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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

July 29 Roundup: Blink Festival Begins Thursday; Northug Says He’s Out of Shape

 

  • The 2015 Blink Ski Festival begins Thursday with the Lysebotn Up, a 7.5 kilometer uphill rollerski race in Lysebotn, Norway. According to ski-nordique, the event has become the big summer event for cross-country skiers and biathletes, likely because many of the world’s best skiers attend the festival. Some examples are Petter Northug, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Finn Haagen Krogh, Calle Halfvarsson, and Alexander Legkov on the men’s side and Astrid Jacobsen, Heidi Weng, Kerttu Niskanen, Maiken Caspersen Falla, and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen on the women’s side. The Blink Festival serves as an interesting test of mid-summer fitness for many of the World Cup regulars. After the uphill race tomorrow, the festival moves to Sandnes, Norway, where it continues with 10 and 15 k mass starts before wrapping up with a sprint competition on Saturday.

 

  • Petter Northug briefly spoke with the press after a charity soccer match in Oslo, Norway. Coming off an altitude camp, during which he trained at low intensity, Northug still feels his fitness is not where it needs to be. When asked how his fitness compares to the same time last year, the Norweigan star simply replied, “it is bad.” Aside from his fitness, Northug also needs to sort out a deal with the Norwegian Ski Federation. Without a signed national contract, he will be unable to represent Norway during the upcoming season’s World Cups.

 

  • The FIS Rollerski World Cup continued last weekend in Madona, Latvia, with a three-day series consisting of a freestyle sprint on Friday, a classic prologue on Saturday, and a freestyle pursuit on Sunday. Sweden’s Linn Somskaer dominated the weekend of races, winning all three races on the women’s side. With such a dominant weekend, Somskaer took the overall Rollerski World Cup lead. On the men’s side, Italian Emanuele Becchis once again showed his sprinting prowess, winning his second sprint of this summer’s Rollerski World Cup. Robin Norum of Sweden won Saturday’s classic prologue, but was unable to hold on in the freestyle pursuit, in which Sergei Dolidovich of Belarus claimed the win. After the weekend’s events, Norum now stands atop the men’s overall Rollerski World Cup standing and Sweden is on top in the team standings. The FIS Rollerski World Cup continues Aug. 21 in Bad Peterstal, Germany.

July 25 Roundup: Johaug Surgery Successful; Kaspiarovich to Head Russian Biathlon Team

 

  • As reported earlier this week, Norwegian cross-country ski standout Therese Johaug broke her left hand while training in Seiser Alm, Italy. On Tuesday, VG reported that Johaug’s surgery to insert three screws into her left hand was successful. Because of this, she will only have to take 10 days of altered training to rest her hand before returning to her normal training regimen. The two-time 2015 World Champion did not let her injured hand affect her training much before the surgery, as fellow Norwegian cross-country skier Petter Soleng Skinstad stated “she went like crazy at training sessions … after the fall.” Johaug plans to maintain this same attitude as she continues to deal with the injury.

 

  • According to skisport, the Russian Federation Ministry of Sports recently approved Alexander Kaspiarovich as the head coach of the Russian National Biathlon team. Kaspiarovich had previously been recommended for the position by the Russian Biathlon Union, but was not approved as head coach until now. The newly appointed head coach has been involved in Russian biathlon since 1986 when he was the junior women’s team coach. From 2004 to 2014 he was the Russian senior reserve team coach before becoming the senior men’s team coach for the 2014/2015 season.

 

  • On Tuesday, Cross Country Canada announced that Canmore, Alberta, will host the 2017 Haywood Ski Nationals. In 2012, the Canmore Nordic Center was reviewed as one of the top two venues on the World Cup circuit, and the location has been a constant in North American World Cups since 2005. Important in the decision to have Canmore host the 2017 Haywood Ski Nationals was that they have a strong athlete-development program, host a good base of officials, and presented a comprehensive bid package. The championship event will include four individual races and a team sprint competition.

July 21 Roundup: Dürr Avoids Criminal Charges; Fourcade Training in Norway

 

  • According to the Washington Times, the criminal investigation into Johannes Dürr, 28, has been dropped. The former Austrian cross-country skier was kicked out of the 2014 Sochi Olympics for using the banned substance EPO. An important factor in the decision was that Dürr did not provide other athletes with the substance, which would have been illegal under Austria’s anti-fraud laws. Other factors were that it was Dürr’s first offense, that he confessed to the doping charges after the positive test, and that the damages were paid because Dürr reportedly returned money from sponsors. Dürr’s lifetime ban from the Austrian Ski Federation remains, though he has only a two-year ban from the International Ski Federation (FIS).

 

  • French biathlete Martin Fourcade has been training at the Norwegian Olympic Sports Center in Oslo, Norway, according to NRK. Although he is one of the Norwegian biathlete’s toughest competitors, Fourcade was able to stay and train at the center for free for the beginning of the summer. This enabled both Fourcade and other athletes at the center to help each other improve and further develop the sport. He just finished his two-month free stay at the center. In an interview with L’Équipe, Fourcade said he went to Oslo in order to explore something new, while he trained in the location of next year’s Biathlon World Championships. He also stated that being at the center enabled him to train as hard as ever while also getting plenty of rest because he could focus entirely on his training without distractions and other stresses that exist at his home in France. Fourcade wraps up his two-month stay in Oslo today, but he plans to return to Oslo in November.

 

  • According to ski-nordique, the FIS World Cup will host a ski tour in Canada from March 1-12. The Ski Tour Canada will be modeled after the Tour de Ski and could potentially take place every four years. The eight-stage race will take place in Gatineau, Montréal, Québec, Canmore and Lake Louise. FIS officials are very excited about the project, which could be a highlight of the season since it will be a very important race series to decide who will win the overall 2015/2016 World Cup titles. You can find out more about the Ski Tour Canada here.

July 17 Roundup: Potential 2022 Winter Olympic Hosts; Northug Heads to Altitude Camp

 

  • According to FIS, the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games is down to two cities, Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China. Each city is bringing a unique vision for the Games; Almaty envisions an Olympics centered around sports and physical activity, infrastructure, and economic growth while Beijing proposes to use the games to more heavily integrate winter sports into peoples lives. This would ultimately aid in developing a market for winter sports in Northern China where 300 million reside. A decision between the two potential host cities will be made on July 31.

 

  • Norway’s Petter Northug will attend an altitude camp in Central Europe this July despite experiencing fatigue during the early stages of his summer training, reports Adressa. Northug initially planned to skip the camp, but now that he is feeling healthier, he has decided to attend. According to his coach, Stig Rune Kveen, Northug is fully focused on being as fast as possible this winter, so it is encouraging that is now feeling better.

 

  • The FIS Ski Jumping Continental Cup began on July 4 and 5 in Kranj, Slovenia. The series gives younger, up-and-coming athletes the opportunity to compete against the worlds best while also improving their skills. Poland’s Dawid Kubacki won both days on his way to a 60-point lead in the series over Slovenia’s Peter Prevc. The Continental Cup continues on August 8 in Wisla, Poland.

July 14 Roundup: Cologna and Powell Face Off; Tour de Ski Under the Lights

 

  • The FIS Rollerski World Cup kicked off in Oroslavje, Croatia, this past weekend with three races from July 10July 12. In the women’s 10-kilometer skate mass start on July 10, Sweden’s Marika Sudin won, Ksenia Konohova of Russia took second and another Swede, Linn Somskaer came in third in a closely contested finish. In the men’s 12.5 k skate, seven athletes came into the finish together where Norwegian Ragnar Bragvin Andresen outsprinted the pack for the win. Italy’s Emanuele Sbabo and Sergio Bonaldi rouded out the podium in second and third, respectively. Saturday brought a freestyle sprint competition where Kiara Claudi of Germany won the women’s division. She was followed by Friday’s winner, Sudin, in second and Valiantsina Kamiskaya of Belarus in third. On the men’s side, Italian Emanuele Becchis bested second- and third-place finishers Dmitriy Voronin of Russia and Norwegian Ludvig Søgnen Jensen. The competition wrapped up on Sunday with a 7 k uphill classic race. Friday’s third-place finisher, Somskaer dominated with a 1:01.5 victory over Sudin, and Russian Tatiana Jambaeva rounding out the podium in third. In the men’s race, Swede Oscar Persson topped the podium ahead of Russians Ivan Solodov and Robin Norum. The Rollerski World Cup continues on the weekend July 24 in Madona, Latvia.
  • According to Adressa, Switzerland’s Dario Cologna raced 100 meters against former 100-meter world-record holder, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell. The catch was, Cologna was on skis and got a moving start. The dual sport event took place at the Jungfraujoch in Switzerland at 3,454 meters above sea level, a location that benefitted Cologna. Still, it was a hotly contested race and a winner could not be determined. You can decide for yourself by watching the video here.
  • NRK has reported that Tour de Ski organizers are currently discussing the possibility of having the 2016 Tour de Ski finish in the late afternoon under floodlights. The idea seems realistic for FIS, however, television broadcasters must approve of the lighting conditions in Val di Fiemme before a decision can be reached. This could add more excitement to an already popular event; 17.2-million viewers worldwide tuned in to the Tour de Ski last year.
  • According to ski-nordique, France’s Célia Aymonier is switching from cross country to biathlon for the foreseeable future. Last season, the 23 year old tallied two top-10 finishes in the Rybinsk World Cup. However, the apparent lack of support for cross-country skiers in France led Aymonier to the decision. She is also very excited to take on the new challenge.

July 10 Roundup: Svendsen on Track; Search for Norwegian Director Continues

  • The Norwegian Ski Federation has yet to find a replacement for its former nordic director, Åge Skinstad, according to Langrenn. Skinstads had been the director since 2006, but stepped down after the season so he could become the director of NHO Inland on Aug. 1. There is a final round of potential replacements for Skinstad that still need to be evaluated, including Guri Hetland, Trond Nystad and Knut Nystad.
  • Norwegian biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen trained for 103 hours in June as part of his mission to be in the best shape of his life for the upcoming season, according to Madshus. He is especially focused on performing well at Biathlon World Championships on his home turf in Oslo from March 313th.
  • Langrenn recently reported that, according to a report from TV-and-marketing company Infront, interest in nordic disciplines (skiing, biathlon, nordic combined, and ski jumping) were at an all-time high in Norway last year. While viewing figures internationally have slipped in recent years, they have still risen in Norway, with jumping being the most popular discipline.

July 7 Roundup: Domracheva, Inge Braten Memorial, Fair Play Mecenate

Biathlete Darya Domracheva was recently diagnosed with mononucleosis, according to Langrenn.com. Although Belarusian says she’s already been through the worst of the illness, the three-time Olympic gold medalist will take it easy throughout the summer. She hopes to return to the IBU World Cup opener in Östersund this November.

According to FIS, Swedish World Cup stars Charlotte Kalla and Calle Halvarsson were victorious in the start competition at the Inge Braten Memorial in Sunne this past Saturday. The women’s competition consisted of 12 laps on a kilometer loop. Although several skiers exchanged the lead in the first laps, Kalla pulled away from the field to win the race. Lin Somskar was second and Stina Nilsson was third.

In the men’s race, which was a 20 k mass start, Haflvarsson skied similarly to Kalla for the victory. Norway’s Sindre Bjørnestad Skar claimed second while Bill Impola of Sweden was third.

According to Langrenn.comBjørn Dæhlie was awarded the 2015 Fair Play Mecenate Award. “Of course it is nice to be remembered for my results, but I am humbled that I be recognized for my attitude to operate and exercise my sport” he said.  “The prize is very high.”

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Marit Bjørgen won the same award in 2009 and 2014, respectively. 

July 2 Roundup: Kalla Ready for Tour, New FIS Sponsor, Controversy in Duluth

– Charlotte Kalla recently told NRK Sport that she was excited to start the 2016 Tour de Ski, especially with the exit of Norwegian Marit Bjørgen due to pregnancy. The Swede, who skipped the 2014 event and finished seventh in 2013, is looking to improve on her past performances but acknowledged that the competition would still be tough and that she would need to improve her sprinting.

– Le Gruyère AOP will be a new main sponsor of the FIS Cross Country World Cup. Le Gruyère AOP, a cheese company from Switzerland, will partner with FIS for a least three years.

”Le Gruyère AOP is proud to be a main sponsor of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, reinforcing its engagement for winter sports. We are delighted to become part of the Cross-Country family. We will be thrilled to live the emotion of the World Cup and to let people of such a great variety of countries discover our product,” Interprofession du Gruyère Manager Philippe Bardet said to FIS.

– Duluth is often thought of as a skiing destination, but a new $1.5 million nordic center at Spirit Mountain that features lighted trails and snowmaking has neighbors concerned. According to the Duluth News Tribune, residents say that the new trails will enter a no-development buffer zone created in 1984, and are concerned with the noise and light associated with snowmaking and grooming machines. City council members say the 1984 agreement was non-binding, but expressed concern over the project and will review the plans in search for a compromise. If approved and funded, facility could be operational by the 2016/2017 season.

June 16 Roundup: Game of Thrones Quiz, USSA Membership, Sufferfest

– If you’re reeling from the season 5 finale of Game of Thrones like we are, maybe this will take your mind off the horrific death(s) of your favorite character(s). Stratton Mountain School T2 skier Annie Pokorny recently created a “Which Game of Thrones Team Would You Ski For?” quiz, and we’re obsessed. Take the quiz here to see if you’re part of the wealthy Lanister squad or a fiery Targaryen. Just remember, winter is coming…

– The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is rolling out a new membership format for the 2015/2016 season that the organization says will make its sports more affordable and accessible. Some changes include short-term membership availability, $15 entry-level memberships, and family caps of $400.

– USST’s Liz Stephen and Taylor Fletcher clocked the fastest raw times at the 2015 Sufferfest in Park City, Utah last week. The bike race, which features 3,000 feet of elevation gain over 8.8 miles, is no ordinary competition. Athletes are started at different times based two tests, the first a lactate threshold test on a stationary bike and the second a time trial bike ride up Royal Street at Deer Valley Resort. While Fletcher and Stephen clocked the fastest times in the 8.8 mile climb, their handicaps prevented them from catching eventual winner Eliza Outtrim, a retired member of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. See full results here.

Park City to Bid for 2017 Junior/U23 World Championships

This is a developing story…

(USSA press release)

PARK CITY, UT (June 2, 2015) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is making a formal bid for the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) 2017 FIS Nordic Junior World Championships and FIS U23 World Cross Country Championships. The event will be awarded to a host city during annual FIS Calendar Conference meetings, taking place June 3-8 in Varna, Bulgaria. The USSA is putting forward a joint bid with Utah’s Olympic venues including the Utah Olympic Park in Park City and Soldier Hollow in Midway. The event also has the support of the Utah Sports Commission.

The venues in the Park City and Heber City area have supported development and Olympic level athletes for well over a decade. Utilized during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the Utah Olympic Park and the Soldier Hollow are consistently maintained and used for training and competitions throughout the season.

“The Solider Hollow Legacy Foundation and the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation have provided exceptional support for events of this caliber,” said USSA Vice President, Events Calum Clark. “Both entities are surrounded by communities passionate about winter sport and are ideal candidates for this event.”

Nordic Junior World Championship events include cross country, ski jumping and nordic combined and were last hosted by the United States at Lake Placid in 1986 with ski jumping (cross country has never been held in the USA). The Junior Worlds bring in over 400 athletes from 30 nations to compete in 17 events across the three disciplines. The event is held in parallel with the U23 Worlds in cross country.

“Soldier Hollow has played host to competitors of all ages from around the world and our nation. The partnership with Utah Olympic Park for Junior Worlds is important to our Olympic legacy,” said Richard Hodges, Executive Director at Solider Hollow Legacy Foundation. “This will be a tremendous opportunity for our U.S. junior skiers to compete on the world stage inside the United States.”

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The USSA is making a formal bid for the FIS 2017 FIS Nordic Junior World Championships and FIS U23 World Cross Country Championships.
  • The bid is being put forward in conjunction with Utah’s Olympic venues including the Utah Olympic Park in Park City and Soldier Hollow in Midway.
  • Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow have hosted hundreds of successful events since the 2002 Winter Games including numerous World Cups, World Championships, National Championships and the highly praised 2014 Ski Jumping & Nordic Combined Olympic Trials.
  • The event will be awarded to a host city during annual FIS Calendar Conference meetings, taking place June 3-8 in Varna, Bulgaria.

 

QUOTES

Calum Clark, Vice President, Events, USSA
The Soldier Hollow Legacy Foundation and the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation have provided exceptional support for events of this caliber. Both entities are surrounded by communities passionate about winter sport and are ideal candidates for this event.

Richard Hodges, Executive Director, Solider Hollow Legacy Foundation
Soldier Hollow has played host to competitors of all ages from around the world and our nation. The partnership with Utah Olympic Park for Junior Worlds is important to our Olympic legacy. This will be a tremendous opportunity for our U.S. Junior skiers to compete on the world stage inside the United States.

Marc Norman, Vice President Sports and Venues, Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation
The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation supports the bid for the 2017 FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships and U23 World Ski Championships Cross Country. The bid exemplifies Utah’s successful utilization of Olympic legacy venues. The Utah Olympic Park is dedicated to hosting world-class sport competitions and providing athletes a state-of-the-art training venue.

June 2 Roundup: JN Slideshow, Bjørgen Snowed In, Nordic Conglomerate

 

– While the 2014/2015 season is long gone, there’s nothing wrong with revisiting some of the season’s best moments. For many juniors those moments were from the 2015 Junior National Championships in Truckee, Calif.

Mark Nadell of Macbeth Graphics captured the week’s action and recently created the official 2015 Junior National slideshow (see below). So whether you’re trying to relive the good times or motivate yourself for next year, take a look:

– While most places in the Northern Hemisphere have little to no snow these days, Sognefjellet, Norway is not one of them. According to Langrenn.com, the high mountain pass was pummeled by a recent storm so severe that Marit Bjørgen and Therese Johaug were snowed in while training.

– Tired of trying to navigate multiple foreign-language sites to get your international ski news? Ski-Lines.com thinks it can help. According to the site’s managers it is a “nordic news aggregator that links headlines from several ski related sites from various countries” that translates the headlines into english for easy navigation.

– Craftsbury is adding another member to its 2015/2016 roster. Casey Smith, a former U.S. Biathlon National team member from Winthrop, Wash., will join the racing project this season. Smith earned some notable results over the years with a 23rd place finish at the 2014 European Open Championships and seven NorAm podium finishes last winter. Earlier this year, however, he suffered a punctured a lung and broke 11 ribs, seven transverses process bones, and a shoulder blade as a result of a crash. He is currently recovering and will be training with the team later this year.

May 26 Roundup: Falun Profit, Russian Speedo, National Team Noms

– While it is becoming more frequent for large championship events to lose money, the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships bucked the trend this past winter. According to a recent press release, the event earned roughly 42 million Swedish Krona (SEK) or 4.96 million U.S. Dollars (USD). The Championships cost roughly 265.7 million SEK (31.36 million USD) and earned roughly 307.7 SEK (36.32 million USD), with the majority of the revenue coming from ticket sales. Organizers estimate the event sold 228,000 tickets and 281,600 spectators attended the two-week event.

– Russian powerhouse Alexey Petukhov isn’t afraid to bare it all during his summer training as demonstrated by his Instagram account. An impressive show of muscles shows that the 2015 World Championships silver medalist in the team sprint is more than ready for another season of training and racing.

– Both the Russian and German National Teams announced their squads for the 2015/2016 season. Check out the rosters, according to FIS, below:

Women

Group A

Zhambalova Alisa, Zhukova Natalia, Kovaleva Polina, Matveeva Natalia, Repnitsyna Olga, Romanova Yula, Soboleva Elena, Storozhilova Darya, Shunaeva Nadezda.

Group B: 

Belorukova Yulia, Vasileva Lilia, Vedenina Darya, Gushina Maria, Kalsina Polina, Nepryaeva Natalia, Nechaevskaya Anna, Oshepkova Evgenia, Sedova Anastasia.

Sprint team

Anisimov Ivan, Gafarov Anton, Kriukov Nikita, Panzinskiy Alexander, Petrov Pavel, Petukhov Alexey.

Men’s teams

Sergey Ustiugov, Evgeniy Belov, Stanislav Volzentsev, Gleb Retivykh.

Group A

Bessmertnykh Alexander, Vylegzanin Maxim, Glavatskih Konstantin, Larkov Andrey, Melnichenko Andrey, Skobelev Vladislav, Schakirzyanov Rayl, Japarov Dmitriy.

Group B

Bakanov Alexander, Vichuzanin Kirill, Vokuev Ermil, Dozenko Danil, Maltsev Artem, Rostovtsev Dmitriy, Semikov Ilya, Tarasov Roman.

German National Team:

Women

Team Ia

Stefanie Böhler
Victoria Carl
Nicole Fessel
Denise Herrmann
Hanna Kolb
Sandra Ringwald

Team Ib

Lucia Anger
Julia Belger
Laura Gimler
Nadine Herrmann
Sofie Krehl
Anne Winkler

Men

Team Ia

Thomas Bing
Jonas Dobler
Hanne Dotzler
Sebastian Eisenlauer
Florian Notz
Tim Tscharnke

Team Ib

Lucas Bögl
Marius Cebulla
Lukas Groß
Lennart Metz
Markus Weeger
Josef Wenzl

May 19 Roundup: BBQ Ban, Club Certification, USSA Directors

– In the buildup to the pending 2022 Olympic host site decision set for July, Beijing has banned the use of suburban barbecuing. According to Reuters, the Chinese government blames barbecues for much of the smog that surrounds the city – a major concern for athletes and organizers.

Barbecues were already banned in the city, and some critics say that it is instead factories in the area that contribute to the air quality, rather than the barbecues.

PM2.5, the average levels of hazardous airborne particles, was measured at 85.9 micrograms per cubic meters in 2014, a four percent decrease from 2013. That is still far higher than the national air quality standard of 35 micrograms.

– The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) recently welcomed four new members to its board of directors. According to a USSA press release Dan Leever (Palm Beach, FL/ Vail, CO), Grete Eliassen (Salt Lake City), Chris Seemann (Winter Park, CO) and Martina Lussi (Lake Placid, NY) will join the ranks of the board.

Lussi will take over the jumping/nordic combined representative role from Joe Holland. According to USSA, she has been involved with the sport at various levels, ranging from parental commitments, volunteering, and position on the Women’s Ski Jumping USA board.

– This year sixteen addition ski and snowboard clubs from across the U.S. have been certified as part of the USSA’s new club development program. With three levels of distinction – Gold, Silver, Bronze – the certification recognizes clubs for their levels of organization. According to a press release more than 20 clubs are on deck to start the podium certification process in the 2015/2016 season.

Full List of 2015 Podium Clubs

Gold Certification
Bridger Ski Foundation (Bozeman, MT)
Carrabassett Valley Academy – Sugarloaf Ski Club (Carrabassett Valley, ME)
Green Mountain Valley School (Waitsfield, VT)
Killington Ski Club (Killington, VT)
The Loppet Foundation – Loppet Nordic Racing (Minneapolis, MN)
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Team (Squaw Valley, CA)
Sugar Bowl Academy and Ski Team (Norden, CA)
Utah Olympic Park – Park City Nordic Ski Club/Fly Freestyle (Park City, UT)
Winter Park Competition Center (Winter Park, CO)

Silver Certification
Park City Sports Education Foundation/Park City Ski Team (Park City, UT)
Team Gilboa (Eden Prairie, MN)
Team Summit Colorado (Silverthorne, CO)

Bronze Certification
Bromley Outing Club (Peru, VT)*
The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain (Wilmington, VT)
Snowbird Ski Education Foundation*

*certification pending

USSA Presents 2014/2015 Season Awards

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) presented its season awards in Park City, Utah Saturday May 16. Of the many honors bestowed upon clubs, coaches, and athletes there were several notable members of the nordic community who received recognition. Liz Stephen was awarded USSA Cross Country Athlete of the Year for her impressive performances throughout the season, while Bryan Fletcher was named USSA Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year. Matt Whitcomb and Jason Cork were awarded USSA International Cross Country Coach of the Year. Stratton Mountain School’s Sverre Caldwell was named USSA Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year. Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club was named USSA Cross Country Club of the Year.

Kikkan Randall was recognized for her contribution to youth in sport with the Russell Wilder Award.

Read the full USSA press release below.

PARK CITY, UT – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) recognized accomplished athletes and leaders on Friday at the annual Chairman’s Awards Dinner during USSA Congress. Olympic and World Championship gold medal winning moguls skier Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) was honored by the USSA with the Beck International Award, which is awarded to the top USSA athlete in international competition. Kearney, who retired after the 2014-15 season, solidified her position as one of the best moguls skiers in U.S. history, winning a total of 46 World Cups over the course of her career and bringing home both the moguls and overall freestyle titles in her final season.

Among other awards, Allen Church (Albuquerque, NM), one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in race timing and has been responsible for training thousands of others, received this year’s Julius Blegen Award for over 45 years of service to the USSA. Park City Nordic Ski Club was named Club of the Year. U.S. Freestyle Ski Team coach Matt Saunders (Park City, UT), who helped lead the aerials team to be Best in the World this season, was named Coach of the Year.

Vail Valley Foundation President and CEO Ceil Folz (Vail, CO), cross country athlete Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) and the late Deedee Corradini (Salt Lake City, UT) were also recognized for their service to the sports. Folz was the key leader behind the successful 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek, CO and was presented the Bud and Mary Little Award for service to the International Ski Federation (FIS). Randall has been a pioneer in her sport while also empowering young women through positive experiences in sports through Fast and Female (add link). She was presented with the Russell Wilder Award for contribution to youth. Corradini, who passed away in March, mentored the young pioneers of women’s ski jumping to follow their dreams of inclusion in the Olympic Winter Games. She received the USSA’s John Clair Award for service to the U.S. Ski Team.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Moguls champion Hannah Kearney was honored by the USSA with the Beck International Award, which is awarded to the top USSA athlete in international competition.
  • Long-time USSA race official Allen Church was awarded the Julius Blegen Award for his volunteer work with race timing.
  • Park City Nordic Ski Club was named Club of the Year.
  • U.S. Freestyle Ski Team aerials coach Matt Saunders was named Coach of the Year. His athletes won three of four major awards this year on the FIS World Cup circuit, including both men’s and women’s overall aerials titles.
  • Richie Date received the Westhaven Award for his service as a FIS Technical Delegate.
    Burke Mountain Academy’s Steve Burlack was honored as USSA Development Coach of the Year.
  • Ceil Folz, Deedee Corradini and cross country athlete Kikkan Randall were also recognized for their service.

2015 U.S. SKI AND SNOWBOARD ASSOCATION AWARDS

USSA Diamond Award
Julius Blegen Award (Highest honor for service to sport) – Allen Church (Albuquerque, NM)

USSA Gold Awards
Beck International Award (top USSA athlete) – Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT)
USSA Coach of the Year Award – Matt Saunders (Park City, UT)
USSA Development Coach of the Year Award – Steve Berlack (Franconia, NH/Burke Mountain Academy)
USSA Club of the Year Award – Park City Nordic Ski Club
Westhaven Award (top USSA technical delegate) – Ritchie Date (Park City, UT)

USSA Silver Awards
Paul Bacon Award (event organization) – Beat Hupfer/Mammoth Mountain Race Department
John J. Clair Jr. Award (service to the U.S. Ski Team) – Deedee Corradini (Salt Lake City, UT)
Bud and Mary Little Award (service to FIS/USOC) – Ceil Folz (Vail, CO)
Buddy Werner Award (athlete sportsmanship, leadership) – Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City, UT)
Russell Wilder Award (service to youth) – Kikkan Randall/Fast and Female (Anchorage, AK)
USSA J. Leland Sosman Award (service as team physician) – Dr. Andrew Cooper (Salt Lake City, UT)
West Family Award (USSA official) – Chuck Hughes (Killington, VT)

USSA Athlete of the Year Awards
Adaptive Athlete of the Year Award – Andy Soule (San Antonio, TX)
Alpine Athlete of the Year Award – Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO)
Cross Country Athlete of the Year Award – Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT)
Freestyle Athlete of the Year Award – Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT)
Freeskiing Athlete of the Year Award – David Wise (Reno, NV)
Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year Award – Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year Award – Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, UT)
Snowboarding Athlete of the Year Award – Kelly Clark (West Dover, VT)

USSA Coach of the Year Awards
Adaptive International Coach of the Year Award – Eileen Carey (Burlington, VT/U.S. Paralympic Team)
Adaptive Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Scott Olson (Winter Park, CO/Disabled Sports USA)
Alpine International Coach of the Year Award – Forest Carey (Park City, UT/U.S. Ski Team)
Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Steve Berlack (Franconia, NH/Burke Mountain Academy)
Cross Country International Coach of the Year Award – Jason Cork (North Pole, AK) and Matt Whitcomb (Worthington, MA)
Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Sverre Caldwell (Stratton Mountain, VT)
Freestyle International Coach of the Year Award – Matt Saunders (Park City, UT/U.S. Freestyle Ski Team)
Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Johnny Kroetz (Rochester, NY/Bristol Mountain)
U.S. Freeskiing International Coach of the Year Award – Skogen Sprang (Park City, UT/U.S. Freeskiing)
U.S. Freeskiing Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Chris “Hatch” Haslock (Park City, UT/Team Park City United)
Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined International Coach of the Year Award – Dave Jarrett (Heber City, UT/U.S. Ski Team)
Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Scott Smith (Cary, IL/Norge Ski Club)
Snowboarding International Coach of the Year Award – Rick Bower (Park City, UT/U.S. Snowboarding)
Snowboarding Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Ross Powers (Stratton Mountain, VT/Stratton Mountain School

USSA Club of the Year Awards
Adaptive Club of the Year Award – Adaptive Action Sports
Alpine Club of the Year Award – Ski & Snowboard Club Vail
Cross Country Club of the Year Award – Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club
Freestyle Club of the Year Award – Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
Freeskiing Club of the Year Award – Team Park City United
Jumping/Nordic Combined Club of the Year Award – Park City Nordic Ski Club
Snowboarding Club of the Year Award – Team Park City United

USSA GOLD AWARDS

Julius Blegen Award – Allen Church (Albuquerque, NM)
Presented for outstanding service to the sport.
Allen Church has been involved as a USSA volunteer for 45 years. He has served from his home club in Taos, NM as well as throughout the Rockies and around the world. With a primary focus on race timing, he became one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts and has been responsible for training thousands of others. Church served as an alpine technical delegate from 1978 to 1995. In his career he has worked at the highest levels of sport, including World Cup, World Championships and Olympics. He is a past recipient of some of USSA’s highest honors for officials, including the Westhaven and Bud and Mary Little Award.

Beck International Award – Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT)
Presented to the top USSA athlete in international competition.
In her final year as a world-class athlete, Hannah Kearney went down to the wire—matching the all-time record of 46 World Cup wins in her final event as an international athlete. She tied fellow American Donna Weinbrecht – a past Beck Award recipient herself – to etch her name into the record books. In her final World Championships, she won gold and silver, giving her a new sport record of eight World Championship medals. She capped it off winning both the overall and moguls World Cup titles. Kearney retired as not just the greatest female American mogul skier, but the most decorated skier ever in her sport. She is a complete athlete/competitor who is responsible for any fault or weakness and seeks to rid herself of that weakness. Her personal drive and strong character have set an example for an entire generation of freestyle athletes.

USSA Club of the Year – Park City Nordic Ski Club
As part of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, the Park City Nordic Ski Club (PCNSC) is a resource for multi-sport entry programming as well as providing a World Cup and international venue for competitions and training in ski jumping and nordic combined. PCNSC has made significant strides this year to support the nation in all nordic sports. The 2015 season was a good one for PCNSC. The women’s cross country team is ranked second in the country. Club athletes were ranked eighth at junior nationals this season. Ski jumping and nordic combined athletes earned three podium spots across U16 and U18 junior nationals. This season, PCNSC also earned a gold certification in USSA’s Club Development Program. The club has a strong organizational base, an international venue, training and competitions, and programming that serves a wide range of athletes and is coming on strong with results at every level.

USSA International Coach of the Year – Matt Saunders (Park City, UT)
Matt Saunders has been an incredible coaching asset for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s aerials squad. Saunders has been the backbone of the team with a vast knowledge of the technical side of aerials skiing. His consistency has given athletes a sense of confidence in him, and it has shown in their results. Saunders’ experience as a former national team member and his passion and personality has helped his athletes succeed at all levels. The aerials team brought home four major World Cup awards this season: Mac Bohonnon and Kiley McKinnon took home the aerials overall World Cup titles; Alex Bowen was named Rookie of the Year and the team as a whole won the Nations Cup, making them Best in the World. Both McKinnon and Bowen also brought home silver medals from World Championships.

USSA Development Coach of the Year – Steve Berlack (Franconia, NH)
16 years ago, Steve Berlack left his career to follow his passion and become a ski coach. Over the years, has worked in various capacities at Burke Mountain Academy, honing his craft to become an outstanding development coach. He has coached men and women, U16s and FIS-aged athletes, and has served as Burke’s program director. For the past two seasons, Berlack has been an integral member of the FIS men’s coaching staff at Burke. This past season, USSA Eastern athletes won the Regions Cup at the U18 National Championship, in large part due to a group of young men Berlack has coached for the past four years.

Westhaven Award – Ritchie Date (Park City, UT)
Presented in recognition of service as a FIS Technical Delegate.
For over 15 years, Ritchie Date has been active in the sports of snowboarding and freeskiing, from his start as a race department manager to his current work as a FIS technical delegate and technical supervisor for the Grand Prix and Revolution Tour events. He has also done an outstanding job of instilling respect of the FIS and USSA rules in the snowboard athletes. Date is just one of two FIS U.S. TDs to be given the opportunity to work in Sochi during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

USSA SILVER AWARDS

Paul Bacon Award – Beat Hupfer/Mammoth Mountain Race Department
Presented in recognition of contribution to event organization.
The Mammoth Mountain Race Department, under Beat Hupfer, has hosted U.S. Snowboarding events for over 20 years, starting with the national championships at June Mountain in 1998.  Beat has been a true advocate for the sports of skiing and snowboarding. Mammoth has hosted events for every Olympic cycle, including hosting four of the six qualifying events in 2014. In 2015, Mammoth hosted two Revolution Tour and a Grand Prix event. When other resorts were struggling with snow and couldn’t hold events, Beat stepped up and offered to host. Mammoth also works every year to provide training camps for the U.S. Freeskiing and U.S. Snowboarding Pro Teams. The resort also provides a great opportunity for Project Gold Camps, with over 100 athletes training at Mammoth Mountain for two weeks in May.

John J. Clair Jr. Award – Deedee Corradini (Salt Lake City, UT)
Presented in recognition of service to the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding.
Deedee Corradini was the first female mayor to accept the Olympic flag for a host city in 1998 when Salt Lake City was awarded the 2002 Games. That defining moment foreshadowed the countless volunteer hours and timeless energy she spent throughout 15 years helping women athletes strive for greatness. As President of Women’s Ski Jumping USA, she mentored the young pioneers of the sport to follow their dreams of inclusion in the Olympic Winter Games. Corradini worked closely with USSA and the International Ski Federation to help provide more opportunities for women to participate at the highest levels of sport. Her efforts have helped grow the sport of ski jumping worldwide, including in the U.S. where many clubs have seen a doubling in young female participation.

Bud and Mary Little Award – Ceil Folz (Vail, CO)
Presented in recognition of service to the International Ski Federation or U.S. Olympic Committee.
As leader of the Vail Valley Foundation, Ceil Folz pioneered and produced a remarkable FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in America this past February. She used innovation and experience to blend high-quality ski racing produced by a highly experience on-course team with an American ski festival throughout the Vail Valley. Record crowds of over 200,000 attended races and nightly celebrations showcasing the best of alpine ski racing. Her vision to invest in a superior global broadcast provided the platform for a record 800-million global viewers.

J. Leland Sosman Award – Dr. Andrew Cooper (Salt Lake City, UT)
Presented in recognition of service to the USSA’s Physician’s Pool.
Andrew Cooper has been a valuable and dependable member of the USSA Physician Pool since 2006 as both a Head Team Physician for U.S. Freeskiing team and a member of the Medical Committee since 2011. He played an integral role in guidance of the medical program as well as planning and attending the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. He has shown time and time again that he is willing to go the extra mile to give athletes world-class healthcare.

Buddy Werner Award – Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City, UT)
Presented to an outstanding USSA athlete who demonstrated leadership and good sportsmanship.
Snowboarding has been an incredible journey for Faye Gulini, and she wanted to give back as much as snowboarding has given to her. Sharing her passion with orphans and underserved children in Kyrgyzstan was one way of accomplishing that goal. This past February, the Salt Lake City native boarded a plane headed for Bishkek, the capital and largest city in Kyrgyzstan. In four days, she visited the European School in Central Asia, the Kyrgyz Academy of Physical Culture and Sports, and High School #48 to speak of life as a professional female athlete. In return, the 13-17 year olds inspired Gulini with their dedication to making the most of their limited time on the snow.

Russell Wilder Award – Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK)
Presented in recognition of contributes to youth.
Cross country skier Kikkan Randall is a pioneer in her sport. The four-time Olympian has racked up a list of firsts, including being the first U.S. woman to win a World Cup event in 2008, first U.S. woman to earn a world championship medal in 2011, first U.S. woman to podium in the overall World Cup sprint standings in 2011 and first U.S. cross country athlete to win World Championship gold in 2013. In addition to being a champion in her sport, the 31 year old is also a champion for female athletes. Randall balances her competitive life by serving as an ambassador for the organization Fast and Female, which started in 2005 as a way to get more girls on skis.

West Family Award – Chuck Hughes (Killington, VT)
Presented in recognition of service as a USSA official.
Chuck Hughes has been a coach, parent, FIS technical delegate, Eastern AO Chairman, Program Director at Killington Mountain School, Vermont Officials Chair and a VARA Board Member. He has dedicated much time to the betterment of alpine skiing. He handles himself with grace and has earned the respect of the national and international community of ski racing.

Team Athletes Giving Back Award – Kelly Clark (West Dover, VT)
In 2010, Kelly Clark started the Kelly Clark Foundation (501c3). Clark has had a very successful snowboard career and she wanted to make sure that she could continue to impact the sport after her days of competing were over. She wants the sport of snowboarding to be better because she was part of it. Clark looked around at the needs and at what her personal experience was like and sought to give opportunity to youth and create access to the sport. This year, the organization gave out over $25,000 to 15 high school students across the U.S.

USSA COACHES OF THE YEAR

Adaptive Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Scott Olson (Winter Park, CO)
Scott Olson served as lead coach and mentor at Disabled Sports USA Hartford Ski Spectacular as well at the Disabled Association of Veterans (DAV) Winter Sports Clinic in 2015. He qualified six development athletes to World Championship team in 2015 and coached them at the World Championships.

Adaptive International Coach of the Year Award – Eileen Carey (Burlington, VT)
The 2014-15 season was Carey’s first year as head coach of the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team. She took athletes from four medals in Sochi to 28 medals in the following season. The team ended the season second in the World Cup standings and had two World Cup overall globe winners.

Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Steve Berlack (Franconia, NH)
Steve Berlack has worked in various capacities at Burke Mountain Academy over the past 16 years. He has coached men and women, U16s and FIS-aged athletes, and has served as USSA Program Director. For the past two seasons Berlack has been an integral member of the FIS Men’s coaching staff. In 2014-15, the East won the Regions Cup at the U18 National Championship in large part due to a group of athletes Berlack has coached for over three years.

Alpine International Coach of the Year Award – Forest Carey (Park City, UT)
Forest Carey has been leading the multi team (speed/tech) for years now. His athletes’ success over the last three years includes five World Championship medals, one bronze Olympic medal and one gold Olympic medal. This year, Carey was able to prepare Bode Miller and Ted Ligety to form for the World Ski Championships in Vail/ Beaver Creek, CO which resulted in gold and bronze medals from Ligety and an incredible performance by Miller despite a very difficult season with injuries leading up to the World Championships.

Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Sverre Caldwell (Stratton Mountain, VT)
Stratton Mountain School Nordic Program Director Sverre Caldwell, who has won the domestic coach of the year three times previously, has been an instrumental part of the success of SMS’s nordic program. In the 2014-2015 season, the SMS Nordic Team and SMS T2 Team scored four top-10s at the World Championships—including one silver medal—two top-10s at the U23 World Championships and a sixth-place finish at World Juniors. 14 of his 21 team members qualified for Junior Nationals, and eight of the 14 earned All American status (top-10 or top-three relay). At Junior Nationals, the SMS Nordic Team extended its streak of winning at least one Junior National gold medal for 19 straight years.

Cross Country International Coach of the Year Award – Jason Cork (North Pole, AK) and Matt Whitcomb (Worthington, MA)
The key to the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team’s success this year was teamwork. Head men’s coach Jason Cork and head women’s coach Matt Whitcomb were an integral part of fostering the sense of team that carried the athletes through a season full of highs and lows. With Cork and Whitcomb at the helm, the Team brought home two World Championship medals and skied to two World Cup podiums, with additional strong results on the World Cup and at other major events, including Liz Stephen’s best-ever fifth-place finish at the Tour de Ski.

Freeskiing International Coach of the Year Award – Skogen Sprang (Park City, UT)
Skogen Sprang’s leadership as a U.S. Freeskiing coach continues to help produce Best in the World results. Slopestyle skiing athletes continued their domination this year, never winning less than 50 percent of the podiums available at X Games, Dew Tour and Grand Prix events during the season. Athletes Joss Christensen, McRae Williams and Gus Kenworthy swept the Grand Prix podium in Park City in one of the best finals of the year.

Freeskiing Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Chris Haslock (Park City, UT)
Chris “Hatch” Haslock has been a staple in the sport of freeskiing since it’s inception. Hatch, who runs Team Park City United, has put seven athletes on to the U.S. Freeskiing team over the last three years.  His club continues to dominate regional and national level events. Hatch not only provides excellent coaching, he is also very involved in the governance of the sport as well. Hatch tirelessly helps with the competition guide, providing guidance on the ranking procedures and is actively involved in the Freeskiing Sport Committee. Hatch also sits on the Freeskiing Strategic Working Group, providing feedback to the USSA Board of Directors.

Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Johnny Kroetz (Rochester, NY)
Johnny Kroetz has been a freestyle coach for 22 years. He has been an advocate for freestyle skiing and all of its components during this time. Working at Bristol Mountain, he has served as a great representative for eastern freestyle. Four current U.S. Freestyle Ski Team members got their beginnings with Kroetz, including Jonathon Lillis, Dylan Walczyk, Morgan Schild, and Harrison Smith. Kroetz generates a love of the sport from the ground up—building courses and jump sites every weekend for kids to train on in order to advance through the ranks.

Freestyle International Coach of the Year Award – Matt Saunders (Park City, UT)
Matt Saunders has been a coaching asset for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s aerials squad, acting as the backbone of the team with a vast knowledge of the technical side of aerials skiing. His consistency has given athletes a great sense of confidence in him, and it has show in their results. Matt’s experience as a former National Team member and his passion and personality has helped his athletes succeed at all levels.

Jumping/Nordic Combined Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Scott Smith (Cary, IL)
A former U.S. Ski Team jumper, Scott has been a driving force behind the Norge Ski Club outside Chicago. A veteran Olympic and club coach, Smith is presently the club coach for three Norge athletes on the USA Ski Jumping national team.

Jumping/Nordic Combined International Coach of the Year Award – Dave Jarrett (Heber City, UT)
Since stepping into the role of head coach in 2008, Dave Jarrett has played a key roll in deepening and strengthening the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team. This season, his athletes Bryan and Taylor Fletcher posted personal-best finishes. Bryan landed fifth at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships while Taylor secured a third place podium on the World Cup circuit.

Snowboarding Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Ross Powers (Stratton Mountain, VT)
Ross Powers is currently the Director of Snowboarding at Stratton Mountain School in Vermont. Before Ross’ coaching career, he was a U.S. Snowboarding athlete and a two-time Olympic medalist, including gold in 2002. This year Ross coached a group of SMS female athletes. He promoted building good all around snowboarding. One of his athletes, Madison Barrett, won halfpipe gold at Junior Worlds in China and placed third at the Seven Springs, PA Revolution Tour stop. Another athlete, Kiersten Edwards, placed third at her second snowboardcross Revolution Tour at Ski Cooper, CO. Ross started The Level Field Fund, which supports athletes with financial need. He volunteers for USSA events like Project Gold camps and is also the Eastern Snowboarding Sport Committee Representative.

Snowboarding International Coach of the Year Award – Rick Bower (Park City, UT)
Long-time U.S. Snowboarding halfpipe coach Rick Bower has led the women’s program to two medals at the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The women’s halfpipe snowboarding team continued at an historic pace in 2014-15, winning 83 percent of the podiums available at the major contests this season. Bower is one of the most respected coaches in the sport for his leadership and technical knowledge.
USSA CLUBS OF THE YEAR

Adaptive Club of the Year – Adaptive Action Sports
Adaptive Action Sports is an up-and-coming club program formed by paralympic snowboarding medalist Amy Purdy and former ESPN and X Games organizer Daniel Gale in 2005, with snowboarding as one of its primary focuses. The program is making a key difference for adaptive athletes, in particular disabled veterans. It has been providing pipeline programs for adaptive snowboarders since 2007. Among those thriving in the program is Marine Dustin Fleming, who lost a leg while on a mission to help children in Iraq. Fleming accepted the award on behalf of Adaptive Action Sports.

Alpine Club of the Year – Ski & Snowboard Club Vail
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) completed the gold certification as part of the USSA’s Club Development Program in the first season it was offered, and has been a high-achieving club for many years. During this past year, its athletes have achieved success at all levels of age class, FIS and NorAm competition. Of the 36 Rocky/Central Division athletes to qualify to U16 National Championships, 24 were from SSCV. Five of the 24 U16 athletes who qualified to the NTG in 2014 were from SSCV, more than from any other program in the country.

Cross Country Club of the Year – Craftsbury Nordic
Craftsbury Nordic has stepped up to host national-level events in each of the last three years. It has hosted U.S. Masters National Championships and two Super Tour weekends of racing with nearly 800 starts on one weekend. In addition to homologated race courses with snowmaking, Craftsbury has now built a ‘green’ lodge with training facilities, locker rooms and wax rooms. The Craftsbury Green Racing Project is dominating elite racing in New England. CGRP athletes swept the NENSA Gallagher Cup as men’s and women’s Eastern Cup overall champions. The Craftsbury youth programming has exploded in the last few years.

Freeskiing Club of the Year – Team Park City United
This past season, Park City ski and snowboard clubs came together to form Team Park City United. Together these clubs created a program dedicated to putting athletes first and sharing in the passion for competitive winter sports. The club also hosted the successful Freeskiing Junior Nationals events this spring. Team Park City United athletes had multiple podiums at Junior Worlds, Junior Nationals and USASA Nationals.

Freestyle Club of the Year – Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club has a long history of supporting freestyle through athlete development and event participation. The club believes it is important to build up the grassroots level and help build up the sport. Three athletes from Steamboat were in the top 10 on this year’s NorAm tour, including NorAm Grand Prix Champion Ryan Dyer. Two athletes, Avital Shimko and Jaelin Kauf, received medals at the 2015 FIS Junior World Championships. Steamboat also played hosted to 2015’s U.S. Freestyle National Championships.

Jumping/Nordic Combined Club of the Year – Park City Nordic Ski Club
As a part of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, Park City Nordic Ski Club (PCNSC) is a resource for multi-sport entry programming as well as providing a World Cup and international venue for competitions and training in ski jumping and nordic combined. PCNSC has the whole package: a strong organizational base, an international venue, training and competitions and programming that serves a wide range of athletes and is coming on strong with results at every level.

Snowboarding Club of the Year – Team Park City United
This past season, Park City ski and snowboard clubs came together to form Team Park City United. Together these clubs created a program dedicated to putting athletes first and sharing in the passion for competitive winter sports. Team Park City United athletes had multiple podiums at Junior Nationals, USASA Nationals and Junior Worlds, including Clara Jenner’s bronze medal in halfpipe snowboarding.
USSA ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

Adaptive Athlete of the Year – Andy Soule (San Antonio, TX)
Last season, Andy Soule’s success in cross country skiing was limited and his biathlon success always depended on his impeccable performance in the range, and even then he was infrequently on the podium. The willingness to fail while seeking improvement coupled with patience, determination and hard work brought Soule the performance breakthrough he had been seeking. Of his 10 World Cup and World Championship podium performances this season, eight came in cross country events. He medaled in five of the six World Championship individual races, both biathlon and cross country. Soule outright won four cross country World Cup races this season on his way to winning the overall IPC Cross Country World Cup title.

Alpine Athlete of the Year – Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO)
Lindsey Vonn was able to overcome the mental and physical challenges of coming back from injury. She won eight world cups, earned a bronze medal at the 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships and won a record 17th Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall globe and record sixth straight downhill title. To top it all off, she brought her Audi FIS Ski World Cup victory total to 67, etching her name into the record books as the winningest women’s World Cup racer ever.

Cross Country Athlete of the Year – Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT)
Liz Stephen is a powerhouse on the U.S. Cross Country team. This season, she made history with a fifth-place finish at the Tour de Ski, the best result ever by an American in the multi-stage event. She was also part of the relay team that placed fourth at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships and scored her first World Cup podium.

Freestyle Athlete of the Year – Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT)
In her final year as a world-class athlete, Hannah Kearney went down to the wire, matching the all-time record of 46 World Cup wins in her very final event as an international athlete. In her final World Championships, she won gold and bronze giving her a new sport record of eight World Championship medals. And she capped it off winning both the overall and moguls crystal globes. Hannah retired as not just the greatest female American mogul skier, but the most decorated skier ever in her sport.

Freeskiing Athlete of the Year – David Wise (Reno, NV)
David Wise has been on the top of the halfpipe skiing podium since early 2001, including becoming the first-ever Olympic gold medalist in the sport. This past season, Wise had four major event podiums and took home the overall FIS World Cup title. Wise continues to push the progression of the sport. He chooses runs that favor amplitude and difficulty over just a stock run the judges might like.

Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year – Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Bryan Fletcher continued to put up impressive results during the 2014-15 season, most notably a fifth place finish at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. It was a career-best finish for the Steamboat Springs native. Fletcher also had eight top-10 finished on the World Cup circuit.

Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year – Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, UT)
After a tough start to the season, Sarah Hendrickson made a dramatic come back, finishing in the top 10 at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships and notching three World Cup podiums in the last events of the season. She was also one of the top performers in the mixed-gender team event, soaring to the longest ride of the day at World Championships.

Snowboarding Athlete of the Year – Kelly Clark (West Dover, VT)
Kelly Clark continues to dominate women’s halfpipe snowboarding while riding with her teammates to push the progression of the sport. This season, she was constantly at the top of the podium, winning two Sprint U.S. Grand Prixs and the overall Grand Prix Title, took her eight Burton U.S. Open win and the TTR halfpipe overall title. Clark also spent the year growing the Kelly Clark Foundation, giving opportunity to youth and creating access to the sport.

May 5 Roundup: Hoffman Blog, Kowalczyk, 2021 WCH

 

– Over the years Noah Hoffman‘s blog has received a considerable amount of attention from the nordic community. From his intricately detailed posts into his daily routine, to the behind-the-scenes photos of a pro-athlete (such as this starting area shot from World Championships), his blog has become a staple of the North American nordic community. According to a recent post however, Hoffman is planning on scaling back his blog to focus on other aspects of being a professional skier. Don’t worry — he still plans on blogging pictures with descriptions throughout the year, meaning there’s still a chance for those aiming to earn a mention on the famed blog.

– While Justyna Kowalczyk didn’t have the season she hoped for in 2014/2015, the Polish skier is as determined as ever to be at the top of the results once again. This time, however, her season may look slightly different. According to Aftenposten, Kowalczyk will focus on longer races, such as as the Vasaloppet, and tours such as the Tour de Ski and the season finale World Cup tour in Canada.

“First of all I want to prepare myself in the best way possible, and certainly much better than last season. In the upcoming season, I have slightly different goals. I have tried to go long races, and this will certainly require different training,” Kowalczyk said.

According to FIS, three venues are competing for the 2021 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Oberstdorf, Germany, Trondheim, Norway, and Planica, Slovenia have all submitted applications for the event. Oberstdorf and Planica were candidates of the 2017 and 2019 World Championships, but the hosting duties eventually went to Lahti, Finland, and Seefeld, Austria.

FIS will choose the winning bids June 9, 2016.

April 28 Roundup: Finnish National Team, New Additions to Craftsbury, CXC

 

A previous version of this post stated that Flanders was a skier at Northern Michigan University when in fact she competed for Michigan Tech. 

– According to Kestävyysurheilu.fi, The Finnish National Team announced its members for the upcoming season in late April. Highlighted by skiers such as Anne Kyllönen, Kerttu Niskanen, Krista Pärmäkoski, Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Matti Heikkinen, and Iivo Niskanen the Finns will look to find further success in the 2015/2016 season. See the full list below:

National team
Women / Sprint + normal tours: Society
Anne Kyllönen Kainuu Hiihtoseura
Mona-Liisa Malvalehto Kouvola Hiihtoseura
Laura Mononen Hämeenlinna Hiihtoseura
Kerttu Niskanen Vieremän Koitto
Krista Pärmäkoski Ikaalisten Athletes
Riitta-Liisa Roponen Oulu Hiihtoseura
Aino-Kaisa Saarinen Lempäälän race
Men / Sprint:
Martti Jylhä Vuokatti Ski Team Kainuu
Toni Ketelä IF Minken
Juho Mikkonen Kuhmo-Ski
Anssi Pentsinen Jämsänkosken Ilves
Matias Strandvall IF Minken
Men / distance:
Ristomatti Hakola Jämin Tendon
Matti Heikkinen Vantaa Hiihtoseura
Perttu Hyvärinen Riistavesi Athletes
Sami Jauhojärvi Vuokatti Ski Team Kainuu
Lari Lehtonen Imatra Athletes
Iivo Niskanen Vuokatti Ski Team Kainuu
Ville Nousiainen Kouvola Hiihtoseura
Ilkka Tuomisto (para) Ylöjärven Athletes
Coaches:
Reijo Jylhä, head coach
Olli Ohtonen, sprint cross-country skiing
Teemu Pasanen, coach

– The Craftsbury Green Racing Project will see the addition of two new skiers in the upcoming season: Middlebury College’s Heather Mooney and Bates College’s Hallie Grossman. Mooney is a Peru, Vt. native who competed at the 2011 and 2013 World Junior Championships and on the 2012 Youth Olympic Team. Mooney recently finished her career at Middlebury College as the second-ranked EISA skier of the year. Grossman scored six top 5 finishes in the 2014/2015 EISA carnival circuit and was ranked fifth overall in the EISA.

CXC will welcome Kyle Bratrud and Alice Flanders to the team in the 2015/2016 season. Bratrud won the 15 k freestyle at the 2015 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Houghton, Mich. and was selected for the 2015 World Championships team. He will graduate from Northern Michigan University this spring. Flanders previously skied for Michigan Tech where she qualified for two NCAA championships and earned All-American honors in the 15 k freestyle mass start in 2014.

Sverre Caldwell Named USSA Domestic Nordic Coach of the Year

(press release)

Park City, Utah – Stratton Mountain School Nordic Program Director Sverre Caldwell has been named the Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA). This is the country’s highest coaching honor, and one that Sverre has won three times prior in 2009, 2003 and 2001.

“I’m honored that USSA has named me Domestic Coach of the Year,” Caldwell said. “Our athletes have had a great year, and I’m proud to share in their success.”

In the 2014-2015 season, the SMS Nordic Team and SMS T2 Team scored four top-10s at World Championships (including one silver medal), two top-10s at U23 World Championships, a sixth-place finish at World Juniors, and 14 of 21 team members qualified for Junior Nationals, and eight of these 14 earned All American status (top-10 or top-3 relay). At Junior Nationals, the SMS Nordic Team extended its streak of winning at least one Junior National gold medal for 19 straight years.

In 2014, the SMS Nordic Program and the SMS T2 Team won the USSA Cross Country Club of the Year, the third time SMS has received this honor. Also in 2014, former SMS T2 Team Coach Gus Kaeding (SMS ’02) won the Cross Country International Coach of the Year, and he was named the Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year in 2013.

“We are inspired by Sverre’s long-time leadership in the world of Nordic skiing, and his commitment to driving the success of Nordic skiing development,” said SMS Headmaster Chris Kaltsas. “He has inspired athletes at SMS since 1980, and he is known nationally as in Nordic skiing as the top coach at the development level.”

In a letter, USSA CEO Tiger Shaw said, “Congratulations Sverre, on your efforts and the leadership you provide to the development of your athletes.”

Stratton Mountain School is a ski and snowboard academy located at the base of Stratton Mountain. SMS serves students in grades 7 – 12. The SMS community of students, faculty, coaches and staff share the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence.

April 23 Roundup: OTP, Winter Olympic Future, Northug Drama

– According to a press release from Cross Country Canada, the country’s high-performance athletes will receive more financial support in their quest for success through the Own the Podium program.

The Canadian government committed to match up to $20 million over four years of private sector investment to support the next generation of athletes who are anywhere from five to eight years away from potential Olympic or Paralympic medals. The increased funding will allow for additional coaches, improve training opportunities, and give athletes increased resources to pursue their respective sports.

– Will there always be a Winter Olympics? The writers at Vice Sports suggest that we shouldn’t take the world’s most competitive event in snow sports for granted. Due to climate change and a lack of water and precipitation they make the case that it will become harder and harder to pick a Winter Olympic venues that can and want to host the event. If the bidding process for 2022 is any indication of current conditions, we’re already in the thick of the problem.

– Drama continues to surround Petter Northug. According to NRK Sport, the Norwegian will not be announced as part of the National Team this coming Friday. While Northug can still be named to the team later in the spring or summer, he will have to break ties with the COOP team. According to his manager, Are Sørum Langås, Northug has created a plan that will satisfy his needs for the upcoming season. What the plan is, however, has yet to be revealed.

 

April 21 Roundup: Retirements and Springtime Rounds

– The 2015 cross country season has ended and as always spring has brought several retirements to the nordic ski community. According to a variety of sources, including FIS and NRK Sport, at least eight of our favorite athletes will no longer compete in the World Cup. Notable women retirees include Canada’s Perianne Jones, Finland’s Riika Sarasoja-Lilja, Germany’s Claudia Nystad, and two Norwegians Celine Brun-Lie and Kristin Størmer Steira. Steira, the most notable of the retirees, has won eight World Championships medals and two Olympic medals including bronze in the Sochi 30 k and gold in the Whistler 4 x 5 k relay. Her 2015 season was marked with injury. She battled to earn a spot on the 2015 World Championship team after a double hip fracture earlier in the year, but suffered an ankle injury days before the 30 k that prevented her from competing.

“I am privileged to have had the opportunity to work together the world’s best cross country athletes and coaches, although it occasionally has cost both blood, sweat and tears. I’ll take it with me on in life,” Steira said in a statement regarding her retirement according to NRK Sport.

Italy’s  Giorgio di Centa, France’s Cyril Galliard, and Sweden’s Anders Södergren have also announced their retirement since the end of the 2015 season.

– While the season may be over many athletes are still active. While they’re not in full training mode, they’re engaging in the community to bolster nordic sports and inspire a new generation of skiers. From USST members Sophie Caldwell and Noah Hoffman training with young skiers at the Weston Ski Track in Boston, to Jessie Diggins and Caitlin Gregg sharing their World Championships success with the Midwest, to many more local events hosted by international and domestic racers, the Americans seem to be as busy as ever.

It’s not just the USST that’s inspiring a new generation. According to Biathlon Canada, Rosanna Crawford and Brendan Green are currently on a four-day journey through northern communities in Canada where the biathletes will share their stories and success in the 2015 season with school children north of the Arctic Circle in Inuvik, For McPherson and Fort Simpson. While the pair have already completed two of their stops, there are still three more chances to see the successful biathletes. Check out their schedule below:

Schedule:

April 20 – Inuvik

2:30-4 p.m. – Grades 7-12 Students at East Three Secondary School

April 21 – Inuvik and Fort McPherson

8:30-10 a.m. – East Three Elementary School, Inuvik

1-4 p.m. – Chief Julius School, Fort McPherson

April 22 – Inuvik

9 a.m – 12 noon – East Three Secondary School

April 23 – Fort Simpson

2-4 p.m. – Bompass Elementary School (Kindergarten to Grade 6)

April 24 – Fort Simpson

8:30 a.m. – 12 noon – Thomas Simpson S.S. (Grades 7-12 Students)

 

Wadsworth, Bouchard to Lead Canadian World Cup Team, Part of Integrated Coaching Structure

(Press release)

CANMORE, Alberta — Cross-Country Ski de Fond Canada will start the 2015 season with coaches Louis Bouchard and Justin Wadsworth and will continue to invest in developing Canadian coaching talent while focusing on putting the maple leaf back onto the international podium in 2018 and beyond.

Wadsworth and Bouchard, who have worked closely together to deliver record-setting results for Canada’s cross-country ski athletes over the last five years, will share World Cup coaching duties. In addition, American-born Wadsworth, who has made his home in Canmore for much of the last decade, along with Quebec’s Bouchard, will guide a talented group of active coaches across the country whose focus will be on developing the next generation of Olympians from coast-to-coast.

“If we truly want to put Canada’s cross-country ski athletes on the Olympic podium in 2018 and 2022, then I believe it is critical at this time to put the Canadian system in the hands of coaches that are living and embedded in our training centres across the country,” said Tom Holland, high-performance director, Cross-Country Ski de fond Canada.

Holland said the national body did not renew the one-year contract for Norwegian Tor-Arne Hetland, a difficult decision made with a view on the long-term goals of the organization.

“Tor-Arne brought many great qualities and technical savvy to our program. In looking at the long-term goals of Olympic medals in 2018 and beyond, we felt that a Canadian-based program brings greater stability and synergies in coaching philosophy and sport science approaches – and, ultimately, a stronger platform to breed medal-winning performances from our current- and next-generation high-performance athletes.”

The continuity of leadership from Wadsworth and Bouchard ensures a seamless transition for current World Cup athletes who have worked with the coaching duo from the grassroots to elite level. Building on this philosophy, Canada’s rising stars in cross-country skiing will benefit from the new program structure which will see a strong pool of coaches from across the country integrated into supporting World Cup coaching duties, further strengthening the high-performance culture into the development team athletes.

Each of the coaches on both the National Ski Team will continue to report to Holland, who has been part of the national program since 1996 as a volunteer and full-time with the team in 2006. Holland will play a critical role in creating a coaching environment that is seamless and integrated.