» Stories Mon, 06 Jul 2015 15:30:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Vote for Lindsey Vonn, Kelly Clark to win ESPY Awards Mon, 06 Jul 2015 15:30:11 +0000 SR Staff The U.S. Ski Team’s Lindsey Vonn is a candidate for two 2015 ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards: Best Comeback Athlete and Best Female Athlete.

The ESPYS commemorate the past year in sports by “recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances.” The awards will be handed out by ESPN in a ceremony on July 15.

Vonn was nominated for Best Comeback Athlete for her return to ski racing this season after missing the Sochi Olympics due to knee injuries. In 2015, she brought her World Cup win total to 67, breaking the previously held record. She also took home her 19th World Cup title, tying Ingemar Stenmark’s record. She is up against Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.

In the Best Female Athlete category, Vonn is competing against MMA fighter Ronda Rousey, Breanna Stewart of the UConn basketball team and tennis player Serena Williams. She is nominated for her outstanding achievements this season, like breaking Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Proell record of 62 World Cup wins. Vonn has won two previous ESPYS – in 2010 and 2011.

U.S. Snowboarding athlete Kelly Clark was nominated for Best Female Action Sports Athlete due to her stellar performance this season, which included a silver medal at X Games, her eighth win at the Burton US Open, sixth U.S. Grand Prix tour title and fifth World Snowboarding Tour title.

Clark is up against surfers Paige Alms and Stephanie Gilmore and motorcyclist Laia Sanz. Clark has been nominated before, but has never won an ESPY.

Winners are determined by votes, so Vonn and Clark need your help. Vote daily on through July 15 at 8 p.m. ET.

Release courtesy of USSA

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Training begins on new big air jumps Sun, 05 Jul 2015 13:28:29 +0000 SR Staff PARK CITY, Utah – After nine months of construction, athletes took their first jumps into the new Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) on Monday, June 22. A grand opening celebration for the newly renovated facility was then on Saturday, June 27. The event included a special evening performance by the Flying Ace All-Stars, who performed choreographed acrobatics on the jumps.

Originally built in 1992, the water ramps at the UOP are one of the most heavily utilized training facilities of Utah’s Olympic Legacy Foundation venues. The new pool features seven ramps designed specifically for aerials, moguls, freeskiing, snowboarding and big air. The pool itself was also expanded from 750,000 gallons to just over a million to accommodate the new jumps.

“I don’t even know how to describe how awesome this is,” said U.S. Freestyle Ski Team aerialist and World Cup champion Mac Bohonnon after taking the inaugural first jump. “We’ve been anticipating this since October 1 when they started tearing all the old jumps down. To take the first jumps with our whole team here is so much fun. The jumps are awesome. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”

In partnership with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation (UOLF) launched its “Project Big Air” campaign in 2014 to fund the expansion and renovation. U.S. Ski Team alumnus and philanthropist Spencer F. Eccles also contributed a $1 million challenge grant that jump-started the project’s successful campaign.

“With over 200 donors, making this project a reality was truly a team effort,” said UOLF President and CEO Colin Hilton. “This renovation really exemplifies the community support for winter athletics and our organization’s mission to ensure long term viability and relevance of Utah’s Olympic Legacy efforts.”

Both the USSA and UOLF pointed to the project as an example of Utah’s commitment to Olympic winter sports and showcasing the region’s unique and collaborative efforts to utilize its active Olympic venues.

“We’ve been able to achieve so much in terms of drawing youth into the support and training Olympians with this facility,” said USSA Executive Vice President, Athletics Luke Bodensteiner. “This renovation will expand on that success and allow us to bring all of the freestyle, freeskiing and snowboarding elements into the training center. What we’ve put in place is really unique worldwide. It will be an asset for athletes for years to come.”

Just prior to the grand opening event, the Utah Olympic Park hosted the 2015 Olympic Day. This family-friendly festival offered sport-themed booths including demonstrations from the National Ability Center, athlete training in the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool, Olympian “meet and greets,” bounce houses, arts and crafts and more.

Release courtesy of USSA

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Mikaela Shiffrin sticks with Atomic for 3 more years Sat, 04 Jul 2015 17:05:20 +0000 SR Staff Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin will stay with her equipment manufacturer Atomic for three more years, as was recently announced via the company’s Facebook page.

“We’re super excited to announce that Mikaela Shiffrin will be skiing on Atomic for three more seasons! Here’s to another epic couple of years, chasing globes and medals around the world.”

Shiffrin skied on the Atomic brand even before her World Cup debut in 2011. The 20-year-old American technical specialist has won the World Cup slalom title for the past three seasons. Her latest contract with the brand ensures that Shiffrin will ski on Atomic equipment through at least the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, where she will look to defend her gold medal in the slalom from Sochi.

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Tommy Eliasson Winter named new alpine director in Sweden Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:55:40 +0000 SR Staff Swedish Ski Federation Alpine Director Ville Bylin has chosen to depart his post before the start of the 2015-16 season because of family reasons. His replacement will be the current coach and sports director for ski cross, Tommy Eliasson Winter, who in turn will be replaced by Joar Båtelson.

“I have had two fantastic seasons as alpine director, and I will certainly miss the pulse in sport. The decision has emerged gradually, and because I do not want to be away from family so much,” said Bylin.

“I want to thank Ville for a great job done,” said federation director Niklas Carlsson. “In addition to sporting successes, he has seen to it that alpine now has a much better finances giving his successor a good position to continue working with alpine development.”

Eliasson was born in Boden where he started his alpine racing career. In 2003, he switched disciplines and became one of the pioneers of Swedish ski cross. He put his competition skis on the shelf following the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games to become a full-time coach and sport manager for ski cross, finding both sporting and financial success as the Swedish ski cross team has steadily increased season after season.

“It has been a fantastic journey to ski cross from one of Sweden’s unknown sports until the TV screen. But now I’m ready to take the next step and am very psyched for the mission to develop both alpine national teams in Sweden. It feels fantastic to take over such a historically successful business and work for the continued success heading into the World Championships in Åre 2019,” said Eliasson.

With Eliasson departing the ski cross team, his successor as sports director will be Joar Båtelson, current marketing coordinator at ski cross.

Båtelson has worked together with Eliasson since December 2011 to successfully spread ski cross in Sweden.

“It will be very exciting to continue the positive development that Tommy has laid for the foundation, and I am really looking forward to continue to influence the future of Swedish ski cross,” said Båtelson.

All organizational changes will go into effect on Aug. 1, however, Bylin will remain in the organization until mid-September to aid in the transition.

“It is good that we have such a knowledgeable staff within our organization so that we have been able to resolve this through internal recruitment. I am absolutely convinced that both Tommy and Joar will handle their tasks splendidly and wish them luck,” added Carlsson.

Release and photo courtesy of SSF

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Excitement builds in Vail for Dwyer’s forthcoming leadership Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:12:21 +0000 SR Staff The Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) community welcomes its next Executive Director, Kirk Dwyer, to lead the organization’s efforts starting in June 2016 after serving out his 16th year as Headmaster at Burke Mountain Academy.

In addition to ensuring that the academic and snow sport offerings ran smoothly at BMA during his 15 years there, Dwyer also coached athletes throughout his tenure, helping many of them attain the highest level of success in the sport. Notably, he was Mikaela Shiffrin’s primary coach during her time at BMA.

“Kirk is one of the most highly regarded professionals in ski racing. Whether at Green Mt. Valley School or now at Burke Mountain Academy, Kirk has spent his career helping young men and women reach for their dreams,” said current SSCV Executive Director Aldo Radamus. “I’m certain that Kirk will continue the more than 50 year legacy of excellence at SSCV and that the club and Vail Valley will be as supportive and provide as much fulfillment to he and his family as my family and I have been blessed with over the past 13 years.”

“I look forward to welcoming Kirk and his family to Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, introducing him to our community and working together for a seamless transition of leadership,” Radamus added.

“I am honored to have been selected to be the next executive director at SSCV. I have great personal respect for Aldo and all he has accomplished, the strength of the multiple core snow sports, and the outstanding people involved. SSCV is recognized on a frequent basis by USSA for its excellence as a club and the individual sports,” said Dwyer. “There are great opportunities for the future with the excellent academic programs in place, the Minturn Fitness Center, and the resources provided by Vail Resorts. The planned expansion of Gold Peak will allow for pre-eminence in on-snow training fundamental to future growth and achievement. I am excited by the opportunity to work with the board, staff, athletes and parents of SSCV. We look forward to living in the Vail Valley and becoming part of the community.”

SSCV Board of Trustees Chair Glenn Davis shared, “There are many outstanding qualities that position Kirk to lead Ski & Snowboard Club Vail through its next phase of development. We are thrilled to have a person of Kirk’s experience and stature step in as the next leader of SSCV.”

Release courtesy of SSCV

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Jansrud, Paris honored with Kitzbuehel gondola cars Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:58:05 +0000 SR Staff For some competitions, the fruits of victory continue to come in the summer. The 2015 Kitzbuehel race winners, Kjetil Jansrud in the Hahnenkamm downhill and Dominik Paris the super G, received their honorary gondolas at the famed Austrian venue today. In keeping with tradition, each speed event winner on the Streif is honored with a gondola car bearing his name and nation’s flag.

























Photos courtesy of Hahnenkamm-Rennen Kitzbuehel

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UNH Skiing announces new recruits for 2015-16 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:09:20 +0000 SR Staff DURHAM, N.H. – University of New Hampshire Nordic head coach and skiing coordinator Cory Schwartz and alpine head coach Brian Blank have announced their incoming class for the 2015-16 academic year. The six-member class features one female alpine skier, one male alpine skier, two female Nordic racers and two male Nordic skiers.

Geneviève Frigon (alpine) comes to Durham following a year competing for coaches Chris Frank and Dani Koch at the Green Mountain Valley School in Waitsfield, Vt. The native of Laval, Québec, registered multiple top-3 finishes in FIS races for GMVS last season. In 2013, Frigon finished in first place at the National Canadian Junior Championship and competed for coaches Francis Brault and Pierre Caron at École Secondaire Georges in her hometown.

Will McConville (alpine) joins the Wildcats from the Ontario Ski Team and coaches Tommy Ekfeldt and Cam McKenzie. McConville, whose older brother Charlie is a senior on the UNH alpine team, is ranked in the top 10 in Canada’s U20 division. His career highlights include a pair of top-5 results in Canadian Junior Nationals in 2013.

Ben Allen (Nordic) ventures to UNH after competing as a post-graduate for coach Will Sweetser at the Maine Winter Sports Center. Last season, Allen qualified for sprint rounds at the Craftsbury SuperTour Classic sprint and qualified for Junior Nationals, where he placed 25th in the sprint race. As a member of the Portland Nordic Ski Club, Allen finished second in classic and third in skate at the 2014 Class A State Championship. In 2013, he was second in the 5K skate at the Eastern High School Championship.

Shane Christian (Nordic), a transfer from Montana State University, heads to New Hampshire after previously competing for coach August Teague at Unleashed Coaching. Christian was a member of the North Tahoe High School Nordic ski team that captured the 2012 Nevada state championship. He also lettered in cross country, where he was the 2013 NIAA individual runner-up, and his squad captured the state championship. Christian was tabbed All-State First Team in baseball as a senior in 2014.

Riley Douglas (Nordic) of Honeoye Falls, N.Y., comes to UNH after competing most recently at Park City Nordic Ski Club in Park City, Utah. Douglas, who qualified for the USSA Cross-Country Junior Nationals in March, won two individual New York State Public High School Association Nordic Skiing Championships in three years for Honeoye Falls-Lima High School. Her parents Duncan and Kim each skied at St. Lawrence University, and her father went on to become an Olympic biathlete for the United States in 1992 and 1994.

Rocci Wohlk (Nordic) travels to UNH by way of Loppet Nordic Racing in Minneapolis, where she was coached by Deno Johnson (Nordicwerks) and Kevin Brockman (Sisu). Wohlk competed at Junior Nationals in March, and her LNR team won the women’s championship and overall club championship for the second year in a row. She closed her career at Forest Lake High School by finishing eighth in the state championships in February. In the process, she was named All-American, All-Conference and All-Sectional as an individual cross country competitor. Earlier in her career, Wohlk was ranked No. 1 in the 14-15 age division by the U.S. Ski Association, and she placed third in the state championship meet as a freshman in 2012.

Release courtesy of UNH Athletics

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McThoughts: How American juniors are catching up Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:00:12 +0000 Hank McKee It’s no secret that ski racing is a European game. Breaking into the competitive arena in Europe is a whole different experience than doing so in the comfortable confines of North America. We’re not spilling any news here. We have long recognized the need to expose our young athletes to European competition. Recognition and action, however, are different.

In 2013 the National Training Group (NTG) engaged in a program to systematically introduce U16 racers to European competition. Through partnerships established with the Austrian and German ski federations, athletes were sent to the U.S. Ski Team facilities in Soelden for training and then were entered in five to seven starts, including the Austrian U16 Nationals and the Nations Cup, a gathering of U16s from across Europe.

American juniors also participated in the Longines Future Stars competition, held in conjunction with a World Cup stop (it was Val d’Isere in 2013 and 2014) and televised on French networks and Eurosport.

The results weren’t pretty at first. “They got crushed,” said NTG and USSA Team Academy head alpine coach Thomas Erhard.

In the third season of the program, however, the results started taking form. The U.S. was invited (for the first time) to the Hahnenkamm Juniors, a program that engages six person teams split between the genders. The Americans finished second, which was witnessed throughout Europe on ORF television.

In the German U16 Nationals, Keely Cashman claimed the GS title, with Nellie Rose Talbott in second. In the highly competitive 7 Nations Cup, Cashman was second in GS and sixth in slalom, with Bridger Gile scoring second in GS. These were the first U.S. podiums, and there were three additional top-15 finishes.

“As a group, we were far closer to the top kids in Europe than in years past,” said a pleased Erhard.

How it all translates to the more senior levels cannot yet be judged, but it appears some young skiers are getting a better start than might have been expected just a few years ago.

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Brian Krill promoted to USSA Sport Education Director Sun, 28 Jun 2015 15:11:31 +0000 SR Staff PARK CITY, Utah – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) has promoted Club Development Manager Brian Krill to director of sport education. Krill makes the transition following the departure of Jon Nolting, who left the USSA this spring to lead the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club as athletic director.

In his new role, Krill intends to further integrate the development, education, certification and recognition of clubs and coaches while continuing to stay directly involved with the club development program.

“Recognizing that all or most coaches are part of a club coaching staff and not just individuals will ensure coaches at every level are getting the support they need,” said Krill. “Building strong coaches at each stage of development is the end goal. Combining the newer club development model with the long-standing strength of coaches education and certification along with a more collaborative USSA-Club model is very exciting in terms of building the success of athletes at every level.”

Krill, who joined the USSA in 2013, has worked as an athletic and academic educator at all levels and holds a master’s degree in non-profit management. With a broad background and knowledge of resources related to education, competitive snowsport performance, business, educational leadership and management, Krill represents the goals of USSA’s Sport Education Department.

“The success of the USSA is firmly rooted in the work of our local clubs and the coaches and leaders in those clubs,” said USSA’s Executive Vice President, Athletics Luke Bodensteiner. “We are very invested in their success by supporting and guiding their efforts to deliver a high quality development experience to athletes and their parents. Brian brings a deep and diverse educational and leadership background to our efforts and presents a compelling vision for the further development of our programs.”

Krill will be looking to hire a Coach Development Manager who will focus on the continued development of educational resources and events, certification and recognition for all USSA coaches in all sports.

Release courtesy of USSA

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Schild, Raich expecting first child Sat, 27 Jun 2015 13:25:35 +0000 SR Staff Skiing power couple Marlies Schild and Benni Raich announced via Facebook on Thursday that they are expecting their first child together.

11074316_465630246930605_1564169231933731132_o“I was able to experience many beautiful things which I am very thankful for,” Schild wrote. “But to feel this new wonder is unique. We are looking forward to a new part of our lives.”

After Schild’s retirement in September 2014, pregnancy speculations were running rampant. Following their wedding on April 25, the two ski champions will now truly turn over a new chapter in their lives. How this will influence Raich’s decision to continue his career or not remains to be seen.

“I’m looking forward to the fall… we are very happy and enjoying this exciting and beautiful time!” Raich exclaimed on his Facebook page.

Release courtesy of FIS

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