Bryan Fletcher named Nordic Combined skier of the year, keeps honor in the family
Steamboat Springs — For the second time in four years, Steamboat Springs Nordic combined skier Bryan Fletcher has been named Nordic combined Skier of the Year by the United States Ski & Snowboard Association. The award was announced by the team May 16 in Park City, Utah.
“It’s motivating and really rewarding,” Fletcher said of earning the end-of-season honor. He said it helps him put a long season in perspective by keeping him in touch with the many ups and downs he experienced through the course of the year.
“I think the fifth at the World Championships was a big highlight,” Fletcher said. “I also had seven World Cup top-10s.”
He thinks the top results in the 2014-15 season helped him win the honor that goes to the top American Nordic Combined skier for the season. However, Fletcher believes the honor and the results say a lot about where the team is headed in the future. It’s a message to the many young skiers on the U.S. Team who are looking to find their own success on the World Cup despite the challenges many of the skiers are facing at home in the wake of funding cuts.
Fletcher credited the work of coaches, veteran skiers like Billy Demong and the always supportive Nordic combined community for coming to the rescue over the past year.
“I think the success we have had on the World Cup is a statement about the support we get from inside our team and from the community that surrounds us,” Fletcher said. “Without that support, there is no way we could compete at this level.”
Fletcher said he is already looking forward to the start of next season and a chance to earn his third Nordic Skier of the Year award from the national team. He currently has two, which is the same number his younger brother Taylor holds.
“It’s not something that we formally announce,” Bryan Fletcher said of competing with his brother. “But there is definitely a rivalry, a competition, there.
“It’s two-two right now,” Fletcher added. “I guess we are just going to have to wait and see what happens.”
But there is no question Fletcher will be pushing hard next season with hopes of getting one up on his brother.
Other U.S. Ski Team athletes who received top honors at the annual banquet included Andy Soule (adaptive), Lindsey Vonn (Alpine), Liz Stephen (cross country), Hannah Kearney (freestyle), Sarah Hendrickson (ski jumping) and Kelly Clark (snowboarding).
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Learning to ski was as mandatory in the Schnackenberg household as reading and learning to tie shoes.