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The 2007-08 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team competitor biographies

The 2007-08 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team competitor biographies

Men's A Team

David Babic
Age: 28
Equipment/sponsors: Dynastar, Look, Lange, Scott, Bolle, Sugarbush
Career: Babic finished sixth in his first World Cup event, at Tignes in 2002. That opened a lot of doors. Since then he’s accumulated four World Cup podiums including a win at Airlo, Switzerland, in 2004.
Last season: Sixth in the final Cup mogul standings, Babic collected his first Cup win at Mont Gabriel last January. He finished fifth at the World Championships, less than a point behind gold medalist Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau.
Looking ahead: Babic once camped at Mount Hood just so he could improve his skiing. With the win from last season as a platform, expect him to take a step up this season.
Off the hill: If it’s hunting season he’s probably in the woods somewhere. An avid bow hunter, Babic also knows a thing or two about fly fishing, and he takes on-line college courses when he gets the chance.

Jeret Peterson
Age: 26
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Marker, Bogus Basin, Hilton Hotels, Lenovo Group.
Career: A man at the top of his field, Peterson won the World Cup aerials title in ’05, and was second last season. He’s made two Olympic teams and three World Championship squads. He has accumulated six Cup wins.
Last season: He had planned to take the season off, then at the 11th hour just couldn’t resist. He tallied back-to-back wins at Deer Valley and added a pair of third place finishes in Canada. He finished second in the aerials standings to rival Steve Omischl of Canada.
Looking ahead: He’s one of the few with a quint twist jump in his repertoire and the concentration is on perfecting it with a eye forward on the 2010 Olympics
Off the hill: golf, fly-fishing and some motorcycling.
Learn more: www.jeretpeterson.com

Nate Roberts
Age: 26
Equipment/sponsors: Dynastar, Lange, Look, Wenger, Salt Lake Motorsports, Deer Valley
Career: Call him Mr. Dependable, a title earned after he claimed the 2005 World Championship as the last U.S. starter. On the World Cup he has finished fifth in moguls in ’04, third in ’05, fifth in ’06 and was fourth last season. Quality consistency at the highest level.
Last season: Won on two of the toughest World Cup courses out there, Deer Valley and Inawashiro, then capped the season with the bronze medal at World Championships, two hundredths of a point behind Cup and Olympic champ Dale Begg-Smith.
Looking ahead: He’s a major player. He is rarely the fastest or has the biggest air, but he can turn with anyone and never makes mistakes. That makes him tough to beat.

Ryan St. Onge
Age: 25
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica
Career: Came to the team young and has had a skyrocket career, one including national titles and five World Cup wins. He’s made an Olympic team and three World Championship squads but looks to leave a more lasting impression on his sport than mere attendance.
Last season: He bruised both heels just before the World Championships and kept right on jumping. By season’s end he was unable to compete.
Looking ahead: His worth to the team is such that coaches are reluctant to let him start jumping on snow until they’re convinced he is completely healed. Right now the target is the 2008 season and the pre-season water ramp work seems to be hitting that target.
Off the hill: Likes water sports including scuba diving and sailing but won’t avoid a mountain bike ride either.

Women’s A Team

Shannon Bahrke
Age: 27
Equipment/sponsors: K2, Look, Lange, Home Depot
Career: Let’s list them, shall we? An Olympic medal in 2002; two World Championship medals; the World Cup mogul title in 2003; seven World Cup wins. Do we need to go on?
Last season: She nearly retired after the 2006 season, which was her worst of the decade outside of the injury year in 2005, but reconsidered and is glad she did. Back-to-back Cup wins started the season, which culminated with a silver medal in duals at World Championships. She also finished second in both duals and single moguls on the Cup circuit.
Looking ahead: She threw somewhere close to 50 D-spins at the summer camp in Chile, ironing out an upgrade to her routine. She should challenge, again, for the World Cup title.
Off the hill: Very high energy. You’re apt to find her almost anywhere something is happening, this summer — for instance — racing her Miata at the Larry Miller Sports Track.
Learn more: www.shannonbarke.com

Emily Cook
Age: 28
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Bolle, Visa, Power Bar, Home Depot, Peak Performance Massage, Lenovo, LuluLemon.
Career: When all-star aerialist Nikki Stone retired in 2000, Cook was carrying the U.S. flag, and she really wasn’t ready yet. She took on the challenge, posting her first Cup podium in 2001, then won the Gold Cup for an automatic Olympic spot in 02, only to ravage her feet in a nasty crash and miss the Games. A never-say-die attitude has come in handy. She fought back after essentially missing both ’03 and ’04 to make it to an Olympics in ’06.
Last season: Cook still hasn’t got the degree of difficulty to consistently beat the top group, but she’s close enough to scare them. Due to a recurring back problem she ran a severely shortened season. She had just a single Cup result in ’07, but still placed sixth at World Championships.
Looking ahead: She is still carrying the U.S. flag for the women’s aerials group. With her back rested she should be in the mix, and with another twist she’ll be a major competitor.
Off the hill: If there’s a way to get involved, Cook will find it. A Scuba diver, snorkeler, rock climber and yoga practitioner she started a mentoring program (Visa Champions Creating Champions) and a big supporter of Right to Play, both programs helping disadvantaged kids get involved in sports. Can often be found at fundraisers and at Ski Balls.
Learn More: www.Emilycook.com

Hannah Kearney
Age: 22
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Marker, Tyson Foods
Career: Kearney is three years younger than anyone else on the A team, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at her numbers. She has 15 World Cup podiums, and has been top five in the final moguls standings three times. The capper, though, is the 2005 World Championship in moguls.
Last season: She got off to a fast start with a couple of Cup podiums and a NorAm win, then toasted her left knee, requiring surgery.
Looking ahead: There is no doubt Kearney is a major piece of the ski team plan moving forward. It’s all a matter of not pushing her way back too soon and risking extending her rehabilitation.
Off the hill: She does it all. The family is very sports-oriented, so she’s had plenty of opportunity to try different sports. She is a superb soccer player and enjoys knitting, cooking and horses.

Michelle Roark
Age: 33
Equipment/sponsors: Smith, Sprint, Phinomenal, Winter Park
Career: Five World Cup wins, dating back to 1999. A series of knee injuries has kept her from being a consistent Cup moguls leader. Was third in mogul standings in ’99, then tore up her right knee. Slowly rebuilt to finish sixth in moguls in ’03, 10th in ’05 and third in ’06. She added a silver medal at the ’03 Worlds.
Last season: She was 10th on the Cup in moguls (eighth in duals). She finished sixth in three World Cups last season and placed second at Inawashiro behind four time Cup champion Jennifer Heil.Looking ahead: Lord knows she’s got enough energy to keep moving it forward. There are distractions to work around but fellow competitors learned long ago not to count her out.
Off the hill: She’s been married since 2004, continues to seek a chemical engineering degree and has her own line of natural scent perfumes.
Learn more: www.phi-nomenal.com

Laurel Shanley
Age: 25
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Scott
Career: Shanley got her first Cup starts back in 2001, finished 19th in duals on the Cup circuit while still competing at home as a Junior Olympian in ’02, and was 19th in single moguls in the ’03 season. All told she’s accumulated 43 starts and two podiums on the Cup, and has two top 10 placings from the 2005 Worlds.
Last season: She tore her left ACL and did damage to the kneecap at Deer Valley in January 2006 and last season was spent in rehab.
Looking ahead: It’s a matter of rebuilding the confidence, technique and upping the jumps. Nearly two years out of action will take a toll.
Off the hill: A one-time MVP goalie for the California state soccer champs (2000) and a softball pitcher, the outdoor-loving Shanley has been taking college courses and working hard to get physically strong again.

Jillian Vogtli
Age: 34
Equipment/sponsors: Under Armour, Bolle, Four Winds Society, Don-Joy, Verisign
Career: The oldest competitor on the U.S. team, Vogtli has 10 years experience on the World Cup, though she’s missed a fair share to injuries. Her one Cup win came in 2005 at Inawashiro on one of the tour’s toughest courses.
Last season: A sixth in duals at the World Championships and five top 10 World Cup results are indicative of Vogtli’s abilities. A skier doesn’t maintain a position on the U.S. World Cup team without results, and she continues to ring them up.
Looking ahead: She genuinely loves mogul competition so expect her to defend her position on the team with vigor.
Off the hill: jewelry (check out www.jewelrybyjilliam.com) and pursuit of her doctorate in natural health.

Men’s B Team

Scott Bahrke
Age: 22
Equipment/sponsors: Elan, Revolution Bike Shop
Career: One of those athletes who couldn’t decide which freestyle discipline he really wanted to pursue, Bahrke didn’t focus on aerials until 2005 and didn’t truly specialize until 2006.
Last season: He won his second NorAm aerials title, (the first in 2005) by winning the last two events of the season. He also got a handful of World Cups under his belt, highlighted by an eighth at Mont Gabriel. Also earned his first World Championship start, finishing 23rd.
Looking ahead: Coaches are impressed with his ability to work. If effort makes the difference, and it seems to in aerials, Bahrke could become one of the great ones. He needs to up his degree of difficulty, and that’s not a fast process.
Off the hill: Enjoys golf and shooting, and letting older sister Shannon think he’s crazy.

Jay Bowman-Kirigin
Age: 20
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Marker, Alta
Career: In a word: meteoritic. A Ski Racing Junior Freestyle Skier of the Year twice, Bowman-Kirigin has been a contender at every level he has faced along the way.
Last season: Two medals at World Juniors, a 12th at the senior World Championships and a second-place finish in World Cup action at Listel-Inawashiro just hundredths of a point behind teammate Nathan Roberts highlighted the season.
Looking ahead: It’s a pleasure to speculate what the future could hold for Bowman-Kirigin. He throws very tough tricks, and is not cowed by the World Cup skiers. He will only get better as he gains experience.
Off the hill: Big on anything outdoors, provided it’s challenging. Mountain biking is good, but he really prefers ripping up the slopes at Alta or Snowbird. He did some college class work at Westminster College in between training trips this summer.

David DiGravio
Age: 21
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Marker, Bolle, Swix, Sugarloaf USA, Planet Ski International, Under Armour
Career: First made the team in 2006 after a selection event win but he had made some big impressions earlier than that, placing fourth in duals at U.S. Nationals in 2005. He also tallied top 10 World Junior results in half pipe back in 2003.
Last season: He was full bore on the World Cup for the first time as well as getting a shot at the World Championships. His best result was an eighth at Voss, Norway.
Looking ahead: He’s throwing as high a degree of difficulty as anyone out there so it’s just a matter of execution. He’s a driven young man, so the prospects are good.
Off the hill: He played wide receiver, running back and safety for Mount Blue Regional high school, which tells us he’s a gifted athlete.

Holt Haga
Age: 24
Equipment/sponsors: Bogus Basin
Career: Haga has been working his way up the various domestic mogul ladders steadily since moving to Utah and a more vibrant training environment than he had in Idaho.
Last season: He made some big statements in 2007, winning the opening ski team selection events, finishing second in both NorAm mogul disciplines, dual and single moguls and following it all up with a crafty victory in the U.S. Nationals, recognizing changing conditions and adapting on the fly.
Looking ahead: He’s likely to get his first World Cup starts this season, and as such will know considerably more about his career in moguls after the season than he does right now. He’s already got some big tricks in his repertoire so there’s no reason he can’t make an impact.
Off the hill: Kayaking and no small amount of soccer, but moguls is what drives him.

Sho Kashima
Age: 21
Equipment/sponsors: Dynastar, Lange, Look, Predator
Career: Sho has won at every level he’s seen, pulling in junior medals and national titles.
Last season: He got a big ole’ dose of  World Cup, had some success (fourth in moguls at LaPlagne) and some not so good (30th at World Champs).
Looking ahead: Coach says the biggest thing Kashima learned was to control the emotional ups and downs and to keep an even keel. If that lesson is behind him, he’ll jump up the standings.

Women's B Team

McKenzy Golding
Age: 21
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Marker
Career: Golding is incredibly talented and despite being young has recorded World Cup experience as well as earning top placings at World Junior and NorAm competitions.
Last season: Finished fourth in World Junior Championships moguls for the second straight year and posted five top 20 results in World Cup tests, winding up in the top 20 in both the mogul and dual standings.
Looking ahead: Golding has been doing the collegiate thing during pre-season — attending UCLA — and it hasn’t seemed to be a deterrent. She faces a tough road in punching into the upper echelon of the World Cup, but she’s got plenty of time to get there and is already so good.

Kelly Hilliman
Age: 30
Equipment/sponsors: Elan, Bolle
Career: She’s had the World Cup thing down for years now, and has worked her degree of difficulty up relatively quickly, but she was injured (broken femur) in 2006 and skipped 2007.
Last season: Got married and decided to enjoy that, recover completely, get some rest and focus down the road.
Looking ahead: The metal wasn’t removed from her leg (rods and screws) last May and she’s still a ways from returning to World Cup form.
Learn more: www.hilliman.com

Jana Lindsey
Age: 23
ponsors: Völkl, Bolle, Powerbar
Career: A veteran at 23, Lindsey has been a degree or two of difficulty from winning regularly on the World Cup. She has seven World Cup top 10’s, the first in ’99 and the last in ’06.
Last season: Lindsey took the season off, got some classes in at the U of Utah and will come into the season ready to go.
Look ahead: It’s all about upping the degree of difficulty and being consistent. She’s close enough to be challenging the best sooner than later.
Off the hill: Swims laps and enjoys dancing.

Heather McPhie
Age: 23
Equipment/sponsors: Rossignol, POC, Yellowstone Club, Lululemon Athletic
Career: McPhie has pounded on the ski team door, hard, winning the Nor-Am mogul title in both 2005 and 2006.
Last season: In her first full season on the World Cup, McPhie produced solidly and consistently, ranging from a fourth at Deer Valley to an 18th at Voss. Six additional Cup results were between those two, both chronologically and numerically.
Looking ahead: She got a feel for the Cup lifestyle, including pulling in two top 10s in the World Championships last season. She’s not awestruck anymore and knows for a fact she can compete with anybody. Give her sleeper status.  

Men’s C Team

Zac Amidan
Age: 26
Equipment/sponsors: Carrera, K2, Dalbello, Dominator, James & Co., Collision Zone, PowerBar, CalPro, Krutz Auto, The Edge, Hertz
Career: Had nearly a decade of gymnastics work when he saw the 2002 Olympic aerials competition and immediately switched his focus.
Last season: He got his first taste of World Cup last season, but also had a full slate of NorAm competition. He’ll need to upgrade his jumps to move up, but that’s what’s in the works.
Looking ahead: He’s got the triple jumps in his repertoire, now it’s time to implement them on snow.
Learn more: www.zacamidan.com

Austin Cummings
Age: 23
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Bolle
Career: Cummings was improving so fast coaches were marveling, and he displayed a knack — and desire — to throw ever bigger jumps. That resulted in injury, which kept him off snow last season.
Last season: injured.
Off the hill: Guitar fills some of the quieter moments, otherwise, perhaps out surfing.

Patrick Deneen
Age: 20
Equipment/sponsors: Dynastar, Look, Lange, Bolle, Scott
Career: Having grown up at a ski area (Snoqualmie), Deneen started skiing early and was split between alpine and freestyle, at one point winning a downhill and mogul competition in the same weekend. Won a bronze medal in dual moguls at the 2006 World Junior Championships.
Last season: displayed blazing speed in the moguls to claim the NorAm dual mogul title by collecting podium finishes in all four competitions.
Looking ahead: Deneen can fly and has more miles on skis than skiers much older than he. Coaches kept him away from the World Cup last season, but anticipate seeing him this year, particularly in dual events.
Off the hill: Mom raises quarterhorses and he still rides when he gets the chance.

Dylan Ferguson
Age: 19
Equipment/sponsors: Carrera
Career: He was fourth (aerials) in the 2006 World Junior Championships, and moved up to the silver medal position last season.
Last season: He’s competing with triples at age 19, which is a testament to his abilities and training. He got a start at the senior world champs (25th) and in four North American World Cups and was still in a three-way tie for the NorAm title (he got third on the tie-breaker formula).
Looking ahead: The ski team obviously has fast-tracked Ferguson and is expecting he’ll come through.
Off the hill: It’s rare he is off the hill, but he also tackles halfpipes and slopestyle courses, and skis moguls well.

Landon Gardner
Age: 22
Equipment/sponsor: Völkl, Tecnica, Marker, Exel, Giro, Bolle, Under Armour
Career: Gardner has had a couple of World Cup starts a year over the past three seasons, a clear indicator he has continued to progress and earn his way onto the senior circuit.
Last season: His Cup starts came in January and then he was focused on the NorAms where he finished sixth on the mogul list and fifth in duals.
Looking ahead: Coaches like his height off the air jumps and his comfort in the air. When the time comes to transition to the World Cup, he should have no problem.
Off the hill: If it happens outdoors, he’s all over it, particularly mountain biking. A couple college classes helped fill the time between the camp in Chile and the start of the ’08 season.
Learn more: www.landongardner.com

Scott Kiesel
Age: 23
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Rossignol, Bolle, Protec
Career: None to speak of. Kiesel is just starting to make his presence known, having taken time out to iron down a computer science degree from Plymouth State. He’s working his degree of difficulty up to a point where he can challenge.
Last season: A second-place finish at Mt. Gabriel’s second of two NorAms last season may provide a bit of a springboard for Kiesel.
Looking ahead: Kiesel still has some work to do before he makes his impact. So expect to see his name on NorAm result sheets, hopefully pushing into the top five with regularity.
Off the hill: A couple of Jack Russell terriers protect the homestead while he’s out solving computer problems.

Tim Massucco
Age: 25
Equipment/sponsors: Rossignol, Dalbello
Career: If acro hadn’t gone away, Massucco would be a leading contender for the overall crown, and he can still find his way through a mogul field with the best of them. The decision was to concentrate on aerials, and all four of his World Cup results have been placings in the teens.
Last season: A bad back took him out of circulation.
Looking ahead: He got in a full summer of training and water jump work and is looking to break in with the World Cup boys.
Off the hill: Kayaking and most lake sports.
Learn more: www.tmskiing.com

Michael Morse
Age: 27
Equipment/sponsors: Dynastar, Lange, Look, Bolle
Career: A bad back has made his career a stutter-step affair. The former NorAm mogul champion has demonstrated an ability to compete at the World Cup level, registering a fourth at Lake Placid in 2006, but it seems every time he gets a run going the back forces a lay-off.
Last season: A solid start was derailed by a the back in mid-season, and with a schedule that only offered seven mogul competitions, one needs to get all the results possible.
Looking ahead: The knee should be strong enough by now and there has been a focus on strengthening the back. He needs to be able to finish a season first, then look to make his statement.
Off the hill: Big on mountain biking.

Tim Preston
Age: 24
Equipment/sponsors: Rossignol, Bolle, Apollo Diamond
Career: You can’t beat the background. Preston was raised by a pair of freestyle coaches, Nick and Suzy Preston, of the Waterville Valley BBTS. He was sixth in a World Cup at Airlo, Switzerland, in his first European competition trip in 2004.
Last season: injured.
Looking ahead: Every time Preston seems poised to make a breakthrough into the regular World Cup rotation he seems to sustain some sort of injury. One of these years he’s bound to stay healthy long enough to make a run at it.
Off the hill: If he’s not helping out with a training session at Waterville he might be engaged in capoeria, a Brazilian based game/dance/martial art played in a circle.

Bryon Wilson
Age: 20
Equipment/sponsors: Völk
l, Tecnica, Marker, Bolle, Giro
Career: Color it fast-track. Wilson has made two World Junior Championship appearances, placing fourth in moguls in 2006 and winning the gold last season.
Last season: A few World Cup starts (including his first points) and the NorAm moguls title (3 wins) highlighted the season — well, except for that championship gold.
Looking ahead: An upgrade to the degree of difficulty was tops on the list for the summer.
Off the hill: Wood carving, as in award-winning woodcarving. He’s also a basketball, baseball and football player and he’s fond of Ultimate Frisbee.

Women’s C Team

Eliza Outtrim
Age: 22
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Oakley, Under Armour
Career: Outtrim has had 10 World Cup starts and made a quick impression when she collected seventh in her first Cup mogul competition, at Deer Valley in 2006.
Last season: After a pair of mid-level results in Cup competitions last December, she spent the season on the NorAm circuit where she was particularly strong in dual moguls, claiming a win and two podiums to narrowly claim the duals title.
Looking ahead: The World Cup team is not an easy group to break into, but Outtrim is right on the cusp. Given the opportunity she’s got as good a chance as anyone to make an impact.
Off the hill: Tennis, biking and afterwards perhaps some sushi.

Lacy Schnoor
Age: 22
Equipment/sponsors: Völkl, Tecnica, Bolle
Career: A product of the Olympic outreach program that visited middle schools before the 2002 Olympics, Schnoor says she liked “the rush” and just kept going. She’s now got 17 World Cup aerial starts and three top-10 results. A busted scapula stopped her 2006 season. A gymnastics background has helped her speedy ascension.
Last season: Two firsts and a second on the NorAm circuit and a career-best eighth in the World Cup at Apex.
Looking ahead: She’s been working on skiing skills to complement her quality in-air abilities.
Off the hill: She’s wrapped up a busy high school schedule that included making the honor roll as well as gymnastics and track (hurdles). Enjoys boating and hiking.

Kayla Snyderman
Age: 19
Equipment/sponsors: Waterville Valley BBTS
Career: Skied bumps for years without ever considering there might be competition available. With only a couple of seasons of coaching, she’s done remarkably well, getting a fifth at World Junior Champs and the NorAm duals title in 2006.
Last season: In 2007 she continued to step it up, winning the silver medal at World Juniors and the NorAm title in moguls.
Looking ahead: She’s likely to get a heavier diet of World Cup starts (she’s only had five so far) as coaches try to figure out how to get her into a very competitive lineup.
Off the hill: She’s enrolled at Dartmouth.

Emiko Torito
Age: 25
Equipment/sponsors: Dynastar, Look, Lange, Swix, Smith
Career: It’s hard to believe Torito is only 25 as she’s been hovering around the top level for 10 years. She placed third at nationals in 1999 (moguls) and won a silver medal in the European Youth Championships back before there was a World Junior competition (2000), a gold in duals the following year (which was a World Junior Championship) and a silver in moguls in 2002. She got a steady dose of World Cups from 2003 through ’06. She has one World Cup podium, from December 2001 in duals at Steamboat.
Last season: A couple of mediocre scores in the early World Cups saw Torito shipped back to NorAms to refocus and concentrate on skill improvement.
Looking ahead: Coach Scott Rawles says he saw considerable improvement toward the end of last season. She’s got enough experience, so the combination is encouraging.
Off the hill: An interesting pedigree with a Japanese (Dad) and Panama (Mom) heritage, Torito enjoys a wide range of music and foods. She’s quiet for a mogul skier, leaning toward reading or crochet but her passion is moguls.

Allison Treleaven
Age: 24
Equipment/sponsors: FLY
Career: Treleaven came late to freestyle, having been a gymnast for 15 years before putting the skis on in her late teens. She’s been top 10 in final NorAm aerials rankings for three seasons.
Last season: She competed outside the U.S. for the first time last season, picking up a third and fourth in NorAms at Mont Gabriel.
Looking ahead: She moved to Park City for the summer to get fully engulfed in the sport so her upward climb is likely to continue.
Off the hill: She’s majoring in biology at Indiana U of Purdue U Fort Wayne.

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