Alpine

Ski Team Members Visit American Military Heroes

by
Courtney Harkins
2015-03-05 16:27
 

The U.S. ski racers returned to Europe after the World Championships with screams of 200,000 hometown fans still echoing in their ears. Medals adorned necks, hundreds of autographs signed, and national newspapers and morning shows called the skiers heroes. But World Cup circuit schedules returned to normal for the athletes when they crossed the pond—eat, sleep, train, race, repeat. Sometimes they get a quick moment to visit a neighboring town, go out to eat or see friends, but breaks are few and far between. However, every year, when the men and women’s teams arrive in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for speed events, the athletes forgo some of their limited down time to visit the true American heroes at the U.S. military base.

Before each of their races, the men and the women’s speed teams dropped by the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort—a vacation destination exclusively for the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed overseas. The resort is also the largest certified ski school outside of the continental United States and teaches over 6,000 service members how to ski per year, which brings it close to the ski racers’ hearts.


Travis Ganong and Steven Nyman sign autographs.

More than 150 service members were in attendance on both nights with their kids, who were thrilled to meet some of their ski racing idols. After an autograph signing, the athletes stuck around to eat tacos, play foosball and hang out with the cast of characters at the base.

“It’s always fun to go to the U.S. military base and get a taste of America while in Europe,” said Steven Nyman, who visited with teammates Travis Ganong and Jared Goldberg. “People are fired up to see us, and that connection to the community here makes Garmisch an extra special race for us.”


The women's speed team meets adoring fans.

The entire women’s speed team was represented at the base—Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Laurenne Ross, Stacey Cook, Alice McKennis, Jackie Wiles, Julia Ford and Abby Ghent. “The U.S. military base in Garmisch feels like a home away from home while on the road. The crew there is always so warm and welcoming, and it’s fun to see familiar faces year after year,” said Mancuso. “There was a great energy at the base. It’s awesome to get such strong support from this American crew so far away from home.”

The events were held in conjunction with the local “Wonderful Wednesday” ski program, which teaches military members’ children how to ski and snowboard.


Travis Ganong, Steven Nyman and Jared Goldberg pose for pictures.

“With their busy training and travel schedules it was wonderful for them to take the time and show their support of service members and their families serving overseas,” said Edelweiss Resort’s marketing director Brad Hays. “There was real camaraderie and mutual respect with Team USA and the service members. You could feel everyone was proud to be an American.”

After a fun visit, the ladies are now focused on ski racing, with the downhill taking place on Saturday. And they’ll finish to cheers from the audience in Garmisch, with the true American heroes from the base ringing cowbells and yelling their names.

Fun Fact: Former U.S. Ski Team athlete Keely Kelleher’s brother Connor is a ski instructor at the base!


The women's team smiles with the U.S. military members and their families.

QUOTES
Julia Mancuso
The U.S. military base in Garmsich feels like a home away from home while on the road. The crew there is always so warm and welcoming, and it’s fun to see familiar faces year after year. There was a great energy at the base, with about 150 servicemen and their families at the autograph signing. It’s awesome to get such strong support from this American crew so far away from home.

Steve Nyman
It’s always fun to go to the U.S. military base and get a taste of America while in Europe. People are fired up to see us, and that connection to the community here makes Garmisch an extra special race for us.


Three members of the men's speed team smile with military members and their families at the U.S. base in Garmisch.

David Groat, school principal
It is so incredible to have the skiers—the U.S. men’s and women’s Alpine Ski Teams—come and be a part of our Wonderful Wednesday Ski Program, because our students get the opportunity to not only practice skiing, but here they get a chance to meet people who have pursued their dreams and have really followed through with hard work and tenacity. These kids get to see the payoff.

Brad Hays, marketing director
With their busy training and travel schedules, it was wonderful for them to take the time and show their support of service members and their families serving overseas. There was real camaraderie and mutual respect with Team USA and the Service Members. You could feel everyone was proud to be an American. We hope the racers end up feeling like they have a home-court advantage during the races here in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

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