Park City, UT – The 2014-15 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team was announced on Monday on the eve of the International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup opener this weekend in Ruka, Finland.
All 10 members of the A and B Teams are past members of Olympic and World Championship teams, including defending World Champions Jesse Diggins, of Afton, Minn., and Anchorage’s Kikkan Randall, who will also be defending the World Cup sprint title she won the last three seasons. Twelve athletes were named in total to the A, B and D Teams.
Strong 2014 seasons boosted Simi Hamilton and Sophie Caldwell from the B to A Team. Hamilton won a stage of the Tour de Ski while Caldwell finished in sixth in the Olympic freestyle sprint, the best women’s cross country Olympic result in USA history.
“This is a strong team with proven performance,” says head coach Chris Grover. “Each year we see more depth. Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins showed that two years ago winning the World Championship team sprint. Noah Hoffman and Simi Hamilton each won stage legs last year. And Sophie Caldwell stepped onto her first World Cup podium in Lahti, Finland.”
The Team spent much of October training in Park City at the Center of Excellence and Soldier Hollow, before an on-snow stint at the Canmore Olympic Park in Canada. Earlier, the Team had good on-snow camps at Mt. Bachelor in May and on Alaska’s Eagle Glacier in July. The camps have been vital in working on individual technique issues. The team is prepping for the opener with an on-snow camp now in Muonio, Finland.
“It’s great to be back in Europe ready to begin another season! We have a strong contingent of returning members from last season’s record breaking team and spirits are high as we head into the opening World Cup weekend in Ruka,” says Randall. “World Championships in Sweden in February will be a big target for the team especially in the relay events. It feels great to have the whole team back together and we can’t wait to get the season started.”
“We are approaching the beginning of the season with more hard training than we have in the past, knowing that we may sacrifice performance in some of the early World Cups, with the intent of being sharpest in February for World Championships,” added Grover. “The athletes have done the hard work that was necessary to take another big step forward in Falun.”
All 10 A and B Team athletes will start the Jan. 3-11 seven-stage Tour de Ski—a major focus of the season. Some athletes will race through the Toblach stages, while three to four will likely compete in the full tour.
The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships will also be a major focal point in the season Feb. 17 – March 1 in Falun, Sweden. The World Championship Team will be named in January, based primarily on World Cup results.
2015 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Roster
Name, Hometown, Club (Skis, Boots, Bindings, Poles, Eyewear) Date of Birth
** World Championship Team member
- Sadie Bjornsen, Winthrop, WA, Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (Fischer, Fischer, Rotefella, Swix, Rudy Project) 11/21/1989 * **
- Sophie Caldwell, Peru, VT, Stratton T2 (Fischer, Fischer, Rottefella, Swix, Rudy Project) 3/22/90 * **
- Jessie Diggins, Afton, MN, Stratton T2 (Salomon, Salomon, Salomon, One Way, Rudy Project) 8/26/1991 * **
- Simi Hamilton, Aspen, CO, Stratton T2 (Fischer, Fischer, Rotefella, Swix, Rudy Project) 5/14/1987 * **
- Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT, Stratton T2 (Fischer, Fischer, Rotefella, Swix, Rudy Project) 11/30/1983 * **
- Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (Fischer, Fischer, Rotefella, Yoko, Rudy Project) 12/31/1982 * **
- Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT, Burke Mountain Academy (Rossignol, Rossignol, Rossignol, Exel, Rudy Project) 1/12/1987 * **
- Erik Bjornsen, Winthrop, WA, Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (Rossignol, Rossignol, Rossignol, Swix, Oakley) 7/14/1991 * **
- Noah Hoffman, Aspen, CO, Team Homegrown (Madshus, Madshus, Rotefella, Madshus,) 8/1/1989 * **
- Ida Sargent, Orleans, VT, Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club (Fischer, Alpina, Rotefella, Swix, Rudy Project) 1/25/1988 * **
- Patrick Caldwell, Lyme, NH, Dartmouth Ski Team (Fischer, Fischer, Fischer, Swix) 2/18/1994
- Ben Saxton, Lakeville, MN, Stratton T2 (Fischer, Fischer, Fischer, Swix) 6/3/1993
- Chris Grover, Head Coach
- Matt Whitcomb, Women’s Coach
- Jason Cork, Men’s Coach
- Bryan Fish, Development Coach