Check out coverage on SSCV athletes and alumni headed to the Beijing Winter Games!
SSCV Runs Deep for 2022 Winter Olympians! 16 SSCV Current and Alumni Athletes Competing in Beijing
Read on about SSCV's 16 Olympians!
Watch Parties on the Jumbotron at International Bridge
in Vail throughout the Beijing Winter Games
and a special February 12 celebration!
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Runs Deep for 2022 Winter Olympians: 16 SSCV Current and Alumni Athletes Competing in Beijing
By Olivia Lyda
Vail, Colo. February 2, 2022 – There must be something in the [frozen] water (aka snow) here in Vail that produces Olympians. Seeing 16 Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) athletes and alumni competing in Beijing, China, this month exemplifies the dedication of this world-class ski and snowboard club to working with every athlete to achieve their full potential.
Each SSCV 2022 Olympian has walked through the SSCV clubhouse doors and trained on exceptional venues with an outstanding coaching staff. These incredible competitors each have their own unique snowsport journey that connected them to SSCV and the Vail Valley, and helped them tap into their strengths both on and off-snow.
Each of these Olympians made incredible athletic strides while at SSCV. Additionally, SSCV coaches as mentors and role models have also imparted SSCV’s core values of Character, Courage, Commitment to these athletes on their journey to this pinnacle snowsport experience.
SSCV Executive Director John Hale said, “SSCV is immensely proud to be a part of the journey of each of these 2022 Beijing Winter Olympians. They inspire the next generation of SSCV athletes, whether watching them from afar or training alongside them. SSCV is fortunate to have incredible facilities both on and off the hill to support these athletes along their journey. However, it is the outstanding SSCV coaching staff that enables each athlete, regardless of where their snowsport takes them, to reach their full potential both on and off the hill.”
SSCV’s 16 current and alumni athletes, who are 2022 Olympians in Beijing, China, are listed alphabetically below by country. A number of SSCV coaches who touched the lives of several of these Olympians along the way shared some warm thoughts on their athletes turned Olympians.
Aaron Blunck Freeski Halfpipe | U.S.
Blunck, an SSCV alumnus, came to SSCV in order to further his training alongside keeping up with his academics. Blunck is representing the US Freeski Team in Beijing as a third-time Olympian. As a high schooler, Blunck filled the halls of Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy (VSSA), his high school alma mater, with excitement as he headed off to Sochi in 2014 on his first athletic stage as an Olympian. VSSA is an Eagle County public school and SSCV academic partner.
Alex Ferreira Freeski Halfpipe | U.S.
Ferreira is an SSCV alumnus representing the U.S. Freeski Team and competing as a second-time Olympian in Beijing. Ferreira trained and competed with SSCV.
Olivia Giaccio Mogul | U.S.
Giaccio, an SSCV alumna, is competing in moguls as a first time-Olympian in Beijing, representing as a part of the US Freestyle Team. Giaccio trained and competed with SSCV and attended VSSA.
SSCV Mogul Program Director John Dowling stated, “I worked with Livy back when she was 13 and 14. She has been on a great path and it's great to see her go to the Olympics. Winning her first World Cup this year was huge.”
Faye Gulini Snowboardcross | U.S.
Gulini, an SSCV alumna, is in Beijing for her fourth experience as an Olympian. She is representing as part of the U.S. Snowboardcross Team. Gulini trained and competed with SSCV and was a graduate of VSSA. Amidst her many successes as a national team athlete and Olympian she found time to earn a BS and Masters in Accounting from Westminster College.
Zoe Kalapos Snowboard Halfpipe | U.S.
Kalapos is making her first appearance as an Olympian in Beijing as part of the U.S. Snowboard Team. Kalapos, an SSCV alumna, trained and competed with SSCV and attended VSSA. She found time amidst her quest to be a member of the U.S. Snowboard Team and a Beijing Olympian to graduate from VSSA and earn a BS in marketing from Westminster College.
SSCV Snowboard and Freeski Program Director Chris Laske said, “I’ve known Zoe since she was 7 years old. It’s been amazing watching her grow into the person she is today. She is smart, driven and caring,”
“From a young age, she wasn’t like other kids. She was so focused on snowboarding and always stayed out of trouble even through her teenage years. I saw firsthand the remarkable sacrifices that both Zoe and her family made to give her every chance to succeed in snowboarding. It’s so exciting to see her hard work pay off and her olympic dream come true. Go Zoe, go Olympians!”
Julia Marino Snowboard Slopestyle | Big Air
Marino, an SSCV alumna, is representing the U.S. Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air Team as a first-time Olympian in Beijing. She trained and competed with SSCV and attended SSCV Winter Tutorial.
Paula Moltzan Alpine | U.S.
Moltzan is representing in Beijing as a part of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team as a first-time Olympian. Paula, an SSCV alumna, trained and competed at SSCV and attended Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy before making the U.S. Alpine Ski Team. In addition to her national team experience, Paula also spent a few years of stellar collegiate racing for the University of Vermont’s NCAA Division 1 Alpine Ski Team.
Kai Owens Mogul | U.S.
Owens is a current SSCV athlete and first-time Olympian as a mogul athlete representing as part of the US Freestyle Team. Owens has been in the Vail Valley for most of her life, adopted from China at a very young age. Her appearance in Beijing as an Olympian is her first return to China after adoption, creating added meaning to an already extraordinarily meaningful stay. Owens began training and competing with SSCV as a very young athlete and is a student at VSSA. Her accomplishment as a first-time Olympian while still in high school is filling VSSA’s halls with excitement and inspiration.
“Kai was a prodigy with SSCV back when she was six", stated John Dowling, SSCV Mogul Program Director. “She has always had that fire and that competitive drive. She is the consummate competitor and fierce skier. She's a threat to medal at the Olympics."
River Radamus Alpine | U.S.
Radamus, an SSCV alumnus, is bringing his energy and competitive spirit to his first appearance as an Olympian in Beijing, representing as a part of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team. Radamus became an SSCV athlete at a very young age. He continued to train and compete with SSCV and attended VSSA until transitioning to the National Training Group and Team Academy, ultimately qualifying for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team. Radamus' family lives in the Vail Valley, a place River can call home.
“River took advantage of every opportunity presented to him to be on snow, full-gas and with a never-ending love for the sport,” said Rob Worrell, Alpine Head U14 Coach. “SSCV gave him opportunity and access and he fully embraced it, taking every opportunity on every little bump and knoll to lay his hip down and feel that angulation.
“River is a great example of ‘practice makes permanent.” His passion and drive really took him to the level he is at today. He had the best energy – super competitive and super intense, bringing great energy to the team.”
Mikaela Shiffrin Alpine | U.S.
Mikaela Shiffrin, a name that every person in the snowsports community knows, is an SSCV alumna. She is a third-time Olympian, representing as part of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team. Shiffrin’s alpine racing career has figuratively moved mountains and literally broken long-time records. She had her start with club training and competition at SSCV as a very young and eager athlete. After spending early formative time at SSCV, a family career move landed Shiffrin on the east coast. The Vail Valley remains home to both Shiffrin and her family.
SSCV U10/U12 Alpine Coach Simon Marsh stated of Mikaela, “I coached Mikaela when she was about six years old in SSCV Gravity Core, a predecessor to today’s Future Stars program. Her mom Eileen had a very synergistic involvement in the process. As a six-year-old Mikaela showed a great deal of drive and very mature skills that one might expect to see in a 13- or 14-year-old. When given directions, Mikaela understood them and she worked hard to practice and perfect her skills through many days of repetition until they became second nature to her. ”
“Mikaela was raised to ask questions so that she had a good understanding of why she was doing a drill or an exercise. She was incredibly inquisitive and cerebral about the sport. Her stretch goal as a six-year-old was to be an Olympian by age 16, and when all was said and done, she was an Olympian by age 18. She set the goal, she believed in it, and even at that young age, she made me believe it was possible for her.”
Meghan Tierney Snowboardcross | U.S.
Tierney is an SSCV alumna going to Beijing as a second-time Olympian representing as a part of the U.S. Snowboardcross Team. Tierney trained and competed with SSCV and also attended VSSA. As her passion for snowboarding led her to focus on snowboardcross, she transitioned to a snowboardcross-specific team.
Dylan Walczyk Mogul | U.S.
Walcyzk, a current SSCV athlete, has been training with SSCV, and this will be his first time as an Olympian, representing the US in moguls.
“Dylan has forged his own way, and skied himself to this point", stated SSCV Mogul Program Director John Dowling. "There was certainly an element of vindication for him and I couldn't be happier. I have worked with Dylan since he was 12 and him making it as an Olympian is a monumental lifetime achievement.”
Queralt Castellet Snowboard Halfpipe | Spain
Castellet is a current SSCV athlete competing as a third-time Olympian representing Spain in snowboard halfpipe in Beijing.
“Having Queralt on our team has truly been a great experience. She has such a great work ethic that inspires our whole team. Being able to watch her put in the work and take her riding to the next level has really been amazing,” said Chris Laske, SSCV Freeski and Snowboard Program Director.
“Both on and off the hill Queralt holds herself to a higher standard, treats everyone with respect, and is an extremely motivating person to be around. We wish her the best of luck at this year’s Olympics - our whole team will be rooting for her!”
William Flaherty Alpine | Puerto Rico
Flaherty is a current SSCV athlete representing Puerto Rico’s Alpine Ski Team as a first-time Olympian. He attends Winter Tutorial based out of Minturn, Colorado, supporting him academically during the winter. Flaherty’s inspiring backstory, overcoming a life-threatening illness as a young boy, makes this Beijing winter games appearance all the more inspiring.
Brett Borgard, SSCV U14 Coach stated, “I met William in June of 2014 as he showed up to SSCV Summer Ski Camp in Bend, Oregon, and from the start, William showed he wanted to ski and get better. He has worked so hard and focused over the years on improving each day he is on the hill. He is kind, caring and will share all he has to anyone that needs something. His smile, laugh and energy is contagious and whatever you put in front of him he will succeed at it. I am lucky to have been a part of his journey of making it to the 2022 Olympics.”
Ayumu Hirano Snowboard Halfpipe | Japan
Hirano, an SSCV alumnus, hails from Japan and is representing as a third-time Olympian for Japan in Snowboarding.
Sarah Schleper Alpine | Mexico
Schleper, an SSCV alumna with multiple experiences under her belt as an Olympian for both the U.S. and Mexico, is coming back for her sixth winter games, representing as a part of Mexico’s Alpine Team in Beijing. Her career as an alpine ski racer has been monumental both here in the U.S., and with her comeback, after retiring from the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, with her newly acquired Mexican citizenship in hand, as an international athlete. She was born and raised in the Vail Valley, and trained and competed with SSCV for her youth ski racing career, before becoming a U.S. Alpine Ski Team member.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Current and Alumni Athletes | 2022 Beijing
Aaron Blunck (US)
Alex Ferreira (US)
Olivia Giaccio (US)
Faye Gulini (US)
Zoe Kalapos (US)
Julia Marino (US)
Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
Paula Moltzan (US)
Kai Owens (US)
River Radamus (US)
Mikaela Shiffrin (US)
Meghan Tierney (US)
Dylan Walczyk (US)
Queralt Castellet (Spain)
William Flaherty (Puerto Rico)
Ayumu Hirano (Japan)
Sarah Schleper (Mexico)
River Radamus and Tommy Ford make final Olympic preparations at Golden Peak -- U.S. Alpine teammates trained alongside SSCV athletes
Vail Daily - February 3, 2022 - Approaching the pinnacle experience of his Alpine career, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumnus River Radamus returned to his roots to prepare for his first Olympic Games. Training on home turf alongside SSCV athletes, Radamus and fellow Olympian Tommy Ford worked the dry, cold snow of Golden Peak last week, its grippy surface acting as the perfect simulation for the snow conditions they are sure to encounter in Beijing the next few weeks. READ MORE
Flaherty family affair: William joins Charles in Olympic fraternity -- Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete will represent Puerto Rico at Olympics
Vail Daily - February 3, 2022 - Imagine being a young child living in Puerto Rico, taking annual family ski vacations two weeks each year to Beaver Creek, equipped with a private ski instructor. These are certainly the moments that dreams are made of; exchanging sand castles for a snowy slope for family fun.
Fast forward not once, but twice for the Flaherty family, who splits their life between their full-time residence in Puerto Rico and a home in Edwards, Colorado to take these precious memories, dream big, and produce two sons who represent their country of Puerto Rico at the Olympics. That is the story for Charles Flaherty, who paved the way to an appearance at Pyeongchang in 2018 and his younger brother William, headed off to Beijing to represent Puerto Rico in 2022. READ MORE
Gulini leads experienced American snowboardcross team to Beijing -- Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy graduate is making fourth Olympic appearance
Vail Daily - February 1, 2022 - If Faye Gulini can compete for as long as the recently retired Tom Brady did, she’ll have a shot at seven Olympic Games. As it stands, the 29-year-old Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy graduate is a sage leader on the veteran-laden U.S. snowboardcross contingent, having qualified for her fourth Olympic team back in December. Along with five-time World Champion Lindsey Jacobellis, who at 36 is making her fifth Olympic appearance, Gulini joins fellow SSCV alumna Meghan Tierney and lone Olympic rookie Stacy Gaskill on a squad with a combined 12 Olympics appearances. READ MORE
Sarah Schleper qualifies for 6th Olympic Games -- Vail Alpine skier will represent Mexico for a second time
Vail Daily - January 29, 2022 - Sarah Schleper hasn’t lost her need for speed.
When asked of the secret to her abnormally long career, Schleper responded, “First, it’s love for the sport and a love for hard work; making difficult situations fun. Then, to be a ski racer, you have to want to go fast.”
Before the 2022 Olympics — her sixth — are over, Schleper will turn 43. She made four U.S. teams before qualifying for Mexico in 2018 and 2022. Married to Federico Gaxiola, the Vail native would have competed in the 2014 Games, too, but completed her four-year citizenship process a month late. READ MORE
Admiring the journey: Snowboarder Zoe Kalapos finally gets to Olympics -- Avon family's sacrifices made Olympic dreams possible
Mike Dawsy Courtesy Photo above.
Vail Daily- January 26, 2022 - January 24, 2022 is a bluebird Colorado day at Copper Mountain. After gazing downhill at a busy Interstate 70, Zoe Kalapos peers down the halfpipe at gawking tourists with their phones ready, and turns up her music. Future’s “Never Stop” starts blasting as she tilts her Giro helmet towards the horizon line and prepares to thrust off the lip of the icy pipe’s wall. READ MORE
Two times for Tierney: Eagle snowboardcross athlete qualifies for second Olympics
“I was super happy,” Tierney said about the nomination. “I think it will probably hit me more once I’m over there, because it hasn’t fully set in.” READ MORE
Edwards’ River Radamus competes in a World Cup giant slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland, Jan. 8. Gabriele Facciotti/AP Photo
Radamus en route to Olympics -- SSCV alumnus youngest member of U.S. men's Alpine team
Gabriele Facciotti/AP Photo above
Vail Daily - January 21, 2022 - The U.S. Olympic Alpine ski team will bring six men to the Beijing Olympics, and one of them is River Radamus. The Edwards athlete joins Mikaela Shiffrin, Nina O’Brien and Paula Moltzan as the other local Alpine skiers to have punched their tickets to China.
“It’s for sure crazy,” Radamus said from his Edwards home, where he is making final preparations for the Games.
“Being here and getting that call and knowing I’m about to go and represent my country in a couple of weeks is pretty overwhelming. It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of hard days. I’m thrilled to enjoy the fruits of that labor." READ MORE
Rick Bowmer/AP Photo
Walczyk’s World: Dylan Walczyk qualifies for Beijing Olympics -- SSCV mogul veteran qualifies as independent skier
Vail Daily - January 21, 2022 - Dylan Walczyk had to buck the institutional system on his way to qualifying for his first U.S. Olympic team, as announced by U.S. Ski and Snowboard Thursday afternoon. The mogul skier was not named to the U.S. Ski Team this fall and has competed independently for the entire Olympic cycle. Great results, which kept him in the World Cup circuit as an independent, finally led him to the elusive quadrennial pinnacle.
“It’s 20 years of super hard work — a lifetime goal achievement,” Walczyk, who has made every World Championship team since his international career began, said about the nomination. READ MORE
Rick Bowmer/AP Photo
Kai Owens named to US Olympic mogul team --
Vail Daily - January 18, 2022 - Kai Owens is officially returning to China.
The 17-year old moguls star who wrote “Beijing” next to the Olympic rings in her journal four years ago is about to realize a dream she described as “a journey coming full-circle.”
“This Olympics is like everything to me,” she said from Deer Valley, Utah, where she finished the first day of a pre-Olympic camp before the team flies out in a week. READ MORE