2011 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Named
Park City, UT - Olympic medalists Hannah Kearney, Bryon Wilson and Jeret "Speedy" Peterson headline the 2011 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. The Team announced its 2011 roster at Deer Valley Resort late Thursday with an autograph signing for local clubs and families at the 2011 Freestyle World Championships venue in Park City, Utah.
Athletes used the event as an opportunity to showcase their new 2011 Under Armour uniforms to both media and fans gathered for the announcement celebration. The athletes will be wearing the Under Armour uniforms when the World Cup season begins in December.
The Team named 28 athletes to the roster, including three Olympic medalists from Vancouver. Among the 28, the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team has 13 Olympians, including three medalists Kearney (Norwich, Vt.), Wilson (Butte, Mont.) and Peterson (Boise, Idaho), and two 2010 FIS Rookie of the Year athletes, moguls skier Heidi Kloser (Vail, Colo.) and aerialist Ashley Caldwell (Hamilton, Va.).
"Our Team is smaller this year than it has been in the past, but the athletes named to the Team are all training well and ready to compete at a podium level," said Freestyle Program Director Todd Schirman. "We have returning veterans that can really contribute to the progression of our sport and Team, as well as some young up and comers that can push the veterans."
The U.S. Freestyle Aerials Ski Team named 10 athletes who will be sporting Under Armour Team jackets for the 2010-11 season. Peterson, who won silver at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, will be joined by 2009 World Champion Ryan St. Onge (Winter Park, Colo.) along with fellow Olympians Matt DePeters (Hamburg, N.Y.) and Scotty Bahrke (Tahoe City, Calif.) as well as Dylan Ferguson (Amesbury, Mass.), who was named to the 2010 Olympic Team before bowing out due to appendicitis. Veteran and Olympian Emily Cook (Belmont, Mass.) is one of three women named to the Team including fellow Olympians Lacy Schnoor (Draper, Utah) and 2010 World Cup Rookie of the Year Caldwell.
"This is my 13th straight year being named to the U.S. Ski Team and even though that is a long time, it's just an honor and pleasure," said St. Onge. "The whole program is excited and energized to really go out there and get better at aerials."
The U.S. Freestyle Moguls Ski Team named 18 athletes to the Team, with gold and bronze leading the way to the 2011 World Championships at Deer Valley. Olympic gold medalist and 2005 World Champion Kearney and Olympic bronze medalist Wilson head into the season, officially beginning Dec. 11 with the World Cup opener in Ruka, Finland.
Complementing Kearney and Wilson on the roster are Olympians and 2009 World Champion Patrick Deneen (Cle Elum, Wash.), 2005 World Champion Nate Roberts (Park City, Utah) and Heather McPhie (Bozeman, Mont.), who nailed her first World Cup win last year at Deer Valley, as well as 2010 World Cup Rookie of the Year Kloser.
"We've got a really strong team, a young team but a really talented team and I'm glad to be a part of it," said. Wilson, who started off the 2010 season with two World Cup podiums before taking the bronze medal in Vancouver and was in attendance for the announcement."
Among the 28 named athletes to the 2011 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team 10 are student-athletes hitting the books at Westminster College in Salt Lake City in the off season, including Wilson, St. Onge, Ferguson, McPhie and Schnoor, as well as David DiGravio (Farmington, Maine), Jimmy and Joe Discoe (Telluride, Colo.), Landon Gardner (Missoula, Mont.) and Sho Kashima (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.).
The Freestyle World Championships kick off Feb. 2 with the men's and women's moguls competition at Deer Valley and end on Feb. 5 with men's and women's dual moguls at Deer Valley and the ski halfpipe, which will be held just down the street at Park City Mountain Resort.
The Championships, last held in Inawashiro, Japan in 2009 were a success for the U.S. Deneen and St. Onge are heading into the Feb. 2 and 4 Deer Valley events on home snow as reigning World Champions, while Kearney looks to best her third place finish in dual moguls on Feb. 5.
"It's an incredible thing to be a part of and I'm very excited about this upcoming year, especially considering that World Championships are here at Deer Valley, one of my favorite venues ever," said St. Onge, defending World Champion. "It's the best venue we come to, so it’s going to be great and exciting. I'm just going to try and work as hard as I can and see how it works out."
The event will replace the World Cup at Deer Valley, which draws a huge nighttime crowd under the lights. The press conference announcing the Team and the World Championship site was coupled with an autograph signing for local clubs and families.
"The World Championships are a very important event, particularly after such a successful Olympic year," said Schirman. "We are heading into this season with two reigning World Champions and three 2010 Olympic medalist. These Championships can set the tone for the next couple years leading into Sochi."
"When I first moved down to Utah, I joined the Wasatch Freestyle Program at Deer Valley," said Wilson. "To have the World Championships here is pretty cool. It's kind of a home mountain for me, I'm eager to go there and compete in World Championships."