Vonn, Garnsey, White Top Winners In 2012 USSA Honors
Racing superstar Lindsey Vonn, top volunteer John Garnsey, and Women’s Head Speed Coach Chip White took top individual honors as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association held its Congress at the Park City, Utah Marriott.
Vonn received the Beck Award, presented to the “top USSA athlete in international competition.” No surprises here. The honor came after a stunning season when the Vail, Colo.-based Olympic gold medalist set an American record by winning 12 World Cup races leading up to her fourth Audi Alpine Overall World Cup title. She also won her fifth consecutive downhill; fourth straight super-G; and third-in-a-row super combined titles.
"Lindsey Vonn's 14 World Cup wins and three titles this season were amazing athletic accomplishments," said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. "It was a magical year of best in the world performances with ten athletes winning 14 season titles."
Vail/Beaver Creek’s John Garnsey received the Julius Blegen Award, given to “a dedicated USSA volunteer for a lifetime of service to the sport.” Garnsey was the key leader and force behind both the 1989 and 1999 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships held at the Colorado resorts. He was also the catalyst for Vail/Beaver Creek being awarded the upcoming 2014 event.
His career began at Waterville Valley, N.H., and soon brought his race management skills to Vail and Beaver Creek. He was President of the Vail Valley Foundation and is currently President of International for Vail Resorts.
Chip White of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., with 15 years as a ski team coach, received the USSA International Coach of the Year award. White guided the women’s speed team to “best in the world” status this winter, by winning the nation’s downhill standing by a 636-point margin over Austria.
Six of his athletes – Vonn, Stacey Cook, Julia Mancuso, Alice McKennis, and Leanne Smith – all had top seasons under his coaching.
FLY Freestyle, based at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, has been named the 2012 USSA Club of the Year as well as Freestyle Club of the Year. FLY, founded in 2001, has consistently grown from year-to-year and continues to place its club athletes on the national team.
Sarah Schleper, Vail, Colo., won the Buddy Werner Award, presented to an outstanding USSA athlete who demonstrated leadership and good sportsmanship. Over the course of her 15 years with the U.S. Ski Team, the 33-year-old Schleper has raced in four Olympics, five World Championships and amassed 186 World Cup starts.
Other athletes honored were Tyler Walker, Franconia, N.H., adaptive skiing; Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, Alaska, cross country; Tom Wallisch, Pittsburgh, Pa., freeskiing; Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt., freestyle; Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, Colo., Nordic combined; Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, Utah, ski jumping; and Kelly Clark, Mount Snow, Vt., snowboarding.
What It Means: The results from the just-ended season were astounding. No other way to say it. USSA has indeed risen to the top levels of world competition. That’s a great harbinger as 2013 brings the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming, Austria and 2014 means the 2014 Winter Olympics hosted by Sochi, Russia. SnoCountry.com sends congratulations to all award winners.
Top photo: Lindsey Vonn (BleacherReport.com)
Bottom Photo: John Garnsey (Denver Business Journal)