Meet the rookies of the US Ski Team

Photo: Kaitlin Keane, Kjersti Moritz, Elisabeth Bocock. 1 credit

This year’s US Ski Team rookies include two from Vail, Colorado and one from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Three teenage girls were named to the US Alpine Development Team in May – Kjersti Moritz, Kaitlin Keane and Elisabeth Bocock. In addition to displaying an aptitude for speed, they each possess a multitude of talents. And all three are excited to take the next step in their budding racing careers.

Kjersti Moritz, United States Ski Team

Kjersti Moritz. Photo credit: USST

Meet Team USA Fischer rookie athlete Kjersti Moritz. Growing up in Vail, Moritz literally can’t remember a time when she didn’t ski. She started racing her sisters – older, younger, and twins – on the NASTAR course in her youth. And then she joined the Vail Ski and Snowboard Club full-time in U12. Initially competing in both alpine skiing and freestyle, she chose speed over tricks.

“I didn’t like the judged side of freestyle,” she says. “I liked the precision of ski racing with just the timing.”

Moritz is also a competitive soccer player who studies Norwegian (her mother’s mother tongue) at Vail Mountain School. However, the 17-year-old focuses most of her energy on alpine racing and training.

Moritz draws attention

Moritz has caught the eye shooting into the FIS racing world in impressive fashion with top 20 finishes in giant slalom and slalom as well as 10e place in super-G at his first-ever national championships in November 2020. Additionally, Moritz joined the Nor-Am circuit last season, notching a handful of top 10 finishes in GS, slalom and combined as well as just missing out on a podium in a Parallel Nor-Am race.

She also enjoyed the big stage, edging out last season’s World Cup race at Killington. And she finished the season with a podium streak at the 2022 Junior Nationals in Vail (she won the GS, was second in slalom and third in super-G). She was thus crowned U18 champion, an accomplishment she considers “up there for sure” when it comes to racing highlights to date.

Moritz. Photo: @mattpower

Naming Vail Valley native Mikaela Shiffrin, whom she grew up looking up to as her idol. Moritz has realistic goals for her future as a Team USA skier.

“My short-term goals are to get strong in the gym,” she says. “I have a technical base, but I’m rather small and some girls have an advantage over me. My long-term goals? I want to keep improving to become the best skier possible, whether in Nor-Am or the European Cup. I’m really excited about what’s to come.

Kaitlin Keane, United States Ski Team

Kaitlin Keane. Photo: Lisa Perricone

Meet Team USA rookie and HEAD athlete Kaitlin Keane. Growing up in a family of ski racers, including three older brothers, two of whom raced for Dartmouth, Keane was on skis at the age of 3. Her family moved to Vail from Massachusetts when she was 4 years old. A few years later, she started racing for the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail. However, she always had her eye on the national team.

“When I was younger, of course, I always wanted to be part of the team,” the 17-year-old explains. “As I got older I thought it was cool and I still wanted it, but I shouldn’t set my sights on it. Honestly, last year was my first time skiing for myself.

This turned out to be the recipe for success. After getting into FIS as well as varsity racing and immediately racking up points during the 2020-21 season, Keane began to carve out a place as a strong contender on the Nor-Am circuit this season. last. And Keane then loaded onto Team USA’s radar last December when she went 1-2 in two junior national giant slalom races on her home mountain.

“I was really excited when I found out I had made the team,” she says. “There are so many good opportunities that come with it.”

Most Rewarding Moment Yet

As for the most rewarding moments in racing (so far), Keane named a Nor-Am GS last December, in which she started 60e. She made a mistake in the first run but completed the second fastest run to finish 13e. I also think of the day after winning the super-G at the Junior Nationals in March in Vail; Keane lost his goggles during the GS race but managed to finish second.

“It was snowing that day and frost slipped under the lens,” she recalls. “I was blinking and taking doors in the face. I crossed the finish line but finished second.

Keane. Photo: USST

Additionally, a high school football player, Keane will travel to Park City for dry land training five days a week, two sessions a day, before heading to summer snow camps in Mt. Hood and New York. -Zealand. Like most national team skiers, her ultimate goals involve world championships and the Olympics. Still, looking ahead to the season ahead, she has short-term accomplishments to cross off her list.

“I hope to make Junior World Championships, hopefully get on the podium, hopefully a Nor-Am title. I’m always on the younger side, but if I could get into the top three, that would be amazing,” Keane said.

Elizabeth Bocock, United States Ski Team

Elisabeth Bocock and coach Forest Peterson. Photo: Seppi Stiegler

Meet Team USA rookie and Rossignol/Look athlete Elisabeth Bocock. Hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah, 16-year-old Bocock becomes the youngest member of the US Alpine Team. She learned to ski in Alta and Snowbird and, following in the footsteps of her older brothers Jimmy and Scotty and her sister Mary, began racing for the Snowbird Sports Foundation at a young age. She continued on a similar trajectory to Mary, joining Rowmark Ski Academy and then Team USA.

“Growing up in racing was always a goal,” says Elisabeth, whose family lived near the Alps in France for a year when she was young. “We’ve been to a few World Cups in Europe and it was so cool to see the fans there. We used to take a trip to the Beaver Creek World Cup and see [racers] competing in those made me really want to get to that level.

Bocock had a breakthrough season for 2021-22, starting on the Nor-Am circuit and showing his versatility in both speed and technology by picking up a ninth and 13e in her first two Nor-Am alpine combined events as well as an 18e in super-G. After finishing third in the giant slalom at the Junior Nationals the previous season, Bocock won a national junior slalom race at the end of that season.

Good memories

“The highlight of this year was my biggest achievement so far,” she says. But lists his very first Nor-Am race, a GS at Copper Mountain, as his most memorable race.

Like the 73rd hence, the teenager took third place after the first run. Even though she crashed in the second run, knowing she can do a race like this gives her confidence in her future.

“I had never skied the hill before,” she says. “I remember going over the last pitch and thinking I was way behind. I barely made it through the third to last door. I was like, whoa, good thing I finished. Then I saw how excited everyone was and saw my time. It was the most exciting moment of my career. »

Bocock’s heroine is Italian World Cup all-rounder Marta Bassino.

Bocock. Photo: Jamie Walter / United States Ski Team

“I’ve always been quite small for my age. She’s also quite small but has nasty bends, so I watch her,” Bocock says.

Besides skiing, Bocock is a high school soccer player and enjoys all team sports and hiking. She plans to attend a few camps this summer, including Rowmark’s. And she looks forward to an organized training schedule and more time on the snow as the newest member of Team USA.

“Of course, everyone who skis wants to participate in the World Cup and the Olympics. I have the same goals,” she says. “But I don’t like to think too much about the future. I don’t like to create expectations and put pressure on myself.