A team of 14 American skiers and snowboarders will be a part of history this week when the first Winter Youth Olympic Games open at the Olympic city of Innsbruck, Austria which began with the Opening Ceremony on Friday. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Alex Leever, Aaron Blunck, and Alexandra Fitch will take part in this debut event. For all three of these athletes, competition begins today.
For Leever, the games begin with a Super G on 1/14, a Super Combined (one run of Super G and one run down a slalom course) on 1/15, a mixed parallel team event on 1/17, a giant slalom on 1/19, and a slalom race on 1/21.
Blunck, a halfpipe skier, also takes to the hill today for the halfpipe qualifications on 1/14. The halfpipe finals take place on 1/15.
Fitch, a snowboarder representing Australia, starts out with the halfpipe qualifiers on 1/14 with the halfpipe finals on 1/15. Slopestyle qualifiers are on 1/19 with the finals taking place on 1/20.
SSCV alumna Mikaela Shiffrin was selected, but is not attending due to her phenomenal breakout success on the World Cup tour.
“The Youth Olympic Games are an opportunity for our USSA athletes to feel the Olympic spirit and showcase their own athletic ability to the world,” said Bill Marolt, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO.
Leever, Blunck, and Fitch will be a part of a 57-athlete Team USA in an event that is expected to attract over 1,000 athletes from over 60 nations in 63 different medal events for the Jan. 13-21 Games.
“The inaugural Youth Olympics are an opportunity for some of our athletes to test themselves with the world’s best,” said Aldo Radamus, executive director of SSCV. “We couldn’t be more proud to have these young Ski & Snowboard Club Vail competitors representing our club and our community on the international stage.”