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U.S. Ski & Snowboard to launch women’s initiative ‘Heroic’ at 2022 Heroic Killington Cup

U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced the launch of the Heroic Initiative—a movement celebrating and empowering women in skiing and snowboarding, on Nov. 10, in advance of the Killington races. The multi-faceted program will be brought to life at the newly renamed 2022 Heroic Killington Cup presented by Stifel, the world’s most attended women’s FIS World Cup, as a space to discuss, honor and lead innovation in women in skiing and snowboarding. Stifel is the first partner of an activation as part of the Heroic program.

The initiative is designed to celebrate the power of women while also investing in their future success. In the 2022-23 debut season of Heroic, the first focus will be coaching, launching at Killington. While the participation of women in skiing and snowboarding continues to grow, only 25% of skiing and snowboarding coaches are women with even less representation at the elite level. Heroic Coaching aims to increase the number of women coaches at all levels of our sports.

“The Heroic Initiative was created because U.S. Ski & Snowboard is committed to providing more leadership, opportunities and mentorship for women to achieve further greatness in our sports,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, president and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “This multi-faceted and purpose-driven initiative aims to empower, inspire and lead women in their fields on and off the snow and we could not be more excited to kick it off at the 2022 Heroic Killington Cup presented by Stifel.”

By Paul Holmes
The 2021 Killington Cup Slalom racers who earned a spot on the podium: Petra Vlhova (left) took silver, Mikaela Shiffrin (center) took gold and Wendy Holdener (right) took bronze.

The Heroic initiative is building on a program spearheaded by leading women at the organization, including U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Director of High Performance Gillian Bower, DPT director of sport science Tschana Schiller, Director of Sports Medicine Jaron Santelli, and Clinical Specialist Torey Anderson, DPT. The system includes health and wellness programs to help female athletes track their hormone levels and menstrual cycles to gain knowledge about their personal physiology, know how to better fuel their bodies and make better-informed decisions on their training schedules and intensity levels. The team has also engaged two additional female sports psychologists in 2022 to provide more opportunities for women athletes to connect and develop a relationship with a woman provider.

Additionally, U.S. Ski & Snowboard plans to work with women leaders in other industries to provide fellowships for athletes and women in the industry, as well as long-term goals to develop grants to address core challenges. These objectives include programs like flex funds to allow a woman coach to step in for another woman coach when one has responsibilities outside of her sport, a childcare fund to support coaches of all genders bringing their children on the road or need childcare while working, studies to learn about the barriers preventing women from rising as coaches, and mentorship programs to allow female coaches to learn elite coaching strategies on the national team.

“Hosting the best female alpine skiers in the world each year is just one thing that’s made Killington the premier destination for women’s alpine skiing and its fans,” said Killington Director of Brand Marketing and Events Amy Laramie. “Our commitment to empowering women lasts long after the Killington Cup is over. The Beast has produced Olympians such as Donna Weinbrecht and Hannah Soar and we’ve consistently hosted women’s camps and clinics for years, just a few of the reasons we’re proud to be an epicenter of women’s skiing.”

The first-ever Heroic Summit will take place at the Heroic Killington Cup presented by Stifel and will feature speaker panels and meet and greets, all centered around the common goal of advancing women in winter sports.

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