Locals named to U.S. Alpine team
Truckee-Tahoe area boasts several Olympic hopefuls
U.S. Ski & Snowboard has announced members of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team for the 2021-22 Olympic season, and a number of local skiers are among those selected.
Longtime members out of Olympic Valley, Travis Ganong and Bryce Bennett, were again selected to the program’s A Team. On the women’s side, Nina O’Brien, who grew up skiing in the area, is coming off a career-best season and will also be a member of the A Team.
O’Brien, 23, is coming off a year in which she claimed a ninth-place finish in slalom and a 10th in giant slalom at the World Ski Championships. She opened her 2021-22 campaign by claiming ninth in giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, last month.
Ganong, 33, posted an eighth place in super-G at last year’s World Ski Championships. He also had a seventh-place finish at a World Cup downhill event and a fourth place at a World Cup super-G race last season.
Bennett, 29, ended last season with a pair of top-10 finishes on the World Cup circuit. He also took 10th in downhill at the World Ski Championships and was fourth place earlier in the year at a World Cup downhill race.
Highlighting the B Team are a pair of up-and-comers Keely Cashman and AJ Hurt. Cashman, 22, started last season with much promise, claiming podium finishes at the National Championships in Copper Mountain, Colorado, followed by her first career World Cup points, but she’d have her season cut short following a crash in training. She had another serious crash in May at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort, but has since fully recovered. Cashman competed last month in giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, but was unable to qualify for the second run.
Hurt, 20, opened her 2021-22 season in fashion, picking up World Cup points with her 20th-place finish in giant slalom in Soelden. She is the reigning slalom national champion, having won the event last year at Copper Mountain.
On the men’s side, Erik Arvidsson and Luke Winters were named to the program’s B Team. Arvidsson, 25, scored his first World Cup points last season, which was highlighted by an eighth-place finish at a World Cup event in Austria. Arvidsson also posted a pair of downhill wins on the European Cup.
Winters, 24, out of Sugar Bowl Academy, took first in slalom last year at the National Championships in Copper Mountain. He also picked up World Cup points in a pair of slalom events.
This year all members of the program’s A, B, and C Teams are fully travel-funded. Members of the development team are responsible for no more than $10,000 in travel and training costs. Locally, Alix Wilkinson has again been named to the development team. Wilkinson, 21, out of Mammoth Lakes and a member of the Squaw Valley Ski Team, had her best stretch of the season in January when she won four straight FIS events.
Skiers on the 44-member U.S. Alpine Ski Team are set to continue the season this weekend with World Cup parallel racing in Austria as they vie for a place on Team USA. The Olympic skiing, including training, is set to take place Feb. 3-19.
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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