USSA awards honor 2011’s best


Olympic champion Hannah Kearney and cross country star Kikkan Randall  headlined the list of honorees as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announced its annual awards. Longtime nordic combined official Joe Lamb  was selected to receive the Julius Blegen Award, the USSA’s highest honor for volunteerism, for his three decades of service to the sport. The awards were presented Friday evening at the annual USSA Congress in Park City.

Kearney was honored with the Beck International Award as the top USSA athlete for the season. The Vermont native came off her Olympic title season to dominate her sport, winning both the overall and moguls titles in the season-long International Ski Federation World Cup. Along the way she won a sport record nine World Cups, including all seven individual moguls competitions. She also won two medals at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships at Deer Valley Resort.

“These awards mean a lot to me,” said Kearney. “The support of the USSA, including the volunteers and staff, have allowed me to have a great career and the most successful season of my life this past year.”

Randall was recognized with the Buddy Werner Award for leadership and sportsmanship. She finished third in the World Cup cross country sprint standings, an American women’s record, winning two events. She was recognized for her leadership in helping pioneer Fast and Female, an on-snow program to motivate young girls to cross country ski and live an active lifestyle. She was also involved with other athletes in raising support for Japanese relief efforts.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be supported by so many amazing people,” said Randall. “I, in turn, am passionate about helping young girls discover the benefits of healthy, active lifestyles so that they can feel empowered and confident to chase their dreams.”

“Hannah Kearney’s passion to prepare to win allowed her to dominate her sport this season,” said USSA Executive Vice President, Athletics Luke Bodensteiner. “Kikkan Randall is a great role model and a leader in her sport. She is inspiring an entire generation of young girls by blazing new trails on and off the cross country tracks.”

Lamb, a 1972 Olympian and Lake Placid native, has had a major impact on his sport of nordic combined. His vision for building the sport in America and his international leadership played a key role in the success of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team over the past decade where the USA won 10 World Championship and Olympic medals.

Lamb grew up as an athlete in the spirit of sport that pervades the Adirondack village of Lake Placid. He went on to a long career in coaching and has been an advocate of youth sport for decades. With a vision for the future, he helped bring Norwegian athletes and coaches to Lake Placid to inspire local athletes, like future Olympic champion Billy Demong. In 1991 he was named to the International Ski Federation Nordic Combined Committee, serving for 15 years including a term as vice chairman. His work in the FIS not only helped the USA but was a key component in the modernization of the sport. He is a past recipient of the USSA’s Bud and Mary Little Award for his work within the FIS.

“Joe Lamb typifies the spirit of Olympism that fuels the passion in our volunteers,” said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. “His contribution over decades has made a really tangible difference in nordic combined as a sport and had a direct impact on the medals won by U.S. athletes in the last ten years.”

The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club was named USSA Club of the Year. U.S. Snowboarding Halpipe Coach Rick Bower was named USSA International Coach of the Year while Axis Freeride Head Coach Chris “Hatch” Haslock  was named USSA Development Coach of the Year. Jeff Lange  earned the top honor as a USSA official with the Westhaven Award.

The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, under the leadership of Mark Cole, manages programs across a wide range of sports. The club was cited for its strong athletic success this past year in alpine and adaptive, and for hosting major events from grassroots Marriott Junior Championships to Audi FIS World Cup.

Haslock was cited for his efforts in creating a strong freeskiing program with Axis Freeride in Park City and playing a key role in the addition of skiing slopestyle to the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships. Bower, a former World Champion halfpipe rider, played a key role in a strong year for U.S. Snowboarding halfpipe riders, notably Olympic champion Kelly Clark winning an amazing nine major events.

Lange was honored for his more than two decades of service as an International Ski Federation technical delegate.

The awards were presented at the annual USSA Congress at the Park City Marriott.

2011 U.S. SKI AND SNOWBOARD ASSOCIATION AWARDS

Diamond Award
Julius Blegen Award – Joe Lamb

Gold Awards
USSA Development Coach of the Year Award – Chris Haslock (Park City, UT)
USSA Coach of the Year Award – Rick Bower (Park City, UT)
USSA Club of the Year Award – Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club
Beck International Award (top USSA athlete) – Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT)
Westhaven Award (top USSA official) – Jeff Lange (Redmond, WA)

Silver Awards
Paul Bacon Award (event organization) – Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Erik Skinner
John J. Clair Jr. Award (service to USSA) – Bob Dart (Winter Park, CO)
Bud and Mary Little Award (service to FIS/USOC) – Ted Sutton (Lincoln, NH)
Buddy Werner Award (athlete sportsmanship) – Kikkan Randall (Anchorage)
Russell Wilder Award (service to youth) – NASTAR
USSA J. Leland Sosman Award – Dr. William I. Sterett (Vail, CO)
West Family Award (USSA certified official) – Chris Seemann (Winter Park, CO)

Athletes of the Year
Adaptive Athlete of the Year Award – Danelle Umstead (Taos, NM)
Alpine Athlete of the Year Award – Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO)
Cross Country Athlete of the Year Award – Kikkan Randall (Anchorage)
Freestyle Athlete of the Year Award – Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT)
Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year Award – Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year Award – Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, NY)
Snowboarding Athlete of the Year Award – Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT)

Coaches of the Year
Adaptive International Coach of the Year Award – Erik Leirfallom (Denver)
Adaptive Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Mau Thompson (Winter Park, CO)
Alpine International Coach of the Year Award – Forest Carey (Kingfield, ME)
Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Pat Callahan (Aspen, CO)
Cross Country International Coach of the Year Award – Erik Flora (Anchorage)
Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Jason Cork (Hayward, WI)
Freestyle International Coach of the Year Award – Garth Hager (Red Salmon, WA)
Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Chris Haslock (Park City, UT)
Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined International Coach of the Year Award – Clint Jones (Park City, UT)
Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Domestic Coach of the Year Award – David McCahill (Lake Placid, NY)
Snowboarding International Coach of the Year Award – Rick Bower (Park City, UT)
Snowboarding Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Jim Smith (Frisco, CO)

Clubs of the Year
Adaptive Club of the Year Award – Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club
Alpine Club of the Year Award – Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club
Cross Country Club of the Year Award – Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center
Freestyle Club of the Year Award
– Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
Jumping/Nordic Combined Club of the Year Award – Salisbury Winter Sports Club
Snowboarding Club of the Year Award – Stratton Mountain School

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