Shiffrin and Harjo: Photo US Ski Team
During and at the end of the 2021-22 season, the US Alpine Ski Team made significant staffing changes. It is common after Olympic cycles to see staff shake-ups and that spring saw many.
Most significantly, the team hired Anouk Patty as the chief of sport.
However, before the 2022 season ended, they also parted ways with the Alpine Director Jesse Hunt, who took a position at Burke Mountain Academy. In the spring they replaced him with former US Alpine Director Austrian Patrick Riml. Notably, the last four Alpine directors have been Jesse Hunt, Patrick Riml, Jesse Hunt and now Patrick Riml. Uniquely, during their careers, both men have held the position twice.
Additionally, at the end of the 2022 season, after saying goodbye to one of alpine ski racing’s most successful coaches Forest Carey, the men’s side experienced the elimination of the World Cup Men’s Head Coach position. They also made a change at the helm of the men’s slalom team, parting ways with now Ski and Snowboard Club Vail Coach Ryan Wilson and replacing him with emerging coach Slovenian Matic Skube.
The women’s staff also saw significant changes at the end of the 2022 season. Notably, long-time US Ski Team Coach Alex Hoedlmoser departed from his leadership position with the US women’s speed team to work with his native country’s national team in Austria. Also, his assistant Karin Harjo left to become the Women’s Head Coach in Canada. The two were replaced by Head Women’s Speed Coach Jeff Lackie, who had previously worked with Mikaela Shiffrin and Lackie’s new assistant, Austrian Burkhard Schaffer.
Notably, this spring brought additional consequential staff changes to the Stifel US Ski Team.
2024 men’s Stifel US Ski Team coaches changes
Tilston takes the helm of the men’s team
On the men’s side, after a challenging year without a head coach, they have replaced Forest Carey with Scotsman Mark Tilston. Tilston’s latest position was the Head Men’s Alpine Coach with Alpine Canada Alpin. Before being hired by the Stifel US Alpine Team, he was at the helm of the very successful and quickly emerging Canadian men’s team, who notably won three medals at the 2023 Alpine World Championships.
Schaffer assisted by Scheiber to lead men’s speed
Tilston was immediately tasked with hiring a new head coach for the men’s speed team because the team had parted ways with the experienced Randy Pelkey and his accomplished assistant Urban Planinsek. He felt urgency because it was late in the hiring season and the men’s speed team needed an elite coach who could start immediately and help with the equipment testing and the spring camp in Norway.
After consulting a group that included Stifel US Ski Team staff and athletes, Tilston decided to fill the lead position with Austrian Burkhard Schaffer. Schaffer had spent last season as the US women’s assistant speed coach. To assist Schaffer, they also hired fellow Austrian Florian Scheiber, who worked as a women’s team assistant coach in his home country last season.
Alpine Director Riml says, “Mark and Burkhard will be excellent additions to the men’s team. Their history speaks for itself and we are excited to see what success comes to our team with these additions.”
Flinn earns promotion
In addition, the Stifel US Ski Team has promoted men’s development coach American Graham Flinn to lead the men’s Europa Cup team. Sport Director Patty says it was the logical decision as Flinn had done an outstanding job with the development team and she and Riml had decided it would be best to provide staff continuity for the emerging men advancing to the Europa Cup level.
2024 women’s Stifel US Ski Team coaches changes
Harjo with Shiffrin
The most exciting new rehire is Karin Harjo. Two seasons ago, she was the assistant coach of the US women’s speed team. However, this season she led the Alpine Canada Alpin Women’s team. The accomplishments of the Canadian women’s team in 2023 included a World Cup GS winner and a slalom world champion, an especially difficult achievement in the era of Mikaela Shiffrin. Harjo is now the new lead Stifel US Ski Team coach with the US superstar Shiffrin. She will replace the accomplished Mike Day, who had worked with Mikaela for seven successful seasons.
Although Day was a hard coach to replace, Shiffrin and Harjo had already created a bond during Shiffrin’s cooperation with the US women’s speed team. Now Harjo will exist in the brightest spotlight in alpine ski racing.
Soulard joins women’s tech
The women’s slalom/giant slalom team is undoubtedly strong and becoming more extensive and diverse. Because of that, Patty and Riml have agreed to supply additional staff. This season former head US men’s tech team coach Frenchman Rudi Soulard will join head women’s tech coach Sweden’s Magnus Andersson. Together, they will work with a powerful group of talented tech women.
Soulard most recently worked with the French women’s team before joining Andersson’s staff. However, it is worth noting that Soulard was a Swedish men’s team coach when Andersson was an athlete, so they know how to work well together.
Hoedlmoser returns and brings back Dejorid
Another critical coach returning to the US team is Hoedlmoser. Head women’s speed coach Lackie has parted with the Stifel US Ski Team and after one season coaching the Austrian women, Hoedlmoser is back in the position he left one year ago. Also returning to the Stifel US Ski Team as Hoedlmoser’s assistant is Daniel Dejori, who spent last season assisting Hoedlmoser in Austria.
“We have very strong leadership and a tremendous amount of experience on the women’s team,” added Riml. “Together with the existing staff we are in a great position to achieve our goals and build a winning team.”
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