world-class training venue offers a vertical drop of 2,300 ft and is two miles in length, allowing athletes to train on a full-length course before conquering the steep pitches and demanding terrain featured on the World Cup circuit. The elite competitors of the sport can reach max speeds of up to 80 mph while barreling down the venue. The Alpine Tech Center will provide a technical gradient for Slalom and Giant Slalom training on West Encore, Andy’s Encore, and Ore Deal trails.

U.S. Ski Team members expected to train at Copper this November include two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin, World Cup Super-G victor Ryan Cochran-Siegle, veteran speed skier Steven Nyman, world championship silver medalist Travis Ganong, four-time downhill World Cup podium finisher Breezy Johnson and up-and-comers like River Radamus, Bella Wright and Keely Cashman. Additional teams that will be on-site this fall include university and ski club/academy teams from across the country and national teams from Austria, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, and Slovenia.

While the U.S. Alpine Ski Team is on-site, Copper Mountain will commemorate the top alpine ski racers with a night of celebration in the lead-up to Beijing. In true ski racing fashion, Copper Mountain and the U.S. Alpine Ski Team will host a stage show naming Olympic hopefuls to the team for the World Cup season. Guests will be treated to giveaways, a special athlete Q&A, fireworks, and more. It all takes place at the base of the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center in Copper’s East Village at 5 p.m. on Nov. 9. The event is free to attend and open to the public. Learn more about the event at CopperColorado.com.

Copper Mountain is proud to be the official training site for the U.S. Ski Team. For decades, the resort has supported athlete development, providing world-class training and competition venues for elite level and amateur athletes across multiple winter sports disciplines.

Release courtesy of Copper Mountain. 

Freeski, Snowboard Bir Air Kicks Off World Cup Season This Weekend in Switzerland

By Tom Horrocks
October, 20 2021
Corning
Chris Corning is ready to step it up under the lights once again as the FIS Snowboard & Freeski season kicks off in Chur, Switzerland, this weekend. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

U.S. Freeski and U.S. Snowboard Team athletes are fired up to kick off the FIS World Cup season at the Chur, Switzerland, Big Air Friday and Saturday nights.

“I am ready for this weekend,” said U.S. Snowboard Team athlete Chris Corning, who has eight career World Cup big air podiums, including three victories. “This has been the most riding I have had going into the first scaffolding big air of pretty much any season.”

Corning and a number of his U.S. Snowboard and U.S. Freeski teammates have enjoyed quality on-snow time this summer at Mount Hood, Ore., Mammoth, Calif., Copper Mountain, Colo., and Saas-Fee, Switzerland, to dial in tricks new and old. Toss in some off-snow training, including dirt-biking, and Corning is ready to lead a strong contingent of U.S. athletes into the first scaffolding big air event of the season.

“I have been working on tricks I don’t do as much and getting all my old tricks back,” the 2018 overall World Cup snowboard champion added. “I am happy with how the training has gone up to this point.”

U.S. Snowboard Team athletes joining Corning this weekend are Ty Schnorrbusch, Courtney Rummel, Brock Crouch, Kyle Mack, and Judd Henkes. Ski and Snowboard Club Vail athlete Hahna Norman will make her World Cup debut this weekend in Chur.

For the U.S. Freeski Team, six-time big air podium finisher, and two-time World Cup big air winner Alex Hall will be on the “one to watch” list this weekend. He’ll be joined by U.S. Freeski Teammates Hunter Henderson, Cody Laplante, Mac Forehand, and Marin Hamill.

Both Friday’s freeski big air finals and Saturday’s snowboard big air finals will stream live on NBC”s Peacock platform. The Olympic Channel - Home of Team USA - will also broadcast both finals live. Following this weekend’s event, the FIS snowboard and freeski World Cup season will roll into Colorado with Visa Big Air presented by Toyota, Dec. 4 in Steamboat; and the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Dec. 10-11.

HOW TO WATCH 
All times EDT

Friday, Oct.22
12:00 p.m. FIS Freeski World Cup Men and Women’s Big Air, LIVE, Chur, SUI, Streaming Peacock
12:00 p.m. FIS Freeski World Cup Men and Women’s Big Air, LIVE, Chur, SUI, Broadcast Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA

Saturday, Oct. 23
12:00 p.m. FIS Snowboard World Cup Men and Women’s Big Air, LIVE, Chur, SUI, Streaming Peacock
12:00 p.m. FIS Snowboard World Cup Men and Women’s Big Air, LIVE, Chur, SUI, Broadcast Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA

 

Shiffrin Talks Weight of the Olympics, Pain and Loss, and Finding Joy on the Mountain

By Megan Harrod
October, 20 2021
Mikaela Shiffrin Olympics
In a recent interview with Barry Svrluga and the Washington Post, two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin discussed the Olympics and the weight and pressure of it all—which she has described as an "Olympic Demogorgon"—the loss of her father and the associated grief, and the joy she has found once again on the mountain. 

In a recent interview with Barry Svrluga and the Washington Post, two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin discussed the Olympics and the weight and pressure of it all—which she has described as an "Olympic Demogorgon"—the loss of her father and the associated grief, and the joy she has found once again on the mountain.  

He wrote, 

The Olympics are a dream and the Olympics are a nightmare. Mikaela Shiffrin knows both the euphoria and the angst. If only there were a way to explain it.

She thought for a second.

“Have you seen ‘Stranger Things’?” Shiffrin asked during a FaceTime conversation last month.

Um, what does this have to do with the Olympics?

“Well, the monster in ‘Stranger Things’ is called the Demogorgon,” Shiffrin said. “It’s like the Demogorgon is trying to pound in on your house and your brain and everything. You’re trying your best to keep it out and keep away from that pressure, because it’s a really, really uncomfortable place to be.”

This is not science fiction. This is real Olympian life. Shiffrin is entering a World Cup alpine ski season that begins this weekend in Soelden, Austria. It will include her third Olympics, this one in February in Beijing. She is 26 and won gold at each of her previous Games — in the slalom as an 18-year-old in Sochi, Russia; and in the giant slalom four years later in PyeongChang, South Korea, where she added a silver in the alpine combined. Win one medal in China, and she’ll match Julia Mancuso as the most decorated American woman ski racer. Win three — a distinct possibility, if not an expectation — and she’ll match Janica Kostelic of Croatia and Anja Parson of Sweden with the most Olympic medals of any women on the slopes.

She also shared her new love and relationship with Norwegian skier and 2020 FIS Ski World Cup Overall Champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Kilde also shared his admiration for Shiffrin, 

Around December, she began talking regularly with Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, a Norwegian skier who won the World Cup overall title in 2020. They had met perhaps six years earlier on the globe-trotting ski circuit, on which the women and men race simultaneously at the same site only occasionally. Their chats intensified as 2021 dawned. By June, they were Instagram official as a couple, posting workout videos together, walking the red carpet at the ESPYs together, vacationing in Maui together.

“Having somebody in her life like Aleks, it’s like a medicine,” Eileen said. “It’s like a salve. It’s just so good to have something positive — really, really positive — going on. It’s just nice to feel like you can laugh again.”

There is the obvious commonality in their pursuits, which is to be the best skier on the planet. But there is also a both a kinship off the mountain — “We don’t have to talk about skiing,” Kilde said — as well as a respect.

“I admire her, to be honest,” Kilde, 29, said by phone from Austria. “It’s kind of weird to say that about your girlfriend. But it’s quite impressive what she’s doing. She’s doing something that I want to be doing, too. I can learn from her.”

Read the full article at WashingtonPost.com.

 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Partners with RACEtech-USA to Provide Race Equipment Service to U.S. Ski Team

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
October, 19 2021
RACEtech-USA Partnership
U.S. Ski & Snowboard today announced a multi-year partnership with RACEtech-USA, a service-based alpine equipment company committed to optimizing on-hill race gear performance for U.S. Alpine Ski Team athletes.

PARK CITY, UTAH (October 19, 2021) – U.S. Ski & Snowboard today announced a multi-year partnership with RACEtech-USA, a service-based alpine equipment company committed to optimizing on-hill race gear performance for U.S. Alpine Ski Team athletes. As the Official Equipment Service Provider to the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, RACEtech will apply its proprietary protocols and custom tools to consistently evaluate each athlete’s on-hill performance and develop race and discipline-data based off the athlete’s equipment

RACEtech-USA will conduct pre- and post-season equipment service blocks during the year for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team at U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s headquarters, the USANA Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, as well as at pre-season camps at Copper Mountain, Colorado. Data from the reports, in combination with coach and athlete feedback, will contribute to modifying each skier’s setup and elevating on-hill equipment performance.

“We’re thrilled to partner with RACEtech to deliver consistent World Cup-level equipment service before going to camps,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Alpine Director Jesse Hunt. “Our goal was to create a centralized location at the USANA Center of Excellence so that training time could be maximized on technique rather than with equipment issues. Through the founders’ industry knowledge and cutting-edge technology, RACEtech has created the perfect opportunity for us to improve our athletes’ equipment heading into a crucially important season.”

RACEtech-USA was established in 2015 by co-founders Graham Lonetto and Dave Brennan. Lonetto is a former 20-year World Cup service tech for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team and former owner of Edgewise Ski Service in Stowe, Vermont, while Brennan is a 25-year ski industry veteran who worked as a factory rep for several major European alpine boot, ski and binding manufacturers.

“The importance of equipment’s role in performance is well-established, but consistently quantifying and tracking setup changes and their results has been a significant challenge,” said Lonetto. “We use custom auditing and assessment tools to evaluate, audit, and track equipment set-up results.”

“Matching race gear setups with the athlete’s skill set and style is our primary mission,” said Brennan. “Connecting these dots through collaboration with the athlete, coach and technician produces a vital feedback loop that can lead to optimizing an athlete’s on-hill performance. Going forward, the plan is for RACEtech to expand our services to all U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and coaches.”

###

About RACEtech-USA
Established in 2015 by co-founders Graham Lonetto and Dave Brennan, RACEtech-USA has operations in Park City, Utah with additional field support out of Stowe, Vermont. Using the latest automated machine and hand tools from their technology partners, Wintersteiger and SWIX, RACEtech conducts pre- and post-U.S. Alpine Ski Team training camp equipment service blocks throughout the year. Additionally, RACEtech will have a fully operational equipment service center during the on-snow training camps at Copper Mountain, CO.

About U.S. Ski & Snowboard 
U.S. Ski & Snowboard is the Olympic National Governing Body (NGB) of ski and snowboard sports in the USA, based in the USANA Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah. Tracing its roots directly back to 1905, the organization represents nearly 200 elite skiers and snowboarders in 2021, competing in seven teams; alpine, cross country, freeski, freestyle, snowboard, nordic combined and ski jumping. In addition to the elite teams, U.S. Ski & Snowboard also provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders across the USA, encouraging and supporting them in achieving excellence. By empowering national teams, clubs, coaches, parents, officials, volunteers, and fans, U.S. Ski & Snowboard is committed to the progression of its sports, athlete success, and the value of team. For more information, visit www.usskiandsnowboard.org

PHOTO ASSET
A photo of the RACEtech machine for use can be found here. Photo credit: U.S. Ski & Snowboard

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Courtney Harkins, Elevate Communications/U.S. Ski & Snowboard, charkins@elevatecom.com

Dave Brennan, RACEtech-USA, Dave.Brennan@RACEtech-USA.org