Dierdorff, Gold among 5 Steamboat Springs snowboarders named to 2018 Olympic team
Steamboat Springs' 2018 Olympians (More will be added as team announcements are made.)
Bryan Fletcher, Nordic combined
Jaelin Kauf, Freestyle moguls
Arielle Gold, snowboard halfpipe
Mick Dierdorff, snowboard cross
Aaron Muss, Alpine snowboardMike Trapp, Alpine snowboard
Rosie Mancari, Snowboard cross
Ester Ledecka, Alpine ski slalom/Alpine snowboard (For Czech Republic)
Jarryd Hughes, snowboard cross (For Australia)
Belle Brockhoff, snowboard cross (For Australia)
Vic Wild, Alpine snowboard (For Russia)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Mick Dierdorff didn’t know, but he’d thought through every scenario and couldn’t reach any other logical conclusion. Things had simply come together too well this season — the best of his life.
He didn’t know, but when Dierdorff, a World Cup snowboard cross racer from Steamboat Springs, got a text message from his coach Tuesday at the same time as roommate and fellow competitor Hagen Kearney, well, then he did know.
Both were summoned to a meeting with the U.S. team coaches, and they knew the news they were about to get.
Dierdorff moved with his family to Steamboat Springs when he was just a year old. He’s been riding in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club since he was 4, and he’s always dreamed of having a flag with his name on it in the lodge at the base of Howelsen Hill, the flags they give to Olympians.
He got a text from his coach Tuesday morning, and he knew he’ll have his flag.
Mick Dierdorff is going to the Olympics.
“It’s just there were so many years of hard work going toward this one dream,” Dierdorff said Tuesday. “It all came together at one moment, and it’s hard to describe the feeling. It’s surreal.”
He was one of 26 U.S. snowboarders — five of them from Steamboat Springs — officially named Tuesday to the U.S. snowboard cross team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Also getting the call Tuesday was women’s halfpipe rider Arielle Gold, making her second Olympic team; Rosie Mancari, an Alaskan snowboarder who trains with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; Aaron Muss, a New Jersey Alpine snowboarder who trained in Steamboat Springs; and Mike Trapp, another Alpine snowboarder who also was long based out of Steamboat.
For Dierdorff, the announcement is a life-long goal realized, and it took nearly everything he had to achieve it. Success on the snowboard cross World Cup came slowly for him. He didn’t achieve his first podium finish until the second race of this season, in Cerro Catedral, Argentina.
Once he did achieve that, however, he caught fire.
He had never before in his career strung two top-10 finishes together but this year placed in the top 10 in five consecutive World Cups. He needed results like that, too, considering how stacked the U.S. men’s team was.
Left behind as he made the team were two Olympic medalists and another three-time Olympian.
“Starting out in Argentina and getting that podium, that was the moment I just turned a switch in my head and knew I could be at the top in these races,” he said. “I just had confidence through the races I could keep the momentum going. I’ve never gone into a World Cup season with that same mentality.”
Dierdorff is currently training ahead of an event in Bulgaria but plans to return to Steamboat Springs late this weekend. He found out he’d made the team at 10 a.m. and at first wasn’t sure what to do. It was 2 a.m. in Steamboat, and he was sure his parents and sister were asleep.
So, he sent a text instead of calling, “whenever you get up, give me a call.”
His phone rang two hours later, at 4 a.m. in Steamboat, with his parents up and excited.
“They were freaking out,” Dierdorff said.
Now early next month, he’ll board a plane to South Korea.
“I’m looking forward to walking in the Opening Ceremonies,” he said. “I think it’s going to be life-changing. I think that will be the moment when it will all hit me, the accomplishment of making it there, the experience in general. It will be so much fun, going and trying to win.”
Olympic announcements continue
In snowboard cross, Dierdorff is joined on the team by Kearney, from Telluride, Nick Baumgartner, from Iron River, Michigan, and Jonathan Cheever from Park City, Utah.
Mancari will join Salt Lake City’s Faye Gulini and Stratton Mountain, Vermont, rider Lindsey Jacobellis.
Gold will compete with Kelly Clark, Chloe Kim and Maddie Mastro in the women’s snowboard pipe event. Ben Ferguson, Jake Pates, Shaun White and Chase Josey were selected for the men’s snowboard halfpipe; Red Gerard, Chris Corning, Kyle Mack and Ryan Stassel for the men’s snowboard slopestyle; and Jamie Anderson, Jules Marino, Hailey Langland and JessiKa Jenson for the women’s snowboard halfpipe.
The Alpine ski team will be announced Wednesday, and the Nordic combined, ski jumping and cross-country teams Thursday.
The Olympics begin Feb. 9 with the Opening Ceremonies.
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