The 2017 World Junior Championships team has been announced, led by 2016's World Juniors downhill champion Erik Arvidsson. (Pavel Cherepanov)
PARK CITY, UT (Feb. 15, 2017) – A strong and deep team of 15 rising stars – seven women and eight men – have been named to the FIS Alpine Junior World Championships Team. The team is led by defending Junior Worlds downhill champion Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA), who led the charge of four men in the top 10 last year – a feat that had never been before achieved. The team will represent the U.S. in Åre, Sweden in six events from March 8-14.
This year’s team boasts significant depth on both the men’s and women’s sides. Chosen athletes come from the U.S. Ski Team C, D and N-UNI teams, the USSA National Training Group, as well as top USSA club programs across the nation. Headlining the team and joining Arvidsson will be Sam Morse (Sugarloaf, ME) and Florian Szwebel (Avon, CO) who finished fourth and seventh, respectively, in last year’s World Juniors downhill in Sochi, Russia.
Joining this crew will be three-time 2016 Youth Olympic Games champion River Radamus (Edwards, CO), who is currently ranked first in NorAm Cup alpine combined standings, and a long list of top performers on the NorAm Cup circuit.
The USA will also bring a strong women’s team. Nina O’Brien (Edwards, CO) is currently ranked second in the NorAm Cup overall, slalom, super G and alpine combined standings, while U.S. Ski team teammate Alice Merryweather (Hingham, MA) is ranked first in the downhill standings and Patricia Mangan (Derby, NY) is ranked first in the super G standings.
The team will have a good chance at the prestigious Marc Hodler Trophy, awarded to the team with the best overall performance. Last year Austria took the honor, followed by Switzerland and then Canada. “The thing I’m probably most excited about is the depth of our team, across men and women, in all six events,” noted Arvidsson. “We’re going to have a super deep team with athletes starting in the top seed in every event, and I’m excited to see what we can do and make a push for the overall team nation’s trophy. It should be a good experience.”
Both men and women will get some solid time training together as one in Kvitfjell, Norway prior to hitting the slopes in Åre, which Arvidsson believes will be invaluable for the group. “We’re looking forward to having that week to build the atmosphere and build the team and then lead into trying to ski our best when it matters most,” Arvidsson said.
The 2017 Junior Worlds will include men’s and women’s downhill, super G, alpine combined, slalom, giant slalom and a mixed team event. Live timing will be provided by FIS.
2017 FIS ALPINE JUNIOR WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS TEAM Name (Hometown; Team Affiliation; Club; Birthdate)
Men Erik Arvidsson – Woodside, CA (U.S. Ski Team C Team; Squaw Valley Ski Team) 9/3/96 Garret Driller – Tahoe City, CA (U.S. Ski Team N-UNI Team; Montana State University Ski Team) 8/24/96 Andrew Miller – Park City, UT (National Training Group; Park City Ski Team) 12/18/98 Sam Morse – Sugarloaf, ME (U.S. Ski Team C Team; Carrabassett Valley Academy) 5/27/96 River Radamus – Edwards, CO (U.S. Ski Team D Team; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) 2/12/98 Jett Seymour – Steamboat Springs, CO (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) 11/5/98 George Steffey – Lyme, NH (U.S. Ski Team D Team; Stratton Mountain School) 8/18/97 Florian Szwebel – Avon, CO (U.S. Ski Team D Team; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) 9/4/96
Women Keely Cashman – Strawberry, CA (U.S. Ski Team D Team; Squaw Valley Ski Team) 4/4/99 Rachael DesRochers – Mammoth Lakes, CA (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) 1/4/97 Maureen Lebel – Truckee, CA (Mammoth Mountain Ski & Snowboard Club) 6/13/98 Patricia Mangan – Derby, NY (U.S. Ski Team C Team; Holimont Racing Club) 3/7/97 Alice Merryweather – Hingham, MA (U.S. Ski Team C Team; Attitash Race Team/Stratton Mountain School) 10/5/96 Nina O’Brien – Edwards, CO (U.S. Ski Team D Team; Burke Mountain Academy/Squaw Valley Ski Team) 11/29/97 Galena Wardle – Basalt, CO (U.S. Ski Team C Team; Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club) 4/24/98
A strong and deep team of 15 rising stars – seven women and eight men – will represent the U.S. at the 2017 FIS Alpine Junior World Championships in Åre, Sweden, March 8-14.
Chosen athletes come from the U.S. Ski Team C, D and N-UNI teams, the USSA National Training Group, as well as top USSA club programs across the nation.
Medals will be awarded in six events – downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom, alpine combined, the team event – going towards the Marc Hodler trophy for overall team performance.
Last year, Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA) was crowned World Juniors downhill champ, leading four athletes into the top 10.
At last season’s Youth Olympic Games, held in Lillehammer, Norway, River Radamus (Edwards, CO) grabbed a hat trick of victories across super G, giant slalom and combined disciplines and became the first skier or snowboarder in history to win three individual gold medals.
Chip Knight, Alpine Development Director, USSA The juniors representing the U.S. at the World Junior Championships have worked hard all year to get to this point. It’s particularly exciting to see club and NTG athletes joining N-UNI and U.S. Ski Team members for this event, which shows the increasing strength and connectivity of our pipeline between the regional and national levels. We’re working to achieve our goals of winning medals and finishing top five in the Marc Hodler overall team competition.
Erik Arvidsson [On the depth of the World Juniors team this year] I’m looking forward to defending my title at World Juniors in Åre, Sweden this year, and I couldn’t imagine a better place to be doing it – other than, obviously, in the U.S. The thing I’m probably most excited about is the depth of our team, across men and women, in all six events. We’re going to have a super deep team with athletes starting in the top seed in every event, and I’m excited to see what we can do and make a push for the overall team nation’s (Marc Hodler) trophy. It should be a good experience.
[On the importance of team dynamics] We’re having a camp in Kvitfjell (Norway) the week leading up to it, and as we kind of learned last year, having a really strong team dynamic can pull you a long way, and it helps everyone bring out their best skiing. We’re looking forward to having that week to build the atmosphere and build the team and then lead into trying to ski our best when it matters most. It’s always a super fun challenge and we’re looking forward to it. We have a lot of younger guys and a lot of guys who are going to be making their World Juniors debut, so we have to show them the ropes and I think we’re going to have a really strong team dynamic.
[On why competing in Sweden is so special] World Juniors in Sweden, for me, is a really big deal. I’m so excited. I’ve never been so excited for a race before. My dad was an Olympic gold medalist for swimming in Sweden, all of my family from my dad’s side lives there, my grandfather was born in a little town 45 minutes from Åre and I have a lot of family coming to watch. So, hopefully I can use that home field advantage feeling to stay relaxed and bring out my best skiing on race day.
I’m hoping to use this as a stepping stone to be on the big stage in two years (at World Championships in 2019).
Mar. 8 – Men’s and women’s downhill Mar. 9 – Men's and women’s super G Mar. 10 – Women’s alpine combined Mar. 11 – Men’s alpine combined Mar. 12 – Women’s giant slalom and team event Mar. 13 – Men’s giant slalom and women’s slalom Mar. 14 – Men’s slalom