Norwegian Women Train in Jiu-Jitsu

The Norwegian women’s national team has taken their summer training to new territory as the group recently tried their hand at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighting as part of their regular training blocks.

The Brazilian martial art where a smaller, weaker person with proper training can easily defeat a bigger, stronger individual is similar to how a ski racer takes on a challenging race course, according to the athletes.

“Here is more mentally hard,” explained World Cup skier Thea Louise Stjernesund. “That’s maybe how I feel skiing. If you lose a match and you have to tap out, you have to clean out and start all over again. You have to keep up the intensity because if you relax, another one is going to beat me so it’s just like skiing, you have to keep fighting all the way down the course.”

Check out the whole video below thanks to our friends at FIS.

Video courtesy of FIS.

Super Jules Delivers

Midday on July 11th, 2019, Julia Mancuso and her husband Dylan Fish welcomed their first child into the world – a baby boy named Sonny Fish Mancuso. Sonny has been a long-awaited addition to the family, and Mancuso has been sure to not let pregnancy stop her from doing what she does best, having fun.

Little does Sonny know, but his Momma has already taken him surfing and skiing. While spending time out in Fiji on Fish’s island resort, the joke has been that “baby “Nemo” is never going to want to come out, he is having so much fun.” Looks like baby Sonny is well on his way to living an adventurous lifestyle fit to keep up with Mom and Dad!

 

 

Become a Well-Educated Ski Racer to Achieve Your Goals

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently from racers, coaches, and parents is: What does it take to be a successful ski racer? For any racer who wants to be their best, this is no easy question, yet one that is worth asking and worth even more to answer.

First, let me address how I define “successful racer.” Contrary to many people in the ski racing world, I don’t define the phrase in terms of objective criteria such as a college ski racing scholarship, being selected to the U.S. Ski Team, or being named to an Olympic team. These standards are so statistically unlikely that becoming a successful racer would be absolutely meaningless to every young racer except the very rare few. I define a successful racer as being someone who fully realizes their abilities. That is, whatever inborn talent they have, they max it out through committed and consistent effort.

With that said, being well trained is, as the scientific axiom goes, “a necessary, but sufficient condition” for ski racing success. What that means is that you need to be well trained to be a successful racer, but being well trained alone is not enough to be a successful racer.

What do I mean by well trained? Well, consider the areas of ski racing performance that must be optimized to fully maximize your abilities:

  • Physical
  • Technical and tactical skills
  • Mental
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep

You have to ask yourself a question: Am I doing everything I can to fully develop these areas? If not, you need to make a real commitment to do the challenging work so you are well trained. If you are already well trained, you can go quite far in your ski racing development. But I don’t believe you will become the best racer you can be. If you believe you can be more successful than you currently are, you need to take the next step.

So, what’s missing? One thing that I’ve always appreciated about the World Cup racers I’ve worked with is that, yes, of course, they are very well trained. But they are more than just physically fit, technically and tactically sound, and mentally prepared to ski their fastest. They are also “well educated.” By well educated, I don’t mean that they attend Dartmouth, Harvard, or even Middlebury.

When I refer to well-educated racers, I mean that they have a deep understanding of what it takes to be the most successful racer they can be. Whether Marcel, Mikaela, Viktoria, or Henrik, the list goes on, they are all not only participants in ski racing, but they are also “scholars” of our sport. They study it, analyze it, critique it, and evolve it.

Well-educated racers do the training that is required of them, in other words, they know the what, when, where, and how of their training program. For example, they know what they will be doing for a strength workout today, when and where the workout will occur, and how to execute the various exercises that comprise the workout.

But, more importantly, they know the why of their efforts. That is, if you ask them the purpose of their training, whether physical, technical/tactical, or mental, they can explain why it’s important, the value it brings to their ski racing development, and how it fits into their overall training program. For example, in committing to a mental imagery program, well-educated racers not only know how to do imagery and how to create a structured imagery program, but they also understand why it works, how it works, and the specific benefits it offers them.

Unfortunately, the typical ski academy or club doesn’t offer many opportunities to become both well trained and well educated in their training. I actually believe that schools and teams should offer a course on “What it Takes to be a Successful Racer” that provides the foundation of knowledge for racer development in a comprehensive and structured way. But, until that happens, it’s up to you to go beyond being a well-trained racer and educate yourself on the different aspects of your ski racing development.

You start off becoming a well-educated racer by not just accepting whatever your coaches tell you to do. Instead, tell your coaches that you want to know more about what you do in your sport training and why you do it. Ask them questions about the rationale and science behind the different components of your training program. Question more experienced racers in your sport to gain their insights into the why of your training. And ask your coaches for resources so you can learn more about your development away from your sport.

Coaches, if you want to encourage your racers to become well educated, prepare a reading or video list of resources from which they can learn more about their development. Also, when you introduce something new to their training regimen, devote a few minutes to describing the why of it. And be open to your racers’ curiosity and questions; the more they actively engage in their ski racing lives, the more invested and committed they will be.

There are many benefits to becoming a well-educated racer. First, a problem with being an uneducated racer is that you don’t know what you don’t know. So, you won’t be able to see what might be missing from your training regimen. With an extensive knowledge of what is required to be a successful racer, you’ll be able to identify what you’re doing right, what gaps exist, and ways you can improve your training. You will also be able to ask informed questions of your coaches to ensure that what they want you to do is right for you.

Second, a well-educated racer is also a sophisticated consumer, meaning that you don’t just accept different aspects of your training program at face value. Instead, you understand the reasoning behind your training and, as a result, can be sure that it is the best fit for your needs and goals. This refined approach to your development will enable you to match the training that is offered by your coaches with what you know about yourself as a racer.

Third, the more you know about your training, the deeper the connection you will have with your efforts and the more ownership you will feel. This ownership will result in greater commitment and motivation to your goals and more sustained effort in your dryland and on-snow training.

Finally, when you’re a well-educated racer, you not only see the particular parts of your training in isolation, but also are able to synthesize and integrate them into a comprehensive program. This broad perspective enables you to see the trajectory of your ski racing development in its overarching totality and make adjustments in the present and are better plan for your long-term future in our sport.

Want help becoming a well-educated racer in your mental training and get your mind in the best shape of your ski racing life? Take a look at my latest book, Train Your Mind for Athletic Success: Mental Preparation to Achieve Your Sports Goals and my online courses for racers and coaches.

SYNC Launches $50K Athlete Fund

SYNC is excited to announce a new $50,000 grant program to help fill the funding gap for American ski racing athletes in their quest for the highest levels of competition. The SYNC Athlete Fund will maximize its impact by making grants to offset training and competition costs for the most promising and deserving athletes in the sport.

The SYNC Athlete Fund’s mission is to build a better future for the sport of ski racing by inspiring, empowering, and supporting the next generation of racers. With the help of the 501(c)(3) TA Foundation, SYNC will provide direct funding to athletes, removing financial obstacles in their journey to the top of the sport. It’s about challenging the status quo and channeling resources to support a wider, stronger base of skiers, something we hope inspires others to do the same.

SYNC’s support of clubs, athletes, independent race teams, and non-profit partners is taking a big step forward with the addition of direct athlete funding. With the national team only funding a select few athletes who meet criteria, SYNC will support athletes as they train and compete outside fully funded programs and fight to earn World Cup spots as proven in past success stories of athletes like Brian McLauglin, Robby Kelley, Wiley Maple, and Foreste Peterson.

Life as an athlete is a constant balancing act of competing demands, juggling training schedules, travel, equipment, and education. SYNC is striving to create a future where the strength of the sport allows promising talent to cross off “full time fundraising” from those variables and refocus that effort on delivering their best performances.

To learn more about the SYNC Athlete Fund, click here.

Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Announces Staffing Changes

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) in Ketchum, Idaho has announced several staff changes ahead of the 2019-20 winter.

Chuck Harris is moving from Head USSA Coach to the FIS program where he will be SVSEF’s Western Region Contact Coach and PG Coordinator. In this position, Harris will strengthen SVSEF’s relationship with the Western Region and will support the program as its point of contact for Western Region projects and selections. Additionally, he will coordinate all logistics for the program’s PG athletes, from training space to travel to athletic progressions. Harris will be transitioning into this position over the summer months and will be on staff for the Western Region Chile project in August. 

Trevor Wagner is a seasoned coach who will also be joining the SVSEF ranks at the FIS level. Wagner has worked as a coach at the World Cup, Europa Cup, and Development Team levels, inclusing being on-staff for multiple World Championship and Olympic teams. Most recently, he has worked for U.S. Ski and Snowboard to prep World Cup and NorAm venues. Wagner will continue to prep the Copper Mountain and Beaver Creek venues in Colorado in October and November and will join SVSEF as a FIS Assistant Coach in early December. Wagner will still do hill prep for U.S. Ski and Snowboard at points throughout the winter and Dane Spencer will fill in during those times away.

Gladys Weidt will be filling the role of Head USSA Coach. Most recently, Gladys was the Head U16 Coach at Sugar Bowl Academy in California. Having grown up skiing in Minnesota and Colorado and later for the University of New Mexico, she brings great experience and perspective to SVSEF’s program. Her enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport is an ideal fit for the USSA program. Gladys will join SVSEF full time September 1. She will join SVSEF for their camp at Mt. Hood this month, and will stay on to coach the Western Region Camp as well.

Dane Spencer will be returning to SVSEF as a USSA assistant coach and will also develop and manage the equipment program for the two older age groups. He will mostly be stationed with the USSA team, but will fill in to support the FIS staff when Wagner is gone doing venue prep for U.S. Ski and Snowboard. Following his personal career as an athlete on the U.S. Ski Team, Spencer was brought back to work with the Development and Europa Cup teams as a coach. With his decorated career on the U.S. Ski Team and experience with equipment, SVSEF is excited to welcome Spencer back to our program and have him as a resource for our athletes and coaches.

Nate Schwing, James Tautkus, and Adele Savaria will remain as the head coaches of FIS, IMD, and North Series, respectively. Tor Jensen will be back with the Mini World Cup Team, but as an assistant coach so he can spend more time with his family in the winter. SVSEF is looking to hire a new head coach in the coming months.

Release courtesy of SVSEF.

Canada’s Phil Brown and Kelsey Serwa Announce Retirements

Canadian alpine skier Phil Brown and double Olympic skicross medalist Kelsey Serwa both announced their retirements from their respective sports this week.

The 27-year-old Brown, a native or Toronto, Ontario, has been a mainstay on the Canadian World Cup technical squad since making his debut on the circuit in the 2012 Adelboden giant slalom. Throughout his career, Brown represented Canada at three World Championships and two Olympics and was a member of Canada’s silver-medal winning team event squad at the 2015 World Championships in Beaver Creek, Colordo.

“I’ve been pretty quiet on social media the last couple months as I went through a very difficult and emotional process of accepting the fact that it is time to hang up the skis,” Brown wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. “But I am finally ready to announce my formal retirement from traditional ski racing.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

It’s time…time to walk away from a sport that has guided me through life up until this point. • I write this post with mixed emotions. Sadness that I’ll be distancing myself from life on the road competing with so many great friends, teammates, coaches, and trainers. Yet, tons of excitement as I search for a new path to focus my energy on. • Thank you Ski Racing. Thank you to my teammates. Thank you to my coaches. Thank you to my competitors. Thank you to the many sponsors/donors who have contributed to the success of my career. Most importantly, thank you to my family for providing me with the opportunity to strive for greatness. • I’ve been pretty quiet on social media the last couple months as I went through a very difficult and emotional process of accepting the fact that it is time to hang up the skis. But I am finally ready to announce my formal retirement from traditional ski racing – @worldproskitour , I’ll be ready!! I’m fortunate to be leaving the sport in (relatively) good health and with plenty of support from my family/friends. • I didn’t accomplish all of my goals. That’s a reality I have to live with. But I will leave the sport proud of what I was able to achieve. Proud of the sacrifices, the commitment, the intensity, and the will to keep pushing myself – I am proud of my journey! • For now, I’ll continue to #PressOn 🤙🏼 Over and out – Phil

A post shared by Phil Brown (@philbrown77) on Jul 4, 2019 at 5:26am PDT

Brown has indicated his intention to compete in various World Pro Ski Tour (WPST) events next season. Brown was the 2019 WPST champion and rookie of the year.

“I’m fortunate to be leaving the sport in relatively good health and with plenty of support from my family and friends,” he continued. “I didn’t accomplish all of my goals. That’s a reality I have to live with. But I will leave the sport proud of what I was able to achieve. Proud of the sacrifices, the commitment, the intensity, and the will to keep pushing myself. I am proud of my journey!”

Serwa, 29, was a former alpine racer before making the switch to skicross prior to the 2010 Vancouver Games, where she placed fifth. A silver medal at Sochi 2014 was followed up with a gold-medal performance at PyeongChang 2018. In total, Serwa amassed 20 World Cup podiums, A World Championship title, and two Olympic medals in her career.

“The best thing I’m taking away from my time as a ski racer are the lasting friendships I’ve been so fortunate to create along the way,” she told Alpine Canada. “I’ve had an incredible opportunity to experience countless ups and downs with a number of teammates I now consider golden, life-long friends.”

Serwa is currently working on completing her undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia Okanagan and has hopes to also complete a Masters of Physiotherapy in the coming years.

 

Ragnhild Mowinckel Undergoes Additional Knee Surgery

Norwegian Olympic and World Championship medalist Ragnhild Mowinckel went under the knife early this week for a minor surgery as she continues to recover from a torn ACL and meniscus suffered at last season’s World Cup Finals in Soldeu, Andorra.

The 26-year-old crashed in the opening downhill training run in Soldeu, injuring her right knee. It was the first major injury of her career.

Describing the surgery as a “pit-stop” on her road to recovery, Mowinckel broke on to the scene in the 2018 season. The Norwegian captured her first World Cup podiums that season and secured two silver medals at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics in downhill and giant slalom. Most recently, Mowinckel was the bronze medalist in the 2019 World Championship alpine combined in Are, Sweden.

Igor Vanovac Appointed First Executive Director of Mt. Mansfield Ski Club & Academy

Late last week the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club & Academy Board of Directors announced the appointment of Igor Vanovac to the newly created position of Executive Director of Mt. Mansfield Ski Club & Academy.

Previously separate organizations, the Mount Mansfield Ski Club and the Mount Mansfield Winter Academy came together last spring and the Board of Directors established this new position of Executive Director to lead the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club & Academy. The addition of this position reflects an important structural change to establish clear leadership accountability that will best support the future of the organization and the experience provided for their student-athletes. A Search Committee reviewed a great number of applications from internal and external candidates with varied backgrounds, inclusive of ski industry, education, and general business experience.

Lori Furrer will continue in her role as Academic Director, responsible for leading the Academy. A search will begin immediately to fill the Athletic Director position, which Vanovac previously held.

The Board of Directors is excited for this change, and for the bright future of Mt. Mansfield Ski Club & Academy.

Founded in 1920 in Stowe, Vermont, Mt. Mansfield Ski Club & Academy is one of the oldest ski racing organizations in America. They provide unparalleled academic and athletic programs designed to rigorously prepare student-athletes for college and life, while instilling our community values of integrity, excellence, and a lifelong love of skiing.

Release courtesy of the Mount Mansfield Ski Club & Academy.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Announces Regional Coaching Changes

U.S. Ski & Snowboard has announced the addition of three new regional staff members in a continued effort to offer athletes in the development pipeline both a positive environment as well as talented coaches with vast experience.

In the Eastern Region, Nate Bryant has been hired as a coach as former Easter Region coach Brad Farrell has decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in law. Bryant grew up as a ski racer in the East, attending St. Michael’s College. He began his coaching career in 2012, first at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) as a U14 coach, then as a FIS coach, and moving on to Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) in 2016 as a FIS coach.

Bryant comes highly regarded by Eastern Region Alpine Development Director Sam Damon who said, “He’s been working with the men’s FIS program at GMVS since then, traveling a lot with their guys who are trying to make the jump through Eastern Cup to NorAm and D-Team level programming. He rules!”

In Rocky/Central, Kristina Revello has joined the team, bringing a “…wealth of experience at all levels of the development pipeline,” noted Rocky Central Alpine Development Director Darlene Nolting. “She is organized and thoughtful in her approach and will be a great addition to our Rocky/Central Regional staff.”

Revello takes the reigns from Ian Dunlop, who took a coaching job that will allow him to be closer to home. Revello has been a part of various regional projects in both Rocky/Central and the West for over 10 years and has a long history of excellence in coaching. Most recently, she was coaching SSCV’s men’s FIS and U14 programs, and has worked as a guest coach with both the D Team at FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships and the women’s national World Cup speed team.

Finally, Fletcher McDonald has joined the Western Region staff as the region’s FIS Development Coach. McDonald assumes the role from Mike Prado, who had a successful year with the region but, with the birth of his second child, took a coaching position that would allow him to be closer to home. A native of Colorado hailing from the slopes of Copper Mountain Resort, McDonald comes from a ski racing family with a grandfather that fought with the 10th Mountain Division in WWII. His parents each had successful ski racing, and then coaching, careers and his mother directs the children’s ski and ride school at Vail Ski Resort.

Attending the University of Colorado, McDonald was a key member of the school’s alpine team, leading them to win two NCAA championships. Following graduation, he coached for CU before settling at SSCV, where he coached the men’s FIS Performance Team.

“With a large, friendly personality, and a broad smile, Fletcher is well respected by his peers and the athletes who he has coached,” noted Western Region Alpine Development Director Bill Gunesch. “At Vail, Fletcher helped build a successful and passionate ski racing culture and, along with his staff, helped move several athletes to collegiate teams and the national team. Fletcher is moving from Colorado to Idaho this summer, following personal pursuits. We’re extremely fortunate to have him in the West, and joining the Western Region staff.”

Each of these new hires will hit the ground running at camps this summer, and will be extremely impactful as the organization strives to develop the next generation of alpine talent in each of the three regions, working up into D-Team programming with Head Women’s Development Coach Marjan Cernigoj and Head Men’s Development Coach Sasha Rearick.

Release courtesy of U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

Technica Group USA Appoints Pearson Neal as National Race Manager

Tecnica Group USA is pleased to announce the appointment of Pearson Neal as Tecnica Group National Race Manager for Blizzard, Nordica, and Tecnica in the United States. Pearson began his new role on June 13 based at Tecnica Group USA Headquarters in West Lebanon, NH.

As the National Race manager for the Tecnica Group alpine brands, Pearson will work closely with the Blizzard/Tecnica and Nordica teams to deliver streamlined communication and best in class service to the US racing community. In addition to efficient management of the community, Neal will work together with the product teams to enhance the ski and boot offerings for maximum success in the U.S. market.

“We are thrilled to have Pearson in this new role. His wealth of experience and expertise in ski racing brings great value to our community as a whole.” commented Chris Licata, CEO Tecnica Group USA.

For the last three years Pearson has successfully led and grown the Blizzard/Tecnica national race program and has over 12 years of combined experience in race management and service.

“I am excited to lead the Tecnica Group USA National Race Program,” Neal says. “My goal is to bring simplified communication, consistent levels of service and overall continuity that will strengthen our group relationship with all aspects of the racing community.”

“Pearson has done a great job establishing himself as a leader in the race world and we are excited to now have him at the helm of Nordica Race,” commented Scott Russo, Vice President Nordica USA. “Ski racing is an important part of the Nordica brand and we look forward to having his leadership bring our athletes and programs to new heights.”

Neal will be at the Mt. Hood Test Center in Government Camp, Oregon, at the Valians Ski Shop June 18-July 12.

Release courtesy of Tecnica Group USA.

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