Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes named to US Freestyle Ski team
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Four Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club-trained athletes were nominated to the U.S. Freestyle Ski team.
The list, which includes 32 athletes across mogul and aerial skiing, includes athletes who meet the qualification criteria to be on the team. The team will be officially named this fall. Of the 18 athletes named to the mogul skiing roster, 10 are women.
“We’re part of a world-class organization within the SSWSC that allows us to do what’s needed,” SSWSC head high performance coach Lars Johnson said. “We have world-class training venues from Voodoo to the Howelsen Hill gym to the water ramp at Bald Eagle. The training is endless, year-round. We don’t have to travel as much to get on a course once the winters hit. Even in summer we have some of the best training in our backyard.”
The top four athletes are selected based on number of FIS points. Steamboat’s Jaelin Kauf and Olivia Giaccio return to that list.
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Kauf was a member of the U.S. Ski team for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and recently won silver in dual moguls at the 2019 World Championships in Park City, Utah. Kauf finished 2019 at second overall in the World Cup standings.
Giaccio was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic team in 2018 and finished 11th overall in the 2019 World Cup tour. She’s made appearances in both the 2017 and 2019 World Championships.
The winner of the NorAm cup, Kenzie Radway, also receives a spot, while others are up to coaches’ discretion.
“Obviously, it’s a strong group of women from the club, which is great to see with Kenzie being the newest addition to that group and Jaelin really being the top skier from last year on the World Cup,” SSWSC Associate Executive Director Jon Nolting said. “We’ve got all levels represented, but it continues our tradition of each year an athlete making the national team.”
Avital Shimko, who won the 2018 NorAm Cup, also makes the list once again despite a knee injury that hindered her from competing this season. Radway will be on the injured list for 2019.
“Kenzie will be joining the team and be on the injured list her first year, which is tough,” Nolting said. “But Avital did the same thing, so we’re excited to see what she can do.”
Nolting notes that Radway is a true local, having been in the SSWSC from the very beginning. She’s also Johnson’s first athlete to make the U.S. Ski team.
“It’s obviously gratifying for myself, but the biggest pleasure in it is seeing one of my athlete’s dreams come true,” Johnson said. “This is the real fulfilling part in being a ski coach. We’re not fulfilling our dreams but the next generation of athletes’ dreams.”
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