Storm Klomhaus, recent University of Denver graduate and NCAA All-American in giant slalom, is ready for her first full-time ski season after school. Klomhaus’s college racing career was cut short after a routine ACL injury in her sophomore year turned into an infected, six-surgery recovery that would not allow her back to snow for more than a year-and-a-half. Fully recovered and homework out of sight, Klomhaus is hoping to set the stage and ski her way into World Cup spots.
Klomhaus made her World Cup debut in 2019 in Soelden, followed by a second GS start in Killington, Vt. But, as an independent skier, challenges arose as she relied on her own knowledge and skills to recreate a World Cup level ski tune before her races.
“In Soelden, the U.S. team gave me a little help with their ski tech, but I never skied on their tune before, so it was maybe not the best call,” said Klomhaus. “I tried really hard to tune my skis at a World Cup level, but when I did them on my own at Killington, they were not nearly sharp enough. I only made it a few turns.”
A new member of Team X, Klomhaus is fortunate to join a new high-level female team with two coaches and ski technician. Her teammates, Tricia Mangan, former Olympic skier, and Australian Maddie Hoffman, a world junior competitor, are the competitive teammates Klomhaus needs to push herself forward.
Unfortunately for Klomhaus, the World Cup event in which she had retained starting spot, alpine combined, has been postponed this year due to COVID-19. Ranked fourth in the U.S. in giant slalom, Klomhaus is seeking to earn a spot in World Cup GS. She’s hoping to be afforded the opportunity to qualify through upcoming time trials.
“Time trials are pretty stressful,” said Klomhaus. “There is a lot of pressure. If you don’t have your own spot you almost feel lucky to show up at any World Cup you qualify for and that’s a really hard headspace to perform from.”
Klomhaus would normally have her sights on NorAm Cup races to qualify for future World Cup spots. But with uncertainties — and frankly doubts — surrounding the NorAm schedule, Klomhaus is having a hard time envisioning the pathway.
“It’s hard to picture a year without NorAms,” said Klomhaus. “It would be especially tough for those not on the U.S. Ski Team if NorAms don’t happen and you can’t qualify to get your own spot in World Cups.”
Klomhaus will start U.S. Nationals GS on Nov. 16 at Copper Mountain as her first race of the season. She is hopeful the race will be a strong start to her season and bring confidence going into future time trials. Knowing her race schedule can change quickly, or perhaps be cancelled altogether, Klomhaus recognizes her worst case scenario … a year of training to get better for the following year.
“We are all super lucky to be training at all,” said Klomhaus. “Wearing masks, not using radios, staying six feet away — as long as we get to train, I will take any precautions.”
Following a training block at Copper, Klomhaus and Team X will travel to Europe to pursue Europa Cup and World Cup races while remaining hopeful for NorAms lat in the season.