The Vail-based Team America (TA) Foundation has announced its initiatives for the 2016-17 season. Reestablishing a senior program as well as continuing a local junior program headline the initiatives as the foundation looks forward to another successful season.
Team America by SYNC, the TA Foundation’s senior program, will have only one athlete this season. Former U.S. Ski Teamer Hig Roberts of Steamboat Springs, Colo., who was a Team America member before making the jump to the national team in 2015, will once again be supported by the foundation.
“I am honored and blessed to be supported by the Team America Foundation again,” Roberts said. “It is important to have the necessary support and infrastructure to be successful in the sport of ski racing and Team America has proven time and time again to provide that. I spent a very successful year under Team America two years ago, and I think the resources, environment, and mindset of its supporters are very aligned with mine. I cannot thank those involved with Team America and its efforts enough, and I look to have a very successful year competing at the highest level in Europa Cup, World Cup, and hopefully the World Championships,” said Roberts.
Supporting Roberts and providing ski service will be Eric Dasko, formerly of the U.S. women’s speed team.
“I think it’s going to be really great to have service for me,” Roberts added. “At this level, it’s really difficult to – as an athlete – manage your equipment and make sure it’s at the highest level. It’s really great to have Eric, who is really knowledgeable and works really hard and understands that it will help me out with a lot of my responsibilities.”
In addition to the senior team, the TA Foundation will continue to fund Junior Team America by SYNC, an initiative in cooperation with Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) to provide and fund additional training opportunities for recognized athletes. For the time being, TA Foundation is focusing its efforts and limiting junior support to SSCV athletes.
“The junior criteria is established in cooperation with SSCV and generally rewards the very top athletes nationally in their age group,” said TA Foundation’s Kris Ochs. “We believe the success of US ski racing will ultimately come from local initiatives appropriately developing young athletes long before they are ready for the World Cup.”
The Junior Team America roster for 2016-2017 includes Allie Resnick, Cleo Braun, Jacob Dilling, Bridger Gile, Kaitlyn Harsch, Axel Bailey, Colby Lange, Kellen Kinsella, Zane Worrell, Nicola Roundtree-Williams, and Tegan Wold.
These athletes primarily train with their respective club groups during the winter, but TA Foundation will support the costs of supplemental training for these athletes not provided by SSCV that include camps in New Zealand, Chile, Europe, and Colorado.
“We are pleased to support these outstanding athletes. We believe in Hig and strongly feel that top 100 World Ranked athletes need a program that supports them,” said TA Foundation Founder and Chairman Dan Leever. “Through Junior Team America, we look further down the pipeline to provide the same high-quality training opportunities for these national class junior athletes as they advance to world class performance. We extensively studied success in ski racing globally and one of the takeaways was the critical importance of local initiatives. We believe local micro cultures can propel ski racing in the USA to the next level. These initiatives are intended to do just that.”
Kirk Dwyer, Executive Director of SSCV, is excited to continue the club’s affiliation with the foundation and sees the value in such a unique partnership.
“Hig is a talented and highly motivated athlete deserving of this support,” Dwyer said. “The Junior Team America programming and support identifies SSCV athletes on track toward international success and provides the incremental differentiated training critical to progress. Furthermore, there is support for involvement by the next group of athletes with accessibility that is critical to development. This is only possible through the generous support of programs like TA.”
Release courtesy of Team America Foundation