The U.S. Alpine Ski Team travels the globe, far and wide, to a myriad of majestic mountains, but one of the most magical of these mountains is without a doubt Ohau Snowfields in New Zealand. Recognized as one of the “9 Most Stunning Places to Ski on Earth” in 2015, Ohau (pronounced “oh-how”) is one of three locations that plays host to the men’s and women’s alpine ski teams as they return to snow each summer for their first prep period of the season. Lake Ohau Lodge is like summer camp on steroids—all of the good of summer camp mixed with a touch of luxury and fine dining…and a staff that rivals the best camp counselors from your childhood memories. But what is it, exactly, that makes Ohau’s magic so unmatched?
Even after spending all day in the gym, the Europa Cup boys on the U.S. Alpine Ski Team returned to the USSA Center of Excellence on a Thursday night in September. It was a festive atmosphere with pizza and loud music, but the guys weren’t quite dressed for a party. Instead, they all showed up in their downhill suits.
The Center of Excellence gym—full of elite skiers and snowboarders getting strong for the upcoming season—houses a ski simulator designed by SkyTech. The athletes put on their ski boots and step into the bindings. There are sensors everywhere—tracking movement, angles, the position of skis and more. They’re on a motor that generates forces and the sensation of skiing. In front of them is a World Cup track filled with gates—an actual World Cup course filmed in previous seasons—allowing the skier to train a hill over and over, prior to actually racing it on snow.
Last winter, Brock Crouch (Mammoth Mountain, CA) burst on to the international snowboarding scene with a World Cup win at the Olympic test event in PyeongChang, South Korea. But Crouch is trading his snowboard for a surfboard next week to compete at the 2016 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships in Azores, Portugal.
Born and raised in Carlsbad, CA, Crouch grew up with the beach in his backyard. His family moved up to Mammoth Mountain for the winter months so he could work on his snowboarding, but Crouch has consistently spent his summers surfing since he was 12 years old.
“I just love being at the beach and in the ocean,” said Crouch. “If you’re having a bad day, you can just head down to the beach and surf with your friends. It’s a great community.”
From local ski hills to the PyeongChang Olympics, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) encompasses all athletes that share a passion for skiing and snowboarding. We explore what makes each skier and rider a champion with stories from the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing, next to kids winning a NASTAR medal, landing their first cork 7 or joining a club team. Alongside USSA’s mascot Champ, take a look at how all of these athletes strive to be Best in the World. As we continue to explore what makes USSA athletes champions, we’re learning more than we ever expected.
To be a champion goes beyond the medals and the titles. It’s someone with great character and an undying belief in themselves; it’s someone who loves their sport with an unmatched passion. In this installation, U.S. Ski Team Content Manager Courtney Harkins sits down with Sadie Bjornsen to discuss #WhatMakesAChamp.
WANAKA, New Zealand (Sept. 11, 2016) - The FIS Cross Country Continental Cup wrapped up sunday at the Snow Farm near Wanaka, with the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team's Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) picking up wins.
Hamilton won the 10k freestyle in 26 minutes, eight seconds for a 16.9 second margin over South Korea's Yong-chin Cho. Stephen won the women's 5k freestyle in 13:28.4, 48.7 seconds ahead of Chae-won Lee of South Korea.
The team has been participating in the races as a part of its on-snow camp at the Snow Farm.
CHAIKOVSKY, Russia (Sept. 10, 2016) - Nita Englund (Florence, WI) came from behind to finish a strong seventh in the FIS Ski Jumping Summer Grand Prix in Chaikovsky Saturday. Japan’s Sara Takanshi took the win under the lights.
It was a strong day for the U.S. women with Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, VT) 13th. For Englund, it was her first major international competition since scoring a pair of top-10s to end the World Cup season last February in Almaty, Kazahkstan.
Englund was11th after the first round with a jump of 93.5 meters. Geraghty-Moats flew 90.0 meters to stand 17th.
But in the second round, both Americans had strong rides. Englund flew 98.5 meters - fourth highest score of the round - to move up to seventh. Geraghty-Moats soared 94.0 meters to bump up to 13th.