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Cashman Featured In FIS Behind-The-Scenes

By Megan Harrod
July, 27 2022
Keely Cashman
Olympian Keely Cashman, shown here training in Val Senales in Schnalstal, Italy prior to Soelden in 2021, was recently featured in the International Ski Federation's (FIS) recent behind-the-scenes feature. (Ryan Mooney - U.S. Ski Team)

Olympian Keely Cashman was recently featured in the International Ski Federation's (FIS) recent behind-the-scenes feature. In the piece, she talks about her love of skiing, growing up in a small town in California, and her interests off the mountain. Cashman also discusses her season-ending injury during the 2020-21 season after starting the season off with a string of strong results. The injury had her sidelined for what would have been her first World Championships. 

 

ELLE Feature: Shiffrin Lost the Olympics But Won the World

By Megan Harrod
July, 27 2022
Shiffrin Elle Feature
The August edition of ELLE features two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin, as she talks in depth with writer Rose Minutaglio about topics such as mental health, performance pressure, and trauma. (Caleb Santiago Alvarado)

The August edition of ELLE features two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin, as she talks in depth with writer Rose Minutaglio about topics such as mental health, performance pressure, and trauma. After crashing and DNFin in her three marquee events at the Beijing 2022 Olympics, Shiffrin is using her experience to remind us that no one—not even an Olympian—is immune to mental health issues.

Minutaglio writes, 

Mikaela Shiffrin is used to steering through twists and turns. But nothing could have prepared the champion Alpine skier for the last two years: the sudden death of her father, a debilitating back injury, and a positive COVID-19 test that forced her to miss some World Cup races. Then, in one of the most shocking sequences in the sport’s history, Shiffrin was disqualified from not one, not two, but three races at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. After stumbling through the slalom, her signature event, she veered off to the side of the course, took her skis off, and bowed her head as cameras zoomed in.

“Everybody experiences the hard days when it’s difficult to keep a positive attitude, and you just kind of need to sit down and cry,” Shiffrin says. “Except, for me, it all became a very public thing.”

At that moment, on top of an Olympic mountain, Shiffrin bottomed out. In the past, she might have concealed her burnout with platitudes about being mentally tough or pushing through the pain. This time, Shiffrin knew that in order to move forward, she needed to look back. “I’m a different person than I was,” she says, “and I didn’t want to hide what I’m feeling anymore.”

By sharing honestly, Shiffrin joins the ranks of major female athletes in recent history who’ve shined a light on once-taboo subjects like mental health, trauma, and performance pressure. “It’s scary,” she says, “because it shows vulnerability. But there’s no reason to feel shame anymore.”

Shiffrin has become a spokesperson for mental health since the tragic loss of her father Jeff in 2020, then dealing with the isolation of COVID-19 for two years. During the 2021-22 Olympic season, Shiffrin started the season off strong, with a win at the FIS Ski World Cup opener in Soelden, Austria, then struggled with nagging back pain that had her sidelined from training before falling to COVID and having to quarantine for 10 days in the middle of the busiest period of technical races over the holidays, and went into the Olympics completely exhausted, only to fail on the world's stage.

However, Shiffrin handled the failure with grace and ended up prevailing by finishing the season with a strong push at the final World Cup races to earn herself the biggest annual prize in ski racing—her fourth overall World Cup title. 

Read the full story at ELLE.com.

Vonn Talks Transitioning To Life After Skiing On TODAY

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
July, 26 2022
Vonn on TODAY Show
Olympic champion and U.S. Ski Team alumna Lindsey Vonn recently joined Hoda and Jenna on TODAY to talk about transitioning to life after professional skiing.

Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn recently joined Hoda and Jenna on TODAY to talk about transitioning to life after professional skiing, as well as how she's learned to manage her insomnia with Idorsia. She also talks about how she’s enjoying her retirement, being inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame, and more.

 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Announces Matt Gnoza as Freestyle Sport Director

By Lara Carlton
July, 21 2022
Matt Gnoza freestyle coach
Longtime moguls coach Matt Gnoza was promoted to U.S. Ski & Snowboard's Freestyle Sport Director. (Steven Earl Photography)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced the promotion of Matt Gnoza to Freestyle Sport Director. Gnoza brings extensive freestyle leadership and coaching experience to his new position.

Gnoza began his career at U.S. Ski & Snowboard as the Moguls C Team coach in 2014 and was promoted to Head Moguls Coach in 2015. He coached the 2018 and 2022 Olympic teams and brought home silver with Jaelin Kauf’s performance in Beijing in February. Prior to U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Gnoza served as the Action Sports Athletic Director and Freestyle Head Coach at Killington Mountain School from 1994 to 2014. He has over 28 years of coaching experience.

Gnoza was instrumental in helping to include dual moguls in the 2026 Olympic program, having brought the elite international moguls community together for a successful petition to the International Ski Federation and the International Olympic Committee to have the sport confirmed in June. Throughout his career, Gnoza has been committed to continuing to learn, grow and develop as a coach and leader, as well as apply those same principles to his teams.

“I am deeply invested in the U.S. freestyle community and am excited to be in this new role at U.S. Ski & Snowboard,” said Gnoza. “Freestyle has a rich history in the U.S. and I look forward to extending our sport's legacy for years to come. We have some serious momentum building from our hugely successful 2022 U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team and I look forward to developing this program’s incredible potential. I am excited to work with our elite teams as well as the development pipeline to realize success at every level.”

With Gnoza’s promotion, Bryon Wilson takes over as Head Moguls Coach for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. 

As Freestyle Sport Director, Gnoza’s scope extends from the elite to the grassroots levels. He will oversee the U.S. national moguls and aerials ski teams, as well as be tasked with developing and managing a high-quality talent identification and development program for freestyle athletes, coaches, officials and judges to ensure the U.S. not only remains competitive in the discipline, but has a solid foundation and infrastructure to support excellence in freestyle skiing long term.  

“Matt brings a tremendous amount of coaching and leadership experience to this role,” said Chief of Sport Anouk Patty. “He has a great vision for the sport at both the grassroots and at the elite level and he knows what he needs to do to implement that vision.”

Immediate goals for Gnoza are to recruit top talent to round out the national team’s staff. One of his first moves as director was to name a dedicated Moguls D Team coach, Josh Kober. “This is an investment in development, ensuring we have a thriving pipeline to draw from for the next two to three Olympic cycles at least,” said Gnoza. “Development is a theme for freestyle right now. I am spending my first weeks and months on the job meeting with key stakeholders from the freestyle community and the organization to understand how we build on our national team’s success while simultaneously developing the up-and-comers and supporting our clubs.”

Gnoza will look to revamp the Project Gold Program, including extending the program to aerials, to provide targeted opportunities for young, developing athletes to collaborate and learn from each other, as well as from the national team at select national camps throughout the training season. In order to ensure there is a pipeline of development talent to pull from, Gnoza will work with U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s sport education department to update long-term athlete development systems and freestyle coaches’ education offerings. 

Through enhancing relationships with clubs, Gnoza will create an open and collaborative dialogue with the nation’s freestyle community. On the event side, Gnoza will work towards a well-developed NorAm tour and pursue additional FIS Freestyle World Cup opportunities. 

Gnoza’s appointment as the Freestyle Sport Director position is part of an organizational restructure for U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Under his leadership, freestyle stands on its own and reports directly to the Chief of Sport. 

Hall, Kim Nominated for 2022 ESPYS

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
July, 12 2022
Alex Hall
Olympic champion Alex Hall, pictured here with teammate Nick Goepper celebrating their 1-2 finish in freeski slopestyle at Beijing 2022, is nominated for an ESPY Award in the Best Athlete - Men's Action Sports category this year. (Ryan Escandon - U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

Two-time Olympic champion Chloe Kim and Olympic gold medalist Alex Hall, who each earned gold medals at Beijing 2022, are nominated for the 2022 ESPY Awards. 

Kim, who is no stranger to the ESPYs (with five to her name already), is nominated in the Best Athlete - Women's Action Sports category, while Hall is up for Best Athlete - Men's Action Sports. 

The award show gathers top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments, and saluting the leading performers and performances. Honorees will include college basketball analyst Dick Vitale receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and boxing champion Vitali Klitschko who will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage award. NBA Finals MVP, Stephen Curry, will host this year's show.  

Voting for the awards is open at www.espn.com/espys, and fans can vote multiple times - so vote for your favorite U.S. Ski & Snowboard athlete, and then vote again and again. And again. Voting for all categories will be open until Sunday, July 17 at 8 p.m. EST and the ESPYS will be held on Wednesday, July 20 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

VOTE NOW

Hart Makes White Return To The Cold After Retirement

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
July, 8 2022
Shaun White and Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart makes Shaun White return to the cold after retirement in LOL Network's "Cold as Balls."

Three-time Olympic champion Shaun White joined Kevin Hart for the latest installment of his YouTube interview series “Cold As Balls.” Shaun shared some war stories about his storied snowboard career and they theorized where his trademark red mane went after he chopped it off and donated it to Locks of Love. 

Dual Moguls, Women's Large Hill Ski Jumping Newest Medal Events for the 2026 Olympics

By Lara Carlton
June, 24 2022
Dual Moguls
Skiers race head-to-head on the dual moguls course at the annual Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International World Cup at Deer Valley Resort in Utah.

On June 24, 2022, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) added men's and women's dual moguls and women's large hill ski jumping to the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026. 

“We are thrilled to see the inclusion of women's large hill ski jumping and dual moguls in the Olympics,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “We're happy to see the IOC increasing gender equality with ski jumping, and our strong freestyle moguls team will be a major contender in dual moguls in four years.”

U.S. Ski & Snowboard began advocating for the inclusion of dual moguls to the Olympic program in 2018. With the cooperation of nine nations including Sweden, Great Britain, Canada, Japan, France, Russia, Australia, Georgia and Kazakhstan, the international freestyle moguls community formally petitioned the International Ski Federation (FIS) to consider proposing the event to the IOC in 2020. FIS moved forward with the proposal during its 2022 Congress in May and the IOC approved the event during its Executive Board Meeting on June 24, 2022.

Dual moguls pits skiers in head-to-head competition in knock-out rounds. The added intensity of racing side-by-side means skiers results in spectacular displays of athleticism in a spectator-friendly manner. It is competed on the same course as moguls, requiring no new venue or infrastructure. 

The discipline has been part of FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup competition since 1979, had its FIS Freestyle Ski World Championship debut in 1986, and has been consistently part of the World Championship program since 1999. American crowds are no stranger to the sport, with huge numbers showing up at the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s marquee World Cup at Deer Valley Resort on the 2002 Olympic moguls run year after year.

The inclusion of dual moguls aligns with the pillar of sustainability of the IOC Olympic Agenda 2020+5 roadmap and is also an important showcase of gender equality at the highest level of sport. Male and female athletes ski the same course and generally compete and train on the same day.

“It is an exciting moment for our sport to have dual moguls included in the Olympic medal program,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Freestyle Director Matt Gnoza. “The U.S. is a top contender come duals day, we took the Nation’s Cup in Duals in 2022. We will look to build on that success over this next quad to be serious medal contenders for 2026 and share what many call the greatest show on snow with the world.”

Women's large hill ski jumping joins women's normal hill ski jumping as an Olympic event. Women's normal hill has been in the Olympic Games since Sochi 2014, and is an important step in gender equality in the Olympic movement. 

“It is extremely exciting to have the large hill event added for the sport and to close the gap on gender equality in ski jumping, as well as add another medal event for the women,” said USA Nordic Sport’s Women’s Ski Jumping Team Director Blake Hughes.

The IOC declined to add women's nordic combined to the 2026 Games and said they would reconsider for 2030. "U.S. Ski & Snowboard has worked alongside USA Nordic Sport and the FIS to bring gender equality to the sport of nordic combined," said Goldschmidt. "We believe that all sports should be equally represented on all levels, from the grassroots to the Olympic level. We are very disappointed that the IOC chose to not make the sport equal."

Additionally, mixed team snowboard racing was not added to the slate of Cortina events and the alpine team event was eliminated.  

 

U.S. Alpine Ski Team Announces Additions to 2022-23 Staff

By Megan Harrod
June, 22 2022
Coaching Staff Announcement

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.

 

Cochran-Siegle, Diggins Named Athletes Of The Year

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
June, 20 2022
Jessie Diggins and Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Jessie Diggins and Ryan Cochran-Siegle were honored by U.S. Ski & Snowboard as athletes of the year. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard/Getty Images)

Olympic medalists Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Jessie Diggins were honored by U.S. Ski & Snowboard as athletes of the year, winning the prestigious Beck International Award - the highest athlete recognition for the organization.

Cochran-Siegle, whose mother Barbara Cochran won Olympic slalom gold in 1972, earned his first medal with a silver in super-G at Beijing. Diggins, who won gold with Kikkan Randall in 2018, became the first individual cross country medalist for America since 1976 when she won silver and bronze at Beijing.

The Beck International Award dates back to 1931, honoring some of the greatest champions in ski and snowboard sport.  It was the fourth time Diggins has won the Beck International Award (2016, 2018, 2021, 2022) and the first for Cochran-Siegle. Diggins was also named Cross Country Athlete of the Year, for the fifth time, with Cochran-Siegle taking Alpine Athlete of the Year honors.

“Ryan and Jessie truly distinguished themselves this season, both with athletic results and the inspiration they provided to teammates and to the next generation of athletes,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “They stand amongst a strong field of athletes who each have their own story of success this past season.”

In recognizing Cochran-Siegle, U.S. Ski & Snowboard acknowledged his long and patient journey. After starting his career with a Junior World Championship medal, he persevered through myriad major injuries before getting his first World Cup podium and win in the 2020-21 season, before a season-ending injury took him out.

Diggins, who won the overall World Cup title a year ago, was also recognized for a strong overall season with five World Cup podiums including two wins. She also anchored a historic first-ever mixed relay World Cup victory for the USA.

OTHER SPORT ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

Jake Adicoff with guide Sam Wood - Adaptive Athletes of the Year
Jake Adicoff and his guide Sam Wood were named Adaptive Athletes of the Year. The duo teamed up for a pair of individual silver medals at the Paralympics, plus anchored Team USA’s gold in the mixed team event. At the World Championships, they won gold, silver and bronze. Beyond the medals, Adicoff and Wood have been role models in the sport with their professional way of working together and communications style - setting a new high bar for how visually impaired athletes and guides work as a team. Their example has elevated the entire U.S. Paralympics Nordic program.

Alex Hall - Freeski Athlete of the Year
Olympic champion Alex Hall was named Freeski Athlete of the Year. Hall took gold in Slopestyle at Beijing. He came into the Olympics with five major event podiums. At the Olympics, he impressed Slopestyle judges with his unique approach to the course, earning the high score of the day on his first run.

Jaelin Kauf - Freestyle Athlete of the Year
Veteran moguls skier Jaelin Kauf was recognized as Freestyle Athlete of the Year. A perennial top finisher in the World Cup standings, Kauf earned an early berth on Team USA for the Olympics and came away with silver in moguls in her second Games. Recognized as one of the fastest skiers on the tour, Kauf focused on the big event to come away with a medal. She was also acknowledged for her inspiration to the team and motivation to young girls in sport.

Ben Loomis - Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year
Ben Loomis was named as Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year. It was his third time winning the title (2016, 2018, 2022). In a breakthrough season, Loomis scored World Cup points every weekend and had two 12th place finishes at the Olympics in Beijing. His steady progress has been an inspiration to the nordic combined team.

Annika Belshaw - Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year
Annika Belshaw was named Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year. Belshaw soared to a career-best season with her first-ever Continental Cup victory and had seven top-10 finishes to land fourth in the overall Continental Cup standings - the best U.S. finish since Sarah Hendrickson was second in 2015.

Lindsey Jacobellis - Snowboard Athlete of the Year
Lindsey Jacobellis was named Snowboard Athlete of the Year. It was her fourth time earning the top honor (2007, 2008, 2009, 2022). Jacobellis has forged a career in snowboardcross with 31 World Cup victories, seven World Championship medals and now three Olympic medals. A silver medalist in her event’s Olympic debut in 2006, Jacobellis rode to gold in Beijing then came back to team up with Nick Baumgartner to win gold in the initial Olympic team event.

Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund Kicks Off Another Round of Need-Based Athlete Awards

By Megan Harrod
June, 16 2022
Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund Relaunch

To celebrate Father’s Day, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, in collaboration with the Shiffrin family, is kicking off the second round of need-based, direct-to-athlete funding for U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes through the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund (JSARF).

The JSARF was originally created to honor Jeff Shiffrin’s life and legacy in collaboration with the Shiffrin family and a group of generous donors from six families. The fund, which successfully raised more than $3,000,000 in 2020, contributed to sustaining U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s training and competition schedule as many funding sources were impacted due to COVID-19.

Ongoing, with these need-based, direct-to-athlete awards, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team athletes can use the funding toward any cost related to their sport’s career, including but not limited to living expenses, medical expenses and rehabilitation from injury. Last June, U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced that the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund would live on with a goal of raising $250,000 with every dollar being matched by a generous anonymous donor up to $125,000, with $250,000 in grants slated to be distributed to athletes based on a combination of both need and merit. Recently, U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced that 44 athletes across all sport disciplines at all levels received awards through the JSARF.

Being a JSARF award winner means that an independent review committee, comprised mostly of former athletes, believes that these athletes are capable of breaking through to the next level of their sport. The goal for this second round of funding will once again be $250,000, with awards slated to be distributed in the spring of 2023.

Three-time Olympic medalist Jessie Diggins commented on the impact of funds like JSARF as well as the support from the team behind the team. “With Father’s Day coming up, I’m reminded that, for me, resilience and determination are homegrown,” said Diggins. “My drive to succeed was instilled in me from an early age, thanks to my parents. They taught me that if I work hard enough and give everything I have, I can finish proud—win or lose—even when the challenge seems overwhelming. My mom and dad have always been there for me. And you know who else has been there? All of you supporters, fans, donors, and partners.”

Diggins’ story of grit and perseverance is just one of many of the impressive athletes across all sports at U.S. Ski & Snowboard. CEO Sophie Goldschmidt added, “We’re thrilled to continue this partnership with the Shiffrin family on this fund. Supporting 44 athletes in the initial round of JSARF awards illustrates just how significant the impact can be and we can’t wait to see what the athletes do with these awards to propel them to the next level. The athletes make us proud by giving their all on the world stage, and we’re grateful to the Shiffrins and our donors for their ongoing commitment to this fund and Jeff Shiffrin’s lasting legacy.”

The focus now shifts to the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Cortina, and beyond. With the re-launch of the JSARF, U.S. Ski & Snowboard will aim to help athletes meet their financial needs and focus on their training and competitions.

 

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