As springtime showers finally give way to warmer weather here in Colorado, and our home mountain officially closed yesterday, we’ve taken some time to reflect upon the 2020-21 season. Winter sports athletes everywhere were limited leading into this season in terms of how and where they could train to prepare for the ski season, yet our athletes persevered across the board. As the snow melts and the flowers come out in full force, join us in reviewing a season that saw immense success from our Spyder athletes across multiple disciplines!
On the Alpine skiing front, Spyder sponsored athlete and US Ski Team member Jared Goldberg finished a personal-best 30th overall in the FIS World Cup standings and qualified for the FIS World Championships for the first time in his career! Meanwhile, USST newcomer and Spyder athlete River Radamus burst onto the Giant Slalom scene this year with a National Championship win at Copper Mountain, Colo., a second-place finish at Folgaria, ITA on the Europa Cup, a top-10 and 11th place finish at FIS World Championships and finished a mere 3 spots short of qualifying for World Cup Finals. Legendary USST Downhiller Steven Nyman, Spyder’s longest-tenured sponsored athlete took the season off to heal an Achilles injury in preparation for competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics in China next year.
More broadly, the US Alpine team racked up an impressive list of achievements while racing exclusively in Europe due to COVID-19 precautions. Top highlights include three more victories and four World Championships medals for Slalom and GS juggernaut Mikaela Shiffrin, Ryan Cochran-Siegle’s first American Super-G victory since Bode Miller’s in 2014, and Breezy Johnson’s four consecutive Downhill podium finishes; rounding out American success across all alpine disciplines.
In the moguls, Spyder athlete Jaelin Kauf got off to a very hot start with second-place finishes in Finland and Sweden and five top-5 finishes in just six starts. Kauf suffered two spinal fractures over the Christmas holiday while freeskiing, but still managed to return to competition just a month and a half later at the World Cup event in Deer Valley, Utah, and for the World Championships in Kazakhstan. Despite a slow return to competition in Deer Valley, Kauf still managed to earn herself a top-10 finish in the individual mogul event at World Championships.
The U.S. Freestyle team managed to sweep the podium on the women’s side at the Deer Valley event while claiming three of the top-10 spots at the World Championships in the dual moguls discipline. The most impressive performer for the U.S. Freestyle squad is, without question, 16-year-old phenom Kai Owens. The Vail, Colo. native finished 10th at the world championships in dual moguls while winning the Deer Valley dual moguls event—beating out competitors nearly 10 years her senior. We can’t wait to see what Owens and the rest of the U.S. Freestyle team have in store for next season at the Beijing Olympics!
Finally, Alex Hall continued to dominate the men’s Freeski world; racking up 3rd place in the Men’s Big Air event at XGames Aspen and winning the coveted XGames Real Ski competition with a mind-blowing street and backcountry segment which you can watch here. Giulia Tanno had a roller coaster year filled with her career first Big Air World Cup win in Kreischberg paired with a brutal crash at Winter XGames in Aspen that forced her season to end prematurely, but she has found the energy to begin the recovery process in preparation for the upcoming Olympics. You can watch part 1 of her recovery series on YouTube titled "The Journey". This pair of freeskiers are a mere 22 and 23 years old respectively, so we know that the possibilities for these two in the future of freeskiing are limitless.
While Alex and Giulia were stomping lines in the park this season, big mountain skier Owen Leeper was busy skiing some seriously deep snow in the Tetons. Owen, who calls Jackson Hole home these days, didn’t need to venture too far to ski some insane backcountry lines in the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort side country, as well as front flip off of a monstrous cliff just outside of Grand Targhee. You can catch up on all of Owen’s freeskiing adventures on his Instagram (@o_leeps). Meanwhile, over on the west coast skiers Connery Lundin and Amie Engerbretson were hopping out of helicopters in Alaska and shredding their home mountain of Squaw Valley, Calif. filming segments for Warren Miller Entertainments film set for release this fall. Connery will also make an appearance in Matchstick Productions’ 2021 film. Read more about Connery and Amie’s seasons.
We couldn’t be more excited about all the progress that Spyder athletes and the US Ski Team made this season despite the training challenges they faced leading into this season. For our athletes who were forced to take time away to heal up, including ladies’ Freeski phenom Maggie Voisin and the one and only Bobby Brown, we’re beyond stoked to see what’s in store for next season.
Don’t be alarmed, all of us at the Spyder HQ certainly are not going anywhere, and we’ll continue to keep you posted about the 2020-21 season through more in-depth one-on-one chats with all of our athletes. Until then, we hope you’re squeezing the very last out of the lingering snow in the high country. We’re all getting our mountain bikes tuned up, our climbing gear sorted out, and our golf swings dialed again, and we hope you’re finding adventure in your backyards wherever that may be!
PHOTO CRED: Max Nolan, Ryan Mooney, Jeff Engerbretson, Mike Dawsy, US Ski Team