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US freestyle, freeski and snowboard teams named

14 local athletes make pro and development squads

Taylor Seaton airs out of the X Games halfpipe in 2019.Benton Inscoe/Courtesy photo

The U.S. freeski, freestyle and snowboard teams were announced last week, and 14 local athletes made either pro or development squads.

One is Taylor Seaton, who recently partnered with fellow Vail-area local John Spriggs to create a new ski film, which is playing Thursday at the Edwards Riverwalk. The 31-year-old World Cup and X-Games veteran is still in the hunt to make his first Olympic team. The Battle Mountain graduate has placed in the top 10 in three different Grand Prix events and three different World Cup events.

“This is going to be one of my most challenging years ahead of me,” Seaton was quoted as saying on his U.S. Freeski Team profile page. “Now at the age of 31, this will more than likely be my last opportunity to compete in the games, so my determination has never been higher.”



Kai Owens finished fourth in the World Cup standings for moguls last season en route to being named the Rookie of the Year for 2020-2021. The Olympics remain the big goal for the 17-year-old.

“I’ve been wanting to go since I was little and starting the sport,” she told the Vail Daily in March. “It’s definitely been in my head and it’s my overall goal to be there.”



Tess Johnson enjoys a sunny day in Edwards before hitting the slopes.
Courtesy photo

Tess Johnson, who joined the team at age 14 and was third in the overall World Cup moguls standings in 2019, finished in sixth in the 2021 standings. The U.S. moguls squad won the Nation’s Cup — which recognizes the best team in the world — for the third year in a row.

Johnson, Owens, Hannah Soar and Jaelin Kauf have trained together in Steamboat Springs and makeup a moguls group known as #powHerhouse.

A maximum of four athletes will make the Olympic team in the moguls. In order to do so, athletes must compete at the World Cup level, have at least 80 FIS (International Ski Federation) points and finish in the top 30 at least once. Points are earned by top-30 finishes.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Olympic team criteria states, “up to the top two highest ranked athletes, per gender, from the FIS Mogul Points List as of Dec. 22, 2021, will be nominated to the 2022 U.S. Olympic Team.”

Freestyle – local athletes

U.S. Aerial Ski Team – none

U.S. Mogul Ski Team

  • Casey Andringa (Boulder, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 10/6/95)
  • Jesse Andringa (Boulder, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 12/15/97)
  • Tess Johnson (Vail, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 6/19/00)
  • Kai Owens (Vail, Colo.; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail; 8/16/04)
  • Morgan Schild (Pittsford, N.Y.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 8/25/97)

D Team

  • Elizabeth Lemley (Vail, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 1/22/2006)
West Vail’s Tess Johnson, shown here leading the U.S. Freestyle Team with a fifth-place finish in last season’s world championships dual moguls in Almaty, Kazakhstan. With the worlds concluded, the next big goal for Johnson, Avon’s Kai Owens and the rest of the team is the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. (AP File Photo/Gregory Bull)
Kai Owens, shown here on her way to a dual-moguls win in Deer Valley, Utah, last season, was nominated to the U.S. Ski Team for the 2021-2022 season. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Freeski – local athletes

U.S. Halfpipe Team

Pro Team

  • Annalisa Drew (Andover, Mass.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Southwest Colorado Series; 5/28/93)
  • Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 4/12/96)
  • Taylor Seaton (Avon, Colo.; 7/16/90)

Rookie Team

  • Sammy Schuiling (Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 7/16/00)

U.S. Slopestyle/Big Air – none

Snowboard – local athletes

Halfpipe

Pro team – none

Rookie team

  • Jack Coyne (Edwards, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 1/17/2002)

Slopestyle/Big Air – none

Snowboardcross

  • Senna Leith (Vail, Colo.; International Snowboard Training Center; Rocky Mountain Series; 4/8/97)
  • Connor Schlegel (Edwards, Colo.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 3/13/2002)
  • Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City, Utah; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 3/24/92)

 


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