Seven Steamboat athletes confirmed on U.S. snowboard, Alpine and freestyle national teams

Former SSWSC athlete Jaelin Kauf flies down the moguls course at Bokwang Phoenix Park, South Korea, during the women’s moguls qualifying event at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Kauf was unsurprisingly named to the U.S. moguls ski team for the eighth time of her career on Oct. 19, 2022.
Joel Reichenberger/Steamboat Pilot & Today archives

The 2022-23 U.S. snowboard, Alpine and freestyle ski teams have been announced with seven former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club members making their respective teams. 

In snowboarding, veteran Taylor Gold and Steamboat native Cody Winters made the men’s halfpipe and men’s snowboardcross teams, respectively. This will be Gold’s 11th year on the team and Winter’s first. 

The U.S. will host three World Cup events in snowboarding this year with two coming to Copper Mountain Ski Resort and the third at Mammoth Mountain in California. 

In Alpine skiing, three SSWSC alumni qualified for the team with Jett Seymour earning a spot on the men’s B team and Cooper Puckett and Jay Poulter both making the men’s C team. 

Puckett was on the D team last year and is ecstatic to have qualified for the C team for the first time. 

“On the C team, everything is fully funded, so this is my first year ever skiing for free, which is really pretty incredible,” Puckett said. “It feels really great to do that for my family.”

With races coming up, Puckett and other team members are traveling to Copper Mountain to finish up their preseason training. Puckett said that once the season begins, the races come fast and furious, and there will not be much time for practice. Still, he is thrilled to have the season right around the corner. 

“For my career, this feels like a natural step,” Puckett said. “Of course, I’m proud of it because it takes a lot of work to get there every day. It’s definitely not unexpected, but I’m super grateful to be at this point.”

Former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Cooper Puckett races down the slalom course at U16 Nationals in Breckenridge. Years later, Puckett has earned a spot on the U.S. men’s C team for Alpine skiing.
Dan Gilchrist/Courtesy Photo

Two SSWSC alumni qualified for the U.S. freestyle ski team, both for moguls. Jaelin Kauf and Olivia Giaccio have competed with the team for several years now, and they acknowledged it is an honor to continue competing for their country.

“We’ve been on the national team now for the past seven years together,” Kauf said. “We both qualified at the end of the 2015-16 season together, and we were on Steamboat for a couple years before that. I’ve known her, skied with her and trained with her for a long time now.”

Kauf said she is confident in the women’s team this year and has committed to the strength and conditioning workouts leading up to the season. The team will head to Europe at the start of November to train in Sweden and Finland leading up to the first World Cup event in Finland on Dec. 3-4. 

Kauf, along with the other national team members, cannot wait for the season to get started. She is excited to see where this season takes her.

“This time of year when we’re almost to the season, it feels like it starts to slow down a bit,” Kauf said. “I always get pretty anxious to get things going, and we’ve been doing that prep work and training for four months now. I’m definitely getting antsy to get the season started, get over there and get on those courses.”

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