Nine Vermont-Trained Ski Racers Named to U.S. Alpine Team

[opening photo: Waitsfield’s Brian McLaughlin charging hard at the second run of the 2018 Xfinity Birds of Prey FIS World Cup in Beaver Creek, CO photo by Steven Kornreich/USSA]

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team just released it’s 2019/20 Alpine team roster and Vermonters and Vermont-trained skiers are moving up the ranks. Of the 38 ski racers named to the alpine team, nine are either from Vermont or have trained at a Vermont school. And Alpine Director Jesse Hunt is also a Vermont veteran and former Mt. Mansfield Academy skier.

Making the B team again are two Mad River Valley skiers. Vermonter Ben Ritchie, an 18-year-old student at Green Mountain Valley School is on the team after earning silver in the slalom at the  Junior World Championshipsin Val de Fossa, Italy last November. He joins fellow GMVS skier, Brian McLaughlin (now at Dartmouth) and fellow Vermonter  Ryan Cochran-Siegle, of the famed Cochran ski racing clan from Starksboro, VT.

On the women’s team, Burke Mountain Academy grads and ski team veteran  Mikaela Shiffrin (no surprise) and Nina O’Brien are on the team, along with Stratton Mountain School grad and speed skier Alice Merryweather.  Paula Moltzan the University of Vermont skier who has been on and off the World Cup circuit, is on the team again, following a strong season on the World Cup last year that kicked off when she placed the fourth fastest time on her final slalom race at the Killington World Cup. And another GMVS skier, who grew up in Ripton, Abi Jewett (see Abi Jewett’s First World Cup,) made the women’s C team while George Steffey, a Stratton Mountain Grad, made the men’s C team.

There’s also good news for the more junior members on the team who, in the past, have had to pony up for much of their travel expenses.

Green Mountain Valley School’s Ben Ritchie (left), George Steffey (of Stratton Mountain School, center) were both named to the 2019/20 U.S. B Team. (Shown with GMVS grad Jimmy Krupka, fare right)

“I am pleased to share that our A, B, and C team athletes will be fully travel-funded for the 2019-20 season and will be able to go into prep period camps with the ability to focus purely on athletics,” said Alpine Director Jesse Hunt. “Thanks to commercial sponsors, the Bob Beattie Travel Fund, USOC Direct Athlete Support, dedicated trustees and donor gifts to our Foundation, as well as dedicated fundraising activities carried out by athletes, multiple arms of the organization have been working together to make this happen. The organization has also made significant headway in our efforts to decrease travel costs at the development team level, where members will be responsible for no more than $10,000 in travel and training costs with their team.”

The 38 athletes nominated will be supported by a strong coaching staff. Notable staffing additions include Randy Pelkey taking the helm on the World Cup Men’s Speed side, alongside longtime U.S. Ski Team men’s coaches Scotty Veenis and Josh Applegate. On the men’s World Cup Tech side, Will Courtney joins Forest Carey and Ian Garner as an assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach. Ryan Wilson will join Carey and Garner to focus on supporting men’s slalom at the World Cup level. Matt Underhill will lead the Europa Cup/NorAm teams on the men’s side. Katie Twible joins the women’s NorAm coaching staff, working with Magnus Andersson and Kris Shampeny.

Athletes nominated to the team have already opened the season with their first on-snow training camps in late April at official U.S. Ski & Snowboard training sites Mammoth Mountain and Squaw Valley, Calif., as well as physical testing at the certified U.S. Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence in South Lake Tahoe, located on the Barton Health medical campus, which was officially unveiled as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence in 2018.

An official U.S. Alpine Ski Team team announcement will be made in the fall.

2019-20 Alpine Nominations
(Hometown; Club; Birthdate)

A TEAM
Men
Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.; Squaw Valley Ski Team; 7/14/1992)
Tommy Ford (Bend, OR; Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation; 3/20/1989)
Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.; Squaw Valley Ski Team; 7/14/1988)
Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard; 8/31/1984)
Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah; Park City Ski and Snowboard/Sundance Ski Team; 2/12/1982)                     

Women
Breezy Johnson (Victor, Idaho; Rowmark Ski Academy; 1/19/1996)
Alice McKennis (New Castle, Colo.; Sunlight Winter Sports Club/Rowmark Ski Academy; 8/18/1989)
Laurenne Ross (Bend, Ore.; Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation; 8/17/1988)
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, Colo.; Burke Mountain Academy/Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 3/13/1995)
Jacqueline Wiles (Aurora, Ore.; White Pass Ski Club; 7/13/1992)

B TEAM
Men

Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt.; Cochran’s/Mount Mansfield Ski & Snowboard Club; 3/27/1992)
Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah; Snowbird Sports Education Foundation; 6/15/1991)
Brian McLaughlin (Waitsfield, Vt.; Dartmouth College/Green Mountain Valley School; 6/24/1993)
Sam Morse (Carrabassett Valley, Maine; Carrabassett Valley Academy; 5/27/1996)
Kyle Negomir (Littleton, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/3/1998)
River Radamus (Edwards, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 2/12/1998)
Ben Ritchie (Waitsfield, VT; Green Mountain Valley School; 9/5/2000)
Luke Winters (Gresham, Ore.; Sugar Bowl Academy; 4/2/1997)

Women
Keely Cashman (Strawberry, Calif.; Squaw Valley Ski Team; 4/4/1999)
AJ Hurt (Carnelian Bay, Calif.; Squaw Valley Ski Team; 12/5/2000)
Alice Merryweather (Hingham, Mass.; Attitash Race Team/Stratton Mountain School; 10/5/1996)
Paula Moltzan (Prior Lake, Minn.; University of Vermont/Buck Hill Ski Team/Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; 4/7/1994)
Nina O’Brien (Edwards, Colo.; Burke Mountain Academy/Squaw Valley Ski Team; 11/29/1997)

C TEAM
Men

Cooper Cornelius (Glenwood Springs, Colo.; Aspen Valley Ski Club; 6/20/1999)
Bridger Gile (Aspen, Colo., Aspen Valley Ski Club and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/15/1999)*
George Steffey (Lyme, N.H.; Stratton Mountain School; 8/8/1997)

Women
Abi Jewett (Ripton, Vt.; Green Mountain Valley School; 1/10/2000)
Katie Hensien (Redmond, Wash.; Rowmark Ski Academy; 12/1/1999)
Galena Wardle (Aspen, Colo.; Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club; 4/24/1998)

Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports. Skier. Sometime snowboarder. Future teleskier. Mountain creature.

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