Moritz twins and Salani named to U.S. Alpine Junior World Ski Championships team
SSCV skiers will compete in St. Anton, Austria Jan. 19-25
Of the 17 athletes named to the U.S. Alpine Ski Team for the 2023 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships, three are Ski and Snowboard Club Vail athletes. Liv and Kjersti Moritz and Hunter Salani will join U.S. Ski and Snowboard B, C and D-team members in representing their country in St. Anton, Austria from Jan. 19-25.
“This year’s Junior World Championship team is a remarkable group of athletes who have already achieved tremendous results at the World Cup, Europa Cup and NorAm levels in their young careers,” said U.S. Alpine Ski Team Development Director Chip Knight in a press release on Monday.
“With half of the team returning from last year and two medalists among them, we are looking forward to going to St. Anton to compete for medals, top-10 results and the Marc Holder overall team title.”
“It means a lot to be named to the World Junior team,” Salani wrote in an email from Europe. “I am really thankful for the opportunity and the experience.”
Name, Hometown; Club (Birthdate)
Mary Bocock – Salt Lake City, UT; Rowmark/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (07/10/2003)
Tatum Grosdidier – Steamboat Springs, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (07/24/2004)
Stella Johansson – Aspen, CO; Aspen Valley Ski Club (09/02/2003)
Lauren Macuga – Park City, UT; Park City Ski & Snowboard/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (07/04/2002)
Kjersti Moritz – Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (11/28/2004)
Liv Moritz – Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (11/28/2004)
Dasha Romanov – Thornton, CO; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (03/05/2003)
Ava Sunshine – Edwards, CO; Burke Mountain Academy/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (06/20/2002)
Zoe Zimmerman – Gilford, NH; Burke Mountain Academy/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (05/16/2002)
Justin Bigatel – Park City, UT; Burke Mountain Academy/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (04/29/2003)
Finnigan Donley – Anchorage, AK; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (02/28/2005)
Camden Palmquist – Eagan, MN; Team Summit Colorado/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (04/15/2003)
Oliver Parazette – Jackson, WY; University of Utah (03/06/2002)
Jay Poulter – Stratton, VT; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club/Stratton Mountain School, Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (07/01/2003)
Cooper Puckett – Steamboat, CO; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (03/31/2003)
Hunter Salani – Edwards, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (02/25/2005)
Ryder Sarchett – Ketchum, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation/Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team (07/28/2003)
“I am very excited to race against the top juniors in the world as it often helps push me to another level,” stated Liv Moritz, who added she was not entirely expecting to be named to the team. Unfortunately, her twin sister Kjersti, who is a D-team rookie this year and won the U18 overall national title last year, sustained an ACL injury in last Sunday’s NorAm super-G in Vermont. She’s back in Edwards prepping for surgery and will miss the trip to Austria.
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“I am going to really miss her alongside me,” Liv said of Kjersti, who was fresh off being the top-placing American in the NorAm slalom at Stratton Mountain on Jan. 4. “It’s not the same without her here, but knowing her, she will work just as hard at her recovery as she does at everything else.”
A back injury took Liv off the slopes last January, meaning her spring and summer preparation was mostly off-snow. She was thrilled to return to full training in August.
“I am super happy that this preparation has led me to be excited and proud of my skiing recently,” she said. The results have been good.
At the Dec. 3 NorAm slalom at Copper Mountain, Liv ran 44th and placed 13th on the first run before ripping the fastest second run in a field that included World Cup starters like American Zoe Zimmerman (who scored World Cup slalom points earlier this year). Moritz finished fifth overall and was the second-placing junior. She kicked off the new year with an eighth-place finish in the slalom at Stratton Mountain and a fifth in the super-G at Burke Mountain.
“I am proud of these performances because these were both races where I was very nervous, and in conditions where I felt uncomfortable, but was able to put the thought of results out of my head and mainly focus on skiing my best,” Moritz said.
Salani won the overall title at the U18 Alpine National Championships in Vail last March and helped the Gore Rangers capture the 3A state golf title this October. His most jaw-dropping ski performance this season came at Copper Mountain on Dec. 8, when he placed 10th overall and was the top junior. He garnered four top-20 finishes across the four speed events held between Dec. 7-10 on the other side of the pass.
“That was huge for me because going into the race my goal was to get top 30,” he stated.
The U.S. has found success at Junior Worlds — last year, Isaiah Nelson took super-G gold and SSCV alumna Ava Sunshine claimed a silver in the same event while Lauren Macuga took a bronze in the downhill. Salani said he is just grateful for the chance to have his eyes opened wide to the European ski-racing world.
“I think that giving myself a place goal is not reasonable because I have never raced at this level or against these people,” he said. “I am also about 2-3 years younger than most of the people racing.”
The 17-year-old, who is the second youngest on the men’s team, said he isn’t too nervous “because I don’t know what to expect out of my skiing. I am just going to ski my best and see what happens.”
Moritz, the youngest on the women’s team, said she’d like a top-10, but doesn’t want to be too results-focused in Austria either.
“My goal is to throw down some good skiing that I would feel proud of and ski my hardest,” she stated.
Jan. 17 – Downhill Training
Jan. 18 – Downhill Training
Jan. 19 – Men’s and Women’s Downhill
Jan. 20 – Men’s and Women’s Super-G
Jan. 20 – Men’s and Women’s Team Alpine Combined
Jan. 21 – Women’s Giant Slalom
Jan. 22 – Men’s Giant Slalom
Jan. 23– Mixed Team Parallel
Jan. 24 – Women’s Slalom
Jan. 25 – Men’s Slalom