Nine awards were handed out at the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships presented by Stifel up in Sun Valley, Idaho—newly dubbed the Stifel Alpine Awards. The categories spanned from best comeback, most improved, rookie of the year, and staff member of the year.
As part of the newly imagined awards, the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team athletes voted on the categories and the winners received a $3,000 check. In previous years, athletes did not vote on the categories, and the awards were given out at U.S. Ski & Snowboard Congress.
“Each person that received this award has a tremendous story in the sport, whether it is a comeback, a success story, or just being an overall valuable member of the team,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief of Sport Anouk Patty.
Many of the winners did not know about these awards and it was a welcome surprise, announced on Sunday in Sun Valley.
STIFEL ALPINE AWARDS WINNERS:
Best Comeback (Men): Sam DuPratt
DuPratt had made a very impressive comeback from injury after breaking both of his legs in Val Gardena, Italy, in 2020. He recently won the NorAm super-G title, earning a spot back on the World Cup circuit.
Best Comeback (Women): Nina O’Brien
O’Brien had a horrific crash at the Beijing Olympics where she broke her leg. Her comeback from injury has been nothing short of impressive. O’Brien’s noteworthy results spanned from a World Championships gold medal in the team event to qualifying for World Cup finals in giant slalom.
Rookie of the Year (Men): Finnigan Donley, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation
Donley was voted in as rookie of the year for his impressive results at U18 Nationals, where he won the super-G and was second in the downhill.
Rookie of the Year (Women): Elisabeth Bocock
Bocock joined the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team for her first season this year and showed that she is a force on the slopes. She secured multiple top-five NorAm results and two podiums.
Most Improved (Men): Jett Seymour
Seymour has always shown skill and speed in slalom, but this year he demonstrated it on the World Cup stage. Seymour went from bib 59 to seventh place in Chamonix, France, as well as a Europa Cup slalom win and podium to his name. Seymour also won the 2023 Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships slalom title.
Most Improved (Women): Bella Wright
Wright qualified for her first World Cup Finals, where she secured her best result of the season—a seventh place finish. Wright has also been just shy of the top 10 in multiple World Cup downhills this season.
Athlete of the Year (Men): Travis Ganong
Ganong made the goal to podium at the Kitzbuehel downhill during the summer, and he achieved it, earning a third place at the famous track. Ganong retired at the end of this season after spending 17 seasons with the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team.
Athlete of the Year (Women): Mikaela Shiffrin
Shiffrin became the greatest alpine skier of all time this season, with 88 World Cup wins to her name. She surpassed numerous records this year, including most World Cup wins by a female, most wins overall, most podium finishes by a female and more. Shiffrin secured the overall globe, slalom globe and giant slalom globe this season.
Staff Member of the Year: Aaron Strubel, Team Manager
Strubel is a pivotal member of the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team staff. Strubel ensures that the team, staff and athletes are where they need to be, organizing lodging, airfare, uniforms and so much more. Everyone on the team is grateful for his hard work and dedication.
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