USSA Holiday Update

December is an exciting and busy time for USSA staff and our national teams both here at home and abroad. The swift pace of the Holiday season sees our domestic clubs, coaches, parents, volunteers, supporters and officials similarly busy preparing, competing and organizing countless activities as members of our snowboarding and skiing families pursue their passions, driving development and the growth of our sports. Without all of you our organization, our inspiring athletes and their worldwide successes would not be possible. For this we at the USSA are thankful.

Witnessing the effort and dedication of our athletes firsthand has been breathtaking. Recently in Davos, Switzerland, our cross country team battled the Norwegian juggernaut along with the rest of the nordic world. Score = Norway 1, World 0. But our team has mid-season peaking plans, as do others, and the tide will certainly change as the season winds on. Great ramp-up performances were still at hand with Liz Stephen, Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen’s top 22 in the classic race Saturday followed by four qualifying into elimination heats Sunday. Sophie Caldwell’s return from broken elbow surgery continued to amaze, with Andrew Newell, Ida Sargent and Kikkan Randall also battling in heats. The gritty effort of our entire team in Davos demonstrates our growing depth in the face of Russian, Scandinavian and European dominance.

Our freeskiing and snowboarding athletes have been impressive in both the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix and Dew Tour. Taylor Gold is having a storybook season, winning twice along with veteran Kelly Clark. Olympic champion Maddie Bowman is back from injury with a Dew Tour title. And David Wise and Torin Yater-Wallace have set themselves up for a battle at X Games as each grabbed early season wins. At the Grand Prix, U.S. athletes claimed eight of the 12 podium spots, then taking 14 of 24 at the Dew Tour including every title. Sweeping slope titles were Chas Guldemond, Jamie Anderson, Gus Kenworthy and Keri Herman. Snowboardcross still awaits its opening competition amidst weather-driven cancellations in Europe.

At the dual moguls World Cup opener in Ruka, Finland, Hannah Kearney kicked off her final season with a 3rd place podium finish. She and her teammates are hungry and motivated this season. Aerialists kick off their season in Beijing’s Birds Nest stadium this weekend.

Sarah Hendrickson continues to lead our ski jumpers preparing to defend her World Championship medal this winter in Sweden while in nordic combined, Bryan Fletcher cracked the top 10 last weekend in Lillehammer.

Our alpine athletes have started an outstanding season, with Mikaela Shiffrin’s early win in Soelden. Steven Nyman scored a downhill podium while Ted Ligety claimed GS victory for the fifth straight year at the Audi Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek. A stunning women’s speed team performance in Lake Louise saw Lindsey Vonn notch a comeback win while simultaneously leading Stacey Cook and Julia Mancuso into the first-ever all American alpine podium sweep, followed by a second in the Super G.

Everyone involved in competitive skiing and snowboarding helps us to support our Best in the World vision. As we accomplish this we recognize that it is this nation’s pursuit of our sports at all levels that creates this excellence. Our Best in the World athletes started with a local program supported by many that helped them practice, improve and see the way to the top. It’s what dreams are made of.

Happy Holidays!

Tiger Shaw
President and CEO
U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association