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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Sustainability

U.S. Ski & Snowboard, a national and global leader in snow sports, is committed to addressing climate change and stewarding sustainability of winter sports. Millions globally are inspired by winter sports and enjoy healthy, active lifestyles in winter environments. Climate change threatens our winter environments with receding glaciers, rising sea levels, volatile weather cycles and less snowfall.

SKI: We Can All Learn From the First Ski Shoot Featuring and Shot by BIPOC

By Megan Harrod
September, 15 2021
U.S. Ski Team alumna Lauren Samuels
U.S. Ski Team alumna Lauren Samuels carves a sweet arc at a photo shoot at Powder Mountain, shot by the legendary Stan Evans for SKI.

U.S. Ski Team alumna Lauren Samuels and brother Justin Samuels—Dartmouth College Ski Team alumnus and former U.S. Ski & Snowboard employee—went to Powder Mountain in Utah to participate in a photoshoot with Olympian and X Games standout Errol Kerr, shot by the legendary Stan Evans. As SKI wrote regarding their cover featuring Kerr, "The Cover of Our 2022 Gear Guide is An Important First"...until now, "SKI has never put a Black skier shot by a Black photographer on our cover."

Sierra Shafer, SKI Editor-in-Chief, said in her cover story, 

The cover of the magazine on newsstands and sent to subscribers this week features Olympian and X Games standout Errol Kerr. In many ways, the image looks familiar—SKI has certainly featured its share of skiers gouging formidable trenches into corduroy. But the origin story of this image is unique.

When photographer Stan Evans connected with Kerr and two other skiers for a two-day photo shoot at Utah’s Powder Mountain, it was as standard as any of the hundreds of photoshoots Evans has produced in his 20-plus-year career photographing skiing and snowboarding. It was, however, the first time he’d worked alongside all Black skiers, including Lauren Samuels, the captain of the 2017 NCAA National Championship ski team, and her brother, Justin Samuels.

In fact, it was the first time any of them had been on a ski shoot with another Black skier or photographer—the first time they weren’t, in some way, standing alone. The occasion deserves to be commemorated with this, the cover of our 2022 Gear Guide.

This issue marks a new season in SKI Magazine’s story. With a fresh redesign, new logo, inspired writers, and more, we intend to change what you expect from SKI. We aim to transform what we all think a skier should look like or where a skier should go. By centering and celebrating a broader, more accurate picture of skiing both as we see it now and how we hope to see it in the future, we can be part of protecting the greatest, least important thing in the world: Skiing. (Read More)

In a story entitled "We Can All Learn From the First Ski Shoot Featuring and Shot by BIPOC" that was first published by Outside Business Journal, a partner brand of SKI, Evans poignantly wrote about the project,

This past March, SKI hired me for a stock photo shoot at Utah’s Powder Mountain. In some ways, it was pretty standard—myself and three skiers, knocking off a laundry list of imagery: high speed carving shots, laughing while carrying skis shots, après shots…the usual. On the other hand, it was unlike any photo shoot ever done in the history of skiing.

That’s because all four of us are Black.

I’ve shot skiing and snowboarding for over 20 years, but this was only the second time I’ve done an all-Black shoot. The first was 20 years ago when I organized an all-Black shoot with Keir Dillon, Ahmon Stamps, Damon Morris, and Ben Hinkley for Snowboarder. This time around, as with the first time, what struck me was the conversations we had during our time together. Being on the hill, setting marks and hitting them, creating the imagery—that’s that same as it ever was. But the discussions between shots, the places our conversations went in the evening over a meal—those are not things I’m used to talking about in this context.

Errol Kerr, the former X Games and Olympic skiercross competitor, was one of the skiers with me at Powder Mountain. In his 20 years of skiing, he’d never done a shoot with a single Black person, let alone three of us. We talked about the adversity his family went through to keep him on skis, what we’ve encountered when we’ve pushed for equity in the past, what made us feel bad, what made us feel good. It’s stuff that he’s kept mostly bottled up for his entire career.

The other two skiers were Justin and Lauren Samuels. Lauren, a former member of the U.S. Ski Team development squad, arrived at Powder Mountain in a similar position to a lot of BIPOC outdoor athletes: suddenly in high demand. Prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics, she consulted with and was talent on a Procter & Gamble shoot produced by Wieden + Kennedy. The two of us talked at length about the differences between commercial and editorial production—the pay rates, what’s fair, what’s not; what makes sense from a financial standpoint, and what needs to change from an inclusivity standpoint.

Both Lauren and Justin Samuels participated in a U.S. Ski & Snowboard diversity, equity, and inclusion panel last November entitled "Diversity in Ski Racing: The Athlete Perspective" and are also members of U.S. Ski & Snowboard's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Read the full article at SKIMag.com.

Nyman Progressing at Zermatt, Eyeing Comeback Season

By Ski Racing
September, 15 2021
Steven Nyman Eyes Comeback Season
Olympian and "King of the Saslong," Steven Nyman, who suffered a right Achilles tendon injury in August 2020 at Official Training Site Timberline Resort & Ski Area, is currently training with the men's speed team in Zermatt, Switzerland in their second of two late summer camps at the resort. (Marc Amann - U.S. Ski Team)

Olympian and "King of the Saslong," Steven Nyman, who suffered a right Achilles tendon injury in August 2020 at Official Training Site Timberline Resort & Ski Area, is currently training with the men's speed team in Zermatt, Switzerland in their second of two late summer camps at the resort. 

Nyman, who caught up recently with Brian Pinelli in an article for Ski Racing Media, is "is pleased with his progress, still battling to overcome the effects of an Achilles tendon injury suffered at Mt. Hood, Oregon, in August 2020. He concedes, now at age 39 and the father of two daughters, recovery and return to racing speed require far greater patience."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Steven Nyman (@steven_nyman)

 

Pinelli wrote,

“I’m feeling good – the first camp we had great conditions, beautiful sunshine every day, hard snow, a couple days canceled due to wind, but great conditions and was starting to get back into it, but to be honest I was not fast and out of balance,” Nyman tells Ski Racing Media on a call from Zermatt. “Apparently, it takes a lot longer to recover from Achilles injuries at 39, then at 27, or whenever I did it last.

“I had to realign some things, get equipment dialed again, get back up to speed according to the equipment, but once I knocked the rust off things started coming around. I’ve been fast of late – I feel comfortable and have a good setup.

“Physically, I feel great, but there are still many things to work and improve upon, but I’m really happy with the power that I can produce and overall, everything has gone well.”

Read the full article at SkiRacing.com

FIS Features Hailey Swirbul - The Most Successful U.S. Junior Athlete On The Rise

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 15 2021
Hailey Swirbul

With a third-place finish in last season's 10km freestyle in Davos, Hailey Swirbul from the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team landed her maiden World Cup podium. Following up on her success, the 23-year-old then impressively completed her first Tour de Ski - landing constant top-20 results. Among others, the young American is part of the future stars of the U.S. Cross Country squad. Paolo Romano from Fondoitalia.com met up with Hailey to get to know what is the driving force behind the cheerful young athlete.

Read The Full Story at FIS-Ski.com

Ganong Featured in FIS Behind the Scenes

By Megan Harrod
September, 11 2021
Travis Ganong FIS Behind the Scenes
Olympian Travis Ganong, pictured here soaring through the air on the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbuehel, Austria) was featured in the International Ski Federation's most recent Behind the Scenes feature. (Joe Klamar - AFP via Getty Images)

Olympian Travis Ganong was featured in the International Ski Federation's most recent Behind the Scenes feature. “For me, being able to ski for my profession is just a bonus.” As a young kid who grew up skiing basically outside of his back door in Tahoe, speed skier Travis Ganong found his passion in skiing, and that passion is stronger now than ever.
 

In Comeback Season, Merryweather Sustains Broken Leg

By Megan Harrod
September, 11 2021
Alice Merryweather Suffers Leg Break
Olympian speed skier Alice Merryweather crashed while going 80mph during a downhill training day this past Wednesday at Saas-Fee towards the bottom of the course, resulted in a broken tibia and fibula, and a scraped-up and swollen face. (Ryan Mooney - U.S. Ski Team)

This season was supposed to be Olympian Alice Merryweather's comeback season, after sitting out the 2020-21 season to take the time needed to focus on health and happiness as she pursued intensive treatment for an eating disorder. All signs were pointing towards brighter days, as Merryweather tackled a successful strength and conditioning period as well as return-to-snow camps in Official Training Site Mammoth Mountain, Calif., and then Saas-Fee, Switzerland with many bright moments both on and off the mountain with her teammates. She was skiing strong, showing her teammates, coaches, competitors—and most importantly, herself—how far she had come the last 12 months...and just how much joy she had found in skiing again. 
 


And then, it happened. A crash while going 80mph during a downhill training day this past Wednesday at Saas-Fee towards the bottom of the course, resulted in a broken tibia and fibula, and a scraped-up and swollen face. However, her big heart and brave soul was intact. As the helicopter was approaching, Merryweather remained calm despite the situation and the immense pain. Her serviceman (Dušan) commented that he had never seen an athlete in that situation with such bravery and courage. Merryweather was airlifted to a nearby hospital and has already had a successful surgery. 


Merryweather has been through so much in the last year...but she remains confident that she can overcome the upcoming obstacles. "The recovery to come looks a lot different than my last," she commented, "...but if I can rewire my brain I think I can heal some bone and ligaments too," while she thanked everyone for their ongoing support. She was visited by teammates (bearing gifts M&M cookies, a Saas-Fee cow mug with her name on it, stuffed animals, rose quartz crystals, and lots of tears and hugs) coaches, and her physio Torey Anderson...and was well-taken care of the last few days. 

Merryweather will return home to the United States for further evaluation on her knee and join her family and teammate/boyfriend Sam DuPratt (who is himself recovering from a double leg break sustained at Val Gardena, Italy last December) in the coming days. All of our love and healing energy is with her as she enters this next period of recovery. 

Aerials to Host Live Virtual Fundraiser September 17

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 9 2021
Kaila Kuhn
Kaila Kuhn trains at Utah Olympic Park (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Christian Raguse)

Jump on in and support the aerial skiers of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team on Friday, September 17 at 9:30 a.m. MDT for a live, virtual fundraiser on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Facebook page!

 

Aerials Fundraiser Invitation

Hosted by freestyle legends Trace Worthington and Emily Cook, this virtual event will seek to help raise $50,000 to ensure the U.S. Aerials Ski Team is fully funded for the 2021-22 season. Go behind the scenes of training at Official Training Site Utah Olympic Park, meet the athletes and gain insight into how they’re preparing for the upcoming season. 

The 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing are less than six months away and will provide these athletes with two medal opportunities, including individual and the Olympic debut of the team event. Now is the time to get behind our aerial skiers and support them on this journey.  

Knowing that people are willing to support me and my team's training is very inspiring. Not everyone who skis is financially stable and to have the support of donors is indescribable. I didn't come from a wealthy family, so I am extremely grateful for everyone who has supported me financially throughout my career. I would not still be doing freestyle aerial skiing if it wasn't for scholarships and donors." Karenna Elliott

To support the U.S. Aerials Ski Team, click here for more information.

 

2nd Annual USASA Golf Classic

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 9 2021
USASA Golf Classic

The USASA is proud to host the 2nd Annual USASA Golf Classic Sept 17th at McHenry Country Club! The golf fundraiser has two different ways to participate and support the grassroots development of U.S. snowboard and freeski athletes. This fun charity golf event helps support kids in sport, the development of future athletes on the world stage, and the education of coaches, judges, and officials. Participation in sports has been shown to be a critical component in the development of today’s youth. USASA events create a positive environment to help develop self-esteem, encourage problem-solving, teach teamwork and good sportsmanship, and build confidence in young people. 

There are TWO ways to participate! 

• September 17th event at McHenry Country Club in the Chicagoland area. 
• Virtually at any course of your choosing across the country through Sept. 17th.

REGISTER, DONATE, LEARN MORE!
 

Hustle and Bustle: U.S. Ski Team Makes the Most of Europe Training

By Ski Racing
September, 3 2021
Women's Tech Team Saas-Fee
The women's alpine tech team (including Paula Moltzan, Nina O'Brien, and AJ Hurt) gets ready for a day of training at Saas-Fee, Switzerland at the start. (Ryan Mooney - U.S. Ski Team)

While August and September typically mean travel to the Southern Hemisphere—including locations like New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina—for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, the Team had to relocate and get creative for the second consecutive year due to COVID-19. Ski Racing recently caught up with Alpine Director Jesse Hunt, Head Men's Speed Coach Randy Pelkey, and two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin to see how training is going on the glaciers of Switzerland this summer. 

Ski Racing wrote, 

“This summer’s training plan is very similar to last season’s preparation in terms of volume and training sites,” said Hunt. “We skied a lot in April, May, and June at Squaw Valley, Mammoth and Mount Hood. Now we are training in Europe unless the option to train in Chile becomes available.”

Hunt and the alpine teams are targeting the glaciers that offer the best conditions for this time of year. For World Cup teams, that means Saas Fee and Zermatt, which offer both speed lanes and tech lanes, along with additional venues, such as Stelvio, Hintertux, Soelden, and the indoor facility at Snow Valley. With updated Covid protocols, including vaccinations, regular testing, masking, and social distancing when required, all national teams have traveled to the European glaciers for training alongside the Norwegian, Swedish, and Swiss national teams, to name a few. 

There is a big plus with European training in that most of the athletes across the U.S. Alpine Ski Team are in the same location, which rarely happens for the men and women. Team dinners, hikes, excursions to the Kneipp ice baths, picnics, and more have provided for some solid cross-team bonding experiences. 

Shiffrin shared her camp focus with Ski Racing as well, saying, 

As for her own preparation heading into the all-important Olympic season, Shiffrin said, “I feel like I have some really great skiing and some not-so-consistent skiing, and one of my goals for this camp is to reel in that consistency and mindset that I need not only for training but more importantly for races as well. So aside from simply skiing, that’s a big part of this camp as well for me.”

Read the full article at SkiRacing.com.

Aerials Midsummer Check In

By Lara Carlton
September, 3 2021
Dani Loeb
Dani Loeb trains at Utah Olympic Park (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Christian Raguse)

For the aerial skiers of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team summer means wetsuits, drysuits, thousands of stairs and lots of chlorine as they train at the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool at Official Training Site Utah Olympic Park. Athletes have been on the ramps and in the air since May, and just wrapped their August training block with a FIS-judged competition simulation.

At the start of every summer athletes have to reacquaint themselves with their craft. “Our first camp of the season everyone starts at the beginning,” explained U.S. Freestyle Team Head Aerials Coach Vladimir (Vlad) Lebedev. “We have to remember how to jump in water, how the skis feel on the ramp surface, things like that. Everyone starts with singles, with our easy tricks, and progresses based on performance and quality. May and June are for building a solid foundation so we can get to the real work in July.” 

The July and August camps’ main focus is repetition of high degree of difficulty jumps. “You have to execute the jumps well, but you have to do it a lot,” said Lebedev. Building mental fortitude and muscle memory is key in making an athlete competition-ready. “Not only knowing you can execute the trick, but knowing you have executed it many times before is what we want.”

Lebedev reports that many athletes have added new tricks to their arsenals and the whole team is looking really good. 

 

 

Three-time Olympian Ashley Caldwell is working on the trick that earned her a World Record, a full double-full full, also known as The Daddy - the highest degree of difficulty trick in women’s aerials. “For Ashley, we are focusing on getting those numbers in,” said Vlad. “She knows what she has to do and she is putting in the work to make this part of her competition program coming into the 2021-22 season.”

Several women brought new tricks to water as part of their 2021-22 competition plan. Winter Vinecki, who had a breakout season in 2019-20 with three podiums and finished second in the overall standings, is working on a full double-full. Both Megan Smallhouse and Kaila Kuhn brought double-full fulls to water. 

Megan Nick, who earned two World Cup wins last season, is not bringing anything new to her repertoire but is focused on her quality for her full double-full and double-full full, also known as Millers. Dani Loeb and Karenna Elliott are working through their program as well. 

On the men’s side both Chris Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld are training quints - quintuple twisting triple backflips. Lillis became the first American since Jeret “Speedy” Peterson to compete a quint, and the feat earned him two World Championships medals in 2021. Eric Loughran is working through his entire jump package.

Last season marked Quinn Dehlinger’s first competing off of the triple kicker. He is putting in the work this summer to increase his numbers. “It usually takes about three seasons to see a male athlete compete off of the triple and achieve podiums, it’s all about numbers and time,” explained Lebedev. “Quinn is looking really good right now, he is super motivated.”

 

 

“This summer’s training has been going as well as I could have hoped for,” Dehlinger said. “During this summer I have been working on new triples like full double-full full and full full double-full. This will hopefully make me competitive for this upcoming winter on the World Cup tour. Looking forward to the rest of the summer I am just trying to be more consistent with all of my training.”

The team has been training alongside the Canadian Aerials Team all summer and on August 28 and 29 the two nations held a water ramp competition simulation with FIS judges. The simulation followed Olympic format and athletes performed their Olympic jump plan.

“Competition simulations are extremely important and valuable training tools,” said Lebedev. “During regular training you have unlimited jumps and time. But that’s not what it’s like when you’re on the World Cup circuit and training. You have limited time and limited jumps. It’s important to mock out the strategies we will use in season.”

 

 

Lebedev is proud of the work his athletes have put in this summer so far. Looking ahead to September, athletes will all still be working on their hardest tricks, but will hone in on quality more than repetition. “In general all of the athletes have shown good improvements,” he said. “The team is looking strong and everyone is extremely motivated for this upcoming Olympic season.”

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