Olympian Mick Dierdorff among large Steamboat crew named to 2018-19 U.S. team | SteamboatToday.com

Olympian Mick Dierdorff among large Steamboat crew named to 2018-19 U.S. team

Mick Dierdorff races in a qualification round of the men’s snowboard cross event at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Joel Reichenberger

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It may be time for Mick Dierdorff to come up with a new list.

The Steamboat Springs snowboarder finished his winter with plenty checked off his career to-do list in snowboard cross, from making a World Cup podium to leading the U.S. team in the world standings to making the Olympic team and, there, progressing through the bracket to earn the chance to race in the finals for an Olympic gold medal.

He’s been busy checking items off since the end of the season, as well, including visiting the White House last month and, this week, being named to the U.S. Snowboard Cross A team after living four years on the B team.

It means a big financial break for Dierdorff, and it’s yet another accomplished goal.

“It’s been a goal as long as I can remember,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting to check that one off.”

Steamboat athletes dot national teams

Dierdorff was one of a handful of Steamboat Springs athletes named to various national teams so far this week.

Steamboat slopestyle rider Nik Baden is on the men’s pro team for that event. Steamboat’s Arielle Gold, a two-time Olympian and a bronze medalist at the 2018 Olympics, is on the women’s pro halfpipe team while her brother, 2014 Olympian and X Games medalist Taylor Gold is on the men’s pro team after taking last season off to rehabilitate a persistent injury.

On the women’s side of snowboard cross, Rosie Mancari, an Anchorage, Alaska, athlete who trains with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, is on the snowboard cross B team. Mancari also made the Olympic team for 2018 though an injury before her event kept her from competing.

Aaron “AJ” Muss was named to the B team for Alpine snowboarding. Muss grew up in New Jersey and trained for much of his career in Steamboat. He’s a 2018 Olympian and coming off the best season of his career in which he reached the top 10 four times during the World Cup schedule.

Jaelin Kauf leads an elite group of women named to the freestyle moguls A team.

Kauf, who graduated from Steamboat Springs High School and trained with the Winter Sports Club before making the U.S. team, finished second last winter in the World Cup standings and was seventh at her first Winter Olympics.

Olivia Giaccio, who also trained with the Winter Sports Club before making the team, is on the A team, as well, and Avital Shimko made the B team. Shimko, from New York City, lived and trained in Steamboat before earning World Cup starts last winter and earning her spot on the team by winning the Nor-Am moguls circuit.

Opportunity of a lifetime

For Dierdorff, there wasn’t much debate about whether or not he’d get the promotion. He was the only mens U.S. snowboard cross rider to meet the required criteria to make the A team, which demanded riders either make the Olympic podium or two World Cup podiums.

He did that, placing third early in the season and second late, then he was fifth at the Olympics.

Life since has been everything he expected, he said, including that trip to the White House for traditional Olympians Washington, D.C., visit.

Athletes partied deep into the night before their visit at and after the Team USA awards, then were up early for their big visit where they had three hours to wait and explore the building before President Donald Trump spoke to the group.

“Oh man, it was so much fun,” he said. “Just getting back with all the athletes you met from other sports at the Olympics, getting to hang out with them for three days in a setting where you’re not competing, it was super fun.

“Getting to see the White House was absolutely crazy,” he said. “The only place we couldn’t go was the residence upstairs, but the whole main floor and the basement, there were so many different rooms and every room had a different story. I wasn’t viewing it as a political thing, just a privilege we were offered as Olympians. It’s been a tradition a long time, and it was so cool”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.

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