Ski Racing » Stories Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:10:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Athlete spotlight: Erik Bjornsen Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:09:44 +0000 SR Staff Erik Bjornsen at the 2013 Nordic World Championships. GEPA/Philipp Brem

Erik Bjornsen at the 2013 Nordic World Championships. GEPA/Philipp Brem

As the second half of the Bjornsen Nordic clan (older sister Sadie is a member of the A Team), Erik Bjornsen continues to carve out his own niche on the U.S. Cross-Country Team, making his Olympic debut in 2014 and competing in six events.

In his first Olympic Games, the Washington native helped the men’s classic sprint relay team reach the finals in Sochi. That successful Olympic debut comes on the heels of a breakthrough 2013, where Bjornsen made his World Cup debut, had top-10 and top-15 finishes at U23 World Championships, and earned his first U.S. title in the 15k freestyle. He also skied in his first World Championships, finishing 14th in the team sprint, and then capped the year with two SuperTour Finals victories.

Bjornsen terrorized the SuperTour scene in 2012, with enough impressive finishes to take third overall in the four-part miniseries. He also made his mark on the collegiate scene, earning All-America honors as a freshman at Alaska Pacific University.


Name: Erik Bjornsen

Sport: Cross-Country Skiing

How/when did you decide you wanted to compete: Before I can remember

Biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Sixth in the team sprint at the Olympics

Favorite moment from Sochi: My five seconds of glory when when I was leading the Olympics!

Goals for next season: Score World Cup points in both disciplines and both techniques

Favorite snow destination: Praz De Lys, France

Favorite non-snow destination: Mazama, Washington

Favorite candy: Sour Skittles

If you weren’t a professional athlete what would you be: A professional business man

If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be: My grandma

One thing you can’t live without: Chef Rosie Brennan

Favorite USSA athlete outside your sport: Julia Mancuso

Advice to others who want to follow in your footsteps: Nothing special, just train hard and enjoy it!

Release courtesy of USSA

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Countdown is on for 2015 World Championships Sat, 26 Jul 2014 17:06:58 +0000 SR Staff The World Championships Countdown Clock in Vail Village. VVF

The World Championships Countdown Clock in Vail Village. VVF

The new 2015 Countdown Clock in Vail Village ticks off the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the best skiers converge on Colorado to compete at the Vail/Beaver Creek World Championships. Opening ceremonies kick off on February 2, 2015, the same day that the women take their first downhill training run on Raptor.

The clock structure was designed by Zehren & Associates in conjunction with the Contemporary American theme of the championships. It is constructed of beetle kill pine wood and, as of today, notes that there are 191 days left before the marquee event of the 2014-15 ski season.

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Reflecting on Sochi at USSA Partner Summit 2014 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:31:44 +0000 Geoff Mintz Olympic gold medalists Ted Ligety, Kaitlyn Farrington and Maddie Bowman at the 2014 Partner Summit. USSA

Olympic gold medalists Ted Ligety, Kaitlyn Farrington and Maddie Bowman at the 2014 Partner Summit. USSA

PARK CITY, Utah — With 17 medals to speak of after last season’s Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, USSA’s marketing team claimed a win Thursday at the Center of Excellence in Park City during the organization’s annual Partner Summit.

For the third straight year, Chief Marketing Officer Mike Jaquet led the discussion before more than 200 partners at USSA headquarters. In the last few years the organization has sought to stoke enthusiasm for the upcoming Games, but this summer it reflected on public success stories of its athletes from a media and marketing standpoint.

Among those attending the summit were 11 of the 17 medalists, including gold medalists Ted Ligety, Sage Kotsenburg, Joss Christensen, David Wise, Maddie Bowman and Kaitlyn Farrington. Tactfully interviewed by skier/sportscaster Chris Davenport, each athlete gleefully reflected on their winning runs from Sochi, Kotsenburg easily garnering the most laughs in that process.

USSA Chairman Dexter Paine opened the meeting by introducing President and CEO Tiger Shaw, who presided over his first Partner Summit in that capacity.

“We as an organization have an opportunity to lead this sport internationally, and with your support, I think we can make a real difference in where it goes over the next decade,” said Paine. “In terms of Sochi … we had eight gold medals and 17 total medals, really the star governing body of the USOC, and it was because of the hard work of everyone in this sport. Finally, it was a big year for USSA. After 18 years of Bill Marolt’s leadership — leadership that was marked by incredible athletic success, organizational success and growth — we hired a new CEO.”

Shaw praised the organization as a whole for the hard work that went into preparing for Sochi, particularly the work of USSA VP of Athletics Luke Bodensteiner, who was responsible for mapping out housing and training accommodations for the athletes in Russia.

“Bodensteiner traveled to Sochi, I think, eight times prior to the actual Games,” reflected Shaw. “Two months before the Olympics, he discovered that the hotel he had lined up (for the athletes) would not be finished. Luckily, they were able to identify another hotel, but the problem was that two weeks prior to the Olympics, there was no front desk, there was no furniture and many of the rooms weren’t finished.

“They put in an amazing effort to work on that place 24 hours a day, and Luke got there and helped them and worked with all the people to get permits, and literally as the athletes were landing in Sochi, Luke was working to get a certificate of occupancy.”

Jaquet was next to ascend the podium, gladly re-touting the organization’s medal count at the Games and announcing several major partnership renewals, including Putnam Investments, Paul Mitchell, Tempur-Pedic, Kellogg’s and the Sacramento Kings (yes, the basketball team), which is taking a stake in the Grand Prix.

Jaquet also announced 18 hours of planned television on NBC for next season (without time buys) and 35 hours of coverage on NBCSN. USSA leveraged its success to make a media rights acquisition from the European Broadcast Union to gain exclusive American broadcast and streaming rights for the 2015 and 2017 World Championships. This spring, the organization announced the most extensive coverage ever of a World Championships in the USA with live broadcast and streaming coverage of every event at the Vail/Beaver Creek World Championships this February on NBC, NBCSN and Universal Sports.

The talks coincided with a video conference presentation by Brett Goodman, senior VP of strategic relations for NBC Olympics.

It wasn’t all about looking back to Sochi. Vice President of Events Calum Clark concluded the meeting by discussing major upcoming events, including the 2017 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in Aspen and the 2019 World Championships in freestyle, freeskiing and snowboarding in Park City, which were recently awarded by the FIS. Of course, the upcoming World Alpine Ski Championships in Beaver Creek were also a point of great emphasis. For each major upcoming event, a panel of athletes and resort representatives were asked to comment on the significance for their sports and local communities.

“The five year plan,” said Clark, “we knew that we had to come out of Sochi with a great plan. We knew the team was going to have great success and Sochi would change the profile of our sport with new sports coming in. … Over these next five years, we are choosing highlights that are in different sports at iconic venues and amazing destination resorts.”

USSA Partner Summit 2014 concluded in an appropriately western fashion with an evening of celebration at the Dierks Bentley show at the base of Deer Valley. It was a nice slice of Americana to say the least.

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World Anti-Doping Agency to create new management system Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:45:27 +0000 SR Staff Athletes at the 2016 Olympic Games WADA Outreach event. Facebook

Athletes at the 2016 Olympic Games WADA Outreach event. Facebook

The World Anti-Doping Agency will develop a new Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS), which will be launched in 2016.

The new version, which will go online following the introduction of the revised World Anti-Doping Code, is being developed to further help with the administration and coordination of practices that protect clean sport. It promises to offer more flexibility and enhanced functionalities for the anti-doping community, including superior administrative capabilities, comprehensive research analysis and the ability to work alongside alternative anti-doping management systems.

The new ADAMS will provide improved functionalities in order to allow data, lab results, TUEs and information on Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) to be stored. Furthermore, the user-friendly system will make it easy for athletes in Registered Testing Pools to submit their Whereabouts.

The current version of ADAMS will continually be upgraded with version 3.7 set to be introduced in August 2014.

Release courtesy of FIS

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Norwegian Mona Loeseth retires at 23 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:18:22 +0000 SR Staff Mona Loeseth at the 2014 Kranjska Gora World Cup. GEPA/David Rodriguez Anchuelo

Mona Loeseth at the 2014 Kranjska Gora World Cup. GEPA/David Rodriguez Anchuelo

Just when it seemed all of this year’s retirements had been announced, Norwegian alpine athlete Mona Loeseth posted a surprising note on her Facebook page.

The 23-year-old technical specialist informed her fans that she no longer plans to pursue her ski racing career, and it is time for her to try out new things.

“I guess all good things come to an end… But I don’t want to call this the end, it’s just the start of something new,” the two-time Junior World Ski Champion wrote on Monday.

“I have decided to retire from ski-racing. For me skiing has always been about the passion and love, and I’ve always said to myself that the day I have no passion and love anymore I will quit. And that day has come. It’s been a tough summer with a lot of thinking. But I’m happy with my decision and excited to try new things! Life is much more than skiing,” Loeseth explained.

Mona is the youngest of the three Loeseth sisters who competed on the World Cup circuit. After oldest sister Lena’s retirement some years ago, Nina will now be the only Loeseth representing Norway in the upcoming season.

“I’ve been extremely lucky to have met such great people along the way. I’ve had amazing teammates (and the best sisters!!), great coaches, servicemen, sponsors, friends and especially family supporting me. I am really grateful. So thank you, to all of you for believing in me and helping me to get to where I’ve been. And I will for sure never stop skiing!”

In her 41 World Cup starts, Mona never made it onto the podium but was able to compete at both the Vancouver and Sochi Olympic Games and Val d’Isere and Schladming World Championships. She scored points in 11 World Cup races with her best result a 12th-place in the Maribor giant slalom in 2010.

Release courtesy of FIS

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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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