Ski Racing » Stories Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:49:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Steamboat to host US Freestyle Championships Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:48:44 +0000 SR Staff Downtown Steamboat Springs in Colorado. Steamboat Resort

Downtown Steamboat Springs in Colorado. Steamboat Resort

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) has announced that Steamboat Resort will host the 2015 and 2016 U.S. Freestyle Championships. The announcement continues the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s long-term plan to move the annual celebration of American ski competitions to top resorts around the United States. Steamboat has one of the premier freestyle facilities in the country and is a resort that launched numerous athletes on their way to the pinnacle of the sport including World Champion Ann Battelle plus Olympic medalists Nelson Carmichael and Travis Mayer. Eliza Outtrim, Olympian and 2014 U.S. Champion in moguls and dual moguls, has called Steamboat her home mountain for almost a decade.

“Legacy and engagement in the sport is an important component in our selection of Steamboat for the 2015 and 2016 U.S. Freestyle Championships,” said USSA VP of Events Calum Clark. “As the home to great freestyle athletes like Olympic bronze medalist Nelson Carmichael and silver medalist Travis Mayer, the Steamboat community has a great tradition of supporting and celebrating freestyle skiing.”

The U.S. Freestyle Championships will take place in late March at Steamboat Ski Resort across the Park Smalley Freestyle Complex, which consists of the Voo Doo aerial venue and the 1,000-foot vertical long adrenaline generating Mayer’s Mogul Course. Steamboat hosted the Freestyle Olympic trials prior to the 2006 and 2010 Games as well as the U.S. Freestyle Olympic Team Camp just weeks before the 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 Winter Games.

“It’s a privilege to welcome back the best freestyle athletes in the United States to Steamboat-Ski Town, U.S.A.® With a rich tradition in freestyle skiing and an Olympian heritage that dates back more than 80 years, Steamboat embraces a spirit that allows skiers to believe in big accomplishments and the upcoming U.S Freestyle Championships will provide the ideal platform to bring out their best,” remarked Rob Perlamn, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation Senior VP of Sales & Marketing.

Release courtesy of USSA

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Nadia Fanchini focuses on SG and GS Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:38:46 +0000 SR Staff Nadia Fanchini at the 2013 World Championships in Schladming. GEPA/Christian Walgram

Nadia Fanchini at the 2013 World Championships in Schladming. GEPA/Christian Walgram

After winning a surprise silver medal at the World Championships downhill in Schladming 2013 and finishing just off the podium in the Sochi giant slalom, Italian Nadia Fanchini is ready to raise her ambitions even further in the upcoming season featuring the World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek as the highlight event.

“Compared to previous years I’ve been training with greater continuity,” Fanchini said in a statement released by the Italian Ski Association.

“I have had less knee problems, so it was easier to follow a more consistent program. So far this summer I’ve been able to ski for about 10 days, dividing my time between Passo Stelvio and Les Deux Alpes,” Fanchini noted. “My main focus has been working on the basics, as that’s what will help me in the winter. During our last camp on the French glacier we started training with long gates, next we are headed to Stelvio again for three days and then to Cervinia where we will train giant slalom and super G.”

Despite having five downhill podiums under her belt (the last one in 2009), giant slalom and super G are the two disciplines Nadia has chosen to focus on the most at this stage of her career.

“It’s true, year after year I have noticed a steady growth in terms of performance and security. I have big goals and a great desire to get back to where I was a few seasons ago. I have been struggling a bit more in downhill and it needs a bit more work but it does not mean that I’m not willing to do it. I’ll try to ski some trainings and decide based on the feeling I get whether it feels right to race or not. It’s something we will decide along the way.”

Release courtesy of FIS

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Athlete spotlight: Laurenne Ross Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:50:10 +0000 SR Staff Laurenne Ross throws a thumbs up in the finish area in 2012. USST/Doug Haney

Laurenne Ross throws a thumbs up in the finish area in 2012. USST/Doug Haney

A talented musician and ski racer, Laurenne Ross is a threat both on and off the snow with incredible talent in violin, piano, guitar and vocals. After a slower than normal start to the 2014 season, Ross picked things up in the run up to the Olympics and then posted a season-best 11th in the Sochi downhill. With a World Cup podium under her belt and Olympic experience, Ross is looking to continue her success in 2015 with the highlight being the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships at Vail/Beaver Creek.


Name: Laurenne Ross

Sport: Alpine skiing

How/when did you decide you wanted to compete: Around age six, when I raced down my first course.

Biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Second place at the World Cup Downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Favorite moment from Sochi: Standing in the start gate on the first race of the Olympic series.

Goals for next season: To stay healthy and happy, enjoy every moment I have on the snow, and compete at the highest level in all the World Cup speed races.

Favorite snow destination: Mt. Bachelor, Ore.

Favorite non-snow destination: Pretty much anywhere in Spain

Favorite candy: Reese’s Cups or Snickers

If you weren’t a professional athlete what would you be: A lifelong college student

If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be: Bill Nye the Science Guy

One thing you can’t live without: Music

Favorite USSA athlete outside your sport: Kelly Clark

Advice to others who want to follow in your footsteps: Creative imperfection, observation, imagination, and passion can together generate potential and ideas you never imagined possible.

Release courtesy of USSA

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VIDEO: Still in the pool Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:42:54 +0000 SR Staff Not to be left dry on the deck, U.S. race representatives from a number of companies already in the U.S. Ski Team official supplier pool created a response video to the one released by Tecnica Blizzard’s Joe Dunn at the end of last week. Atomic, Volkl, and HEAD would like to remind Ski Racing readers that they are, in fact, still in the pool.

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Canadian freestyle team moves on, minus Bilodeau Sun, 20 Jul 2014 16:10:15 +0000 SR Staff OLYMPIA - Olympische Spiele 2014

The Dufour-Lapointe sisters return to the Canadian freestyle roster for 2014-15. GEPA

WHISTLER, B.C. – Canada’s most victorious National Sports Federation in Sochi announced its 2014-15 roster. Six of freestyle’s seven medalists are on the road towards the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Spearheading the women will be Sochi gold medalists Justine Dufour-Lapointe (moguls) and Dara Howell (slopestyle), silver medalist Chloé Dufour-Lapointe (moguls) and bronze medalist Kim Lamarre (slopestyle).

The men’s side will be lead by two Sochi silver medallists; Mikaël Kingsbury (3x FIS overall World Cup champion) in moguls and Mike Riddle (2011 FIS World Champion) in halfpipe.

“I have four years and many competitions between now and Korea,” said Kingsbury. “I’ve still got so much to learn and heights I want to reach. I want to have tricks that have never been done before by the time of the next Olympics.”

“We will miss Alex Bilodeau’s precedent-setting example of being a 2x Olympic Champion,” said CFSA’s High Performance Director David Mirota, “but our Sochi Olympians are stepping into their leadership roles. The team is a great mix. Athletes who podiumed in Sochi, strong top ten results, and the Development team pushing from below… It’s encouraging for our future. 2018 in Korea is already in the works.”

The 2014/15 Canadian National Freestyle Ski Team

Men’s Aerials

World Cup Group

Travis Gerrits (Milton, ON)

Olivier Rochon (Gatineau, QC)

Jean-Christophe André (Montreal, QC)

Development Group

Lewis Irving (Quebec City, QC)

Women’s Aerials

World Cup Group

Sabrina Guérin (Laval, QC)

Development Group

Melissa Corbo (Montreal, QC)

Men’s Halfpipe


Mike Riddle (Sherwood Park, AB)

Justin Dorey (Vernon, BC)

Simon d’Artois (Whistler, BC)


Noah Bowman (Calgary, AB)

Matt Margetts (Penticton, BC)

Kris Atkinson (Calgary, AB)

Women’s Halfpipe


Rosalind Groenewoud (Calgary, AB)

Keltie Hansen (Edmonton, AB)

Megan Gunning (Calgary, AB)


Cassie Sharpe (Comox Valley, BC)

Men’s Slopestyle


Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (Quebec City, QC)

Alex Bellemare (St. Boniface, QC)

Evan McEachran (Oakville, ON)


Noah Morrison (Vernon, BC)

Women’s Slopestyle


Dara Howell (Huntsville, ON)

Kim Lamarre (Lac Beauport, QC)

Kaya Turski (Montreal, QC)


Nikki Blackall (Barrie, ON)

Anouk Purnelle-Faniel (Quebec City, QC)

Yuki Tsubota (Whistler, BC)

Men’s Moguls


Mikaël Kingsbury (Deux Montagnes, QC)

Marc-Antoine Gagnon (Terrebonne QC)

Philippe Marquis (Terrebonne, QC)


Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh (Quebec City, QC)

Kerrian Chunland (Quebec City, QC)

Pascal-Olivier Gagné (Montreal QC)

Simon Lemieux (Repentigny, QC)

Cédric Rochon (St. Sauveur QC)

Development Group

Laurent Dumais (Quebec City, QC)

Zac Hoffman (Thornhill, ON)

Matt Joosten (Calgary, AB)

Brenden Kelley (Whistler, BC)

Jordan Kober (Penticton, BC)

Luke Ulsifer (Calgary, AB)

Women’s Moguls


Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC)

Chloé Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC)

Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC)

Audrey Robichaud (Quebec City, QC)


Christel Hamel (Montreal, QC)

Andi Naude (Penticton, BC)

Development Group

Julie Bergeron (Victoriaville, QC)

Alex-Anne Gagnon (Terrebonne, QC)

Clare Lambert (Calgary, AB)

Myriam Leclerc (Beaconsfield,QC)

Kiera Leung (Coquitlam, BC)

Release courtesy of CFSA

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IOC confirms 3 finalist bid cities for 2022 Winter Olympics Sat, 19 Jul 2014 15:40:45 +0000 SR Staff Proposed village for the Oslo 2022 bid.

Proposed Olympic village for the Oslo 2022 bid. Oslo 2022

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee unanimously agreed that Oslo (NOR), Almaty (KAZ) and Beijing (CHN) would progress from the applicant city phase to the candidate city phase in the bid to host the Olympic Winter Games in 2022.

The decision was based on a technical analysis of the cities’ applications submitted earlier this year. The analysis and subsequent report were made by an IOC-appointed working group of Olympic Games experts who assessed each applicant city’s potential for successfully staging the Olympic Winter Games 2022.

Each city was encouraged to produce a bid best suited to their own unique circumstances, with plans that reflect their own specific vision for how the Games can benefit their cities and regions and ensure positive, sustainable legacies for their populations.

Oslo is focusing its bid on youth engagement and building on the great legacy of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer. It hopes to inspire the population to embrace a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Almaty’s legacy plans center on providing the conditions to enable the city to become a sports, tourism and convention hub in Central Asia.

Beijing is seeking to provide an extended legacy for venues built for the 2008 Olympic Summer Games. It wants to create a winter sports center for China and use the Winter Games to act as a catalyst for the further development of the tourism and winter sports industry.

The candidate cities are now entering the second and final phase which includes the following key dates:

  • Submission of the Candidature File and Guarantees – January 7, 2015
  • IOC Evaluation Commission visits – February to March 2015
  • Evaluation Commission report / Candidate City Briefing for IOC Members – May to June 2015 (TBC)
  • Election of the 2022 host city by the IOC Session – Kuala Lumpur – July 31, 2015

Release courtesy of FIS

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VIDEO: Tecnica Blizzard announces return to USST supplier pool Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:20:44 +0000 SR Staff U.S. Ski Team alpine athlete Bryce Bennett commits to Tecnica Blizzard.

U.S. Ski Team alpine athlete Bryce Bennett commits to Tecnica Blizzard.

WEST LEBANON, N.H. — Tecnica Blizzard USA announced its commitment to the alpine race scene with product, athletes and a return to the U.S. Ski Team supplier pool. Three new and one returning athlete have signed with Tecnica Blizzard for the upcoming season.

“Tecnica Blizzard USA is excited about our new roster of athletes and their commitment and passion for skiing,” remarked Tecnica Blizzard U.S. National Race Coordinator Joe Dunn. “We are also excited to announce our return and commitment to the USST pool and to providing the athletes with top performing products.”

Tecnica Blizzard is excited to be back as an Official U.S. Ski Team Pool Supplier offering performance skis and boots with proven results from the World Cup level to junior racers. Dunn released an official statement regarding the company’s return to the racing spotlight.

With tremendous success on the junior level and the brand’s continued commitment to junior racers and product, Tecnica Blizzard sets the stage for success at the World Cup level and welcomes the following athletes to their roster:

Bryce Bennett: USST B Team. From Squaw Valley, California, Bennett brings 6’ 8” of power into each turn. With a laid-back attitude and a Squaw Valley racing/big mountain free skiing pedigree, this power combo is a proven recipe for success.

“They make great skis and boots that make skiing fun,” Bennett said.

Kieffer Christianson: USST B Team Invitee. The Alaskan who moved East, Christianson brings a gritty, natural style and that Burke Mountain Academy/Dartmouth College mental toughness every day on the hill. A shrinking U.S. Ski team roster will not derail his push to succeed on the World Cup GS circuit.

Bryce Astle: Snowbird Ski Team, U.S. Development Team Invitee. The original #Shopkid, Bryce is a true product of Snowbird free skiing. His fluid style and snow feel have more than made up for fewer days in the gates. Astie has been on the Tecnica Blizzard team his entire career.

Will Gregorak: Team America. A U.S. national downhill champion, Gregorak is focusing his goals on a World Cup technical spot.

“If I win a NorAm title or score World Cup points and find some time for a few powder turns, that will make this next season a success for me,” noted Gregorak.

Release courtesy of Tecnica Blizzard USA

]]> 0 Talented Tommy Ford plans return to competitive skiing Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:25:41 +0000 Hank McKee Tommy Ford in the 2012 Alta Badia World Cup. GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien

Tommy Ford in the 2012 Alta Badia World Cup. GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien

American ski racing prodigy Tommy Ford’s name hasn’t shown up on results sheets in a couple years, but that may be about to change. In mid-January of 2013, Ford was free skiing in La Clusaz, France when he took a nasty fall and broke his femur. Two seasons later he’s gearing up to make a return to competitive skiing.

It has been, he says, “quite the ordeal.”

Going back to that ill-fated January day in 2013, Ford was airlifted to Annecy for immediate surgery. There was nothing simple about his injury. It was a compound fracture of the biggest bone in the body. A steel rod was attached and he spent nine days in hospital before he was well enough to travel back to the U.S.

Rehabilitation went well and he improved quickly with good mobility and blood flow, but it wasn’t quite enough that fall so he elected to return to Dartmouth College and enroll in classes for the winter instead of racing. At the end of the next fall semester he got back on snow for some early training at Copper Mountain.

“I felt good skiing at Copper. It was the first time I was really moving around a lot. But I still had that rod in my leg,” he said, “and I wanted it out.”

“My recovery is slower than what is normal. I made clear I wanted to take my time and do this really well. There are a few screw holes, but the healing is going well. I’m in the midst of getting back the strength. This (competition) year I’ll assess where the body is at and the skills. When I feel ready and the coaches agree I’ll jump into some races. The following season I hope to get going and move to the top.”

In the meantime he completed his major in studio arts – and has a sculpture on display in the Metropolis Art Exhibit at Dartmouth.

“I learned lots,” he said, “and look forward to working with (my professors) in the future.”

“It was nice,” he added, “to have the opportunity to be normal.” Having been named to the national ski team as a teenager, racing had been the sole focal point of his life. He has won eight national titles and a World Junior Championship medal. He’s been an Olympian and a member of a World Championship team. Ford has raced on the World Cup, and scored seven times in the 2013 season before his January 15 mishap.

The time off, he feels, was just what he needed. “It has motivated me to really excel. I think I can, and now is the time.”

Readers can keep further tabs on Ford via his (sporadically updated) blog.

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VIDEO: Lindsey Vonn vs. Roger Federer in glacier tennis Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:29:15 +0000 SR Staff
Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn at the Lindt-sponsored match. PHOTOPRESS/Alexandra Wey

Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn at the Lindt-sponsored match. PHOTOPRESS/Alexandra Wey

In a promotional event to celebrate the opening of a new themed chocolate shop at the Jungfraujoch “Top of Europe” at 11,400 feet above sea level, LINDT solicited the services of brand ambassador Roger Federer who challenged Lindsey Vonn to an exhibition tennis match on the glacier that has been deemed Swiss Chocolate Heaven.

The themed chocolate shop offers a wide range of LINDT chocolates, and the adjacent Master Chocolatiers parlor gives visitors a fascinating insight into how chocolate is made. The highlight of the official opening was the match between 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer and Olympic ski racer Vonn, which was played on the Aletsch Glacier against the backdrop of the Alps.

“I never cease to be amazed by the great ideas LINDT comes up with,” said Federer. “Today on the Jungfraujoch was a real highlight for me.”

The challenge originated in a Twitter exchange where Vonn agreed to ski with Federer if he would play tennis with her, and LINDT jumped at the opportunity to arrange at least this meeting. Is an alpine ski contest between the two still ahead?

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Thank you, Bill: The impact of leadership on US ski racing Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:44:07 +0000 SR Staff Aldo Radamus gives then USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt a tour of Golden Peak. USSA/Tom Kelly

Aldo Radamus gives then USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt a tour of Golden Peak. USSA/Tom Kelly

“Best in the World:” Who would have thought it possible?

In 1997, when the then USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt shared his vision for snow sports in the United States, he was met with skepticism, if not outright scorn. Given our history in snow sports, few believed this bold statement to be achievable. Some found it laughable.

Yet, there we were, at the pinnacle of snow sports in 2010 with 21 Olympic medals and again in 2014 with 17, including eight gold – the most ever in one Olympics for the U.S.

How soon we forget the days when we measured alpine success by athletes scoring a few World Cup points. Always blessed with talented, hard-working and successful athletes carrying our flag to the podium, we have never before had the breadth of performance in as many sports as we have come to take for granted today.

Aldo head shot on snow high resolutionToday, we expect to see our athletes on the podium every weekend, and our expectations are often met. Whether in freeskiing, alpine, nordic, freestyle or snowboard, America’s finest are often the “Best in the World.”

Leadership is what got us here. One has only to look at Bill’s career to see what his impact has been on each organization he’s led. Examples include his serving as coach of the University of Colorado Ski Team in the ‘60s and ‘70s, winning seven NCAA Championships; as USSA’s alpine director through 1984 with a women’s World Cup Nations Cup in 1983 and the then unprecedented five alpine medals in Sarajevo; as athletic director upon his return to CU, where he boldly announced his intent to create a winning football program and oversaw an unlikely NCAA football championship in 1990; as president of CEO for USSA, to which he returned in 1996 after a decade of struggles — the record over these 18 years speaks for itself. Bill Marolt has had a hand in a remarkable 70 of the 95 snow sports medals won by the U.S. since the start of the Olympic Winter Games in 1924.

Bill’s leadership has consistently been characterized by a focus on team, performance, clear and audacious goals, an unwavering pursuit of those goals and accountability for all involved.

It is the athletes who place their poles over the wand; drop into the half-pipe; ski with a lung-busting effort in skate or classic; and launch themselves into the air, completing impossible tricks or jumping extraordinary distances. It is their coaches who inspire, teach and support them through these inspiring accomplishments. We have always had and will always have talented, hard-working and committed athletes, coaches, technicians and support staff in the system. Leadership creates the environment where this talent and effort becomes expressed as results.

It is sobering and instructive to look at what has happened in each organization following Bill’s departure.

The University of Colorado Ski Team won seven straight NCAA Championships from 1972 to 1978 (following a period of University of Denver domination with 14 of 18 championships dating to 1954) and had enough wind in the sails to win an eighth-straight title in 1979. In the decade from 1980 to 1990, CU won one more championship.

Following the five Olympic medals in 1984 (three gold), the top U.S. performance in Calgary four short years later was a ninth place in women’s super G.

CU’s football team had a pre-season top-five ranking in 1996 and finished ranked eighth. In 2006, CU no longer ranked in the top 25. In 2012, CU won only one game by a single point and lost its remaining 11 games by an average of more than 30 points, including losses by 56 and 55 points and a 48-point shutout.

Were the ski racing athletes, coaches, technicians or support staff in these examples less talented, less committed, less hard-working or courageous? Absolutely not. We all know who they are and marvel at their talent and are inspired by their careers. Did the clubs and academies do a less exceptional job of introducing kids to the sport and developing their abilities? Absolutely not. Consistently, an increase in professionalism, better resources and constant improvement characterize the grassroots and development programs around the country.

There are many factors in each of these examples, from athlete retirements and coaching changes to resource reallocation and injuries. The defining difference is leadership.

Best in the World may seem like a catchy slogan, but it is not a trivial pursuit. The difference of one degree of heat brings water from 211 Fahrenheit to a furious boil. Similarly, an extraordinary focus and effort is required for the final little bit that separates the excellent from the best.

Is it coincidence that extraordinary, unprecedented success has followed Marolt’s assumption of leadership in these organizations and that the same level of excellence has been difficult to sustain following? It’s hard to imagine.

Best in the World for the USSA goes far beyond the Olympic, World Championship and World Cup performance of the most elite athletes in snow sports. Never before has USSA provided as much to the 450 member clubs around the country. While there is always room for improvement, professional sports management of rules and rankings, program transparency, consistency of vision, porosity of the pipeline, regional resources, coaches’ education, and more have never been better. It’s all there for the taking. Perhaps, most importantly, it is the performances and role models of our national teams that inspire kids and parents to try the sport, join our clubs, enter our competitions and support our programs.

Thank you, Bill, for leading us here and letting us share in your legacy. New USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw is combining a reinvigorated commitment to performance and the Best-in-the-World vision with an even greater outreach to the community. In his first 100 days he has repeatedly expressed the reality that it is often more difficult to stay on top than it is to get there. We have the responsibility to work together as athletes, parents, industry, trustees, supporters, clubs, academies and colleges to find our way to carry this legacy to even greater heights in the years ahead. Now is not the time to relax and take our success for granted but rather step on the accelerator a little more firmly. Only then will we not just maintain our position but also, perhaps, continue to move it forward. History, sadly, is not on our side.

Next month: An examination of the challenges facing alpine ski racing.


Since 2002, Aldo Radamus has been the Executive Director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. He previously served as a head slalom and GS World Cup coach for men and women and as Alpine Development Director for USSA. His 35-year-career as a coach and administrator began in 1979 at Wilmot Mountain and includes eight years as Alpine Director at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. This is the first installment in a series of columns he will contribute to Ski Racing this year.

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