U.S. Ski and Snowboard has announced their annual awards for the top athletes and coaches from each discipline. USA Nordic Sport's Annika Belshaw, Ben Loomis and Chris Gilbertson, were among those who were honored.
Annika Belshaw - Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year
Annika Belshaw was named U.S. Ski and Snowboard's Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year. Belshaw soared to a career-best season with her first-ever Continental Cup victory and had seven top-10 finishes to land fourth in the overall Continental Cup standings - the best U.S. finish since Sarah Hendrickson was second in 2015. "I feel delighted to win this award and I am excited for this upcoming season," said Belshaw.
Ben Loomis - Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year
Ben Loomis was named U.S. Ski and Snowboard's Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year. It was his third time winning the title (2016, 2018, 2022). In a breakthrough season, Loomis scored World Cup points every weekend and had a 15th place finish at the Olympics in Beijing. His steady progress has been an inspiration to the Nordic Combined team. “It’s an honor to be named U.S. Ski and Snowboard's Nordic Combined athlete of the year," said Loomis. "I owe it to my teammates and coaches for helping me push my level. I also want to thank USA Nordic for providing me the the resources necessary to succeed as an athlete.”
Chris Gilbertson - Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping Coach of the Year
Chris Gilbertson, jumping coach for the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team, was named U.S. Ski and Snowboard's Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping Coach of the Year.Gilbertson, who had coached up to 2013, returned to the United States in the summer of 2020 when the nordic combined team was challenged to get international coaches into the USA because of the pandemic onset. The team heartily welcomed him back. In the two years since his return, he has been consistently supporting, challenging and motivating athletes. The impact of his work has been a substantial climb up the ranks in ski jumping results compared to the past. His passion for the sport of nordic combined has been embraced by the athletes, with the results showing.Gilbertson was named Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping Development Coach of the Year in 2001 while working with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
"Nordic Combined is a team sport, regardless of the individual results. I couldn’t do what I do without the support of the whole team," said Gilbertson. "Thank you to Head Coach Nick Hendrickson, Continental Cup Coaches Gregor Linsig and Harrison Christian, Wax Techs Kurcak Kamil and Kučera Lukáš, and of course the athletes; Taylor Fletcher, Ben Loomis, Jared Shumate, Jasper Good, Stephen Schumann, Niklas Malacinski, and Grant Andrews."
Todd Einig - Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping Development Coach of the Year
Vermont ski jumping coach and program leader Todd Einig was awarded U.S. Ski and Snowboard's Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping Development Coach of the Year Award. Einig has been instrumental in developing a junior ski jumping program at Harris Hill, which just celebrated its 100th year of holding an annual tournament.
While Harris Hill has long been a major ski jumping center in New England, it had lacked a junior jumping program. Einig has been transformational for the sport, spearheading the construction of 10m and 18m jumps at Memorial Park and organizing training for young jumpers from five to 15 years old beginning in 2018.
Einig has built a comprehensive program that includes fall training in the gym and on a roller jump to prepare athletes for the season. He wears many hats for the program, including coach as well as chief of competition for the annual Harris Hill tournament. He also volunteers for major events around the region, including Lake Placid.