Following spring planning meetings, the U.S. Alpine Ski Team has announced key staffing changes for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Despite a 2021-22 season filled with challenges associated with COVID-19, the alpine team had its fair share of success, featuring 19 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup podiums, six World Cup victories among four athletes, an Olympic silver medal, one Overall Crystal Globe, three World Junior Ski Championship medals featuring one victory, and many solid results across levels. The staff, once again, were the real superheroes behind the scenes, working day in and day out to keep their athletes safe and healthy.
Along with the previously announced addition of Anouk Patty as Chief of Sport and Patrick Riml as Alpine Director, there are many new faces and the return of longtime staff members. The program features a new structure, with the World Cup and Europa Cup tech groups merging across both the men and the women, enabling athletes to train together in an effort to create a positive competitive team environment.
“This structure allows for a better team culture,” said Patty. “Not only is it operationally more efficient as we are one team rather than a group of disparate teams, but it also drives performance as higher-performing athletes pull up the rest of the team.”
On the women’s side, with longtime coach Alex Hoedlmoser’s move to the Austrian Federation, Jeff Lackie will take on the role of women’s speed head coach. Lackie had previously been working with two-time Olympic champion and six-time World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin, and more recently the Europa Cup women’s team. Lackie will be joined by Burkhard Schaffer, who has vast experience on the World Cup speed and tech circuits, having worked for the Austrians, Norwegians, Slovenians, and, most recently, the Canadian men’s speed team.
Longtime head coach for multi-discipline athlete Shiffrin, Mike Day, will remain in his head coach role, as Austrian Mark Mitter joins the group as assistant coach. With the World Cup and Europa Cup groups merging, Magnus Andersson will remain as head coach, with Kipp Spangler as assistant coach, and they will be joined by Marjan Cernigoj as head Europa Cup coach, moving up from the development group. With Cernigoj’s move to Europa Cup, Shaun Goodwin—who was most recently serving as a private coach at the NorAm and Europa Cup levels—will take over the women’s development program, along with former U.S. Ski Team athlete and two-time All-America First Team Dartmouth College NCAA athlete Foreste Peterson. Paul Kristofic will remain as the head coach for the women’s alpine program.
Notable changes on the men’s side include the return of Parker Gray, who comes from Gould Academy to join the World Cup and Europa Cup tech group. Ian Garner will oversee the World Cup and Europa Cup tech groups, while Matt Underhill will focus on leading the Europa Cup tech team. Former Slovenian World Cup skier and Olympian Matic Skube, who most recently coached for the Polish Federation, will be joining the crew with a focus on the men’s World Cup slalom team.
On the speed side, Randy Pelkey remains head coach of the men’s speed team, along with Urban Planinsek, Scotty Veenis, and Ben Black as assistant coaches. Austin Savaria will join the men’s speed team staff as an assistant coach, most recently serving as a coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. Graham Flinn will continue to lead the men’s development program, along with assistant coach Nathan Bryant. In addition to his role as Alpine Director, Riml will also directly oversee operations for the men’s alpine program.
“It has been energizing to be back with the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, working with our coaching staff to build what I know will be a solid, dynamic support staff for our athletes,” noted Riml. “It’s not only rewarding to see former U.S. Ski Team coaches like Parker (Gray) rejoin the team, but it’s equally rewarding to see former athletes like Foreste Peterson join the program as a coach who has the opportunity to create a significant impact on these young athletes’ development. I look forward to working with this staff to support our athletes achieve their dreams and reach the podium.”
The men’s and women’s teams have already hit the slopes at Official Training Sites Mammoth Mountain, California, and Copper Mountain, Colorado, as well as in Norway to kick off the 2022-23 season. Many of the staff and athletes are currently at the USANA Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah for a vital strength and conditioning block, physical testing, and SkillsQuest testing prior to their next on-snow camps in the Southern Hemisphere.
A full staff announcement will be released this fall, in tandem with the official U.S. Alpine Ski Team announcement.