U.S. Ski & Snowboard announces Alpine team

Bryce Bennett competes during the Xfinity Birds of Prey super-G at Beaver Creek Resort on Dec. 2.
Dustin Satloff / @usskiteam

PARK CITY, Utah — After years of having multiple athletes representing the Lake Tahoe area, Team Palisades Tahoe skier Bryce Bennett will be the lone member competing from the region on U.S. Alpine Ski Team’s A Team.

Bennett, a member of the program since 2011, finished 35th in the World Cup downhill standings and finished 10th at the Aspen downhill as his top finish of the season.

Bennett, 31, is among 55 athletes confirmed for this season Stifel. U.S. Alpine Ski Team. He will now carry on the tradition Olympic Valley downhill skiing after the retirement of one of the top racers the area’s produced, Travis Ganong.

Another staple of Team Palisades Tahoe, Nina O’Brien, was also named to the A Team but will miss the season after fracturing her leg last month at training camp in New Zealand.

“I’m really sad to share that I left New Zealand after re-fracturing my leg,” said O’Brien in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “Ski racing, I love you but wow you can be brutal. I was having the best camp, and just want to get back to those moments. So I guess we’ll have to try this thing again. At least this isn’t my first rodeo.”

This is the second time O’Brien, 25, has broken her left leg. She first broke it while competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. O’Brien underwent surgery at Vail Health Hospital last month and said she’s already taking her “first steps toward season 24/24.”

O’Brien finished last year ranked 26th in the World Cup giant slalom standings, including a 10th place in the Kronplatz, Italy. She also became a world champion in the team event at the Courchevel-Meribel World Championships.

Team Palisades Tahoe will also see the return the duo of Keely Cashman and AJ Hurt as members of the program’s B Team.

Cashman, 24, competed across World Cup, Nor-Am, and European Cup events last year. She won four FIS races last year, including a first-place finish in slalom at Alpine Meadows in April. Cashman finished runner up at the U.S. National Championships in super-G. Her best performance in World Cup racing came at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, where she finished 27th in downhill.

Hurt, 22, suffered a season-ending injury last December, but has since came back to pick up a slalom and giant slalom win while competing in the Australian New Zealand Cup. She also took first place last month in slalom at the New Zealand National Championships.

On the men’s side, Erik Arvidsson, 27, will join the B Team as another representative of Team Palisades Tahoe. Arvidsson captured a pair of Nor-Am Cup wins last year in downhill. He was also a runner-up in super-G at the U.S. National Championships, and was ninth in combined at the World Championships in France. He finished the 2023 season as the top-ranked downhill racer in the Nor-Am Cup standings.

Sugar Bowl Academy skier Luke Winters, 26, will also be on the B Team. Winters was a runner-up at the U.S. National Championships in slalom. He also posted an 11th and 12th place in slalom on the World Cup level.

Team Palisades Tahoe’s Alix Wilkinson, 23, was named to the program’s C Team. The Mammoth Lakes skier broke her ankle in Chile last year, and is still working her way back toward competitive racing.

Allison Mollin, of Team Palisades Tahoe, will join the D Team in her first year with the program. Mollin is a U21 downhill champion, and U18 downhill champion. The Truckee skier said her goals going into the season include winning the Nor-Am Cup downhill title and make it to the World Cup.

The 2023-24 World Cup schedule includes 21 women’s World Cups and 20 men’s events. The tour kicks off with a weekend of giant slalom in Soelden, Austria on Oct. 28-29.

North American fans will have the opportunity to catch four World Cups in the United States, including the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup on Feb. 24-25.

Members of the teams within U.S. Ski & Snowboard receive varying amounts of support when it comes to training, travel, and other expenses related to competing in ski racing.

“We are very excited to start the season in Soelden this month,” said Alpine Director Patrick Riml in the team announcement. “Our group of athletes across speed and tech made big strides last season and the work continued this summer. We are confident they will impress on the World Cup tour and bring home solid results for our organization and nation.”

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