Continental CupGeneralNewsRacingUS Ski TeamWorld CupUSST Announces 2012 Nominations; Six New Names on the List

FasterSkier FasterSkierApril 20, 201114
Jesse Diggins racing in Estonia in January.

The following is the USSA’s list of nominations for the 2012 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team. The nominations include those athletes who qualified based on published selection criteria. The USSA will announce the actual team roster later this spring, naming those athletes who accept the responsibilities of being a part of the U.S. Ski Team and who are planning to compete in the 2012 season.

Athletes nominated to the 2012 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team are:

U. S. Cross Country A Team

Kris Freeman (Andover, NH; Waterville Valley BBTS)
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT; Stratton Mountain School)
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center)
Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT; Burke Mtn Academy)

U. S. Cross Country B Team

Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO; Aspen Valley Ski Club)
Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO; Sun Valley SEF)
Tad Elliott (Durango, CO; CXC Team)
Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN; CXC Team)
Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center)
Ida Sargent (Craftsbury Common, VT; Craftsbury Green Racing Project)

U. S. Cross Country D Team

Skyler Davis (Jericho, VT; Stratton Mountain School)
Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center)

Source: U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association

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14 comments

  • Avatar
    jeffborg

    April 21, 2011 at 9:43 am

    What’s the meaning and level of support of the D team? I don’t recall seeing a D team before.

  • Avatar
    lahti

    April 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

    My understanding is anything below the “A” team is basically mandatory self-funding.

  • Avatar
    FlintHillsXC

    April 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Very surprised not to see Diggins on the A team. Are others? She is poised to become a star.

  • Avatar
    DJones

    April 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I’m very surprised that Diggin’s didn’t make the cut! It seems to me like she and Hoffman both greatly exceeded expectations this year, especially on the international circuit.

  • Avatar
    cork1

    April 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    A-team is completely objective — score X points, rank Y on FIS points/World Cup scoring, you’re on it. Otherwise, you’re on the B- or D-team.

  • FasterSkier
    FasterSkier

    April 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Actually the previous comment is incorrect. Athletes can be named to the A team on a discretionary basis, and this year, Liz Stephen did not meet objective criteria and was nominated.

    It is also not surprising that Jessie was not named to the A team. While she is a great talent with some great international results, it would have been inconsistent with what the USST has done in the past. She is still very young, and at an early stage of development. A Team skiers race on the World Cup for most of the season.

    Jessie will likely spend time racing domestically as well as contesting Continental Cup events in Europe with the possibility of jumping up to some World Cups – all appropriate for junior.

  • Avatar
    4skiers

    April 25, 2011 at 7:21 am

    With all due respect Fasterskier, your tone is quite patronizing. Yes, Jessie is young – so are Lahteenmaki and Falla. Their countries did not hold them back from World Cup competition. Diggins will no longer be a junior next year. She just completed seven straight weeks of high-level racing in Europe, producing most consistently strong results that the US has ever seen from a junior, competing well in all distances and techniques. She did not slow down at the end of this blitz but instead stepped it up for the Spring series, challenging the best US distance racers. Her FIS results for her age are on par with the top skiers in the world at the same age, and above most. How does it make sense to have her race domestically next year, with “the possibility of jumping up to some World Cups?” The US has only one stronger female World Cup competitor – Kikkan.
    Starting Diggins on the B team is consistent with past USST decisions; but there is an old saying that “doing things the same way you always have will get you the same results you have always had” Is this what we want?
    It’s understandable that the US may be trying to avoid burn-out of a young skier, but the current US development paradigms were formed to address our skiing history, which largely consisted of juniors unprepared for high level competition. Thanks to much work on the part of the US Nordic program and in particular Pete Vordenberg, clubs are stonger, development is starting earlier, and we are seeing skiers ready to perform at an international level at a younger age. Let’s celebrate this success, but more importantly, let’s be sure that we don’t hamstring the success of our development efforts with a higher structure that is unprepared to support the results.

  • Avatar
    DJLONEY

    April 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Are B team and D team athletes self funded? How does that work with the National Skiers Education Fund? Can individuals designate a gift for an individual athlete, and if so is it tax deductible?

  • FasterSkier
    FasterSkier

    April 26, 2011 at 8:03 am

    The USST does not publish specific funding information, but from conversations with coaches, staff and athletes, the B and D team have differing levels of funding.

    When I talked to Chris Grover, he told me that there was very little money available for D-Team funding. A guess would be that those athletes would get a bit of money toward a few camps, but that they will be mostly paying their own way.

    The B-Team gets more, but it should decrease this year with the additional members. It sounds like a bunch of the funding will be in the form of race support in Europe. Athletes would pick up most if not all of the travel costs.

  • Avatar
    nordic_dave

    April 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    @ DJLONEY , please check out the funding history of NCCSEF at http://www.nccsef.org (National Cross Country Ski Education Foundation)

  • Avatar
    4skiers

    April 27, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Regarding a gift to support individual athletes; this is tricky. Some of the athletes have a website with an opportunity to donate through paypal (just Google the athlete and it should be easy to find.) This is the most simple and direct way to help an athlete cover their unfunded expenses but donations are not tax-deductible.
    The NCCSEF does great work helping fund a number of aspiring athletes, especially supporting international experience. A donation here will likely end up helping your athlete of choice but I don’t believe that donations can be directed to a single person’s expenses.
    Many of the athletes belong to a club that is a non-profit organization (CXC, SVSEF, etc.) Donations to the club are tax deductible but you might want to get a very specific answer from the club on whether you can contribute directly to the expenses of a single athlete, and whether the donation can be applied to the athlete’s expenses that are not club-specific. For example, SVSEF might support part or all of the domestic travel and lodging expenses of their USST B-team athletes but not the international travel expenses.
    In other words, it’s easy to provide tax-deductible general donations, or non-deductible specific donations, but more difficult to accomplish deductible specific donations.

  • Avatar
    nordic_dave

    April 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

    4skiers you are right. NCCSEF funds trips or events not individuals that way who ever qualify’s for the event has funding support as well as the non USST coaching staff.
    CXC has an athlete sponsorship program which supports individual athlete’s. This can be a great option and a way to connect with individual athlete’s. Personally I had a very enjoyable winter being a part of the CXC Masters program (sponsoring two athlete’s) and interacting with the CXC Vertical Limit Team all winter. NENSA has a great website
    to review regarding sponsorship of New England athlete’s.
    Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation has a “game dinner” that can be a fun event to attend. These are examples, and if you feel inclined there are many ways to donate and help our athlete’s as well as help grow our sport through targeted funding. Coincedently NCCSEF, CXC, NENSA, etc. do their very best to communicate and collaborate with each other on funding objectives. Have a concern? Want to help? Then get involved and help out as best you can, there are many ways to do it.

  • Avatar
    Martin Hall

    May 18, 2011 at 10:51 am

    If anyone with money is still reading this column and is looking to sponsor a top level skier or any racer—there is another avenue that no one has mentioned yet. It is possible to buy space on the skiers hat’s just above their team emblem that they wear in competition. For example: Kikkan has Subway as her hat sponsor, Freeman has Lilly, and I see companies like Alpina, Powerbar (could be their own hat), Lake Express and anything else as a sponsor is possible. I can’t believe there is any limit on $$$s when you realize what Lindsay Vonn or Bode Miller in alpine skiing could command.
    I would suggest you check with John Farra, Nordic Program Director, for the way this is set up and works. It has all kinds of potential and makes everyone happy in the long run and you could be helping a skier make that next big step if they aren’t worrying where that next dollar is coming from.

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