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U.S. Ski & Snowboard Recognizes Outstanding Athletes, Coaches, Clubs and Leaders at Annual Service to Sport Awards

By Leann Bentley
May, 18 2023
Julius Blegen award
Spencer Eccles holds the organization’s highest honor, the Julius Blegen Award with Kipp Nelson, Chairman of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Board of Directors.

PARK CITY, UT - May 18, 2023 - U.S. Ski & Snowboard is proud to announce the recognition of several exceptional individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the world of elite skiing and snowboarding. This year's recipients have showcased exceptional talent, dedication and support, furthering the growth and success of skiing and snowboarding worldwide. 

The highest honor of the evening, the Julius Blegen award, the organization’s highest honor and given annually to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard member who contributed his or her outstanding service to the sports of skiing or snowboarding in the United States was received by Spencer Eccles. Eccles is an athlete, business leader, philanthropist and general fan of ski racing and few have provided the magnitude and longevity of support for the sport as himself. A longtime trustee of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation, his contributions were significant to the growth of the sport, the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the development of ski and snowboard training facilities at the Utah Olympic Park that have impacted top U.S. and international skiers and snowboarders. In recognition of both his continual philanthropic and spiritual support of ski and snowboard athletes over a period of more than a half century, Eccles is a rightful candidate for the Julius Blegen Award. In years past, Bruce Crane, Bob Dart, Thelma Hoessler, Dexter Paine, Chuck Heckert and countless others have been recognized with this award. 

The Beck International Award, the highest athletic award, is presented to a competitor based on outstanding performance in international competition during the past season. Mikaela Shiffrin deservedly was awarded the honor. In the 2022-23 season, Mikaela made history as the winningest alpine skier of all time, surpassing Ingemar Stenmark’s World Cup record with her 88th win in Are, Sweden. Along with the Beck International Award, she also took home the 2023 Alpine Athlete of the Year award. 

The 2023 U.S. Ski & Snowboard Coach of the Year Award went to Colin Rodgers, who has been the Nordic Director and Head Coach of Green Valley Mountain Valley School for many years and made an immense impact on the development of ski racers around the country. 

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club took home the Alpine Club of the Year, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Club of the Year and Freestyle Club of the Year based on their holistic approach to coaching and building stronger athletes. 

Other recipients include Hailey Swirbul (2023 Buddy Werner Award), Share Winter Foundation (2023 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion Award), Jamie Kimball & the Utah Olympic Sports Park (2023 John J. Clair Jr. Award; Russel Wilder Award) and the many incredible people who work to inspire past, current and future generations of skiers and snowboarders around the world. 


Find the full list of winners below. 

Adaptive Athlete of the Year:

  • Zach Miller, U.S. Para Snowboard Team: Zach Miller consistently performed at the top of his sport, never leaving the top six and achieving podiums in four of nine events. At the World Championships in La Molina, Spain, he continued this trend with a bronze in snowboardcross, silver in dual banked slalom and a gold in the dual banked slalom team event. Along with a strong season of athletic performance, he continues to be a valued teammate and mentor within the sport.

Beck International Award, Alpine Athlete of the Year 

  • Mikaela Shiffrin, Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team: Mikaela Shiffrin is the most decorated alpine ski racer of all time, smashing records in the 2022-23 season, including Ingemar Stenmark’s record for most World Cup career wins. She now has 88 World Cup victories, and this year she took home the overall World Cup title, becoming the first American to win five overall World Cup globes.

Cross Country Athlete of the Year:

  • Ben Ogden, Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team: Ben Ogden achieved a never-before U.S. level of success on the FIS World Cup, finishing eighth overall, and winning the Under 23 green bib, making him the best skier under the age of 23 on the World Cup. This level of excellence is unparalleled in men’s U.S. cross skiing history, exceeded only by Bill Koch’s World Cup title win in 1983.

Freeski Athlete of the Year:

  • Birk Irving, Stifel U.S. Freeski Team: Birk Irving took home X Games medals and World Cup podiums, podiuming in four of the five events he entered this season, and also scored the coveted FIS World Cup crystal globe in halfpipe, marking him the best halfpipe skier on the World Cup circuit. Irving also was named this season’s National Champion for being the top male U.S. athlete in halfpipe.

Freestyle Athlete of the Year:

  • Jaelin Kauf, Stifel U.S. Freestyle Team: Jaelin Kauf dominated the 2022-23 season, adding two silver World Championship medals from the 2023 FIS Freestyle World Championships in Bakuriani, Georgia and five World Cup podiums to her bursting resume, which includes an Olympic silver medal from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year:

  • Annika Belshaw, USA Nordic: Annika Belshaw had a breakout 2022-23 season at the World Cup  level. In the first World Cup event of the season, Annika finished in 20th place in Lillehammer, Norway, which set the tone for the remainder of her season. She went on to finish in the top 30 at the World Cup on nine separate occasions, including three top 20 finishes and a career-best 19th place in Rasnov, Romania. Annika has become a leader on her team with her tireless work ethic and determination, which led the women's ski jumping team to their most successful season since 2017.

Snowboard Athlete of the Year:

  • Julia Marino, U.S. Snowboard Team: Julia Marino has been on the U.S. Snowboard Team slopestyle and big air team for eight years, and coming into the 2022-23 season, Marino already had a slew of accomplishments under her belt. She is a 2022 Olympic silver medalist, seven-time X Games medalist and has nine World Cup podium finishes. This season, Marino added even more success to her name, scoring a FIS crystal globe as the most dominant slopestyle/big air woman rider on the circuit.

Adaptive Domestic Coach of the Year:

  • Maria Stuber, College of St. Scholastica: College of St. Scholastica Head Coach Maria Stuber led the charge as an exemplary model of para athlete club integration. While juggling multiple roles, Maria diligently worked with U.S. Paralympics nordic skiing staff to integrate visually impaired skier Max Nelson into her programming with an accountability that matched what she expects from all members of her roster. In addition to managing her large team, Maria went above and beyond to make sure Max had the additional support of a guide as well as other para-specific support critical to Max’s success. 

Alpine International Coach of the Year:

  • Shaun Goodwin & Foreste Peterson, Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team: Shaun Goodwin and Foreste Peterson have made a phenomenal coaching team this season at the NorAm level of the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team. They have worked with a promising group of young women and provided them all with an avenue for success and advancement in just one year. Together, these two coaches have been selfless and successful in the support and coaching of the athletes. All athletes that were not injured advanced from the D-Team and met C-Team criteria objectively, dropped their world rankings more than half and moved inside the top 100 in the world. 

Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Development Coach of the Year Award: 

  • Ben Brown, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club: Ben Brown, the Head U16 Coach of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC), led his team to unprecedented divisional, regional, national and international success in 2023. He gives his best to every one of his athletes, works collaboratively with his coaching peers to support the greater goal of maximizing performance and freely shares his coaching methods with colleagues, winning both awards for Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Development Coach of the Year. 

Cross Country International Coach of the Year, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Coach of the Year Award

  • Colin Rodgers, Green Mountain Valley School: Colin Rodgers has been the Nordic Director and Head Coach at the Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) for many years. Under his leadership, the program has blossomed into one of the best cross country development academies in the U.S. Colin's extensive knowledge of the sport, his passion for developing ski racers and his enthusiasm has been magnetic in building the GMVS roster and program, and earned him both the Cross Country International Coach of the Year, and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Coach of the Year awards.

Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year:

  • Pepa Milocheva, Craftsbury Green Racing Project: Pepa Milocheva of Craftsbury Green Racing Project embodies the value of commitment. Since long before the Project began back in 2009, Pepa has been committed to developing her athletes into the best ski racers they can be. Her impact has been substantial, coaching numerous athletes who have represented the United States on the World Cup, at World Championships and in the Winter Olympic Games. In addition, she coached Craftsbury biathletes who also have represented the U.S. at all levels of competition including the Winter Olympic Games. 

Freeski International Coach of the Year:

  • Mike Riddle, Stifel U.S. Freeski Team: Mike Riddle began his career in freeskiing as an athlete for Team Canada. After a successful career, including winning the silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Riddle turned his focus from competing to coaching. Riddle began coaching the Stifel U.S. Freeski Team halfpipe team in 2018, shortly after retiring from his competitive skiing career, and has since led the team to a multitude of successes. This season was no different, as the freeski halfpipe crew once again showed the depth of their talent on the World Cup tour and at the 2023 FIS World Championships, winning three medals.

Freeski Domestic Coach of the Year:

  • Leah Stroud, Park City Ski & Snowboard: Freeski Park & Pipe Head Coach for Park City Ski & Snowboard (PCSS) Leah Stroud has a long history of coaching between Breckenridge, Mt. Bachelor and in multiple positions at PCSS before being promoted to Head Coach. The athletes Leah began working with anywhere between four and six years ago are now finding themselves at the top of their game, and there is a constant funnel from the PCSS program to the Stifel U.S. Freeski Team. 

Freestyle International Coach of the Year:

  • Bryon Wilson, Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team: In his first year as Head Coach of the Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team moguls team, Bryon Wilson achieved massive success. Bryon had seven different athletes on World Cup podiums, including career first podiums for Elizabeth Lemley and Cole McDonald. Nick Page, an athlete Bryon coached at the club level, broke a seven year men’s World Cup mogul win drought with his first place in Idre Fjall, Sweden. He also had a successful first World Championships in a challenging venue, with Jaelin Kauf taking silver in both singles and doubles. At the development level, Alli Macuga earned FIS Rookie of the Year and was the moguls and dual moguls NorAm Champion, and the USA took home the Nations Cup in both moguls and dual moguls, highlighting the strength and depth of American mogul skiing.

Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year:

  • Mikaela Wilson, Park City Ski & Snowboard: Mikaela Wilson of Park City Ski & Snowboard has been focused solely on coaching for five years and has coached some of the best up-and-coming athletes in the sport, helping them find their potential on the biggest stage. She took the Head Coach position at PCSS in 2020 and rebuilt the program from just five athletes to 44 in 2023. 

Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined International Coach of the Year:

  • Trevor Edlund, USA Nordic: In the 2022-23 season, Trevor Edlund of USA Nordic took on a huge task as the lead assistant for both the men's and women's ski jumping teams. Despite having to manage his time between both teams, Trevor took the task at hand in stride and proved to be one of the most invaluable members of the team. Trevor's tireless work ethic, enthusiasm, humbleness and curiosity brings spirit and energy to the ski jumping community.

Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Domestic Coach of the Year:

  • Adam Loomis, USA Nordic: USA Nordic’s Adam Loomis has done an outstanding job in the development of the next generation of ski jumpers and nordic combined skiers in Park City. He is a role model to all the young jumpers, not only as a technically excellent coach, but as a former nordic combined athlete and current summer and winter endurance athlete.

Snowboard International Coach of the Year:

  • Rob Fagan, U.S. Snowboard Team: U.S. Snowboard Team snowboardcross coach Rob Fagan began his career in snowboarding as an athlete for Team Canada before turning his focus to coaching and joining the coaching staff for the U.S. Snowboard Team in 2019, taking over as head coach in 2022. He had a slew of great results this season, including five World Cup podiums from three athletes and a World Championship medal.

Snowboard Domestic Coach of the Year:

  • Ryan Conway, G Team: Ryan Conway has been coaching with the G Team for over 15 years and now coaches its NorAm Team. He is known for developing young athletes and incredible rail riders to win USASA National Championships and has coached several kids to the U.S. Snowboard Team rookie team.

Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Club of the Year, Paul Bacon Award: 

  • New York Ski Educational Foundation: Athletes of all age groups on the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) team had a successful year, walking away with several podiums in ski jumping and nordic combined, with two nordic combined athletes and one ski jumper selected to represent the USA at World Juniors. To cap off a successful season, a NYSEF nordic combined athlete won a medal at the World University Games.

    Having overseen a competition schedule that included the FISU World University Games, NCAA Ski Finals, and many more, NYSEF was also awarded the Paul Bacon Award for the
     greatest contribution to U.S. Ski & Snowboard in the field of competition organization during the 2022-23 season.

Alpine Club of the Year, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Club of the Year Award, Freestyle Club of the Year

  • Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club: Steamboat Spring Winter Sports Club (SSWSC) has shown impressive depth in the U16-U21 age groups. They earned an impressive eight of the available 18 podiums at the U16 National Championships and at the highest level event for U16s, the International OPA Cup in Germany, SSWSC athletes brought home five of the available 12 podium spots. At the U18 National Championships, they showed their depth with 11 top 10 honors, and earned two podiums and six top 10s at the U.S. National Championships. This year, SSWSC walks away with three awards, including the prestigious U.S. Ski & Snowboard Club of the Year Award.

Freeski Club of the Year:

  • Park City Ski & Snowboard: Park City Ski & Snowboard is a storied club. This season, PCSS created a new Youth Development program this year as a multi-sport program focused on expanding the horizons of athletes ages seven to nine. More so, the Devo Freestyle Program for ages nine to twelve to continue with the fundamentals of big mountain, moguls and park & pipe, allowing the athletes to focus on their skill development to move up to the next level. With those few examples, PCSS is very deserving of this award. Additionally, PCSS alumni are some of the most dominant athletes in the world, including freeskiers, Alex Hall, Colby Stevenson, Maggie Voisin, Marin Hamill, Rell Hardwood and Troy Podmilsak. 

Snowboard Club of the Year:

  • Gould Academy: Gould Academy has produced key athletes for years and saw abundant success in the 2022-23 season. U.S. Snowboard Team snowboardcross D team rider and Gould graduate Tyler Hamel won the overall NorAm Cup Tour and Nathan Pare came in third in the overall snowboardcross NorAm Cup standings. Gould also had six riders qualify for Junior World Championships and scored 16 podium finishes at NorAms, among many other highlights. 

John J. Clair Jr. Award, Russell Wilder Award:

  • Jamie Kimball & Utah Olympic Sports Park: The John J. Clair Jr. Award recognizes service to the national teams and the Russell Wilder Award recognizes the most outstanding effort in focusing the interests of American youth on the sports of skiing or snowboarding. Under the construction supervision of General Manager Jamie Kimball, the Utah Olympic Park is showing its support to both the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team and the local club programs through a massive training and competition winter venue expansion at the Utah Olympic Sports Complex. 

Buddy Werner Award:

  • Hailey Swirbul: Honoring sportsmanship, Hailey Swirbul won the Buddy Werner Award. She was a member of the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team from 2018 until her retirement this spring. Hailey was a member of USA’s first ever Junior World Ski Championship relay medal at Soldier Hollow, Utah in 2017 and followed up with two individual distance medals in the 2018 Junior World Ski Championships in Goms, Switzerland. In 2020, she earned a World Cup podium in the 10km Freestyle in Davos, Switzerland. 

Team Athletes Giving Back Award:

  • Samantha Smith & GO BIG Inc.: Sammy Smith of the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team and her siblings are the founders of a 501(c)(3) certified non-profit charity, called GO BIG. GO BIG stands for Giving Opportunity By Inspiring Gratitude. Through GO BIG, they work to provide underprivileged youth in our community with mentorship, sports equipment and other athletic and academic opportunities.

Westhaven Award:

  • Allan Serrano: The Westhaven Award is a lifetime achievement award, recognizing an outstanding FIS technical delegate for his or her service over time. Allan Serrano of Vermont has been a FIS technical delegate at every level, including officiating on the World Cup. He also oversees FIS Technical Delegate training in USA and Canada, is the head homologation inspector in the USA and has designed the courses and overseen the construction of many of the best cross country venues, including the new Mt Van Hoevenberg courses in Lake Placid, New York and new FIS courses in Telemark, Wisconsin.

J. Leland Sosman Award:

  • Dr. Tod Olin: J. Leland Sosman Award is presented annually in recognition of service to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard volunteer physician's pool. Dr. Tod Olin, a pediatric pulmonologist and director of the National Jewish Health Exercise and Performance Breathing Center in Denver, spearheaded a number of projects for the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, including diagnosing post-race breathing issues, treating cold air-induced bronchoreactivity and advising on training modification during times of poor air quality. 

West Family Award:

  • Roger Root: Named in memory of noted volunteer Fraser West and his wife Teddy, the West Family Cup is presented to recognize a long-serving U.S. Ski & Snowboard official. Roger Root of Idaho has been an official in nearly 900 competitions and has mentored over 3,000 other officials with patience, knowledge and humor, and takes the award with unwavering dedication to the sport.

Development Club of the Year:

  • Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS): GMVS provides exceptional programming for athletes ages six to 13, focused on skill development as well as age and developmentally appropriate gate training – all in the spirit of building strong skiers who have a lot of fun. To reduce barriers and encourage participation, they have a robust financial aid program and supplement equipment as needed. In addition to the outstanding alpine program, the GMVS Ski Club is deeply engaged with the local Bill Koch Youth Ski League, introducing young people to the lifelong sport of cross country skiing with its recreational, social, fitness and competitive opportunities.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Champion Award:

  • Share Winter Foundation: Share Winter Foundation is committed to providing youth with skiing and snowboarding opportunities across the United States and works to enrich the lives of youth through winter sports. Through funding, thought leadership and community connections, Share Winter has enabled grantee partners such as nonprofits, schools, rec centers, nonprofit ski areas and clubs to get over 48,000 youth on snow this winter. The Foundation worked with 65 programs this year, including 18 new grantees, to provide amazing mountain experiences for their youth. These partners are providing “learn to ski” and snowboard programming to a diverse group of young people aged five to 18.

Julius Blegen Award:

  • Spencer Eccles: As an athlete, business leader, philanthropist and general fan of ski racing, few have provided the magnitude and longevity of support for the sport as Spencer F. Eccles. A longtime trustee of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation, his contributions were significant to the growth of the sport, the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the development of ski and snowboard training facilities at the Utah Olympic Park that have impacted top U.S. and international skiers and snowboarders. Born in Ogden, Utah, Eccles grew up ski racing at Snowbasin. He went on to captain the University of Utah Ski Team in the late 1950s and achieved All America status. He was a medalist in both U.S. and Canadian national championships, as well as the Roch Cup in Aspen.

Seeing a need to blend athletic training with education, Eccles was one of the driving forces behind the development of the Rowmark Ski Academy. His continued financial and spiritual support of his alma mater, Utah, helped push the Utes to 15 NCAA national titles since 1981.

In the 1990s, Eccles played a pivotal role in spearheading efforts to bring the Olympic Winter Games back to America in 2002. The International Olympic Committee awarded him its highest honor, the Pierre de Coubertin Medal, recognizing his exceptional service to the Olympic Movement. 

Over decades, he has been an extremely active board member of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation, the Utah Sports Commission and the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation.

Seeing a need for renovation of the freestyle training pool at the Utah Olympic Park, he put up a $1-million challenge grant in 2014. A year later, the new Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool debuted offering the most advanced freestyle and snowboard training facility in the world. Just a few years later, Eccles once again saw a need for a dedicated alpine training hill. In partnership with the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, Park City Ski & Snowboard and Rowmark Academy, Eccles led a campaign to build the Spencer F. Eccles Olympic Mountain Center at the Utah Olympic Park, which debuted in March, 2023 offering regional and national athletes a unique training environment.


2023 Congress Notes - Day 2

By Sam Damon
May, 17 2023
Notes from the second day of Congress


There was a proposal to open the D-Team selection window later so that it can include the FIS Spring Series in Western Region and Rocky/Central. Currently the selection period ends on April 5, the proposal is to extend it to April 15. This was moved unanimously to the Alpine Sport Committee as a recommendation to the US Ski Team since the Development Committee can’t actually dictate policy to the USST.


A proposal to eliminate USSS points had previously been tabled, there was a motion to remove it from the table. The motion was unanimously approved and the proposal will not be considered further.


A proposal to use TRS seeding at U16 Nationals was passed and will be considered by the Alpine Sport Committee. There was some discussion about how to seed the speed events, as well as minimum start intervals for speed events as a safety consideration in a randomized field. (This was a topic of lengthy discussion later in the Technical Subcommittee)


A proposal to amend the 30 tech starts for U18’s. The new proposal would be 30 starts for first-year U18s, and 35 starts for second-year U18s, with the same exceptions for championship/elite races already in place (NC, NJC, YOG, WJC, WC). This proposal was passed unanimously and will be considered by the Alpine Sport Committee.


A proposal to modify/clarify the language around U14 SG training runs – that making a training run into a freeski run must be a jury decision, and due to force majeure, with the decision to be made at or after the TCM and documented in the jury minutes. Previously there were too many ROC’s deciding this unilaterally multiple days before the event so the “mandatory” training run was slowly becoming “optional.” This proposal was approved unanimously and will be considered by the ASC.


A proposal to amend the language around U14 and under athletes racing out of division or out of region. The proposal is that U14s and under wishing to race out of Region must have their home club coach obtain permission from both their home and “away” regional directors. For U14 and under wishing to race out of Division, their home club coach must obtain permission from both the “home” and “away” Divisional managers. Divisions may designate certain races as “Open” which would mean any athlete from the home region could race the event without specific permission. This is a clarification and streamlining of existing policy, and will require a little more collaboration up front between Regional Directors and Divisional Managers. This proposal was approved unanimously and will be brought to the ASC.


A proposal to recommend that the Eastern Region revise U14 Regional Champs and U16 Regional Champs to consider gender population as part of the quota calculation. Essentially we’ll now determine quotas on a gender-by-gender basis instead of combined. So for example, instead of VARA having a quota of 60 total athletes to the Ronnie Berlack GP, it will now be calculated out as 31 women and 29 men (those are made-up numbers, just for example). This was unanimously approved and will be acted on the Eastern Region.




There are some changes and updates to the homologation process but nothing earthshattering. Note that the official homologation is found online, not necessarily the paper copy that an ROC or ski area might have on file.


FIS is contemplating eliminating hiking in SL. We may see this go into effect for the 23-24 season. USSS will consider it as well if it passes the FIS, but it would not be adopted until 24-25 season at the earliest.


We are always looking for new FIS inspectors to keep homologations up to date and accurate. If you’re interested in becoming an inspector - if you like hiking and paperwork - reach out to Doug Hall.



There are some changes coming at some point in the future with online officials certification. The current setup with Moodle is not working for the administrators so there’s a working group in pursuit of a better solution. (unclear if the online test will still be available in the meantime)


The process of flagging exceptional races will be automated in the future. The system will be tested in parallel to the official results system in the 23-24 season, with the hope to implement the real-time flagging as part of the official results system in 24-25 season.


The classifications working group does not support the use of TRS seeding in speed due to concerns about overtakes. But the proposal they considered had to do with scoring events that used TRS seeding, as opposed to seeding. The classifications WG did not approve TRS seeding for scored races because of their concerns about using that seeding method in speed. Ultimately the Technical Subcommittee took up a revised proposal that would approve TRS seeding for scored and un-scored, single-day or multi-day, tech or speed events with a minimum start interval of 40-seconds in GS and 45-seconds in speed. This proposal was passed unanimously and will be brought to the Alpine Sport Committee.


There was a proposal that ROCs would not be responsible for checking coaches Level 100 status as this is somewhat outside the scope of their work. This was approved.



The requirement for coaches who work competition events to complete the Level 100 has been pushed back to the 2024-25 season (this was approved at the 2022 congress). Coaches needing the certification can start the Level 100 process at any time - they can login and do the online work over the summer, so they’re ready for an on-snow opportunity as soon as it comes in the winter.


Discussion about the possibility of divisions taking on the work of making sure their coaches are getting certified. There was discussion of the notion that many coaches don’t feel the content of the online course is relevant, and that the course can be complicated to navigate. There was further discussion on how best to facilitate coaches getting through the Level 100.


There was lengthy discussion about the content and direction of the Alpine education and its relevancy to different levels of coaching.

2023 Congress Notes - Day 1

By Sam Damon
May, 16 2023
Eastern Region news

FTP site with agendas, minutes, etc.:




Random Seeding

U16 Nationals seeded by TRS (random seeding with butterfly), with a separate randomization for SG

This was approved by the working group and will be brought up to the Development Subcommittee


A previously-tabled proposal to eliminate USSS points was removed from the slate


A proposal to seed all regional U16 events (RPS, regional champs, etc.) was narrowly voted down (6-5) and will not be brought to the Development Subcommittee. This could be implemented at the regional level if the regional committees deem it needed/appropriate.


U18 start limits

Proposal one – first-year U18’s have 30 tech starts, plus the existing exceptions. Second-year U18’s have 35 tech starts, plus the existing exceptions.

Proposal two – U18 athletes are limited to 30 starts (plus the existing exceptions), but they will be allowed to finish a series that they start, even if that puts them over 30 total. This would conceivably allow athletes to have up to 33 tech starts (plus the existing exceptions)


Proposal One was voted favorably over Proposal Two. Proposal One was voted favorably over the existing limits of 30 for all U18 athletes (plus exceptions). So Proposal One will be brought to the Development Subcommittee.


There is a proposal that will be considered at the fall FIS meetings (for implementation in the 24-25 season) that would limit U18 starts to 30/40 first/second-year, with no exceptions for NC, NJC, WC, etc.



A clarification to the rules about SG training runs was proposed such that the decision about whether to make the training run a SG freeski instead will be a jury decision, to be made at the TCM and not before. This was passed and will be brought to the Development Subcommittee.


A proposal was made to increase the vertical drop allowed for U10 SL (up to 120) and Kombi (up to 170) to align with U12 vertical drops as a way to alleviate complications for hosts running U10/U12 events. The motion was tabled pending a closer look at vertical distances and the course-setting matrix as a whole.


A proposal was made to make it so that divisions can designate certain U14 and under races as “Open,” and that they’ll be available to others in the region to travel to. In theory, this proposal simplifies and streamlines the existing system. The proposal passed at the working group level and will be passed to the development subcommittee.



There was good discussion about the number of USST athletes who are also engaged with college, either academically or athletically. 55% of the USST men are in college or have graduated, and approximately 65% of the women. USST and college coaches agreed on the need to communicate with each other and with the athletes, and reaffirmed their commitment to get the athletes skiing at their full potential and highest level.


There was some discussion on ways to alleviate the need for PG years, in other words to have athletes be more able to matriculate into college programs directly from high school. There’s an exemption for skiing and hockey to the NCAA “ticking clock” that essentially allows athletes in those sports to start college later and still have four years of eligibility. There was mention of possibly closing that exemption and it will be discussed and investigated further.


There was discussion about collegiate scheduling to help facilitate college athletes access to upper level programming outside of the collegiate ecosystem – specifically NAC and National Team programming.


There was discussion of re-starting the National Collegiate Ski Coaches Association – no action was taken but it will be discussed further with the hope of reestablishing that group.



There was a proposal to make all quotas to divisional and regional championships equal between the genders, as has been done with national events. The proposal was not voted through because of concerns about discrepancies in populations – in some cases there are significantly more girls racing than boys, and vise-versa. There was a new proposal to ask the Eastern Region to calculate their U14 and U16 Champs quotas separately, as is already being done in the other regions, so that the quotas per gender are sure to reflect the populations and performance histories accordingly.

Waterville Valley Resort to Host Moguls and Dual Moguls World Cups in 2024 and 2025

By Lara Carlton
May, 16 2023
Jaelin Kauf and Hanna Soar
Jaelin Kauf and Hannah Soar are held up by their teammates at the 2022-23 Intermountain Health Freestyle International World Cup. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

PARK CITY, Utah (May 16, 2023) – The world’s best freestyle mogul skiers will converge on the birthplace of freestyle skiing in America with the addition of moguls and dual moguls FIS World Cups at Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire, for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. 

This agreement marks the first FIS Freestyle World Cups Waterville will host. However, the resort is no stranger to World Cup competition, having hosted FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in 1966 and 11 FIS Alpine World Cup races throughout its history. 

Waterville Valley’s history is intertwined with freestyle. The resort opened the first freestyle instruction program in the United States in 1969. In 1970 it organized the first National Open Championships of Freestyle Skiing on the Sunnyside trails. Over the course of decades, it has hosted 16 competitions, including 11 alpine World Cup races, 4 U.S. Freestyle Championships,1 U.S. Alpine Championships, and numerous freeski and snowboard U.S. Revolution Tours.

“I competed in my first sanctioned mogul event at Waterville Valley when I was 8 years old,” said retired two-time Olympic medalist Hannah Kearney. “Instantly, I was instantly hooked on the sport. I spent every weekend over the next eight years training with the exceptional WVBBTS Freestyle Team until I made the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team in 2002. When young athletes watch the best in the world compete in their backyard it provides a source of tangible inspiration to achieve their potential. I hope to return to my roots to cheer them on in person next January!”

The two new Waterville events demonstrate U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s commitment to grow the visibility of its athletes and promotion of its sports through increasing domestic competition opportunities. By showcasing elite World Cup competition on home snow, U.S. Ski & Snowboard hopes to inspire future generations of national freestyle skiing hopefuls.

“We are thrilled to be bringing moguls and dual moguls World Cup competition back to the east coast with Waterville Valley Resort,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “Waterville’s incredible freestyle history and community was a natural choice for another domestic World Cup stop. We can’t wait to celebrate the sport with fans, friends and family at Waterville next January!”

The inaugural event is slated for Jan. 27-28, 2024 on Lower Bobby’s Run. At 246 meters long with a pitch of 28 degrees, the eastern-facing course is world-class and will make for a high level of competition. 

“As an east coast skier who grew up competing at Waterville Valley at 12 years old, I’m incredibly excited to have an east coast World Cup return to the circuit,” said Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team moguls skier Hannah Soar. “I believe that this addition to the schedule will promote mogul skiing on the east coast and bring regional mogul skiers from the area to Waterville and enable them to see a World Cup competition in person. I think this will go a long way in promoting freestyle in the area and continue Waterville’s legacy of being the birthplace of freestyle skiing. I’m looking forward to having a World Cup close to home and hopefully a hometown advantage!”

“Waterville Valley Resort is honored to host the upcoming 2024 and 2025 World Cup and continue our partnership with U.S. Ski & Snowboard,” said Tim Smith, President and General Manager of Waterville Valley Resort. “Having a World Cup event back in New Hampshire after the resort last hosted a World Cup race in 1991 is extremely exciting. We are thrilled to host this world-class freestyle competition alongside Deer Valley, and we've already begun preparing to deliver an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. The Waterville team looks forward to welcoming the world's top freestyle athletes as we bring together passionate fans and a community of people who share a love for the sport.”  



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 2023, competing in seven teams; alpine, cross country, freeski, freestyle, snowboard, nordic combined, and ski jumping. In addition to fully funding the 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


Waterville Valley is New Hampshire’s Family Resort, offering a vast array of year-round family activities and events. Located in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Waterville Valley is an independent resort offering world class skiing and snowboarding across two mountain peaks, with 265 acres of alpine skiing terrain, premier ski & snowboard schools, and unique guest amenities such as childcare and parking lot ski trails. Enjoy our unique mountain culture at slopeside family-friendly après-ski, kid-approved terrain parks, and annual community events; or explore the White Mountains via alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, hiking or mountain biking! 

*Pending final date confirmation by the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS).

2023-24 Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Nominations Announced

By Lara Carlton
May, 11 2023
Jaelin Kauf races at Deer Valley in 2023
Jaelin Kauf, Olympic silver medalist and two-time 2023 World Championship medalist, is one of the athletes named to the 2023-24 Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Steven Kornreich)

May 12, 2023 - PARK CITY, Utah - U.S. Ski & Snowboard has announced its Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team nominations for the 2023-24 competition season. Nominations include those active athletes who qualified based on published selection criteria in the prior season. Twenty-nine aerials and moguls athletes have been nominated to the team. 

“The 29 athletes nominated to the 2023-24 Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team represent the best in the world at freestyle skiing,” said Matt Gnoza, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Freestyle Director. “We have an awesome mix of accomplished veterans and fresh rookies eager to prove themselves. This crew accomplished a lot last season and I look forward to supporting them to build on the momentum we created. It’s an exciting time for American freestyle skiing!”

The 2023-24 team is highlighted by 2023 World Championships medalists Ashley Caldwell (gold, mixed team aerials), Chris Lillis (gold, mixed team aerials) and Quinn Dehlinger (gold, mixed team aerials; silver, men’s aerials), as well as double 2023 World Championship silver medalist Jaelin Kauf (moguls and dual moguls). 

The 2023-24 FIS Freestyle World Cup calendar is expected to be confirmed by the International Ski Federation (FIS) later this month, but boasts a more robust schedule than the freestyle circuit has seen in years, including two World Cups in the United States: the Intermountain Health Freestyle International at Deer Valley and an additional moguls/dual moguls World Cup. 

Each athlete accepting the nomination to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team receives world-class program support, along with access to the USANA Center of Excellence, as well as athletic benefits including elite coaching, sport science, sports medicine, high performance staff and education opportunities.

An official Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team announcement will be made in the fall.

2023-24 Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Nominations
(Hometown; Club; Birthdate)




  • Olivia Giaccio (Redding, CT; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 8/15/00)
  • Tess Johnson (Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 6/19/00)
  • Jaelin Kauf (Alta, WY; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 9/26/96)
  • Elizabeth Lemley (Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 1/22/2006) 
  • Alli Macuga (Park City, UT; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 9/24/03)
  • Kai Owens (Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 8/16/04)
  • Hannah Soar (Somers, CT; Killington Mountain School; 6/4/99)


  • Cole McDonald (Park City, UT; Wasatch Freestyle; 3/6/2003)
  • Nick Page (Park City, UT; Wasatch Freestyle; 8/1/02)
  • Dylan Walczyk (Rochester, NY.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 6/25/93)



  • Kasey Hogg (Park City, UT; Wasatch Freestyle; 1/8/03)
  • Sami Worthington (Park City, UT; Park City Ski & Snowboard/Wasatch Freestyle; 6/15/04)


  • Dylan Marcellini (Walnut Creek, CA; Wasatch Freestyle; 9/29/02)
  • Charlie Mickel (Durango, CO; Durango Winter Sports Club/Wasatch Freestyle; 7/06/04)
  • Asher Michel (Tabernash, CO; Winter Park Competition Center; 12/09/05)*
  • Landon Wendler (Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Winter Sports Club; 10/12/00)




  • Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, VA; Elite Aerial Development Program; 9/14/93)
  • Dani Loeb (Pintlala, AL; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 8/10/01)
  • Kaila Kuhn (Boyne City, MI; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 4/8/03)
  • Megan Nick (Shelburne, VT; Elite Aerial Development Program; 7/9/96)
  • Winter Vinecki (Gaylord, MI; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 12/18/98)


  • Quinn Dehlinger (Cincinnati, OH; Elite Aerial Development Program; 6/8/02)
  • Chris Lillis (Pittsford, NY; Bristol Mountain Freestyle Team; 10/4/98)
  • Justin Schoenefeld (Lawrenceburg, IN; Elite Aerial Development Program; 8/13/98)



  • Karenna Elliott (Cincinnati, OH; Park City Ski & Snowboard, 5/24/00)
  • Megan Smallhouse (Reno, NV; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 1/16/01)
  • Tasia Tanner (Park City, UT; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 7/26/02)


  • Derek Kreuger (Cleveland, OH; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 6/2/03)
  • Conner Curran (Cincinnati, OH; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 9/23/04)*

*First nomination to the Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team

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2023-24 Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team Nominations

By Sierra Ryder
May, 10 2023
Paula Moltzan Races Slalom in Killington (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

May 11, 2023 - PARK CITY, UTAH - U.S. Ski & Snowboard has announced the 55 athletes nominated to the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team for the 2023-24 competition season. Nominations include those active athletes who qualified based on the published selection criteria in the prior season.

Joining the nominations list include World Cup standouts like the greatest alpine skier of all-time Mikaela Shiffrin, top seven in the world slalom rank Paula Moltzan, and Olympic silver medalist Ryan Cochran-Siegle. New to the A Team nominations list is Isabella Wright, who had a career best season, finishing top 20 in the women’s downhill rankings. Jared Goldberg is also moving back to the A team after his best season, with a fourth place finish at the Kitzbühel downhill. 

B Team nominations are highlighted by Jett Seymour, who impressed at the Chamonix, France World Cup with a career best seventh place finish in the slalom. Also on the B team is Katie Hensien, moving up from her C Team status the year prior. Hensien posted multiple top-30 finishes on the World Cup tech circuit. Tricia Mangan returns to team status after a strong season on the women's speed World Cup circuit. Plus, Sam Morse, George Steffey and Sam DuPratt make their return to official team status on the B Team after strong results the season prior: Morse scored a career best top 10 finish in the Val Gardena World Cup downhill; DuPratt won the NorAm Overall super-G title; and Steffey scored his first World Cup points in giant slalom.

Mary Bocock, Elisabeth Bocock and Dasha Romanov are making moves up to the C Team. Mary Bocock coming off her NorAm Overall winning season. Stella Johansson will also join the C Team nominations list after strong Europa Cup results.

The men’s and women’s Development Team shows a lot of fresh faces. Seven new men and three new women are nominated to the team.

“This list of nominations shows strong skiers across all disciplines,” commented Alpine Director Patrick Riml. “We have already seen the potential that these athletes have in our spring camps across Mammoth, Norway and Palisades Tahoe. We are excited to see the progress this summer.”

The 2023-24 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season is scheduled to kick off for the men and women with a pair of giant slalom races in Soelden, Austria in October.

The official Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team announcement will be made in the fall.

2023-24 U.S. Alpine Ski Team Nominations

(Hometown; Club; Birthdate)



  • Breezy Johnson (Jackson Hole, WY; Rowmark Ski Academy; 1/19/1996)
  • Paula Moltzan (Prior Lake, MN; Buck Hill Ski Team/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail/University of Vermont; 4/7/1994)
  • Nina O’Brien (Edwards, CO; Burke Mountain Academy/Team Palisades Tahoe; 11/29/1997)
  • Mikaela Shiffrin (Edwards, CO; Burke Mountain Academy/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 3/13/1995)
  • Isabella Wright (Salt Lake City, UT; Snowbird Sports Education Foundation; 2/10/1997)


  • Bryce Bennett (Olympic Valley, CA; Team Palisades Tahoe; 7/14/1992)
  • Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT; Cochran’s/Mount Mansfield Ski & Snowboard Club; 3/27/1992)
  • Tommy Ford (Bend, OR; Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation; 3/20/1989)
  • Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT; Snowbird Sports Education Foundation; 6/15/1991)
  • River Radamus (Edwards, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 2/12/1998)                    



  • Keely Cashman (Strawberry, CA; Team Palisades Tahoe; 4/4/1999)
  • Katie Hensien (Redmond, WA; Rowmark Ski Academy; 12/1/1999)
  • AJ Hurt (Carnelian Bay, CA; Team Palisades Tahoe; 12/5/2000)
  • Tricia Mangan (Buffalo, NY; Holimont Race Team/Dartmouth; 3/7/1997)
  • Alice Merryweather (Hingham, MA; Attitash Race Team/Stratton Mountain School; 10/5/1996)
  • Jacqueline Wiles (Aurora, OR; White Pass Ski Club; 7/13/1992)


  • Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA; Team Palisades Tahoe/Middlebury College; 9/3/1996)
  • Sam DuPratt (Park City, UT; Park City Ski Education Foundation; 11/28/1993) 
  • Sam Morse (Carrabassett Valley, ME; Carrabassett Valley Academy; 5/27/1996)
  • Kyle Negomir (Littleton, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/3/1998)
  • Jett Seymour (Steamboat, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club/University of Denver Ski Team; 11/5/1998)
  • George Steffey (Lyme, NH; Stratton Mountain School; 8/8/1997)
  • Luke Winters (Gresham,OR; Sugar Bowl Academy; 4/2/1997)



  • Elisabeth Bocock (Salt Lake City, UT; Rowmark Ski Academy; 9/3/2005)
  • Mary Bocock (Salt Lake City, UT; Rowmark Ski Academy; 10/3/2003)
  • Stella Johansson (Aspen, CO; Aspen Valley Ski Club; 09/02/2003) *
  • Lauren Macuga (Park City, UT; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 7/4/2002)
  • Allie Resnick (Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 9/1/2001)
  • Dasha Romanov (Thornton, CO; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; 5/3/2003)
  • Ava Sunshine (Edwards, CO; Burke Mountain Academy; 6/20/2002)
  • Alix Wilkinson (Mammoth Lakes, CA; Team Palisades Tahoe; 8/2/2000)
  • Zoe Zimmermann (Gilford, NH; Burke Mountain Academy; 5/16/2002)


  • Cooper Cornelius (Glenwood Springs, CO; Aspen Valley Ski Club; 6/20/1999)
  • Bridger Gile (Aspen, CO; Aspen Valley Ski Club/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/15/1999)
  • Isaiah Nelson (Wayzata, MN; Buck Hill Ski Racing Club; 4/3/2001)
  • Camden Palmquist (Eagan, MN; Buck Hill Ski Racing Club/Team Summit Colorado; 4/15/2003)
  • Jay Poulter (Bondville, VT; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club/Stratton Mountain School; 7/1/2003)
  • Cooper Puckett (Steamboat, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club;3/31/2003)
  • Ben Ritchie (Waitsfield, VT; Green Mountain Valley School; 9/5/2000)
  • Jack Smith (Sun Valley, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; 4/24/2001)



  • Tatum Grosdidier (Wenatchee, WA; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, 07/24/2004) *
  • Kaitlin Keane (Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 11/26/2004)
  • Kjersti Moritz (Edwards, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 11/28/2004)
  • Storm Klomhaus (Boulder, CO; Team X Alpine/University of Denver Ski Team; 7/17/1998)
  • Liv Moritz (Edwards, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 11/28/2004) *
  • Allison Mollin (Truckee, CA; Team Palisades Tahoe; 07/07/2004) *
  • Emma Resnick (Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 7/23/2003)


  • Justin Bigatel (Park City, UT; Burke Mountain Academy; 4/29/2003)
  • Stanley Buzek (Silverthorne, CO; Team Summit Colorado; 8/18/2005)*
  • Finnigan Donley (Anchorage, AK; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; 02/28/2005)*
  • Roman Elvidge (Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; 12/08/2005 )*
  • Colin Hanna (Sun Valley, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; 12/15/2004) *
  • John Kerbaugh (Williston, VT; Mt. Mansfield Academy; 11/11/2005) *
  • Sawyer Reed (Hingham, MA; Green Mountain Valley School; 7/26/2005)  *
  • Hunter Salani (Edwards, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 02/25/2005) *

 *Newly named to the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team

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2023 Sport Education Club Excellence

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
May, 9 2023

We are excited to announce that registration is now OPEN for the 2023 Sport Education Club Excellence Conference!

We invite all club leaders, coaches, board members, volunteers, officials and others to join us in a collaborative day of learning. There will be six sessions over two days providing new and fresh content for coaches, administrators, parents, partners, and volunteers; furthering their understanding of best principles and practices that establish the foundation for a culture of continued improvement.

June 6 & 7th, 2023

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Mountain Daylight Time (MDT)


Thank you to our conference sponsor World Cup Supply

2023-24 Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Nominations Announced

By Leann Bentley
May, 9 2023
ben ogden
Ben Ogden races during the 2022-23 season. (NordicFocus)

May 9, 2023 - PARK CITY, UTAH - U.S. Ski & Snowboard is proud to announce the 23 athletes who have been nominated to represent the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team for the 2023-24 season. The nominations include active athletes who qualified based on predetermined selection criteria.

The team is a blend of seasoned veterans and promising newcomers, ready to compete in the upcoming season. The A Team women’s roster will be led by three-time Olympic medalist and 2023 individual World Champion Jessie Diggins, two-time Olympian Rosie Brennan and 2023 World Champs bronze medalist Julia Kern. The men’s A Team includes 2022 Olympian and 2022-23 FIS U23 Green Bib winner Ben Ogden and 2022 Olympian JC Schoonmaker.

Returning to the B Team are 2022 Olympians Gus Schumacher, Luke Jager, Scott Patterson, Sophia Laukli, and 2023 NCAA Champion Novie McCabe. Zak Ketterson rejoins the roster and both Zanden McMullen and Sydney Palmer-Leger move up from the Development Team based on their strong results in the previous season.

The Development Team welcomes several new athletes, along with returning stars, including Sammy Smith, who raced her first World Cup in Drammen, Norway at the end of the 2022-23 season. Walker Hall, Will Koch and Michael Earnhart return to the Development Team roster for the men after a successful 2022-23 season. Five new athletes will be joining the D-Team, including Brian Bushey, Max Kluck, Ava Thurston and Haley Brewster, who represented the USA at the FIS World Junior Ski Championships, along with Derek “Buster” Richardson.

“This past season was an important one for USA cross country ski racing, with the men moving up to sixth in the Nation’s Cup standings and earning the maximum World Cup quota for the first time in our history,” said Chris Grover, the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Program Director. “We also witnessed the USA squad fighting for third in the overall Nation’s Cup going into the last weekend of racing. As we set our sights on the 2023-24 season, we have aspirations of exceeding this past year’s performances by focusing on key strategies in technique, equipment and preparation. We have a young team that is still building valuable experience on the World Cup, and will no doubt turn more heads in the coming years.”

The 2023-24 World Cup calendar is robust and features two new races in North America, including the highly anticipated 2024 Loppet Cup, a Coop FIS Cross Country World Cup in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Supported by the Loppet Foundation and Share Winter, the Loppet Cup will be the first FIS World Cup on U.S. soil since 2001. The 2023-24 FIS Cross Country World Cup calendar will be confirmed by the International Ski Federation later this month.

Each athlete who accepts the nomination to the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team will receive top-of-the-line athletic and medical support, world-class coaching, sport science, sports medicine and access to the USANA Center of Excellence facilities, including on-site high performance staff and education. 

An official Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team announcement will be made in the early fall. 

Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team 

(Hometown; Club/School; Birthdate)


A Team

  • Ben Ogden (Burlington, VT; Stratton Mountain School; 2/13/00)
  • James "JC" Schoonmaker (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University; 8/12/00)

B Team

  • John Steel Hagenbuch (Ketchum, ID; Dartmouth Ski Team; 10/01/01)
  • Luke Jager (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University; 1/17/00)
  • Zak Ketterson (Minneapolis, MN; Team Birkie; 4/02/97)
  • Zanden McMullen (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University; 5/31/01)
  • Scott Patterson (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University; 1/28/92)
  • Gus Schumacher (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Winter Stars; 7/25/00)

Development Team

  • Brian Bushey (Montpelier, VT; University of Utah Ski Team; 11/06/02)
  • Michael Earnhart (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University; 8/11/02)
  • Walker Hall (Winthrop, WA; Methow Valley Nordic Team, University of Utah Ski Team; 6/11/02)
  • Max Kluck (Butte, MT; Bridger Sports Foundation; 9/25/04)
  • Will Koch (Peru, VT; Stratton Mountain School; 2/21/02)
  • Derek Richardson (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University; 5/21/04)


A Team

  • Rosie Brennan (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University; 12/2/88)
  • Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN; Stratton Mountain School; 8/26/91)
  • Julia Kern (Waltham, MA; Stratton Mountain School; 9/12/97)

B Team

  • Sophia Laukli (Yarmouth, ME; Aker-Dæhlie; 6/08/00)
  • Novie McCabe (Winthrop, WA; Alaska Pacific University; 12/15/01)
  • Sydney Palmer-Leger (Park City, UT; Stratton Mountain School; 2/04/02)

Development Team

  • Haley Brewster (Avon, CO; University of Vermont Ski Team; 6/06/03)
  • Sammy Smith (Boise, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; 9/22/05)
  • Ava Thurston (Waterbury, VT; Dartmouth Ski Team; 1/06/04)


Cross Country Coaches and Staff

  • Cross Country Program Director: Chris Grover
  • Head Coach: Matt Whitcomb                    
  • World Cup Coach: Jason Cork                                     
  • D Team Coach: Kristen Bourne
  • Development Team Coach: Greta Anderson                                                                            
  • Cross Country Sport Development Manager: Bryan Fish                       
  • Cross Country Sport Coordinator: Adam St. Pierre              
  • Cross Country Press Officer: Leann Bentley

Service Staff

  • Head of Service: Oleg Ragilo           
  • World Cup Service: Bjørn Heimdal    
  • World Cup Service: Tim Baucom                         
  • World Cup Service: Eli Brown    
  • World Cup Service: Chris Hecker
  • World Cup Service: Karel Kruuser    

Follow the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Team:
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Facebook: @usskiandsnowboard
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Wonders Retires From World Cup Cross Country Ski Racing 

By Leann Bentley
May, 8 2023
hunter wonders
Hunter Wonders before a World Cup race earlier this 2022-23 season. (NordicFocus)

Hunter Wonders, an athlete on the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team has formally announced his retirement from World Cup ski racing. 

Wonders grew up in Alaska, along with several other members of the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team. He has always been a skier, whether that's on the skinny skis or on the wider planks in the Alaskan backcountry. When he isn’t training or representing his country on the international ski stage, Wonders loves to bike, hike, backcountry ski and fitting for his last name, hunt. He’s a competitive canoe racer, his nickname is ‘Wonderboy’ and one of his favorite memories was the feeling he had after finishing the first 50k at a spring series race. 

Wonders has been a fixture in the cross country community for years, joining the Alaska Pacific University program as a junior and making the move to the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team in 2020, making his World Cup debut on Jan. 23, 2021 in the 30k skiathlon in Lahti, Finland. He raced in countless races at various levels including National Championships, Nor-Am Cups, U23 World Ski Championships, Youth Olympic Winter Games, World Cups and World Championships. Throughout his years racing, he was no stranger to representing his country on the world's stage. 

His career highlights are endless. In 2018, Wonders was a member of the silver medal-winning 4x5k Junior World Championships men’s relay team and in 2020, was second at the U.S. National Championships in the classic sprint. On the World Cup level, the highest level of the sport, Wonders was in the top-30 consistently, had a career-best 11th place in the 2022-23 Tour de Ski and as the the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Head Coach Matt Whitcomb said, “re-established men’s elite skiing in the U.S. as an international force.”

“While Hunter is retiring from the World Cup at a relatively young age, he made international noise with breakthrough World Cup races this past season,” said Whitcomb. “He is on an expanding, yet still limited list of male athletes who have hit the top-20 in a distance World Cup. This past season, Hunter posted an 11th and a 16th in 10k events. Beyond Hunter’s power value as a skier, I will miss his human side. He is consistently one of the most helpful people I’ve ever met, constantly volunteering for side jobs to help the coaches or his fellow athletes. He’s the guy logging extra hours doing dishes at a team camp, or helping coaches refuel a fleet of vehicles before a travel day. These little things say a lot about a person, and whomever lands him next will be lucky. I have nothing but huge respect and appreciation for Hunter.”

“Hunter burst on the scene as a junior and contributed a critical leg in the men’s silver relay medal at the World Junior Champs in 2018,” said the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Program Director Chris Grover. “As a senior athlete, he steadily climbed the World Cup ranks, securing starts and representing the USA at two World Championships, Oberstdorf and Planica. In the 2022-23 season, Hunter broke through to another level with his first top-20 results, including an 11th place in the 10k classic in Oberstdorf. Hunter has been an incredible teammate and friend and he will be greatly missed in the program, but we are also excited to see where his next adventures take him!”

Off the snow, Wonders is successful in many other ways. Just days ago, he hit another milestone and successfully took his first solo flight in Alaska. Wonders was one of the athletes awarded the Take Flight Textron Aviation U.S. Ski & Snowboard Training Scholarship and is actively working towards his Private Pilot License. When on the road, you could find him studying to become a pilot in-between World Cup races. 

Even though he is taking a step back from World Cup ski racing, we can be sure to see him around the ski trails. Congratulations on your World Cup career, Hunter! 

Snowboardcross Olympic Bronze Medalist Deibold Announces Retirement

By Kate Anderson
May, 4 2023
Alex Deibold poses with the American flag
Alex Deibold celebrates after his bronze medal performance at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia (Getty Images - Mike Ehrmann)

2014 Olympic bronze medalist Alex Deibold has announced his retirement from competitive snowboardcross.

A native Vermonter, 36-year-old Deibold has been snowboarding since the age of four. He attended Stratton Mountain School with fellow teammate Lindsey Jacobellis, and U.S. Snowboard Team halfpipe alums Danny Davis and Louie Vito.

Deibold was first named to the U.S. Snowboard Team in 2004. He made his first FIS World Cup appearance in Furano, Japan in 2007, and spent the last 17 years competing at the highest levels. Along the way, Deibold found himself on the World Cup podium six times, and represented the United States five times at the World Championships.

His most memorable result came in 2014, at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. After missing the cut for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Team, Deibold still found a way to be a part of the action, joining the team staff as a wax technician. Just four years later, he’d move from the wax room to the start gate, bringing home Team USA’s lone snowboardcross medal in Sochi. He battled it out and walked away with bronze. Reflecting on his experience of going from technician to Olympic medalist, Deibold told Team USA’s Lawrence Murray, “it was grueling work but it was a situation that I’m grateful for. I remembered what it was like to be there, and to stand on the podium…and wrap the flag around myself, all that sacrifice and hard work were more than worth it.”

He had a strong 2021-22 season, ultimately earning a spot on the 2022 Beijing Olympic Team. However, his plans were derailed when he suffered a major crash at the Cortina d’Ampezzo World Cup just five days before the Opening Ceremonies, leaving him in the hospital with a head injury and ultimately unable to join his teammates in Beijing. His teammates felt his absence sharply, and vowed to compete in his honor. Jake Vedder, who traveled to Beijing in Deibold’s place, said at the time, “I’m really trying to represent Alex and his whole family and do the best I can for him. Because this was 100% his spot. He deserved to be here.”

Outside of the start gate, Deibold has always been known for his passion for the environment and the outdoors, his work ethic and his leadership. He has served on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Board of Directors as an athlete representative since 2021 and was an Athlete Role Model at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games. “Alex has had an incredible career, both on and off the hill,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “His leadership and advocacy for athletes, his teammates and all those involved in the sport is something we will always be grateful for, and all of us at U.S. Ski & Snowboard wish him the best on his well-earned retirement. Congratulations on such an incredible career, Alex!”

His teammates will miss his advice and friendship, both on and off the race course. “Deibold was always a teammate that I knew I could talk to about anything. For myself as a younger athlete coming up, he always brought comfort to our team as one of the more experienced athletes,” said U.S. Snowboard Team athlete Senna Leith. “Whether I was wondering about a line choice on a course, or a career-based question outside of snowboarding, Deibold always had a plethora of knowledge he was willing to share and do so in an extremely friendly manner. It’s hard to find an athlete more professional and well rounded, and I am super thankful for all of the years and great memories on tour that we shared together.”

But don’t expect Deibold to take it easy in retirement. He’s chasing new adventures with Protect Our Winters, a non-profit focusing on legislation regarding climate change and looking forward to spending time on the mountain as a mentor to young snowboarders, and as a father.

“I’m both excited and terrified for the next chapter. I want to explore the mountains at home more, in a way I haven’t been able to while traveling, training, and competing,” said Deibold. “I still love snowboarding as much as ever, and I’m hoping I can try and give back to the community that has shaped my life. I’m grateful to be working for Protect Our Winters, hoping I can support some of our development riders domestically, and stoked to just be a dad and continue to introduce my daughter to the mountains.”