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Amy Purdy: A Trailblazer in Para Snowboarding

By Ryan Odeja
August, 16 2023
Amy Purdy hikes up the hill during a training session on December 18, 2013 in Copper Mountain, Colorado. Purdy is a a member of the US Paralymic Snowboard Team and co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Amy Purdy hikes up the hill during a training session in Copper Mountain (Getty Images)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard is highlighting HERoic trailblazers throughout our winter sports, both past and present. A HERoic trailblazer is a woman athlete who has gone above and beyond in her sport, moving the sport forward through grit and determination and inspiring the next generation of women athletes. 

U.S. Para Snowboard team alumna Amy Purdy was one of the first female Para snowboarders, and has used her platform to raise awareness and create opportunities for future generations through her foundation, Adaptive Action Sports. Amy is a HERoic Trailblazer not only for her athletic achievements but for her long-lasting commitments to the adaptive community and winter sports as a whole.

The Beginnings

Amy’s journey to success was not always linear. She grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada with a love for the outdoors, wellness and traveling. When she started snowboarding at 15, she instantly fell in love and spent as much time as she could on the slopes. However, at age 19, Purdy’s life was changed after she fell into septic shock and was placed on life support. The doctors made the difficult decision to amputate both of her legs below the knee. Despite multiple surgeries, a ruptured spleen and a kidney transplant, Amy’s biggest goal was to get back on her snowboard. Just seven months after her amputation, she was back where she belonged on the slopes and within a year, she was reaching the podium in competitions—an unheard-of feat for a double-leg amputee. 

Athlete and Advocate

Six years after her amputation, Purdy founded Adaptive Action Sports (AAS), an organization with the mission of giving individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in sports, specifically focused on snowboarding. AAS was instrumental in getting adaptive events included in both the summer and winter X Games. Amy continued to dominate the competition during this time and was named to her first Para Snowboard World Championships team in 2012. The creation of AAS and Amy’s personal efforts led to snowboarding being included in the 2014 Paralympic Games for the first time. 

Beyond her advocacy for Para snowboarding’s inclusion in the Paralympics, Purdy was also a member of the first U.S. Paralympic Snowboard Team, winning the first-ever bronze medal in snowboardcross for the United States. Then in 2017, she took home the World Championship bronze medal in banked slalom. Amy added a silver medal in snowboardcross and a bronze in banked slalom to her resume at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang the following year. Across her 13-year competitive career, she pushed the boundaries of what was possible for a double-leg amputee athlete and changed the landscape of Para snowboarding forever. 

Changing the Narrative

Amy’s career is filled with firsts, and they didn’t stop coming when she stepped off the slopes. Immediately after the 2014 Paralympics, Purdy became the first Paralympian to compete on Dancing with the Stars—and she did more than just dance. Amy and her partner Derek Hough finished in second place, transforming how the media and the world perceive Para athletes. 

Over the years, Purdy made a name for herself professionally and has become a world-renowned motivational speaker, author, actress and thought leader even before she retired from competitive snowboarding in 2022. She has been recognized by Oprah as one of the top 100 thought leaders in the world, was featured in a Super Bowl ad and in the 2014 ESPN Body Issue with the goal of normalizing prosthetics and showing their strength. 

Amy has dedicated herself and her career to sports and creating opportunities for adaptive athletes to succeed. She has worked closely with the International Olympic Committee and the World Health Organization to promote inclusivity, sustainability and sport for development and peace. As one of the most successful U.S. Para snowboarders, Purdy has used her platform to give back to the adaptive and snowsport communities time and time again. 

Without Amy, Para snowboarding would not be the sport it is today.

Laukli Makes History: Wins 50th Sierre-Zinal Trail Race

By Leann Bentley
August, 16 2023
Sophia Laukli
Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athlete Sophia Laukli at the finish line after winning the 50th edition of the Sierre-Zinal trail race. (@theadventurebakery)

Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athlete and professional trail runner Sophia Laukli secured another historic victory at the 50th edition of the Sierre-Zinal trail race, becoming only the fourth American to win the race and the first since 2014. She now leads the Golden Trail World Series overall rankings. 

Battling through rugged terrains and challenging elevations in the picturesque Swiss landscape, Laukli showcased her dominance in the strong field by crossing the finish line four minutes ahead of the second-place finisher and eight minutes ahead of third place. Laukli now leads the Golden Trail Series leaderboard. Only four Americans had won the mountain race before Laukli, dating back to its inception in 1974. 

“I’m really still quite shocked by the result, but it feels so good,” said Laukli. “I’m definitely very proud of this result because I think it totally exceeded my expectations - along with everyone else’s - which is always pretty fun… for it to be a surprise.”

Laukli, a 2022 Winter Olympian and a regular on the FIS World Cup, has been training in Oslo, Norway, this summer while also competing regularly on the Golden Trail World Series. Compared to skiing, Laukli has not been a competitive trail runner long, but now, she is making an impact in every race she enters. After a breakthrough 2022 running season where she placed fifth in the overall standings, she burst onto the scene in the 2023 season by winning the first race - the prestigious Marathon du Mont-Blanc, where she beat her competitors by another significant margin of 12 minutes. Just weeks later, she was back on the podium in second place at the DoloMyths Run in the Italian Dolomites.

As her familiarity with international trail racing grows, Laukli is cementing herself as the one to beat. For now though, Laukli has her sights set on the next race, the Mammoth 26k back in her home country, and will continue her training for the other sport she is a professional athlete in - cross country skiing.

As she traveled from Switzerland back home to Oslo, Norway, to gear up for a Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team national team camp, Laukli sat down to answer a few questions about how all of this feels, how skiing has contributed to her overall trail running success, and what’s next.

How are you feeling after your win in Switzerland? 

I’m really quite shocked. But, beyond the result and winning the race, I’m also just excited about how I executed the race. I didn’t have a huge tactical plan, but it seemed I came up with some tactics on the way and they worked out just right.

How do you feel like your cross country ski training is playing into your running right now? Or vice versa? 

I’m honestly quite surprised at how well my ski training has prepared me for these races. This summer, I’ve actually been doing a bit less running and more roller skiing instead. So, naturally, I’ve been a bit hesitant or worried coming into each of these races because I’m so unsure of my running shape. But obviously, it seems to be working great. I think the main reason is that I’ve been able to train at a much higher volume with all the roller skiing (less impact/toll on the body compared to running), which has really built up my endurance even more to excel in these running races. I also think that having so much training outside of running helps the body be much more rested and recovered for the races.

You’re first in the standings of the Golden Trail World Series and the first American since 2014 to win this race. What’s your mindset right now? 

It is definitely looking very good for the overall position in the series, but I don’t want to get too confident now because a lot can still happen. I am obviously hoping to win the overall in the end, so I will have to pick and choose a bit for the next few races to make sure I can peak for the finals in October and hopefully secure the overall win then. Also, knowing that there are not often Americans winning the overall, it really adds some extra motivation. Even in the individual races, it’s fun to put the U.S. more on the map, especially with some of the other U.S. women making it into the top.

What’s your stoke level right now? 

In general, I know it’s good to move on from races, whether they’re good or bad, but the stoke from this one is something I am going to hold onto for a while. I have had some great races before, but I do think this is one of my best performances both in skiing and running combined, so it’s safe to say that my stoke level is incredibly high. It’s easy to be excited about a result when it’s a win, but I am just extra proud of this race because of how I paced and approached the race from start to finish. It was the first time I felt that I had actually grown as a runner and put into practice what I have learned over the past couple of years. In other words, it was the first time I didn’t feel like a newbie in trail running.

Intermountain Health Extends Partnership with U.S. Ski & Snowboard Through 2027

By Leann Bentley
August, 14 2023
Intermountain Health

(PARK CITY, UTAH - August 15, 2023) – U.S. Ski & Snowboard formally announced the extension of its partnership with Intermountain Health as its Official Healthcare Partner through 2027. Intermountain Health, a leading healthcare provider, will continue providing world-class care and support for the teams, as well as title naming to the Intermountain Health Freestyle International at Deer Valley through the next Olympics. 

"We are delighted to continue our partnership with Intermountain Health,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, President and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. "Together, we are fostering a culture of excellence, ensuring that athletes receive the highest standard of care and support. They remain steadfast in providing various resources to our team, and we’re excited to continue our relationship. I look forward to what we can accomplish as we gear up for next season!” 

Building upon the success of the partnership since 2019, Intermountain Health will once again serve as the title partner of the 2024 Intermountain Health Freestyle International at Deer Valley. The annual event is one of the most highly anticipated World Cups on the FIS Freestyle circuit, where the best moguls and aerials athletes in the world compete under the lights at Deer Valley Resort. 

Moguls athlete competing during the World Cup

Intermountain Health will remain as the title partner of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Certified Center of Excellence Program, a program that marries the expertise of both Intermountain Health and U.S. Ski & Snowboard systems and implements them into various locations across Utah. Currently, three Utah locations exist: Intermountain Health Park City Hospital; Intermountain TOSH (The Orthopedic Speciality Hospital) in Murray; and the Intermountain McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden. 

New to the partnership, Intermountain Health will assume the role of title partner of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Performance Medical Team, a new asset that focuses on providing unparalleled medical expertise and care to athletes. With this, all athletic trainers and physical therapists traveling with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team will wear co-branded Intermountain Health Performance Medical Team patches and branding on their outerwear. 

“Our partnership with U.S. Ski & Snowboard furthers Intermountain Health’s mission of helping people live the healthiest lives possible,” said Rob Allen, Intermountain Health President and CEO. “The freestyle event, Certified Center of Excellence Program, and the medical experts on the Performance Medical Team all underscore our joint commitment to health and the highest standard of excellence in care for athletes and our communities.” 


U.S. Ski & Snowboard is the Olympic National Governing Body (NGB) of ski and snowboard sports in the USA, based in Park City, Utah. Tracing its roots directly back to 1905, the organization represents nearly 200 elite skiers and snowboarders in 2022, competing in seven teams; alpine, cross country, freeski, freestyle, snowboard, nordic combined, and ski jumping. In addition to the fully-funded elite teams, U.S. Ski & Snowboard also provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders across the USA, encouraging and supporting them in achieving excellence. 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. For more information, visit

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs.

Utah Sports Hall of Fame to Induct Ted Ligety

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
August, 11 2023
Ted Ligety poses with a few of his accolades (Getty Images - Alexis Boichard)

Two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist and retired Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete Ted Ligety will be inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation during the annual dinner and ceremony September 18 at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Ligety will join a strong group of honorees including Norwegian skiing star Stein Eriksen, basketball coach Dave Rose, fencer Julie Thompson Seal and sportswriter Tom Wharton in the Class of 2023.

Ligety started competing at age 10 at the then Park City Mountain Resort, now Park City Mountain. He joined Park City's Winter Sports School where could receive an education while skiing full time, working on his craft. It was not long until he made his World Cup debut at the age of 19 in giant slalom in 2003 at his home resort in Utah.

Ligety became a force within the giant slalom circuit and alpine combined. His first major success came in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino when he won Olympic gold in the combined. 

Giant slalom became Ligety's bread and butter. His first World Cup victory came in Yongpyong, Korea in 2006. From then on he dominated the event, many referred to him as "Mr. GS" in which he won five giant slalom Crystal Globes between 2008 and 2014 and took home the giant slalom world title in 2011 and 2013. 

In the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Ligety had his eye on the giant slalom gold. He succeeded, winning by almost a half second. He followed up this immense success with a fifth world title in the 2015 World Championships. 

Ligety is one of the most successful alpine skiers to come out of the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team with 25 alpine World Cup victories to his name, two Olympic gold medals and five World Championships gold medals, making him a clear choice for this honor. 

For reservations to this event go to

Lindsey Vonn: A Trailblazer in Alpine Skiing

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
August, 11 2023
Lindsey Vonn
Lindsey Vonn Races Down a World Cup Course (Getty Images)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard is highlighting HERoic trailblazers throughout our winter sports, both past and present. A HERoic trailblazer is a woman athlete who has gone above and beyond in her sport, moving the sport forward through grit and determination and inspiring the next generation of women athletes. 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team alumna alpine athlete Lindsey Vonn perfectly embodies what it means to be a HERoic trailblazer. Vonn’s impact on the sport of skiing is immeasurable. As one of the most accomplished alpine ski racers in history, her legacy isn’t defined by only her achievements, but by her fearlessness, determination and relentless pursuit of excellence. During her career, she took ski racing to another level. 

The Beginning 

Vonn grew up in the Twin Cities and started skiing at just two years old. Encouraged by her father and grandfather to always keep pushing herself in the sport, she quickly moved up the ranks and enrolled in Erich Sailer’s renowned race program at Buck Hill in Burnsville, Minnesota. It did not take long for her, and those around her, to realize her natural talent. 

Vonn family vacations typically included driving from Minnesota to Colorado to ski. When the 16+ hour commutes between the states became too frequent, the family relocated to Vail, Colorado so that she could train full-time with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. 

Vonn’s talent for the sport of ski racing quickly became apparent, due in part to her boundless talent and the inspiration that surrounded her. When Vonn was only nine years old, she met her hero and role model Picabo Street, an Olympic gold medalist legend of alpine skiing. Written in her memoir, Rise, Vonn recalls meeting Picabo and the impact it had on her future. “Picabo was my idol growing up. I met her at an autograph signing… and she changed my life. I went home that night and told my dad I wanted to be in the Olympics.” 

Vonn competed in her first race when she was seven. At nine, she raced her first ever international competition. She made her World Cup debut at the young age of 16 in Park City, Utah. History was happening right before her eyes and at the age of only 17, Vonn was called up to represent her country at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Finishing sixth in the alpine combined and 32nd in the slalom at the Olympics, Vonn’s first World Cup victory came two years later in the downhill in Lake Louise, Canada. 

From that point on, she could not be stopped. 

A Tale of Victories 

When Vonn recorded her first World Cup victory in the downhill at the 2004 Lake Louise World Cup, she set the tone for the rest of her dominant career. Famously, the Lake Louise venue became one of her favorites; Vonn had so much success at this venue it was later dubbed “Lake Lindsey” after she won the downhill 14 times. 

Over the course of her career, the stats that define her career are staggering. She won three Olympic medals, four World Cup overall Crystal Globes, eight World Championship medals (two gold), has the third most World Cup victories of all time (82) and 137 World Cup podiums. 

Dedication and Perseverance

But with immense success can come challenges. Downhill skiers launch themselves down icy tracks at 80+ mph, and not many people took to the track like Vonn. She was known for her fearlessness on the snow and with that came the higher probability for injury. Throughout her competitive career, Vonn suffered multiple season-ending injuries, but always came back stronger. 

From fractures, blown knees, a broken left ankle, concussions and more, one thing remained consistent: Vonn’s grit and determination to get back to the start gate. 

A Lasting Impact 

Vonn’s awards and accolades speak to her longevity and success as an elite athlete. She has been named the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year (2010), USOPC’s Sportswoman of the Year (2010), and has received four ESPYs for Best Female Athlete (2010, 2011), Best Female U.S. Olympic Athlete (2010) and Best Moment (2019). In 2019, she was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports for her athletic achievements and contributions to future generations of athletes. 

During her time on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team and beyond, Vonn used her platform to give back to the community. She founded the Lindsey Vonn Foundation, which focuses on allowing girls to pursue their personal and athletic goals by offering scholarships and mentorship programs across sports. 

Lindsey Vonn has paved the way for generations to come. Her accolades collectively reflect her extraordinary impact on alpine skiing and women’s sports in general. As one of the sport’s all-time greats, we are proud to have her as one of our HERoic trailblazers. 

Snowsports Pioneer McIntyre Passes Away

By Courtney Harkins
August, 11 2023
Anna McIntyre
Famed ski official Anna McIntyre passed away at the age of 91. (Anna McIntyre)

Influential snowsports official and pioneering snowboarding advocate Anna McIntyre passed away on August 9, 2023 at the age of 91.

McIntyre was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts and grew up in Connecticut (where she was known for drag racing her 1931 Ford Model A), before moving to New Hampshire in 1957. When her children were old enough to ski, she and her family got season passes at Waterville Valley when it first opened and from there, she blazed a trail.

In 1980, McIntyre became the first woman FIS Chief of Race for an alpine World Cup, and was the only woman who oversaw international ski competition for decades—working all 11 World Cups at Waterville Valley and acting as Chief of Race for nine of those. She created a name for herself within the industry for the work she did within the male-dominated world of World Cup ski racing.

She also helped to bring technology to World Cup racing in 1978, and managed the recruitment and organization of volunteers for the Waterville races, with the volunteers referring to themselves as “Anna’s Army.” Additionally, she was an official at four Olympic Winter Games: Innsbruck, Lake Placid, Calgary and Salt Lake City.

McIntyre also led the movement to bring snowboarding to the Olympics. In 1991, she petitioned U.S. Ski & Snowboard (then U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association or USSA) board of directors to include the sport, resulting in the eastern division allowing a trial year of competitive snowboarding. Throughout the first season, McIntyre developed the first snowboarding rule book and in 1992, she was named the first chairperson of USSA’s new Snowboard Committee. Snowboarding became its own discipline within USSA the year after that. From there, she worked with USSA and its CEO Howard Peterson to lobby FIS to approve the sport, which it did in 1994. The IOC officially welcomed snowboarding to the Olympics in 1998.

Within U.S. Ski & Snowboard, McIntyre was the first woman officer in the organization. The organization also named an award after her, the Anna McIntyre Citation Award, given to the person who has contributed to the advancement of the sport of snowboarding every year.

She racked up a massive number of other accolades throughout her life, including being elected to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and the Waterville Valley Hall of Fame. She also won the New England Ski Museum’s Spirit of Skiing Award, North American Snowsports Journalists Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Julius Blegen Award, the organization’s highest award for service to sport, and U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Burckett-Dodge Award for outstanding contribution to alpine officiating. Waterville also named their race timing building the Anna McIntyre Timing Center.

"Anna was one of our sport's most impactful advocates for a half century,” said Ex-Officio U.S. Ski & Snowboard Board of Directors Chairman Dexter Paine. “She was the consummate volunteer, always working in a professional manner and always seeking ways to make our sport better. She and my dad worked together many times as volunteers. Anna chewed me out occasionally and even disqualified me a few times.”

“What a pioneer Anna was, who made such an impact in so many ways, inspiring generations and creating new opportunities for our sports and athletes,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, President and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “We are forever grateful for all Anna did.” 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s thoughts are with McIntyre’s family, friends and greater community. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on through snowsports.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Anna to the Anna McIntyre Scholarship Fund for Local Athletes or the Building Fund at WVBBTS/SEF: WVBBTS/SEF, PO Box 277, Waterville Valley, NH 03215.

A celebration of life for McIntyre will be held October 19, 2023, 1-3 p.m. in Moultonborough, New Hampshire at Castle in the Clouds, Carriage House, upstairs in the Winnipesaukee room.

U.S. Para Alpine Team, U.S. Para Snowboard Team Hire Three New Coaches Ahead of 2023-24 Season

By Ryan Odeja
August, 11 2023
Para World Cup course

(PARK CITY, UT - Aug. 11, 2023) - U.S. Ski & Snowboard has announced three new hires that will join the U.S. Para Alpine Team and U.S. Para Snowboard Team this upcoming 2023-24 season.

Ryan Pearl has been named the Para alpine head coach, taking over for Erik Leirfallom as he assumes the role of Paralympic Sport Director, while Mark (Skiddy) Kelly is joining the team as the Para snowboard head coach, along with Para snowboard assistant coach Michael Jennings. The three new coaching roles are new positions for U.S. Ski & Snowboard, following the integration of the two teams from the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

“Since the recent integration of Para snowboard and Para alpine under the U.S. Ski & Snowboard umbrella, it’s been wonderful to watch these teams come together, and we are lucky to have found Ryan, Mark and Michael to help lead these great programs," said Anouk Patty, U.S. Ski & Snowboard's Chief of Sport. "They are experts in the sports, they know the athletes, and we are excited to see what they can do in the years to come."

Head Para Alpine Coach

Ryan Pearl has spent the last four years serving as the Para alpine head coach for the Australian Paralympic Team and was named the 2019 Australian Coach of the Year across Paralympic disciplines. Prior to his time in Australia, Pearl spent 14 years coaching in the U.S. and was a competitive alpine ski racer. 

Head Para Snowboard Coach

‘Skiddy’ has been immersed in the Para sports world for 20+ years, from coaching to working as the Para alpine and Para snowboard service tech, among many other roles with the USOPC since 2010. 

Assistant Para Snowboard Coach

Jennings comes to U.S. Ski & Snowboard after spending the last three years as the Para snowboard coach with the USOPC. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the snowsports world across snowboard and freestyle, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the team. 

The Para alpine and Para snowboard teams were reintegrated under U.S. Ski & Snowboard this May, which has been a historic move towards furthering the inclusivity and growth goals of the organization. The teams now have access to additional resources and consistent management to help them improve on and off the slopes. 


Instagram: @usparaskisnowboard
Facebook: U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team
Twitter: @usskiteam
TikTok: @usskiandsnowboard

Hannah Kearney: A Trailblazer in Moguls Skiing

By Ryan Odeja
July, 29 2023
Hannah Kearney competes and takes the overall World Cup Freestyle Globe during the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Moguls on March 18, 2012 in Megeve, France. (Photo by Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
Hannah Kearney takes the overall World Cup Freestyle globe on March 18, 2012 in Megeve, France. (Photo by Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard is highlighting HERoic trailblazers throughout our winter sports, both past and present. A HERoic trailblazer is a woman athlete who has gone above and beyond in her sport, moving the sport forward through grit and determination and inspiring the next generation of women athletes. 

Hannah Kearney, alumna of the Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, is the epitome of a HERoic trailblazer. From her numerous accomplishments on the slopes to her work with the International Ski Federation (FIS), International Olympic Committee (IOC) and beyond, Hannah has changed the sport of moguls and paved the way for future generations of athletes. 

The Beginnings

Hannah’s story has been one of success from a young age. She was born and raised in Norwich, Vermont, and her parents quickly taught her to ski by the time she was two years old, using a horse halter as a harness. In high school, she found herself in state soccer and track championships while claiming four Junior World Championship titles in moguls. No matter what sport she set her mind to, she pushed herself and those around her to be their best. 

Once she started competing on the World Cup full-time during the 2003-04 season, she made an immediate impact. She secured her first World Cup podium in December of 2003, and by the end of the 2004-05 season, Kearney became a moguls World Champion. 

In 2006, Hannah made her first Olympics appearance as a gold medal hopeful but unfortunately did not make it past qualifications. In 2007, she suffered a significant knee injury and had to undergo surgery, but that didn’t stop her from returning to the slopes as soon as she was cleared. She persevered and had her most successful seasons yet, earning the 2009 moguls Crystal Globe. 

A Story of Perseverance

Leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Kearney won an Olympic trial event and changed her mindset and goals surrounding the Olympics. She knew to succeed, she would have to go into these games in a different headspace, leaving her past behind her. Hannah cemented herself in history at the 2010 Olympics when she won the gold medal with almost a whole point between her and second place. 

But she wasn’t done yet. Kearney accomplished the near impossible during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 World Cup seasons. She was unstoppable for more than a year, winning every competition she started from January 2011 to February 2012. Her 16 consecutive victories, beat Ingemar Stenmark’s record for the longest FIS World Cup winning streak across all disciplines, and the streak led her to her first World Cup overall Crystal Globe in 2011. That season, she also secured her second moguls Globe and two additional medals at World Championships. Despite suffering broken ribs, a lacerated liver and a punctured lung during a training run in 2012, Kearney set her mind to coming back stronger. Throughout the rest of her 13-year career, Hannah earned a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, two more World Championships medals, seven more Globes and 16 additional World Cup wins, including a win in her final World Cup start before retiring in 2015.

A Lasting Legacy

As an athlete and in retirement, Hannah has been involved in her community and with the next generation of skiers. She has served as an athlete mentor, committee member with the IOC, co-chair of the FIS Athlete Commission, a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Board of Trustee member and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation Athlete Gift Officer. All of these efforts are geared towards empowering the next generation of skiers and ensuring they have the opportunity to succeed. On top of this, Kearney is a personal trainer, starting her own business called Fitness from Afar during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to give those without equipment, trainers or facilities access to exercise routines for any ability level. She also just had a baby with her husband! Lula Max Morse was born on July 11, officially kicking off the next generation of moguls skiers.

Hannah is a champion of the winter sports community, and her story is an attestation to the power of determination, perseverance and drive. Kearney set the bar for the future of moguls skiers, and set it high. Her continued dedication to the community and future generations of athletes is inspiring, and her legacy will continue to impact the future of her sport for years to come. 

Spinning & Sparring: Stifel U.S. Ski Team and UFC Athletes Work Out at Woodward

By Courtney Harkins
July, 27 2023
UFC / Stifel U.S. Ski Team
Stifel U.S. Ski Team and UFC fighters got together at Woodward in Park City. (UFC)

On Thursday, Stifel U.S. Ski Team athletes got together with professional UFC fighters to flip, spin and spare at Woodward Park City.

The pro athletes spent the morning teaching each other tricks and tactics from their respective sports at Park City’s action sports facility and U.S. Ski & Snowboard partner Woodward. The skiers, made up of moguls, aerials and freeski athletes, worked with the fighters to teach them how to flip into foam pits and do tricks on the trampolines, while the fighters coached the skiers through punching, jabbing and kicking. Woodward coaches worked with both teams on their parkour course and took a few athletes skateboarding. There were lots of stunned looks and laughs as the athletes with very different specialties compared their skills and traded techniques.

This was the second year in a row that UFC has worked with U.S. Ski & Snowboard around their Salt Lake City PPV fight. Last year, fighters went off the water ramps at the Utah Olympic Park and spent time at the USANA Center of Excellence, and earlier this summer, number two fighter in the world Justin Gaethje came to the USANA Center of Excellence to try out the ski simulator with Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team athletes.

The day wrapped with gear trades, autographs and new friendships, and the Stifel U.S. Ski Team athletes will be cheering on the UFC fighters' teammates in the fights on Saturday. 

Participating athletes in the event are below:

Maycee Barber
Miesha Tate
Kelvin Gastelum
Dan Ige
Brendan Allen
Belal Muhammad

Quinn Dehlinger (freestyle aerials)
Alex Hall (freeski)
Hunter Hess (freeski)
Chris Lillis (freestyle aerials)
Kai Owens (freestyle moguls)
Nick Page (freestyle moguls)
Winter Vinecki (freestyle aerials)
Tom Wallisch (freeski – alumnus)

Kikkan Randall: A Trailblazer in Cross Country Skiing

By Leann Bentley
July, 25 2023
Kikkan Randall skies in the cross country 4x5m Relay at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang
Kikkan Randall skies in the 4x5m relay at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

U.S. Ski & Snowboard is highlighting HERoic trailblazers throughout our winter sports, both past and present. A HERoic trailblazer is a woman athlete who has gone above and beyond in her sport, moving the sport forward through grit and determination and inspiring the next generation of women athletes. 

In the sport of cross country skiing, the pink-haired Kikkan Randall is a household name. She was the first American to win an Olympic gold alongside Jessie Diggins, the first American woman to win a Nordic World Championship medal and the first to win a World Champs gold, the first American woman to win a World Cup race and was the first American woman to ever win a World Cup overall discipline Crystal Globe. Wow.

Emerging as a trailblazer, a role model and an inspiring figure for all athletes for both her sport and her HERoic achievements of health and balancing a family, her relentless pursuit has left an indelible mark on cross country skiing and the Olympic movement. 


A Journey of Dedication

Randall’s journey to becoming one of the most dominant skiers started the day after she turned one year old. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the home of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, she always knew that one day she wanted to be a skier. Growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, skiing ran in the family – Randall is the niece of two previous Olympians, Chris and Betsy Haines. Her name was partly inspired by Christina “Kiki” Cutter, the first American, man or woman, to win a FIS World Cup title in alpine skiing. She began skiing the day after her first birthday and, despite originally aspiring to be an alpine skier, she tried out cross country to stay in shape for running. As the story often goes – the rest is history. 


Career Highlights

The crowning moments of her career came in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. With one of the most electric finishing stretches of a race seen throughout Olympic history, Randall and teammate Jessie Diggins upset the favorites to win the gold medal in the team sprint. The historic medal marked the first-ever Olympic gold for the United States in cross country skiing and was a moment that catapulted the sport to the masses. 

Randall competed in five Olympics and made her Olympic debut at 19 years old in the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. In 2006, she finished ninth, making history with the best Olympic result in cross country skiing by an American woman. Throughout her career, Randall kept tallying more historic feats, inspiring generations of athletes at the same time. 

But before she was crowned Olympic champion, Randall shattered records left and right as the first American woman to do almost everything in the sport. She is a three-time World Championship medalist, including becoming the first American woman to medal at the World Champs when she took second in the sprint in Liberec, Czech Republic in 2009. She also won the first World Championships gold medal in U.S. history with Diggins in 2013 in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

She also became the first American woman to finish in the top 10 in the World Cup in 2006 (and then went on to have 29 podiums throughout her career), was the first American woman World Cup winner (she had 13 wins in total) and was the first American woman to win a World Cup discipline title with the sprint Globe in 2012 (she won three Crystal Globes in total). 


Breaking Barriers

Randall became a mother just 22 months before the 2018 Olympic Games, and was the only mom on Team USA’s 2018 roster. Within a month of giving birth, she was back in training mode and that next season, she packed up her son to spend the winter on the road racing the World Cup. That season, she won a World Championship medal, and the next, an Olympic gold. 

But two months after winning her Olympic medal, Randall was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had six rounds of chemotherapy in the summer and fall of 2018 and had surgery in the fall. But she ended up on the other side and now is partnered with the American Cancer Society to raise funds to fight the disease, and has since run marathons and skied more kilometers than most can imagine. 

In addition to the American Cancer Society, her work outside of skiing continues to speak volumes. Randall is the President of Fast and Female, a women’s empowerment agency that encourages eight to 18-year-olds to become involved in sport. She advocates and works tirelessly with Protect Our Winters to spread the word about climate change. She also worked on the International Olympic Committee Athletes Commission, and was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. She is a fierce advocate for creating opportunities for athletes to compete in cross country skiing, and her work has elevated the status of the sport and inspired generations of athletes. 


A Lasting Legacy

Randall stepped away from competitive skiing following the 2018 Olympics, but her legacy remains firmly embedded in the sport's history. She has left an enduring impact on cross country skiing, not only in the United States but also on the global stage, as well as for cancer survivors and mothers everywhere. 

Randall's journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, teamwork and a relentless pursuit of dreams. As her story continues to resonate with aspiring athletes and fans alike, there is no doubt that her contributions to cross country skiing will continue to inspire and shape the future of the sport for years to come, yet, the biggest takeaway is that whoever decides to try out skiing, enjoys it to the fullest and maybe wears a little bit of pink.