Vail, Colo. February 7, 2022 – There must be something in the [frozen] water (aka snow) here in Vail that produces Olympians. Seeing 17 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 17 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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!”
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.”
Snowboard Halfpipe | Japan
Hirano, an SSCV alumnus, hails from Japan and is representing as a third-time Olympian for Japan in Snowboarding.
Alpine | Malaysia
Salehhuddin is attending her first winter games, representing as a part of Malaysia’s Alpine Team in Beijing. She trained with SSCV and attended VSSA.
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 Winter Olympians
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)
Aruwin Salehhuddin (Malaysia)
Sarah Schleper (Mexico)