Dear Ski Racing readers,
Wow! The season is flying by! We can’t believe it’s championship season already. We hope everyone is having a great winter, and gearing up to finish the season strong.
The past week at World Championships in Are was filled with so many inspiring moments. Between legendary retirement runs, first time medal winners, and an amazing volunteer crew, it was a spectacular week for ski racing. Hats off to every athlete who won a medal, fulfilled a goal, or skied away with a smile.
This week, the spotlight shifts to Italy where the World Junior Championships are about to begin. We are thrilled to finally introduce USA’s World Junior team! We believe this is one of the strongest teams the U.S. has sent to the event, and we can’t wait to see what they achieve. Please read below to learn a bit more about each of our rad junior athletes.
And finally, to each athlete competing:
Congratulations! You made it! World Juniors is such a fun event and we can’t wait to cheer you on. Enjoy the week, make friends, and seize the moment. Believe in yourself and all of the work you’ve done, build off the energy of the whole team- and then send it! Anything is possible.
Wishing you all good luck!!
1999, Vail, CO, USST D Team/Vail
She’s fast, she’s fearless, and she’ll definitely wish you good luck before your run!
Meet Nellie-Rose Talbot, a 19-year-old racer out of Vail, Colorado. Before her races, Nellie likes to get 20/10 hyped in the start gate (wow!) and then just focus on going fast. The best present she’s ever received is friendship, and her World Cup crush is Kjetil Jansrud. If Nellie had to pick a spirit animal, she’d be a wolf because they’re fierce but also cute. We agree! Good luck Nellie!
1998, Salt Lake City, UT, Dartmouth College
This is Claire Thomas’s first World Juniors and she is ready to get crazy! This season she’s been crushing the Carnival and Nor-Am circuits. She is competing in the slalom and giant slalom and looking to channel her Dartmouth Skiing teammate Tanguy Nef’s chill skiing vibes and nasty angles. Claire’s spirit animal is a baby Black Bear because she’s feisty and cute at the same time and loves being outside. She also loves road trips and getting rowdy in the start gate! We know she’s going to absolutely rip and we’re excited to watch.
2000, Mammoth Lakes, CA, Squaw
This is Alix Wilkinson, better known as AliKat to her friends, first WJC and she is pumped! Alix is an unreal arcer (we don’t think she even knows how to stivy!) and her dream course is a nice flowy Super G course on grippy but hard snow. She claims to ALWAYS travel with at least 6 pairs of shoes and is planning to bring 10 to World Juniors! We’re thinking she’s planning to look exceptionally fresh on the podium each time she gets a medal. It’s quite fitting that Alix’s dream car is a Ferrari California Spider (which we admittedly had to look up) because it’s 100 percent fast, fun and sleek. Just like Alix!
1998, Redmond, WA, USST/University of Denver
Katie Hensien grew up in the Pacific Northwest, but now lives in Park City, Utah and skis for Denver University and the U.S. Ski Team. She’s an amazing slalom skier and always rips out of the gate! She had an impressive fourth place result last year at WJC’s and is excited to try to go even faster this year. She says her favorite race conditions are sunny skies and rock-hard snow. She also loves listening to music in the start to get her pumped and her current song of choice is High Hopes by Panic. We definitely have high hopes for Katie!
1999, Strawberry, CA, USST/ Squaw
This baby shark is ready to get sendy in Italy! Keely Cashman is a cruisy California skier whose dream car is a Ram Promaster 2500 high roof sprinter van. In case you’re having trouble picturing that, it’s pretty much just a large, sleek van. Keely’s favorite song at the moment is Just Visiting by Wookiefoot, and her favorite movie is Free Solo. Unlike most of our other athletes, Keely likes to get calm in the start gate before her run. Be sure to keep an eye out for Keely as she’s a threat in every event!
2000, Carnelian Bay, CA, USST/Squaw
If you haven’t heard the name AJ Hurt yet, listen up. AJ is a crazy fast racer out of Squaw Valley with the potential to rip in every event. As she’s been splitting her time between the Noram and World Cup circuits this season, AJ has become a pro traveler. Her best travel hack is to bring a Cup of Noodles on the plane, ask for hot water, and a ramen dinner. AJ’s ideal start number is bib 1, and her favorite treat is Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked. Good luck AJ, we can’t wait to see you bring it!
1999, Glenwood Springs, CO, USST/ Aspen
Cooper is a young shredder out of Colorado who’s psyched to be competing in his first World Junior Championship. Cooper’s ideal race day conditions are a GS course on hero ice. If he were animal, Cooper thinks that he’d be a grizzly bear because they’re cute and fluffy. His go-to sneakers are Nike’s because they’re the best way to stay swaggy in the gym, and his dream car is a McLaren P1. Lastly, Cooper’s been working on having independent feet throughout his turns and he never skips visualization on race day. We know Cooper’s skiing fast and can’t wait to watch him attack in Italy!
1999, Vail, CO, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail
Many people in the ski racing world think of Jacob Dilling as exotic and a self-proclaimed beast, evening likening himself to a Rhino! What you maybe don’t know is that his idol is his Mom because she always supports him, and Petra Vlhova is his World Cup crush. Jacob has his sights set on the slalom at World Juniors and is working on keeping his hips up in his skiing so he can go as fast as possible. He also realizes that when his head is in a good spot he skis better. We feel very good about Jacob’s WJC game plan!
1999, Vail, CO, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail
Bridger Gile is also from Vail and, like teammate Jacob Dilling, has been having a breakthrough year. Our favorite story about Bridger, which describes his sendy style, is from the Panorama Nor-Am this year. He lost his goggles on the fourth gate of the Super G but continued to send and finished seventh, his best super g result ever! If he brings this attitude to the Italian Dolomites at World Juniors, we know he will crush! Good luck, Bridger.
1998, Waitsfield, VT, Dartmouth College
Jimmy’s goal for World Junior’s: cut his teeth on some hardware. Jimmy is a Dartmouth College racer who likes to keep it pretty chill at the start gate. His favorite movie is Ice Age, and if you have time, Jimmy recommends you watch Ice Age 1,4, 3, and then 2 in that order. Don’t bother with number 5. Earlier this season, Jimmy won the first run of the Sun Valley Noram GS but went around the wrong side of the last gate. The lesson he learned: ski around the right side of all the gates. Jimmy’s World Cup dream is to come down with the green light at Schladming night slalom. We hope he sees the green light in Italy, good luck Jimmy!
1998, Littleton, CO, USST/Vail
Watch out, Kyle’s skiing into his second World Junior Championship and he’s coming in fast! Kyle is currently having a breakout season on the Nor-Am tour, and has earned multiple junior and senior podiums. At last year’s World Juniors, Kyle skied to an impressive 7th in the Super G. While he is an elusive man when it comes to an interview, Kyle’s teammates describe him as a focused and powerful skier. We’re looking forward to watching Kyle send it in Italy and hopefully grab some hardware.
1998, Edwards, CO, USST/Vail
If you’re a ski racing fan, you may know that River Radamus already has two World Junior Medals. You might also know that River recently scored his first world cup points at the GS in Alta Badia. However, we’re guessing that we can still teach you a few things about this young ripper. River’s favorite book is The Stretch of Honolulu and his favorite movie is Annihilation. His best travel hack is to be kind to people in the service industry, if for no other reason than they’ll be more likely to help you out. On the hill, River’s currently working on leveraging more power out of the top of his turn, so he can spend the second half accelerating. And finally, the biggest lesson River has learned this season is to trust the process. Good luck, Riv!
2000, Waitsfield, VT, USST/GMVS
His friends describe him as a new wave slalom skier. And at only 18, Ben Ritchie has already had some insanely impressive results; he won his first Nor-Am this year and is sitting in second in the Nor-Am slalom rankings. He is also an absolute legend of a basketball player and possibly the only person at World Juniors who can actually dunk. We are really pumped to watch him race this year and for many years to come!
1998, Steamboat, CO, USST/University of Denver
This is Jett’s last World Juniors and he’s looking to not only win but also make some lasting memories. Very important. He’s going to do this by staying as calm as possible in the start, staying focused on only going fast and not thinking about his technique. This game plan has definitely been working for him this season as he’s had stand-out results racing for both the Denver University Ski Team and the U.S. Ski Team. The biggest lesson he’s learned this season is that school gets harder the longer you do it. Hopefully the skiing gets easier. Send it Jett! And remember to put your left boot on before your right for good luck!