ISTANBUL, Turkey (Dec. 20, 2104) - In front of a packed house at Istanbul’s Technical University Stadium, U.S. Snowboarding’s Ty Walker (Stowe, VT) walked away with her first FIS World Cup win and became the first women ever to win an FIS Snowboard Big Air World Cup. The event snowcased big air snowboarding, which is being considered for the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang.
Walker, who earned $17,000 for the win, landed both backside and frontside 720s for a combined score of 156.5 points besting Swiss Sina Candrian and The Netherlands’ Cheryl Maas.
Just 17 years old, Walker was one of the youngest Olympians in Sochi, qualifying for slopestyle snowboarding. She attends the USSA TEAM Academy in Park City, where she’s an ‘A’ student and on track to graduate from high school this spring.
BEIJING, China (Dec. 20, 2014) – If she wasn’t already on it, put Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT) on your list of U.S. Freestyle Ski Team athletes to watch this season. Surrounded by thousands of aerials fans in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium, McKinnon jumped to her first career World Cup podium with a third place finish at the FIS Freestyle World Cup aerials opener. She went full, full (two flips, two twists) for the qualification and first final before going full, double full (two flips, three twists) in the second final, landing her first one of the season in competition.
“I’m really excited to have gotten my first World Cup podium,” said McKinnon. “The crowd was really getting into the competition and everything came together really well. It was a great event.”
DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 20, 2014) - Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) skied a strong 10k effort to finish a minute back from dominant Norwegian Marit Bjoergen in Saturday’s freestyle event in Davos – a big confidence booster.
“In 2013 she was 15th and the same time back (~1 min) in this same event in Davos, and finished just eight seconds off the podium two weeks later at World Champs,” U.S. Coach Matt Whitcomb explained of Stephen’s performance. “This will give her confidence as she heads into her training preparations for the Tour de Ski. That is a big focus for her this season. She's on track.”
Stephen led through the first 22 finishers watching from the U.S. Team leader’s chair. She improved some of the long, slow V2 efforts needed to ski well in the higher elevation Swiss venue. Conditions were particularly tricky due to warm weather and mixture of rain and snow on the course throughout the week.