AVSC athletes nominated to U.S. Ski Team
Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athletes are among the skiers nominated to the alpine division of the 2015-16 U.S. Ski Team.
Four AVSC athletes, including 17-year-old Galena Wardle of Basalt, were included on the roster that will be officially unveiled next fall.
Wardle joins Aspen native Wiley Maple, Katie Ryan and Alice McKennis on a U.S. team that’s led by Olympic and world championship gold medalists Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffin, Ted Ligety and Bode Miller.
“AVSC is very proud of our four alpine alumni athletes who have been nominated to the 2015-16 US Ski Team,” said Walt Evans, AVSC’s director of excellence. “ Nomination to the team is a prestigious distinction that is earned from great results and demonstrated athletic potential in alpine skiing.”
McKennis, a 25-year-old from Glenwood Springs, will compete on the A Team after last year’s comeback season.
After a devastating leg injury, she won a national title in super-G this year and collected a 13th-place finish in a World Cup downhill in Garmisch, Germany.
Aspen native Maple, 24, will ski on the B Team.
He punctuated his season with a career-best result in February, finishing 17th at the downhill in Saalbach, Austria.
In March, Maple capped his year with the U.S. national downhill title at Sugarloaf, Maine.
Katie Ryan, 22, also will ski on the B Team.
Like McKennis and Maple, she focuses on the speed disciplines of downhill and super-G and competed last season in World Cup races at Lake Louise, Canada.
Evans said these three veterans “all have had the unfortunate injury, surgery and rehabilitation experiences to endure. That ultimately has made all three stronger, more resilient and more perseverant athletes” who are positioned well for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea.
“On the other hand, 17-year-old Galena Wardle is emerging as a tough and talented technical racer competing in all events but showing promise in slalom and giant slalom,”Evans said.
In 2013, Wardle transferred from Aspen High School to the USSA Academy to train with an elite group of the country’s top junior women.
On skis since she was 14 months, and the daughter of two longtime Aspen Skiing Co. pros, Wardle grew up with Aspenauts, the Snowmass Ski School and AVSC’s alpine team program.
During the summers, she skied and trained in Las Lenas, Argentina.
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There might be part of Hailey Swirbul that is finally beginning to believe she belongs. The 22-year-old cross-country skier is coming off quite a stretch with the U.S. ski team, one that includes her first career World Cup podium and a successful go in the notorious Tour de Ski stage race.