Now that the season has wrapped, U.S. Ski Team alpine press officer Megan Harrod reminisces on the 2014/15 season with the top 15 moments of her first season on the World Cup circuit.
The birds are chirping, the little snow is melting, and springtime is in the air. Let’s get real for a second—by now you’ve all likely moved on to the next sport. But perhaps there are some of you, like me, who are still holding on to the winter months—lamenting season’s end and anxiously looking forward to getting out there for summer ski camps, and eventually, for the snow to fly and the 2015/16 season to start. Seriously. I’m ready. I didn’t want the season to end. Or so I thought until Jared Goldberg said to me at U.S. Alpine Champs, “If you woke up tomorrow in Lake Louise, would you still feel this way?” The answer is no, likely not. But a couple more races? That would have been lovely.
The Western Region FIS Elite Spring Series wrapped on Monday after a six-day race series at Sun Valley Mountain Resort—a successful event foretelling next season’s U.S. Alpine Champs.
Each gender had two slaloms, two giant slaloms and two super G races as a part of the series. The U.S. dominated the speed events, taking all podiums but one in the super G races. Hometown girl Haley Cutler (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) won the ladies’ first super G, followed by Tenaya Standteiner (Squaw Valley Ski Team) and Isabella Wright (Snowbird Sports Educational Foundation). In the second super G, Canadian Rae Swette took the victory with Madison Ostergren (Rowmark Ski Academy) taking second and Cutler in third.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO (April 6, 2015) – John McMurtry is one of many ardent fans of ski racing in the Vail Valley who made the daily trek to the hill during the World Championships this past February. But as he watched the U.S. Ski Team win five medals, there was a special piece of him that reminisced about the role he played decades ago that is still a key part of the USA’s ongoing success.
On Saturday, McMurtry will join nine others as he is inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Steamboat Springs.
McMurtry, who today serves as the chief development officer for the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, is most known within the sport as the coach of the women’s team in the early 1980s, winning the Nations Cup title in 1982, helping steer Tamara McKinney to the overall World Cup title in 1983 and being a part of the remarkable success of the 1984 Olympic Team in Sarajevo.
PARK CITY, UT (April 6, 2015) – U.S. Ski Team Women’s Speed Head Coach Stefan Abplanalp is leaving the team after one season. Abplanalp oversaw the women’s speed team this past year, leading it to a resurgence with 12 podiums including a sweep in Lake Louise, eight wins from Lindsey Vonn, a World Championships medal and two World Cup titles.
“Stef was a big part of bringing the women’s speed team back to strength,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Alpine Director Patrick Riml. “But Stef and I both have come to the conclusion that our vision and philosophy is different so we came to mutual decision to part. We wish him all the best in the future. He was a big contributor to our program and I know he is proud of what he accomplished.”
The Team anticipates naming a new coach during April.
Ski Racing put together a video featuring Ted Ligety's ski technician for his HEAD skis - Alex Martin. Martin tells trade secrets about how many pairs of skis Ligety has, what a race day ski set up looks like and what it's really like working with Ligety.
Lindsey Vonn is the fastest female downhill and super G skier in the world. She is also the winningest female ski racer in history. She holds Olympic medals and World Championships medals. She has her own line of downhill suits and athletic wear.
But, Vonn is deeper than just her athletic achievements you read about on paper. Behind the trophy façade, Vonn has a passion for inspiring young girls and helping them achieve their dreams. And this season, she decided to act on it. Meet the Lindsey Vonn Foundation.
Vonn appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers to talk golf, Tiger Woods and her new foundation.
On Monday, the U.S. Ski Team—spread far and wide—wished Bill Johnson a happy 55th birthday. Steven Nyman and Marco Sullivan put a video online, telling Johnson that he’s the man. Mikaela Shiffrin took a photograph holding a sign that said “Happy Birthday Bill.” On the U.S. Ski Team Facebook, a video was posted of his 1984 gold medal-winning Olympic run.
Steven Nyman and Marco Sullivan wish Bill Johnson a happy 55th birthday.
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 29, 2015)—With a come-from-behind second run, David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO – U.S. Ski Team) confirmed his status as a slalom star by winning the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships slalom. The win also gave him the combined victory—adding up both the slalom and the super G races. AJ Ginnis (Waitsfield, VT – U.S. Ski Team) finished second and Redneck Racing’s Tim Kelley (Starksboro, VT – Cochran Ski Club) was third in the slalom, while in the alpine combined, Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV – U.S. Ski Team) was second and Drew Duffy (Warren, VT – Green Mountain Valley School) took third.
After a great start to the season—teetering on the edge of top-10 World Cup finishes—Chodounsky had a rough go at the end of the year. And it looked like nationals were going to go the same way for him, as he broke his pole during the first run and finished third. But he was determined to not give up and shred a fast second run that gave him the slalom win.
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 28, 2015)—Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO – U.S. Ski Team) cleaned up on Saturday, winning the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Champs slalom by more than four seconds over Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN – U.S. Ski Team). Megan McJames (Park City, UT) was third.
In front of a huge crowd cheering Shiffrin’s name, she threw down her first run with a time no one could beat. Second run, did the same. But Moltzan was on her tail. “Last year I was four seconds behind her every run and now I’m two, so it’s going down!” Moltzan joked after her second place finish. “It’s nice to have a benchmark to see how you’re progressing in your skiing.” Moltzan, a slalom specialist who is often compared to Shiffrin, won this year’s World Junior Championships. Although more than four seconds off of Shiffrin, Moltzan did hold a hefty 2.5 second lead over the rest of the field, as well—showcasing the dominance of both of these young women.
SUGARLOAF, ME (March 27, 2015)—Giant slalom specialist Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV – U.S. Ski Team) threw down on bumpy snow at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships to take his third national title in a row ahead of first run leader Tommy Ford (Bend, OR – U.S. Ski Team). Former University of Utah racer and current Team Geronimo member Nick Cohee (Gardnerville, NV – Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club/Team Geronimo) took third.
“It was fun,” said Jitloff, who was a favorite going into the race. “We’re all really tired here, but anytime you can come back and see little kids who want to be doing what you’re doing is huge. That’s what these are all about.”
Jitloff was second after first run behind Tommy Ford, who was going for his ninth national title. Ford put down a solid second run, but couldn’t hold first place–bobbling a bit on the on the last face. This was Jitloff’s sixth U.S. Alpine Championships win.