Sports

2 NAC athletes nominated for US Para Alpine Ski Team

PARK CITY, Utah — U.S. Ski and Snowboard  announced the 13 athletes nominated to represent the U.S. Para Alpine Ski Team across sport classes for the 2023-24 competition season yesterday. 

This year’s roster is filled with talent, including seven-time Paralympic medalist Laurie Stephens, two-time Paralympic medalist Andrew Kurka and Paralympic silver medalist Thomas Walsh. Andrew Haraghey and Spencer Wood also return this year after posting consistent results last season. Jesse Keefe is new to the A team this year, moving up from the B team following a successful 2022-23 season and World Championship effort.

B team nominations include Allie Johnson, who, only in her second season of full-time racing, showed incredible promise last year on the World Cup circuit. Along with Johnson is Saylor O’Brien, who quickly added impressive results among intense competition to her resume. Moving up from the development team is Audrey Crowley, a nod to her impressive accolades and consistent results.

“We are thrilled to have named such an accomplished Para alpine ski team this season,” said Anouk Patty, U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Chief of Sport in a statement. “This team plays an integral role in our organization and we are excited to see what these amazing athletes can achieve this season.” 

The U.S. Para Alpine Ski Team is led by Para Sport Director Erik Leirfallom and new U.S. Para Alpine Ski Head Coach Ryan Pearl. Pearl comes to U.S. Ski & Snowboard from the Australian Para Alpine Team, bringing the team to two Paralympic Winter Games and was named the 2019 Australian Paralympic Coach of the Year.

“We are extremely excited to continue building off of the successful season we had last year and to implement new resources to help these athletes achieve more big results,” said Leirfallom in a statement. “With a combination of great young talent and seasoned Paralympians on this team, we know they will be able to pass on their knowledge and skills to the next generation as we grow and build under U.S. Ski & Snowboard.”

The 2023-24 FIS Para Alpine Ski World Cup season is set to kick off with downhill races for the men and women in St. Moritz in mid-December. The team will make additional stops in Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and Slovakia throughout the season. 

2023-24 U.S. Para Alpine Ski Team

(Hometown; club; birthdate)
Women’s (A Team)

  • Laurie Stephens (Wenham, MA; 3/5/1984)

Men’s (A Team)

  • Andrew Haraghey (Enfield, CT; National Ability Center (NAC); 12/16/1995)
  • Andrew Kurka (Palmer, AK; Alyeska Ski Club; 1/27/1992)
  • Jesse Keefe (Sun Valley, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; 3/26/2004)
  • Thomas Walsh (Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 1/30/1995)
  • Spencer Wood (Pittsfield, VT; National Sports Center for the Disabled; 1/17/1997)

Women’s (B Team)

  • Allie Johnson (Chicago, IL; National Sports Center for the Disabled; 12/23/1994)
  • Saylor O’Brien (Woodland, UT; National Ability Center; 4/28/2003)
  • Audrey Crowley (Vail, CO; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; 3/1/2007)

Men’s (B Team)

  • Matthew Brewer (Huntington Beach, CA; National Ability Center; 5/8/1975)
  • Connor Hogan (Foxborough, MA; National Sports Center for the Disabled; 6/6/1997)
  • Ravi Drugan (Eugene, OR; Oregon Adaptive Sports; 12/19/1989)
  • Patrick Halgren (Tolland, CT; National Sports Center for the Disabled; 6/24/1992)

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