U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced the appointment of Rick Bower to Snowboard Sport Director and Skogen Sprang to Freeski Sport Director. Sprang and Bower have been with U.S. Ski & Snowboard for over a decade and have led their athletes on the freeski and snowboard teams to tremendous success.
Former Snowboard Halfpipe Head Coach, Bower was a World Champion in snowboard halfpipe in 1999, and has been with the U.S. Snowboard Team since 2006. Since then, he has been part of five Olympic Winter Games, leading his athletes to 14 Olympic medals. Bower is a five-time International Snowboard Coach of the Year and winner of the prestigious USOPC Olympic Coach of the Year Award in 2011, as well as a three-time recipient of the Order of Ikkos award from his Olympic medaling athletes. He has also been a champion of advancing women’s snowboarding and has been pivotal to the success of athletes such as Olympic medalists Kelly Clark, Gretchen Bleiler and Chloe Kim.
“I am very excited to continue my work with the U.S. Snowboard Team,” said Bower. “Not only are these tremendous athletes, but incredible people to be around. My focus in this new role will continue to be giving them the tools and opportunities to excel.”
“Rick brings a deep understanding of what an athlete needs to achieve their full potential and how to build a program around those athletes,” said Anouk Patty, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chief of Sport. “He will lead from experience with passion and purpose and we are super excited to see this snowboard team soar under Ricky’s leadership.”
Sprang also enters his new role with a breadth of experience and success. A U.S. Freeski Team slopestyle and big air head coach since 2012, Sprang was named U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Coach of the Year in 2021 and International Freeskiing Coach of the Year. He has led the U.S. Freeski Team to three Olympic Games where they’ve won eight Olympic medals and has helped his athletes win one-third of the total freeski Olympic medals available in history—more than any coach from other countries. Along with Bower, Sprang has also been named a USOPC National Olympic Coach of the Year and is a four-time recipient of the Order of Ikkos award. He is also a 2000 X Games silver medalist in freeski big air.
“I’ve been with the U.S. Freeski Team for years and have learned a great deal, which has given me the tools and knowledge to provide even more for this sport and go even bigger in the years to come,” said Sprang. “I look forward to continuing my work with these incredible athletes for years to come and cannot wait to see how this sport evolves in the future.”
“Skogen is committed to making us the best we can be,” said Patty. “We know he will lead with passion, experience, curiosity and a deep love of the sport and its athletes.”
Bower and Sprang will oversee their national teams and will work closely with the development programs. Ashley Diebold, the Snowboard/Freeski Sport Development Director, will support both new Sport Directors. Together they will manage the progression of the rookie athletes onto the elite teams and will play a significant role in engaging with the clubs and programs in the community to identify and nurture talent and the sports overall.