04/02/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/02/2019 19:11
By Karen Price | April 02, 2019, 5:42 p.m. (ET)
From the outright dominance of Mikaela Shiffrin to the continued success of other Olympic champions like Jessie Diggins and the breakthroughs of future stars such as Mick Dierdorff, U.S. skiers and snowboarders excelled on the snow this season. They racked up podium finishes at world cup events, captured both expected and surprise titles at world championships, and put their innovation and fearlessness on display at competitions all over the world.
Here are some of the highlights of Team USA's 2018-19 season in skiing and snowboarding disciplines:
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her super-G crystal globe at the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on March 14, 2019 in Soldeu, Andorra.
It would be tough to imagine anyone having a much better season than Mikaela Shiffrin.
The two-time Olympian and three-time medalist became the first alpine skier, man or woman, to win the overall, slalom, giant slalom and super-G world cup crystal globes in one season, became just the fifth woman to win the slalom and giant slalom globes in the same season and set a record for the most world cup wins in one season with 17.
In 26 world cup starts she reached the podium 21 times, and she won both the slalom and super-G titles at the world championships, as well as bronze in giant slalom.
Of course, it was also a bittersweet year for the U.S. women as legend Lindsey Vonn retired from the sport after winning the bronze medal in downhill at the world championships in February, which was already set as the final race of her career.
There were some promising finishes on the men's side, however, with Bryce Bennett racking up four top-10 world cup finishes in downhill. He just missed the podium twice, finishing fourth in back-to-back races in December. Tommy Ford also had four top-10 finishes in giant slalom, and Steven Nyman made his return to world cup racing after losing the last two seasons to injury.
Jessie Diggins is seen in the finish area after the women's 10-kilometer classic mass start at the FIS Cross Country Ski World Cup Final on March 23, 2019 in Quebec City.
Jessie Diggins returned to the circuit this season having won the first Olympic gold medal for the U.S. in cross-country skiing along with Kikkan Randall last year.
Randall retired after last season, but Diggins carried on with five world cup podium finishes, including one win in the sprint freestyle in Cogne, Italy, to put her at sixth place overall in the world cup standings. She also had three podiums in the Tour de Ski and finished sixth overall in that mini tour.
Sophie Caldwell picked up three world cup podiums, all second-place finishes, and Sadie Bjornsen added another to give the U.S. women a total of nine.
Simi Hamilton finished the world cup season as the highest-ranked U.S. man, with two top-10 finishes including third place in the last stage of the world cup finals.
Aaron Blunck poses for a photo after winning the men's halfpipe skiing gold at the FIS Snowboard, Freeski & Freestyle Ski World Championships on Feb. 9, 2019 in Park City, Utah.
Defending a world title is never easy, and through two runs at the world championships it looked like Aaron Blunck might not keep his. With a big third run, however, the two-time Olympian added a second world title to his collection and highlighted a season in which he also won the U.S. Grand Prix, a world cup event.
Two-time Olympic champion David Wise led the way with two world cup podium finishes, including one win, but Birk Irving and Hunter Hess also landed on the top spot on the podium in world cup competitions this year.
Alex Ferreira won his first X Games gold medal, followed by Wise with silver. Ferreira also won Dew Tour, where Blunck was second.
On the women's side, Brita Sigourney picked up the bronze medal at the world championships and claimed a world cup podium finish.
Chloe Kim competes in the women's halfpipe snowboarding final at the FIS Snowboard, Freeski & Freestyle Ski World Championships on Feb. 8, 2019 in Park City, Utah.
Chloe Kim, the undisputed queen of the halfpipe, finished the season on the injured list but before breaking her ankle she added another major title to her ever-expanding resume.
The reigning Olympic halfpipe champion won her first world championship title in February and in January won her fifth X Games superpipe gold medal. Those went along with gold medals at the Dew Tour and U.S. Grand Prix in December 2018. She also contributed two world cup podium finishes (both wins) to the six that the U.S. men and women totaled this year before announcing her ankle injury in early March after finishing second to teammate Maddie Mastro at the Burton U.S. Open.
Mastro had a strong season as well, winning the bronze medal at the world championships and adding a silver medal at the Dew Tour and a second-place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix to her win at the U.S. Open. Fellow Olympians Arielle Gold,Chase Josey and Jake Pates also added to Team USA's world cup podium total.
Moguls and Aerials
Jaelin Kauf reacts after competing against Perrine Laffont of France in the big final of the women's dual moguls final at the FIS Snowboard, Freeski & Freestyle Ski World Championships on Feb. 9, 2019 in Park City, Utah.
Jaelin Kauf finished with two world cup podium finishes in women's moguls this season and was second in the overall standings, but it was also a remarkably consistent season for the 2018 Olympian.
She finished all seven world cup competitions she entered in fifth place or higher, with a win in December in Thaiwoo, China. She also reached the podium twice in dual moguls and earned a world championship silver in the non-Olympic event.
Teammate Tess Johnson also collected a pair of world cup podium finishes, plus world championships bronze, and on the men's side two-time Olympian Bradley Wilson earned a world cup podium spot and dual moguls worlds silver.
In aerials, three-time Olympian Ashley Caldwell earned two world cup podium finishes in one weekend at the beginning of March and was fifth at the world championships just six months after having shoulder surgery.
Olympian Eric Loughran also finished on the podium the same weekend as Caldwell. It was the first world cup podium finish of his career.
Slopestyle And Big Air Skiing
Nick Goepper celebrates winning the slopestyle skiing bronze medal at the FIS Snowboard, Freeski & Freestyle Ski World Championships on Feb. 6, 2019 in Park City, Utah.
Veteran and two-time Olympic medalist Nick Goepper earned his first world championships medal since 2013, bringing home the bronze in slopestyle. Overall, it was some of his less experienced teammates who made a big splash this season.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was the breakout performance of U.S. Rookie Team member Mac Forehand. After winning gold in big air at the junior world championships to start the season, the 17-year-old from Winhall, Vermont, earned his first world cup slopestyle podiums with a second-place finish and a win before going on to claim the crystal globe in the discipline.
Alex Hall won the Winter X Games gold medal in slopestyle, was second in slopestyle at the Dew Tour and had one world cup podium finish in big air and one in slopestyle. Kiernan Fagan logged a pair of top-three world cup finishes in slopestyle, and Colby Stevenson ended the season with a second-place finish as the U.S. men collected a total of seven world cup podium finishes. All four are under the age of 21 and finished in the top 10 of the world cup slopestyle standings.
On the women's side, Julia Krass won the silver medal in big air at the world championships while Eileen Gu had a pair of world cup slopestyle podiums, including one win, to end the season in third place in the discipline. Krass (slopestyle) and Caroline Claire (big air) each had a world cup podium finish as well.
Slopestyle And Big Air Snowboarding
Chris Corning celebrates winning the slopestyle snowboarding gold medal at the FIS Snowboard, Freeski & Freestyle Ski World Championships on Feb. 10, 2019 in Park City, Utah.
Olympian Chris Corning found himself on a lot of podiums this season, including the top spot in slopestyle at the world championships.
The 19-year-old added gold to the silver and bronze medals he'd previously won at the world championships and topped the season off by defending his crystal globe in slopestyle. His four world cup podiums landed him in the top spot overall in slopestyle and second in big air.
He wasn't alone at the top of the slopestyle standings, either. Judd Henkes, Lyon Farrell and Ryan Stassel finished second, third and fourth, respectively, and Henkes had the distinction of earning his first major international podium finish when he won bronze at the world championships.
Olympic slopestyle gold medalist Red Gerard finished the season strong with a world cup win at Mammoth Mountain and his first U.S. Open title in March.
On the women's side, two-time Olympic slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson won her first FIS world championship medal, claiming the bronze, in addition to winning bronze in big air at the X Games, her 16th medal at the event. Olympian Hailey Langland took X Games silver in slopestyle, and Olympian Julia Marino won silver at the U.S. Open.
Combined, U.S. men and women had a total of eight world cup podium finishes.
Mick Dierdorff is carried off in celebration by Nick Baumgartner and Hagen Kearney after winning the men's snowboardcross final at the FIS Snowboard, Freeski & Freestyle Ski World Championships on Feb. 1, 2019 in Solitude, Utah.
Is world success even better when it's been a long time coming? After this season you can ask Mick Dierdorff.
The 2018 Olympian won the men's world title at the world championships for his first major international win, then teamed up with Lindsey Jacobellis for the victory in the inaugural mixed team event. He became the first U.S. man to win a snowboardcross world title since Scott Wescott in 2005.
Jake Vedder, a former junior world champion and the 2016 Youth Olympic champion, won a world cup event and was fifth in his first senior world championships, while Jacobellis found herself on the world cup podium four times, including two wins. She entered the final world cup event of the season in a tie for the top spot in the standings and finished second overall.