Mikaela Shiffrin and Gus Schumacher share top honor while five others named athletes of the year
Each spring, U.S. Ski and Snowboard announces its “Athletes of the Year” from the previous season.
These awards are the oldest given out by the organization, dating all the way back to 1931. But this year was special as for the second time ever, two athletes, Mikaela Shiffrin and Gus Schumacher, shared the U.S’s top honor — the Beck International Trophy.
This year’s crop of athletes had some of the most successful seasons in U.S. Ski and Snowboard history.
Beck International Trophy/Alpine Athlete of the Year
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Shiffrin is considered by some to be the most dominant winter athlete in history — but this season’s victories don’t even begin to explain how talented she is. Despite winning six World Cups and making 13 podiums, Shiffrin overcoming personal tragedy following the unexpected death of her father only to courageously prepare for a return a month later was nothing short of remarkable.
Unfortunately rest of the season was officially canceled a day before she was scheduled to compete again because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the fourth time Shiffrin, 25, has won the Beck International trophy and the fifth time she’s been named the Alpine athlete of the year — but it’s most likely not the last time she’ll receive these honors.
Beck International Trophy/Cross Country Athlete of the Year
Schumacher continues to defy the odds and rewrite the record book when it comes to Americans and cross-country skiing as the first junior skier to win the highest honor since 1975 when fellow cross-country alum Bill Koch won the award.
Last year, Schumacher was one of the four members of the Junior Worlds men’s relay team — who took home the first ever gold medal won by the USA at the FIS Junior World Cross Country Ski Championships.
To top that performance from the previous season, Schumacher took home the first individual gold medal by an American at the Junior World Championships, when he won the 10k Classic. He also helped the Americans win the 10k relay race at the Junior Worlds again.
Freeskiing Athlete of the Year
After undergoing knee surgery in the offseason, no one knew what to expect of the two-time Olympian. But through strength and perseverance, Voisin returned with a vengeance and finished on the podium five times from this past season.
Voisin began to feel like herself again after she won slopestyle bronze at the X Games Aspen in late January, setting the stage for what happened a month and a half later in early March.
She started off X Games Norway with a silver medal in big air before returning atop the podium and winning gold in slopestyle. Voisin also landed a double cork 1260 to close out the season and set the stage for what could be a massive 2020 season.
Freestyle Athlete of the Year
Kauf, who won the Freestyle athlete of the year award in 2018, is typically among the fastest competitors on the moguls World Cup circuit. But she took time to focus on other aspects of her training this past offseason and it paid off this time as she finished the season ranked No. 3 in the world after making four podiums and winning gold in her last competition.
One of those other aspects Kauf focused on was fine-tuning her tricks and introducing two new ones: a Cork 7 and a Back Mute. Those new tricks combined with her natural speed have Kauf trending upwards to what could be a very big season in 2020.
Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year
One of the top Nordic combined athletes to ever compete, Geraghty-Moats took home her second consecutive season title on the Continental Cup after she won five times on the tour and finished on the podium twice more — she also won a record 13 consecutive Continental Cups that spanned the previous two seasons.
Geraghty-Moats was also named the FIS Nordic Combined skier of the year.
Big things are in store for Geraghty-Moats in 2020 as women’s Nordic combined makes its FIS World Cup debut next winter, as well as being a part of the World Championships next February in Oberstdorf, Germany.
More than the victories and the award, Geraghty-Moats served as a Youth Ambassador during the 2020 Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland this past year.
Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year
Urlaub had a breakout season for the Americans when he scored finished with five top-30 finishes on the FIS Cup, including a fourth place finish in Poland — one point off the podium.
He also performed well at the higher level when he earned five top-30’s at the Continental Cup, and earned a top-20 finish at the Junior World Championships in Germany.
Snowboard Athlete of the Year
It was a breakout season for Henricksen when he made history at the U.S. Open by landing the first ever Quad Cork 1800 in a slopestyle competition. That was just the beginning though as he won a gold medal in slopestyle at the Youth Olympic games and then another gold medal as a World Cup event at the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix on his home course of Mammoth Mountain.
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U.S. Ski and Snowboard recently named Wasatch Freestyle its freestyle program of the year, the second time Wasatch has won the award
For the second time in its 35-year existence, the Wasatch Freestyle Foundation was named the ‘Freestyle program of the year’ by U.S. Ski and Snowboard.