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Two-Time Olympic Medalist Weibrecht Featured in AP

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
October, 4 2018
Andrew Weibrecht Sochi Podium 2014

Two-time Olympic medalist Andrew "Warhorse" Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), who retired in May from the U.S. Ski Team, recently sat down with John Kekis from the Associated Press to catch up on life after the White Circus and what that looks like for Weibrecht. 

Weibrecht, known most notably for his signature renegade dark horse-style, turned heads in Beaver Creek, Colorado on Birds of Prey in 2007 when he skyrocketed from bib 53 to land a top 10 finish with a wild ride in crazy conditions. In his true dark horse fashion, he'd peak at the most opportune of times, under the most intense pressure—like at Vancouver, when he snagged bronze in the super-G and Sochi when he grabbed the silver in super-G, sharing the podium with teammate Bode Miller. 

In fact, Weibrecht uniquely grabbed two podiums on the Olympic stage before he even podiumed at the FIS Ski World Cup level. That came in what was Weibrecht's best season on the World Cup, in 2016, when he shared the super-G podium with teammate Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) in Beaver Creek, and then landed on the coveted Hahnenkamm podium in super-G, taking second place behind Norway's Aksel Lund-Svindal. In 2016, Weibrecht was in the running for the super-G globe. 

“The timing of the Olympics was very fortuitous,” said Weibrecht, whose Olympic medal streak ended in PyeongChang in February when he failed to finish. “Those just happened to be the times that I was peaking in my career, for whatever reason. From Sochi on for a couple of years it was a great run for me.

“The things that really halted my development — if I could do it again, I would just get hurt less,” he added with a laugh. “That was always the limiting factor. When I would get injured, then I’d have to start the process over again. I got good at it because I did it a lot. I think that having that process down so well I could have gotten back to where I wanted to be athletically, but I’m just at a different place in my life.”

Read the full article at

Shiffrin and Proffit Combine Forces to Raise over $350K

By Megan Harrod
October, 2 2018
Mikaela Shiffrin St. Louis Fundraiser
Mikaela Shiffrin poses with St. Louis fundraiser host and U.S. Ski & Snowboard trustee Ron Kruszewski and CEO and President Tiger Shaw (Rob Westrich/Westrich Photography).

St. Louis, Missouri isn’t the first city that comes to mind when one thinks of skiing, but this past Friday the St. Louis ski community came together to raise over $350,000. Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) and hometown gal herself—new U.S. Ski & Snowboard Development Team member—Ainsley Proffit (St. Louis, Mo.) joined forces to raise funds for athletes of the organization going into this big World Championship season.

The event, hosted by U.S. Ski & Snowboard trustee Ron Kruszewski, was presented by Stifel Financial Corporation. Kruszewski serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Stifel. Through generous donations and a silent auction featuring Team gear, Olympic gear, and local St. Louis experiences and art, over $350,000 was raised to help offset athlete costs. There was great food, dancing, and entertainment by DJ Nune and a band from Kansas City called “Lost Wax”—all enjoyed by the 200-plus guests. The St. Louis community came out in full force, excited to support the athletes.

Outside of the obvious VIPs—Shiffrin and Proffit—Kruszewski was the VIP of the night, as he is a huge supporter of the Team and the driving force of the event. Standing at the door, greeting everyone with a smile as they walk in, Kruszewski instills a personal touch to the party as the ultimate host. This was the fourth time he hosted the event, and with each passing year, it has been more successful than the last. This year, the event truly had a community feel, with so many familiar faces as well as some new faces.

Shiffrin—who has been on a three-week stretch of travel across multiple time zones, going straight from a speed camp in El Colorado and Corralco, Chile to Chicago and then over to Milan—had just a couple of days home before she jumped on a plane to St. Louis for the fundraiser. She WOWed the crowd with her relaxed, fun and light disposition, and even showed them some moves on the dance floor.

Mikaela Instagram Post - St. Louis Event

Proffit attended the fundraiser with her parents, who are St. Louis locals. She fell in love with skiing at Hidden Valley Ski Resort in Wildwood, Missouri, where she was introduced to racing through NASTAR. As she said in a recent interview, “Skiing is a great sport for all ages, and offers a great time for families. While you’re skiing at Hidden Valley, you must check out the NASTAR course. It’s such a fun race held there every weekend. I took hundreds of runs on that course; it’s one of the things that got me hooked on racing.”

Ainsley Instagram Post - St. Louis Event

Shiffrin will now have some time to relax and train in the gym at home before she heads over to Europe for some on-snow training and then to kick off the FIS Ski World Cup season in Soelden, Austria on October 27th, 2018. Proffit will be skiing in the NorAm series this season, so make sure to keep an eye on her!

If you’re interested in donating to the athletes of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, click HERE.


Aerialists Soar at Utah Olympic Park

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
October, 2 2018

The U.S. Ski & Snowboard aerials team began their seventh and final water ramps training camp at Utah Olympic Park on September 28. Athletes will jump on average between 15-20 jumps per day, depending on the degree of difficulty. With 15 jumping days in each camp, aerialists of the U.S. Ski Team will execute 1,575 - 2,100 jumps before they even start on-snow training.

Patient Notes: Pain is Temporary

By Breezy Johnson
September, 30 2018
Breezy Johnson - Patient Notes, v.2

Editor's Note: 
Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID) recently sustained an ACL tear that has sidelined her for the 2019 season. Throughout Johnson's road to recovery, she'll be sharing the ups and downs of rehabilitation here in a column of her own, entitled "Patient Notes," in hopes that you will follow along for the journey to learn how challenging it is both physically and mentally to return to snow at the elite level. Being an injured athlete can be challenging and lonely, and we're hoping that by writing this column, Johnson will be able to stay connected to the community and her sponsors.

Johnson kicked off her series with a poignant pre-surgery piece and with Patient Notes: Volume 2, she brings you all the post-op nitty gritty. She's thankful for your support and invites you to follow along on her Instagram. All of the words below are Johnson's thoughts, prior to finding out about the ACL tear, straight from her journal to your computer screen.

Enjoy the journey, 

Alpine Press Officer


9/20/18: 17 days post injury, day of surgery

Pain is Temporary

Pain is temporary. 17 days ago my life was sliced open, today my body was. I am beginning to hope that both of those wounds may now begin to heal. When I was first diagnosed with my ACL tear they told me that I could wait, they said ‘you don’t need to make any decisions now.’ They told me I could have surgery at Thanksgiving ‘well maybe not that late,’ they admitted. I had not wanted to wait. We did our due diligence in trying to find the best surgeon and the best procedure but if I could have done that and gotten the surgery done the day after I found out I would have been thrilled. Almost two weeks of waiting, two weeks of pitying myself, two weeks of nerves over my first surgery (yes my first), was almost more than I could bear. But now that is over and I can finally begin to climb the large mountain in front of me. The journey back to the top of the downhill track can begin.

I feel good. Perhaps for the first time in weeks, I can answer with that (my response thus far has been a simple okay). I have some pain but physical pain is nothing new in my life. What I now struggle with is holding myself back in these first few weeks. I have to take it slow, something I have never been good at (f***ing fast is my preferred speed). But my body can’t keep up with my mind. If it could, I probably wouldn’t be in this predicament to begin with. So, I resign myself to doing everything I can, within the parameters of what I can. Quad sets and ankle mobs I see you.

It’s been hard to see people skiing though. It’s hard because I have that split second of ‘I’ll be back there soon in Chile’ and then the crushing realization that I will not be back with them soon. In some ways, the surgery has helped with that too. Not because now I feel like I will be back soon, I certainly do not. But because I have felt fine these past few weeks. These past few weeks I had two working legs beneath me, two so seemingly strong and healthy legs that the children of my orthopedic surgeon could not believe that I was injured. Pain, while difficult, allows me to finally know that something is wrong, something is holding me back. I don’t forget only to feel the blow of what has happened all over again. Now there is simply the dull ache of pain coming from my knee and my heart.

Unfortunately, with that pain comes a twinge of regret that I despise. I occasionally wish it had all gone differently. I wish I could have slept past my alarm on September 3rd. Occasionallyand this aggravates me the mostI wish I had skied that turn differently. I know it is useless, which makes me frustrated that I am holding onto such useless thoughts. It makes me frustrated because I know that the reason I hooked the gate and fell in the first place was that I wanted to improve, I wanted to learn, I wanted to become a winner. For good and bad that takes risk, and no one ever got fast at ski racing by playing it safe. And part of why ski racing, and speed skiing, in particular, are difficult is because they require courage. They require risk.

But luckily painboth mentally and physicallyis not something that will last forever. Pain is better than loss...and a season, in the grand scheme of things, is a small loss. Pain also drives me. I move forward trying to focus myself and pain, both the mental and the physical, is sharpening that focus and spear-heading my goals. They are not goals that I originally anticipated setting, but they are goals nonetheless. And goals, in both times of heartbreak and times of victory are critical in helping us move forward. People tell me that I will come back stronger, and my goals are what will make that happen. So it’s back to the drawing board and now time for some new goal setting for the 2018-2019 season.

I know that this may have been rambling and incongruous piece; give me a break I’m on oxycodone after all. But that’s where I am, piece number two of "Patient Notes" and I already feel restless and distinctly not patient but I’m working on it. Maybe I’ll feel better by volume three. Probably not...but maybe. Let me know if you guys have any questions and I will try to answer them.

Until then I’ll try some deep breaths, and keep working on what I can control.


Breezy Johnson - El Colorado Crash

Mikaela Shiffrin Featured on Freakonomics Podcast

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 29 2018
Mikaela Shiffrin Featured on Freakonomics Podcast

Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) is featured in the popular Freakonomics podcast in a series entitled “The Hidden Side of Sports" among elite sports' greats like Lance Armstrong, pro beach volleyball player and Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, and more. 

In the most recent episode, called "Here's Why You're Not an Elite Athlete," athletes talk about what separates the good from the great. "There are a lot of factors that go into greatness, many of which are not obvious," the intro reads on the Freakonomics transcript page for the episode. "A variety of Olympic and professional athletes tell us how they made it and what they sacrificed to get there."

"Maybe you’re an obsessive sports fan. Or maybe a more casual fan, and you follow just a couple sports or teams. Maybe you pay no attention to sports, and you only see it when the Olympics are on someone else’s TV. Whichever the case: when you do see those athletes, it’s easy to think of them as existing solely in that context. A full-grown adult. Wearing a uniform. Performing under extraordinary pressure. Focused on a highly specialized task that has zero to do with daily life, or at least your daily life. But is that who those people really are? And how did they get so good at this thing they do? When you see them on TV, all you’re seeing is the outcome. But what were the inputs? We understand that elite athletes represent some magical combination of talent and determination. But what about, say, luck?"

At around the 20:30 minute mark of the episode, you'll hear Shiffrin talk about what makes ski racing different from other sports, and what sets her apart from her competitors. It's worth the listen. Make sure to tune into the whole "The Hidden Side of Sports" series for more insight from Shiffrin and other elite athletes. 

Listen to the podcast on

Minneapolis To Host FIS Cross Country World Cup in 2020

By Reese Brown
September, 28 2018
World Cup is coming to Minnesota
Jessie Diggins was key to securing a FIS Cross Country World Cup for Minnesota. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

The International Ski Federation (FIS) today officially confirmed that Minnesota will host a World Cup cross-country ski event in Minneapolis in March 2020.  U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the Loppet Foundation will serve as hosts of the World Cup event, taking place at the new ‘The Trailhead’ facility in Theodore Wirth Park.

“A Minnesotan who brought home a gold medal has now helped us bring home the World Cup,” said host committee co-chair RT Rybak. “Now it’s time for Minnesota too, once again, show we host big events better than anyone.”

Cross country ski champion Jessie Diggins is a native of Afton, Minnesota, and the first American athlete to win a gold medal in Olympic cross country ski competition; she and teammate Kikkan Randall won the women's team sprint at Pyeongchang earlier this year. Diggins was key to securing this international competition for Minnesota.

“Hosting a round of the World Cup is our chance to show skiers from around the world how Minnesota embraces winter - through sport and through our hospitality,” said Diggins. “U.S. Ski & Snowboard and The Loppet Foundation are excited to host a world-class competition and share our state with athletes from around the world. We’re equally excited to give ski fans from around the US a chance to see the action up close for the first time in nineteen years! I am so proud to represent Minnesota as one of the first American athletes to win Olympic Gold in cross country, and now to bring the sport I love to the state I call home.”

“When Jessie called me and asked if the Foundation would support her dream of bringing a cross country World Cup event to the U.S., my team and I responded with an enthusiastic ‘yes!’” said John Munger, Executive Director of the Loppet Foundation. “Her ask was a no-brainer for us because we, too, have dreams of sharing this spectacular sport with the world. That’s why we’ve worked hard over the last 16 years to elevate cross country skiing, and adventure sports widely, starting in our own backyard.”

“Everyone at U.S. Ski & Snowboard is delighted that we and the Loppet Foundation are able to formally confirm that the cross country World Cup will be coming back to the USA in March 2020 and to one of the great hotbeds of cross country skiing in Minneapolis,” commented Calum Clark, Chief of Systems and Operations for U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “A lot of hard work has gone into making this announcement possible, from the Loppet Foundation team in Minneapolis to the International Ski Federation (FIS), but none more so than from Minnesota’s own Jessie Diggins and the whole U.S. Cross Country Ski Team whose efforts, especially in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, were the catalyst for the compelling concept to bring the world’s best cross country skiers to the city of Minneapolis.”

On the heels of successfully hosting Super Bowl LII, the WNBA All-Star Game, and now preparing to host the NCAA Final Four, the FIS Cross Country Ski World Cup event is yet another in a string of world-class sporting events to choose Minnesota as host.

“The Loppet has helped put Minneapolis cross country skiing on the map, and Theodore Wirth Park offers the best trails in our state,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “Hosting a round of the Cross Country Ski World Cup is yet another chance to showcase how to do winter right and for our city to shine as we show the world that Minneapolis welcomes everyone with open arms.”

“Minnesota is the perfect host state for a cross country ski racing World Cup event,” said Beth Helle of Explore Minnesota. “Minnesota boasts more than 2,000 miles of cross-country ski trails, and the sport is integral to our winter tourism industry. Winter accounts for 24% of tourism expenditures in Minnesota, and our high-quality, groomed ski trails help ensure that skiing-related destinations and businesses are able to thrive throughout the winter months.”

Nearly a decade in the making and just opened this summer, The Trailhead is part of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Master Plan for the park and the Loppet Foundation’s long-term vision for making lifetime endurance sports more accessible for their local community. This year-round hub for outdoor adventure will host competitive races, community events, and now an international ski competition right in Theodore Wirth Park; solidifying Theodore Wirth Regional Park as a world-class cross country venue.

More information on the World Cup event, including how to secure tickets and see the competition in action, will be available on the local organizing committee’s website,, or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @mnworldcup.

About the Loppet Foundation

The Loppet Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates a shared passion for year-round outdoor adventure in the Minneapolis area, focusing on underserved youth and families. Since 2002, the Loppet Foundation has worked to create high-quality public events, youth education, and outdoor recreation programs for the local community. Learn more at

About U.S. Ski & Snowboard

U.S. Ski & Snowboard is the Olympic National Governing Body for ski and snowboard sports in the USA. One of the oldest and most established sports organizations worldwide, directly tracing its roots back to 1905, the organization, based in Park City, UT, provides leadership and direction for elite athletes competing at the highest level worldwide and for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders in the USA, encouraging and supporting all its athletes in achieving excellence wherever they train and compete. By empowering national teams, clubs, coaches, parents, officials, volunteers and fans, U.S. Ski & Snowboard is committed to the progression of its sports, athlete success and the value of team. U.S. Ski & Snowboard receives no direct government support, operating solely through private donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to fund athletic programs that directly assist athletes in reaching their dreams and achieving the shared goal of being Best In The World.

Fletcher 15th In Planica Grand Prix

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 23 2018
Fletcher jumping
Taylor Fletcher scored 88 points the HS140 jumping portion of Sunday's Grand Prix. (Romina Eggert)

Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) posted the third-fastest roller-ski time to finish 15th in Planica, Slovenia at a Summer Grand Prix.

"Today was a solid day. Nothing too special. I was late on my jump which caused me to miss out on a bunch at the end of the jump," Fletcher said. "The race was good, for sure, but I was all alone and didn't get any help out there. With that, I am still happy with today as it was handfuls better than any competition from last year. Progress is all that matter and I am moving forward."

Fletcher scored 88 points in the HS140 jumping portion, then turn a 10k time on 23:09 in the roller ski, just 5.9 seconds from the top time of the day.

Austria's Mario Seidl posted a jumping score of 127.8 and held on for an 8.5-second victory. Norway's Espen Bjoernstad was second and Aguri Shimizu of Japan was third. 

"It was a pretty good day for Taylor and we're happy with the overall result," said USA Nordic Head Nordic Combined Coach, Martin Bayer.

Men's HS140/10k

Miller, Weibrecht, Kelly To Be Inducted Into U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
September, 19 2018
Weibrecht, Miller 2014 Super G Podium
2014 Olympic super G silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht (left) and bronze medalist Bode Miller (right) will be inducted into the 2019 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. (Getty Images)

Six-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller, two-time Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht, and Tom Kelly, who served as Vice President of Communications for U.S. Ski & Snowboard for 32 years, lead the 2019 class of inductees in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.

A formal U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame induction will be held for the star-studded group of eight noted skiing and snowboarding pioneers, athletes and sport builders on April 6, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

One of the most successful alpine skiers in American history, New Hampshire's Miller, captured the attention of the world with his incredible athletic balance and ability to produce jaw-dropping performances on skis. Raised in an electricity-free home, the two-time World Cup overall champion, four-time World Champion and six-time Olympic medalist is one of the most prolific international athletes in winter sports history.

“I always tried to ski in a way that inspired myself and ski racing fans and I appreciate this support from the industry.” - Bode Miller

Weibrecht took up skiing after he begged his parents to let him join older brother Jonathan at the 1980 Olympic mountain of Whiteface, New York. From a kid swinging on his parents’ chandeliers at their luxury Mirror Lake Inn and Resort to becoming a two-time Olympic super G medalist, Weibrecht became one of the most exhilarating ski racers to watch kick out of the start gate.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Ski Hall of Fame. It’s a tremendous honor and I’m very excited that the voting commission felt my accomplishments worthy of recognition, especially within such an amazing group of ski industry powerhouses. I was always lucky enough to be joined by Bode on my Olympic podiums, so it almost seems fitting that we will be inducted together. I am truly honored to be a part of such a prestigious induction class, across the board.”
- Andrew Weibrecht

As VP of communications for U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Kelly worked tirelessly to promote the athletes and their sports to the mass media. Throughout his career, he was active within the USOC and International Ski Federation, including 14 years as chairman of the FIS PR and Mass Media Committee.

"I've been fortunate in my career to work with some remarkable athletes and to engage others by telling their story,” Kelly said. “Skiing has been a passion of mine since I was seven years old and it is an honor to be included in the Hall of Fame."

The 2019 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame induction will kick off in Park City with a “Snowsport History Celebration” April 4-6, 2019, with several events to welcome the class of 2018 to Utah. This three-day celebration will culminate with the induction ceremony in Salt Lake City at the Little America Hotel. The annual induction honors not only athletes but industry icons, innovators and inventors with lifelong national and international achievements in all facets of snowsport. With the legacy of the 2002 Winter Games and the long lineage of celebrated athletes, Park City Mountain provides a spectacular backdrop for Snowsport History Celebration events culminating with the induction ceremony.

Among the eight inductees are the late Tom Sims, inventor of the “skiboard”, William Jensen nationally renowned resort operator, and the late Don Henderson, a pioneer of ski racing. Two women round out the class with Kristen Ulmer, known as the first female extreme skier and Hilary Engisch-Klein a world-dominating freestyle skier.

Patient Notes: Breezy Johnson

By Megan Harrod
September, 19 2018
Breezy Johnson, In Her Element
Breezy Johnson, in her element in Jackson Hole (Greg von Doersten).

Editor's Note: 
Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID) recently sustained an ACL tear that has sidelined her for the 2019 season. Throughout Johnson's road to recovery, she'll be sharing the ups and downs of rehabilitation here in a column of her own, entitled "Patient Notes," in hopes that you will follow along for the journey to learn how challenging it is both physically and mentally to return to snow at the elite level. Being an injured athlete can be challenging and lonely, and we're hoping that by writing this column, Johnson will be able to stay connected to the community and her sponsors.

Johnson will go into surgery tomorrow and plans to write a post-surgery update. She's thankful for your support and invites you to follow along on her Instagram. All of the words below are Johnson's thoughts, prior to finding out about the ACL tear, straight from her journal to your computer screen.

Enjoy the journey, 

Alpine Press Officer


9/9/18: five days post-crash

I’ve been in this sport for a long time...more than 15 years of racing now. I have watched countless teammates, friends, and fellow competitors go through this injury. Long ago I came to terms with the fact that it would come for me too. But knowing that it would come and that it did are two different things. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL): the three little words that so many ski racers have experienced there’s barely any of us left on the World Cup without scars on our knees.

To back up, I crashed five days ago. For me crashing and spectacularly go together like peanut butter and jellyand this crash was no different. Maybe I’ll send it in to Slalom Tokyo Drift…I feel like perhaps others should enjoy that moment, or perhaps others shouldn’t watch people’s seasons end. We will see. Anyway full yard sale later I sat up (gotta make sure the coaches know you are alive) and did my standard body check. Crashes for me have so much going on it usually takes me a minute afterwards to feel the pain. Feet, hands, shoulders, knees. I felt your standard beat up that you get when you crash at 60mph but not too bad. My shoulder hurt, but I’ve injured my shoulders before so I knew it would be fine. I had a busted lip and a bloody nose so I quickly set to trying to keep my suit from getting covered. My knee hurt a tiny bit but I’ve been though MCL tears, LCL tears and tibial plateau fractures and this pain was nothing I couldn’t handle. Really, I felt fine.

The doctor checked my knee but determined that it was probably fine. Two runs later and several instances of instability and I decided I was not fine. But I didn’t feel terrible either. The check engine light may have been on but there were not warning lights blaring in every direction, or at least I didn’t notice them.

Now here I am sitting on a plane headed home. An MRI showed a 30 percent partial ACL tear but our doctors didn’t like the Chileans’ findings. The later knee tests didn’t feel as good as the first to our doctor. They want to do their own tests and make sure that 30 percent really is 30 percent. Perhaps you’ve been here too. I guess part of writing this is coming together as skiers who risk our knees every day. Skiers, many of whom have sat where I am sitting nowhoping beyond hopea little voice in the back of our heads nervously chewing imaginary fingernails and saying ‘Has my luck finally run out?’

I’m scared. I’ll admit it. I’m scared to the point of waking up in a cold sweat forcing extension of my knee to try to prove something to myself. I’ve been here before. Two springs ago I was told by a team doctor, ironically one of the same doctors who looked at me this time, that I had torn my ACL. I forced myself not to hope. I didn’t want to get my hopes up just to have them crushed again. For almost 24 hours I told myself I had torn it. I quashed the voice of hope relentlessly and unequivocally. But then it turned out it wasn’t torn.

Now, two years later, I just can’t stop myself from hoping against all odds. Not because they were wrong once before, but because then it was March and now it is September. Tearing my ACL now means a season. Then it meant September return to snow. I have so many goals. Goals I haven’t even written down yet (I usually write goals half way through my September camp). It’s not an Olympic year. I did that already. But the reality is that I love the World Cup. In some ways, I love it more than the Olympics, and the thought of missing a season with the best competitors, of waiting another 14 months to feel the rush of a ski race is just more than I can bear.

I don’t have answers for myself. I don’t know what I will do but perhaps just writing down my fears and hopes is enough. Perhaps hearing your stories will help me come to terms with my own issues. I know that even if it is torn, it’s not the worst news. I know teammates who have done much, much worse. I know that knee injuries are still relatively lucky in the grand scheme of life and death. But that doesn’t mean I won’t still miss this sport. We will see in a couple of days if I need to write another one of these. Maybe I will have dodged the bullet again, maybe not.

Johnson Heartbroken with ACL Tear

By Megan Harrod
September, 12 2018
Breezy Johnson waves to the crowd in the PyeongChang downhill finish area.
Breezy Johnson waves to the crowd in the PyeongChang downhill finish area at the Winter Olympics (Matthias Hangst).

Breezy Johnson (Victor, Idaho) was born to ski. And to ski fast...with a name like “Breezy,” she had no other choice, right?! Ski racing is a no risk, no reward kind of sport – especially for downhillers, who have to be tough-as-nails physically and mentally in order to hurl themselves down a mountain at upwards of 80mph. Another season on the FIS Ski World Cup and all of the excitement it brings was on the horizon for Johnson.

Indeed, Johnson had a lot to look forward to, with her first Olympic bid under her belt and a host of super solid results from the 2017-18 season. Speaking of which, of her 15 downhill and super-G starts, Johnson was in the points 10 times, top-15 five times, top-10 four times, and narrowly missed her first podium in Garmisch, Germany, finishing in fourth place. In PyeongChang, South Korea, she grabbed a solid 14th-place result in super-G and a seventh in the downhill. Incredible results for the first-time Olympian.

However, the 2018-19 season ended almost as soon as it had started, as Johnson is sad to announce that she has torn her right Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) at a recent training camp in El Colorado, Chile training with the women’s speed team.

Johnson has been competing in the sport she loves so much for more than 15 years. Through it all, she has watched countless teammates, friends and fellow competitors suffer from knee injuries. Hurling herself down a mountain at upwards of 80mph, she knew, at some point, it would likely happen to her as well. “But knowing that it would come and that it did are two different things,” she reflected. “Anterior Cruciate Ligament: the three little words that so many ski racers have experienced, that there’s barely any of us left on the World Cup without scars on our knees. Last week, I, unfortunately, joined that vast majority.”

Johnson is undergoing further evaluation and has yet to determine when she will have surgery. Though she is going through all of the emotions elite level athletes do when they experience a heartbreaking injury, she knows she is young and strong and is positive about her rehab in the months to come. She is fully aware it will be challenging, but she’s up for the challenge.

“When I was younger, I thought an ACL tear was the worst thing that could happen to a ski racer. Now I know better,” Johnson said. “ACL tears are, relatively speaking, pretty lucky in our world. Perhaps that makes things better. I have less fear about the surgery and rehab to come. Yes, I know it will be difficult, painful, and aggravating, but I am no stranger to any of those things. However, that luck cuts me like a two-edged sword because I also look to the future and see myself waiting for 14 excruciating (and I say excruciating in a mental sense) months to once again throw myself down a World Cup course, and all of that for a little ACL tear, which makes it feel a bit like a curse from the universe.”

She’ll miss the people, the places, and the experiences – like the chance to celebrate teammate Lindsey Vonn's (Vail, Colo.) potentially historic moment if she breaks the World Cup wins record (Sweden's Ingemar Stenmark holds the record with 86, while Vonn has 82 victories). She even hoped to join Vonn on a podium before the legend retires. However, what Johnson will miss most is racing.

The women's speed team celebrates four in the top 15 on downhill day at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The fastest women's speed team on the World Cup circuit in 2017-18 celebrates four in the top 15 on downhill day at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

“Perhaps I was born to be a racer because while I love skiing, racing is my true passion” Johnson said. “That feeling of flying down a course at 80mph, body, and brain both working at full capacity to try to make you go even faster…because, to me, that feeling is living. No, I will not miss an Olympics…and World Championships come back around in this sport. But for me, the thought of spending 14 months without that true feeling of living, that feeling of racing, kills me a little bit inside. I would love to think that everything happens for a reason – that anything is possible – but my experience with this sport has dissuaded me from those illusions. So, while I am grateful that this injury isn’t worse, the next 14 months feel like they might be the hardest I have ever faced.”

Johnson is incredibly thankful to the community for the support and wants everyone to know - from sponsors to fans and beyond - that she will return. Stay tuned here and to Johnson’s Instagram for frequent updates from Johnson as she experiences the highs and lows of returning to the mountain.