Men’s Olympic slopestyle medalists Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper have enjoyed quite a bit of fan fare following their performances in slopestyle finals last week. Their super stardom may skyrocket even more, now that the trio has wound up on the cover of US Weekly. Soon enough, we’ll see paparazzi following these athletes around the slope courses this winter.
— Joss Christensen (@josschristensen) February 21, 2014
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 21, 2014
— Nick Goepper (@NickGoepper) February 21, 2014
February 21st, 2014
After taking 10th place in men’s slopestyle and 4th in men’s halfpipe at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Jossi Wells, and brother Beau-James (6th in men’s halfpipe) stuck around the Athlete Village in Sochi, Russia and attempted to do a bit of urban skiing in the area. Unfortunately, the Russian police weren’t too keen on the whole idea, and busted the oldest of the Wells brothers. Don’t let the man get you down boys.
“Busted…Russian police aren’t down with urban. Regram: @beaujameswells” – Jossi Wells
February 20th, 2014
Women’s halfpipe skiing made its Olympic debut this morning in Sochi, Russia. The ladies saw better weather than their male counterparts, and will be crowning their first ever Olympic champion at 10:30 AM MST. Here are the top 12 scores from the women’s Olympic halfpipe qualifier:
1. Marie Martinod (FRA) 88.40
2. Brita Sigourney (USA) 87.00
3. Maddie Bowman (USA) 85.60
4. Ayana Onozuka (JPN) 83.80
5. Angeli VanLaanen (USA) 83.00
6. Rosalind Groenewoud (CAN) 82.00
7. Virginie Faivre (SUI) 80.00
8. Janina Kuzma (NZL) 75.20
9. Anais Caradeux (FRA) 74.40
10. Mirjam Jaeger (SUI) 73.20
11. Annalisa Drew (USA) 72.40
12. Amy Sheehan (AUS) 70.60
Follow @FreeskierLive on Twitter for the latest from Sochi.
February 19th, 2014
For the past two weeks, the 2014 Winter Olympics have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, thanks to the unbelievable feats of athletic prowess being displayed on the world’s stage. But, we wondered, what goes into putting a show like Sochi together? We caught up with the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) to see what goes into transporting, feeding, housing and caring for the American Olympic athletes in Sochi.
By The Numbers:
94 world class U.S. athletes in Sochi
16 bottles of Sriracha were transported by High Performance Chef, Allen Tran
7 years on the ground developing local relationships and establishing a training base
4 fitness facilities constructed onsite
3 athletes enrolled in the USSA TEAM Academy; a program that allows young athletes like Maggie Voisin to compete in Platinum AFP events while completing high school
1 water filtration system to wash locally sourced ingredients for athlete meals
What goes into arranging flights for 94 separate Olympic athletes, as well as coaches, cooks, trainers, etc…?
USSA: USSA works with the U.S. Olympic Committee to coordinate flights for the athletes. The USOC has a partnership with United Airlines, allowing USSA to easily manage travel for its athletes and their families, as well as our staff. We typically arrange flights so athletes will fly together.
In addition to that, how difficult is it to attend to the individual needs (personal, medical, etc…) of each athlete?
Luke Bodensteiner, Executive Vice President, USSA: In partnership with the USOC, we are providing each athlete with the support infrastructure and freedom from distraction that will allow them to compete at their highest level. We’ve spent a significant amount of time on the ground over the last seven years developing local relationships and establishing a training base. Our objective is to provide a high level athletic environment here but also minimize distractions. We have four chefs providing athletes with meals they enjoy and are good in nutrition value. We also have staff on the ground here to manage needs of parents and families, to avoid having athletes distracted by having to find tickets for mom and dad.
Is there a way to keep tabs on athletes while they’re in Sochi?
Joss Christensen, men’s Olympic slopestyle gold medalist: We are asked to check in every time they head down to the village or over to the coast. Competitors have the freedom to attend other events, enjoy the slopes and work in media appointments, but they are expected to keep USSA members posted on their plans.
Everybody has to eat:
How do you feed 94 athletes?
High Performance Chef, Allen Tran:Each day we serve 50 athletes and 50 staff members. Our kitchen is open from 5:30 AM to 10 PM, where we are serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have four US chefs that work a staggered schedule, starting prior to the first event practice (the Alpine athletes are on the hill at sunrise for on-snow practice). We have to work around the various competition and training schedules for each discipline. We work around the clock to accommodate athletes coming in and out of the hotel. We only have an hour between meals to break down and set up for the next meal. We also host a recovery station with PB & J sandwiches, protein shakes, bottled water, juice, Powerade, energy bars, cereal, Chobani Yogurt and Blue Diamond Almonds.
Does everybody on the team adhere to a strict diet? I’ve seen some McDonald’s Instagram photos…
Allen Tran: Athletes are allowed to eat as they choose during the Winter Games. However, we are there to provide each competitor with a well balanced diet to optimize their performance. This consists of whole grain carbohydrates, lean protein, colorful fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats such as avocados and olive oil. We have several athletes with dietary restrictions such as food and gluten allergies, so I try to design recipes that are gluten free by cooking with polenta, quinoa, sweet potatoes and brown rice.
Here is a standard menu we would serve to our athletes:
Breakfast: Greek yogurt with fresh berries, oatmeal and hard boiled eggs
Post morning workout snack: Blue Diamond Almonds and a banana
Lunch: Veggie and beef Texas chili, cornbread made with Greek yogurt and spinach salad with avocado
Post afternoon training snack: Chocolate milk, string cheese and apple sauce
Dinner: Grilled jerk chicken, roasted plantains, vegetable kabobs with bell pepper, zucchini and eggplant
Is there a particular team that is harder to provide the necessary nutrition for?
Allen Tran: There is never a dull moment in the kitchen. As a High Performance Chef, my goal is to provide athletes with a delicious food that meet our criteria of a well balanced meal. An alpine downhill skier is going to have different needs than a Nordic endurance athlete, so ratios of those components will differ depending on the discipline. Endurance athletes need to consume more carbohydrates delivered steadily to provide fuel to the finish. Strength based disciplines require more and moderate carbohydrate amounts.
What’s the weirdest dish being prepared for any athlete?
Allen Tran: Although juicing has become a trend and is beneficial to performance, beet juice has been a popular choice amongst the US Team. Many other athletes have pre-event eating routines before. One athlete enjoys cold mini pizza bagels before racing. In general, athletes crave basic dishes that are cooked well.
February 19th, 2014
Last week, Devin Logan took home the silver medal in the first-ever women’s Olympic slopestyle final. Logan has since returned to the United States (and turned 21) and posed for a couple of shots with her new hardware on top of the Empire State Building in New York City.
February 18th, 2014
Halfpipe skiing made its Olympic debut this morning in Sochi, Russia. The athletes put down two runs in subpar conditions and will be hoping for improved weather for finals, which begin at 10:30 AM MST. Notable athletes who did not qualify include Torin Yater-Wallace (USA), Lyman Currier (USA) and Matt Margetts (CAN). Byron Wells (NZL) did not participate due to injury.
1. Justin Dorey (CAN) 91.60
2. David Wise (USA) 88.40
3. Benoit Valentin (FRA) 87.00
4. Kevin Rolland (FRA) 84.80
5. Jossi Wells (NZL) 83.00
6. Mike Riddle (CAN) 82.20
7. Noah Bowman (CAN) 80.60
8. Lyndon Sheehan (NZL) 80.00
9. AJ Kemppainen (FIN) 79.40
10. Beau-James Wells (NZL) 76.80
11. Thomas Krief (FRA) 74.80
12. Aaron Blunck (USA) 72.00
Follow @FreeskierLive on Twitter for the latest from Sochi.
February 17th, 2014
Behind the scenes, agents—as they’re known—are a playing a huge role in the marketing and promotion of your favorite skiing athletes. Of course, they’re acting as legal representatives, too, negotiating contracts and what not, but for the purposes of this short blurb, we’re highlighting the agents’ roles in managing the Olympic medalists’ media schedules, in the minutes, hours, days and weeks following the conclusion of competition.
One of the most respected agents in the world of freeskiing is a man by the name of Michael Spencer. Spencer’s client list is impressive, to say the least. He’s been around this game for many years, and in addition to representing his athletes, he’s also a co-founder of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, and the Sarah Burke Foundation, too. (The late Sarah Burke was one of his clients.) Bottom line: he’s a great supporter of, and advocate for the sport we all hold dear.
Here, at the Games (or any other major contest, for that matter), you’d find Spencer on competition day hanging down in the finish corral, nerves running high, screaming in support of his guys and gals. And we mean screaming. This week at Rosa Khutor, among other successes, his own Gus Kenworthy and Dara Howell skied their way to Olympic medals; and this is when Spencer kicks into overdrive.
As Spencer explains it:
The first 24 hours [after an athlete medals at the Olympics] are crazy. It’s a whirlwind. Everything happens so fast for these guys. [Among the agents] they call it “managing victory,” so, there’s kind of a process depending on the country. Because the medal ceremony is always at a certain time every day, it kind of dictates what the process is, so, for the slope athletes, for me, Gus [Kenworthy] and Dara [Howell], as soon as the event was over, there’s a press conference at the on-hill media center, and then it’s a quick rush down to the Main Media Center, down in Adler, where they do another large press conference. After that is the awards ceremony, and after the medals presentation, they end up going to their respective “houses,” so for Gus, we went to the USA house along with Joss [Christensen] and Nick [Goepper], and they’re introduced to everyone at USOC [United States Olympic Committee], and all the sponsors and everything else. From there, we went to the IBC [International Broadcasting Center], and started doing a bunch of the NBC stuff. So, you always start with the television rights holders: for the U.S. it’s NBC, for Canada it’s CBC, and pretty much for the next 24 hours you’re locked in with that, and then you move on to the affiliates of those networks. The athletes just don’t even know what’s next, they just get pulled, and we’re just there to make sure that we’re pointing them in the right direction after every interview.
Fortunately, when someone medals, it’s pretty big news and [the media] knows who they want to speak with, so [they] start reaching out directly to the USOC, or there’s a lot of producers that I’ve gotten to know over the years… no matter who they reach out to as a point person, eventually [in regards to the athletes I represent] all those requests end up in my inbox and or my voicemail. From there, it’s a question of trying to figure the scheduling out. Especially when you have so many different requests. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been juggling, you know, “Do we do Fallon or Letterman?” You have to kind of balance, and make the right decisions, and sometimes those shows are able to lock in a better time [for you], enabling the athletes to do more media, so, it’s just a juggle.
[For example,] Gus will fly out this week, he’ll go to New York, the plan is to do Letterman, and then we’ll pack it out from there: some more of the morning shows… He’s done a ton of Today Show, so we’ll probably do some Good Morning America, CNN, Anderson Cooper has reached out, Ellen DeGeneres has reached out, so eventually we’ll get him out to LA, and it’ll be a whirlwind tour.
[In regards to sending these guys back to the U.S. early,] I think on this one, it’s a no brainer. The Olympic closing ceremony is a special night for the athletes, for sure. I know it’s when finally they’re all relieved, regardless of medals or non medals, that it’s all over. The stress of getting here, we all saw, in slope and pipe for the U.S. guys is outrageous, right? Trying to qualify and all that… So, [closing ceremony] is when it all kind of unleashes, and from what I’ve been told, it’s quite the party, as well. But, these guys are fortunate to do opening ceremony, which is huge, too, and this [media] stuff is time sensitive these days, even more so than it has been in years past, just with social media growth and everything, so it’s easy [for the media] to kind of move on to the next best thing, so you have to be like, “OK, we need to make a decision, do you want to do closing ceremony? Or do you want to get on this media train and ride it out as far as we can?”
February 14th, 2014
Electric Visual has been one of the pioneers in the oversized frame revolution in the goggle world. The EG series goggle has earned several Freeskier Editor’s Pick awards, and has been updated for this season, with a new, easier quick-change lens system. The Electric EG3 goggle is the next generation of the EG2 goggle and features a quick change lens system that is best comparable to a ziplock bag, dubbed Press Seal Technology. To replace the lens, the user simply pops the old one out, and pushes the new one in via various key pressure points, much like the sealing of a ziplock bag.
Electric was gracious enough to send a pair of the new goggles to the Freeskier office. Check out the goggle below:
The Electric EG3 Goggle. Photo by Chris Thompson.
February 13th, 2014
Last night men’s slopestyle skiing made its debut at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, and Team USA swept the podium with Joss Christensen taking gold, Gus Kenworthy silver and Nick Goepper bronze. Once again, those within the ski industry took to Instagram to congratulate the victors and celebrate the historic moment.
“This homie… Right here… Just won the Olympics. He is by far the coolest, most talented, most fun, and most deserving people I ski with all season. Love you buddy! Congrats! @4bi9media #allgold #bringmeabeer @irideparkcity” – Tom Wallisch
“This is @josschristensen … Also OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST!!! You are the king my friend. Nobody deserves this more than you!!!! Love you homie I’m in tears!!!!”
“Congrats to my twinsey teamy @rockstarenergy @irideparkcity @fischersports and @usfreeskiing for taking GOLD in sochi! I couldn’t think of a more genuine kind person I’ve known since he was 11 to represent slopestyle skiing and from PC!! So happy for u @josschristensen !!” – Ashley Battersby
“Unbelievably stoked for my homie @josschristensen for winning Gold at the first ever Olympic slopestyle event! You truly are the #1 Hot rider.” – Steve Stepp
“WHHAAAAAAATT!! Best thing to wake up to! USA SWEEP! 3rd in History!! @josschristensen leading the way! #BooYa #Merica” – Maks Gorham
“Crazy week in Sochi. So stoked for these guys, they killed it today! @josschristensen @guskenworthy @nickgoepper #hypingggg have fun tonight!” – Bobby Brown
“So unbelievably proud of these 3 and especially @josschristensen bringing home the gold for his father, his nation, his family & friends. @guskenworthy and @nickgoepper round out the podium in 2nd and 3rd. You did the sport proud today boys. Thanks for all of your efforts! @usfreeskiing #freeskiing #olympics #slopestyle #dreamsdocometrue” – Jen Hudak
“Man, it was unreal last night! On another note- One of my best friends, @josschristensen just won a GOLD medal at the debut of Ski Slopestyle in the #sochi2014 #olympics. Joss is literally the nicest most pleasant human in the entire world and today he dedicated it all to his late father, JD. I know you made him so proud today Joss!!! Love you heaps my man, soak it all in!!” Peter Adam Crook
“This amazing kid just won the friggin #olympics!!! Ahhhh I’m sooooo ecstatic for you @josschristensen” – Dania Assaly
“Me with future Olympic gold medalist @josschristensen . Congrats man! Could not be more stoked on who the world saw as the leader of our sport!” – LJ Strenio
“Today was the day! Thanks to everybody that helped us along the way! 3 out of 4 norwegians to the final! @andreashatveit on 4th, myself on 7th and @oysteinbraten on 10th! #sochi2014 #insane” – Aleks Aurdal
“Wow. I can’t believe it. Getting 3rd in the Olympics and sharing the podium with @josschristensen and @guskenworthy during the most insane slopestyle skiing contest ever. What a day. #teamusa #sweep #blessed” – Nick Goepper
“Thank u every1 for the unbelievable support – this is an amazing journey that I’m privileged to be a part of!! I can’t wait to shred once I’m healthy again! Thank u for today & every day, sorry I couldn’t completely hold it down – please know that I’m proud as can be to represent Great Britain with this crew!! (Among many others!) #Olympics” – James “Woodsy” Woods
“These guys are awesome!! Thanks gor the support!! @mikaelkingsbury @philmarquis Marc-Antoine Gagnon! Took some risk with a hard run, wasn’t able to put it down in the first run! That why I got a second one!” – Alex Bealieau-Marchand
“Best day ever” – Chris Laker
“So happy for these three guys right now!! USA sweep! #TEAMUSA #slopestyle @josschristensen @guskenworthy @nickgoepper” – Julia Krass
“There is not a nicer human being in this world that deserves this more! Congratulations @josschristensen you are amazing #GOLD” – Keri Herman
“Thanks for bringing it home Joss!!!” – Karl Fostvedt
“Super stoked I made finals and stoked I gave it a shot in finals. I didn’t end up landing the run I wanted but I am so stoked I made it this far! Thanks to all my family and friends for the support and especially to @lauramechielsen for being the world best supporter! Congrats @josschristensen @guskenworthy and @nickgoepper for taking the podium and to everyone else who showed the world what slopestyle skiing is today! #sostokedrightnow” – Russ Henshaw
“I couldn’t be happier for my brother @josschristensen! No one deserves it more than this kid! #jossfoprez” – Aaron Blunck
“I really wouldn’t care if I would have got the 14th place or so but it really sucks to be dropped by someone who gets an 83 with a run that included a handdrag and a sideways landing when others are getting 60′s for the smallest mistakes ever. I’m glad this is over now and it’s time for something else than competing for a while.” – Anti Ollila
“DOLLO FOR GOLD!” – Oscar Harlaut
February 13th, 2014
Joss Christensen just won Olympic gold in slopestyle skiing from Sochi, Russia. He was also the Coaches’ Discretion pick, the last person chosen to represent Team USA in slopestyle. Freeskier was lucky enough to get our hands on a sound clip Skogen Sprang, head coach for the US Olympic slopestyle team, and Michael Jaquet, Chief Marketing Officer of USSA, informing Joss that he had been selected to the first ever Olympic freeskiing team. Take a listen to the Olympic champion.