Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Alex Leever and SSCV alumna Mikaela Shiffrin were selected by USSA to join 58 other young athletes from across the U.S. to participate in the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG).  Held at Innsbruck, Austria in January, the YOG will feature 63 medal events over 7 sports and 15 disciplines with over 1000 other young athletes from 80 countries participating.

Leever and Shiffrin will be competing in slalom, giant slalom, super-g, and super combined for the U.S.

The selection was based on the skier’s national ranking in their two best events at the end of the 2010/2011 season.  Leever had the best single result for the Rocky/Central division of USSA at last season’s J2 Nationals while Shiffrin took the slalom title at the U.S. Nationals, the youngest U.S. skier to ever win a national alpine title.

“It’s a huge opportunity because this is the first time this event is happening,” said Leever.

“Things are looking really good for Alex’s training right now,” said Leever’s coach, Peter Lange.  “He has been training with some of the best skiers in the country, and he is able to constantly evaluate himself against other really good skiers.”

Shiffrin has been training on Vail’s Golden Peak along side Lindsey Vonn this past week.

“It was very exciting to hear I was selected for the Youth Olympics,” said Shiffrin. “Training is going really well and I feel like I’m skiing faster all the time.  I still have room to improve and I know how to get there.”

“The Winter Youth Olympic Games will provide these young athletes an opportunity to experience the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect,” said vice president of USSA Luke Bodensteiner.  “Their ability to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games is a testament to the outstanding club programs and their ability to create an environment of athletic success.”

Shiffrin will be training at Vail through November until her season begins and Leever will be competing mostly in Colorado before he heads to Europe.