2015 US National Team

The USSMA is pleased to announce the 2015 US National Team.  The Team will be competing at the World Championships in Verbier, Switzerland on 05-12 February.  The team was selected based on the 2014 race points and the 2015 qualifying races (Irwin, Targhee, and Jackson Individual races; Crested Butte Vertical; Snow King Sprint).

For information about the World Championships, please see the official race website

The USSMA Blog will be updated daily during the race so please check the site for up-to-date details and photos of the US Team in action.

The US National Team is self supported (each member pays their own costs to race for the US).  If you would like to support the US National Team with a tax deductible donation please contact [email protected].


2015 Men’s US National Team

  1. John Gaston: John is an East Coaster who always knew he’d end up in the mountains. He now calls Aspen Highlands his home resort.  His parents were really into skiing and got he and his brother onto the mountain when they were 3. He attended CU Boulder in no small part because of its proximity to the mountains, and moved to Aspen right after graduating. He didn’t get hooked on the endurance side of the sport for a few years, but when he finally “discovered” ski mountaineering racing, he went all in! His first big performance was winning Aspen’s Power of Four by just 2 seconds with his brother Pete in 2012, and things snowballed quickly from there. He represented the US at the 2013 World Championships, and was also able to wrap up both the 2013 and 2014 USSMA Series overalls with some very consistent racing, something he is definitely proud of. He is psyched to have the opportunity to go back with the team and give it another go against the Euro talent once again. John’s other hobbies include: free-skiing, mountain biking, dirt biking, working at Strafe, and hanging out with my wife and dog
  2. Tom Goth
  3. Jason Dorais
  4. Scott Simmons: Nickname: The Simmulator or Thor; Born: Anchorage, AK; Current Location: Durango, CO; Hobbies: Hockey, Fishing in AK; Motto: "That will only take ten minutes."  Scott grew up in Soldotna, AK and moved to Greensboro, MD when he was 13. In AK, he x-country skied around as much as he could and loved playing hockey. When he had to re-locate to MD his ski outings halted. He moved to CO as soon as He could. He was accepted to Ft Lewis College in Durango in 1991. "Technically" he was studying Economics, but skiing and biking were also a big part of the package. The first time he skinned was on tele skis in 1992. The skins didn't have glue. They hooked at the tip and tail and had 3 straps as well. One of the first times he skinned was at the local ski hill and he was kicked off of course. Twenty years later he's still getting kicked off the local hill. He continues to enjoy skiing the San Juan’s. He's always finding new lines as my lightweight Scarpa/Trab gear allows him to push further. He can be found skiing resort powder with the kids, backcountry corn with his wife, big peaks with friends, putting in endless training hours, and of course racing!
  5. Max Taam: Max lives in Aspen, Colorado. He ski patrols on Aspen Mtn during the winter and coaches cycling during the summer. This will be his fourth Ski Mountaineering World Championships. At the 2013 World Championships John Gaston and Max finished 10th in the teams race. This is the best teams result ever by North American men. Hopefully he and John can improve upon it this year!
  6. Eric Carter: From Minneapolis, Minnesota. Currently a PhD student at University of British Columbia and living in Squamish BC. Previously a Nordic skier at the University of Vermont before moving West and discovering ski mountaineering. Third season racing and first time in Europe.
  7. Jon Brown: Jon lives in Gunnison CO with his girlfriend Amy and a couple of cats.  He moved to Gunnison to attend WSCU in '91 and hasn’t reached escape velocity yet (which is ok by him). He has been nordic skiing since middle school but didn't learn how to alpine/backcountry/skimo until about 8 years ago when the COSMIC series was introduced.  He is absolutely ecstatic to be representing the US in Verbier with an incredible group of athletes and characters.
  8. Teague Holmes
  9. Andy Dorais: Andy is a ski mountaineer from Salt Lake City who has a knack for getting in over his head.  He tries to balance time between racing, adventuring in the mountains on light skimo gear, working, and putting in family time.  He believes "the more you do, the better you feel" along with other clichéd sayings such as "light is right" and "the best pace is a suicide pace...and today is a good day to die!"  This is his second time on the US skimo team, this time specializing in the sprint race to allow for a better ratio of racing to adventuring, and really because while he considers himself fast, the competition is getting stronger.  He is often reminded that he's not even the fastest in his own family.  The US Skimo scene is speeding up and that makes him proud. 
  10. Rory Kelly:Rory grew up in Snowmass Village, Colorado and started skiing with his mother at age two. Later he followed his brother into snowboarding, which remained his winter sport until attending the University of Colorado. After school he started racing bikes, becoming a USAC Cat. 1 road cyclist with a local team. His love for cycling and disdain for indoor trainers eventually led him back to the snow; first to nordic skiing, and then to ski mountaineering in 2013. As a newcomer to the sport he is excited to learn from the rest of the team. Rory lives with his wife and cat in Boulder, Colorado, where he is a software engineer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
  11. Billy Laird: Billy is 37 years old from Brighton, MI. He has called Crested Butte, CO. home since 1997.  He shares the love of the outdoors with his wife Julie and daughters Lillian 9 and Aubrey 6.  He owns and operates a Construction/Property management business. He tries to divide his time between my family, work, and taking full advantage of the activities in and around Crested Butte, CO. including; back country skiing, trail running, mountain biking.  Billy is honored to be skiing for team U.S.A.! 
  12. Matt Burgunder: Matt (Mateusz) lives in CT, where he is studying at Wesleyan University, but grew up with his family in Switzerland. He fell in love with ski mountaineering since he first locked into his Fritschi bindings in 2007, after which he began racing with higher ambitions. He has since competed in ski mountaineering and all sorts of running races, and recently finished his first Ironman triathlon. Matt is very much looking forward to meeting and racing with the team again in Verbier this winter. 


2015 Women’s US National Team

  1.  Lyndsay Plant: Lindsay loves Ski Mountaineering! Racing, training, powder, spring corn, she loves it all! She started Alpine skiing at age 3, began backcountry in 2008, and this is now her 3rd race season. Her favorite type of skiing so far is summer volcano skiing in the Pacific Northwest. She was born and raised in Carbondale, CO and still lives there with her skimo racing boyfriend, Brian, and their wonderful 18 month old daughter, Myel. Her goal for the rest of my skimo race career is simple: train hard, have fun, and do my best. She is humbled and honored to represent the US at this year’s World Championship.
  2. Jessie Young: Jessie Young was born and raised in Aspen, Colorado. She grew up with the Elk Mountains as her playground and developed a love and respect for the mountains that have drawn her back to her hometown. Jessie now works at Design Workshop as an urban and regional planner. Her first experience with skimo racing was as a spectator at Sunlight before she traded in her snowboard for some light weight gear and relearned how to navigate the mountains on skis! She competed in the 2011 Aspen Snowmass Power of Four with a "I just want to finish" attitude. Since then she has stepped up her game every year. Last year was her first year donning a race suit and committing to more interval training. This year she has podiumed in every race she has entered! Jessie is thrilled to have qualified for the team and represent the US in Switzerland this February!
  3. Sarah Cookler: Sarah grew up in northern Vermont skiing as much as possible; in the woods, on the slopes and racing nordic through high school. She then made the leap and moved clear across the country to Portland, Oregon to attend Lewis and Clark College, majoring in Biology. After meeting her future husband, Logan, in college, they headed to Utah to live the skiing life. Logan began patrolling and Sarah ran the Solitude Nordic Center for a few years. In 2010, she began Physician Assistant School at the University of Utah and now tries to balance work and play with a career as a PA in urgent care. Tele skiing transitioned to AT, and then the progress to light and fast gear happened over the past 2 years. Now racing is what she looks forward to and hopes to continue to improve!
  4. Jari Kirkland:
  5. McKenna Douglas: McKenna Douglas age 40 (old!) was born and raised in Maryland- grew up skiing some big hills(and watching the movie Hot Dog over and over!) there and then quickly realized that there were significantly  bigger  “hills" in Colorado. 23 years later (5 at CU Boulder) she now has claims to two kids  (Maizy Mo (7) and Little Big Mack (6) ) a dog (Stoke) and a very  laid back husband (Kevin). 5 years ago she heard about a backcountry ski race at Irwin - needless to say it took only one race and she was hooked- the combo of red lining, maintaining/endurance and combat downhill skiing- a perfect marriage. She fell hard for skimo and all of its unpredictability -albeit equipment failure, bonks, untimely transitions, and ever-changing snow conditions. It quickly became her winter form of competitive.  She went to worlds two years ago in France and found it quite the experience. She loves to see the female side of the skimo gaining momentum, doubling the numbers at most races.
  6. Meredith Edwards: Meredith is a Pennsylvania native. She has been living and training in Jackson Wy for 7 years. Meredith has been a team member of United States Ski Mountaineering team for 2 years and has competed at the World Championships and on World Cup Circuit. She is currently sponsored by Dynafit and Hammer nutrition for both ultra running and ski mountaineering. Last year Meredith had a World ranking of 29th.

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2014/2015 National Points and Rankings

We are proud to announce the new 2014/2015 National points and rankings system!  This will be the points system that will be used for the upcoming year, and has some important changes from the system used last year.  Most significantly, you must have a USSMA license to accumulate points.  If you have not yet read our last blog post, please do so and send the application form in (We updated the form to be editable, and the license is FREE).  

Please take a moment to read over the points and ranking document, and understand the points system.  Briefly, racers will score points at USSMA events based on their finish place, the category of the event, and the strength of the field.  Strength of field is a criteria based on finish times relative to the winner, and helps us adjust the points awarded based on how competitive an event is.  For full points to be awarded in an event, a certain number (8 males/4 females) must finish within a percentage of the winners overall time (118%, or a time points value of >85).  We have made every effort to describe this system as easily as possible, but as always, if you have questions please feel free to email us.

We are also extremely happy to announce that through the effort of Jerimy Arnold, the way that points are published will also be changed.  This season points will be published in real time (within a few days of each event) on the USSMA points page, so you can follow your season as it progresses and see how each race effects your points.  A huge thank you to Jerimy, who developed the program to make this all possible!!!

In the coming week or two we will also be posting on the criteria for worlds team selection, and a big announcement on a new USSMA Series Cup- so stay tuned and check back regularly!!

The points document is published at http://www.ussma.org/2015-ussma-points





USSMA Licenses

By now I hope you have read about some of the changes in the works at the USSMA from our blog post.  We have had a flurry of responses to our call for volunteers to help, something we cannot thank you enough for.  The USSMA is still a young organization, and we would not be here without your support, so THANK YOU!


We are excited to announce that this season we will be implementing a racer licensing system, something that we have been working on for quite a while.  This new system will consist of two tiers: an international license, and a national license.  The international license will provide the racer with both a national USSMA license as well as an ISMF license.   If you plan to race in Europe this winter, this is the option for you.  If you plan to only race in the US, the national license is your choice.  All racers who participate in the race category will be required to have a USSMA license, and the license is required to accumulate points in the national series as well as for the national rankings determined by USSMA sanctioned races.


For the 2014/2015 season, the USSMA license is FREE.  For the international (ISMF license), the cost of the license is $90, which goes to the ISMF.  For the 2015/2016 season, we will be charging $30 for the USSMA license, but for this year, we have made the decision to make the license without charge.  We feel that taking a year to implement the system without payment is the most reasonable thing to do, to test the updated points system (a blog post on this will be coming soon!) and begin creating a racer registry that we will use in the coming seasons.  So, please see the form at the bottom of this page.  Just fill it out and send it back to [email protected] and we will get a license out to you as soon as we can.  Again, if you plan to take part in the race category in any of the USSMA races, please fill out the license application so we can get a license to you.


The why we are implementing the license system is simple - to make the national points and ranking list more accurate and easier to maintain.  Once you register for a license, you will be issued a license number that you will include on your registration for all USSMA events.  When results are submitted, we will calculate points and rankings using your license number, greatly simplifying the process of calculating points.  In the past, errors such as a misspelling of your name would make tracking your results through the year very difficult. With this new system we will be able to more easily calculate points and avoid mistakes. 


We at the USSMA are also working hard to evolve and grow the sport in the US.  Skimo has seen explosive growth in this country, and in the coming years we see the sport continuing to grow.  We are working very hard to bring a World Cup event back to America in 2015/2016 as part of a two stop North American series in partnership with our Canadian counterparts.  We also will once again hold three ISMF calendar races this year, Irwin Guides/Griggs Orthopedics Ski Mountaineering Race, Wasatch Powder Keg, and GORE-TEX US National Ski Mountaineering Race. I am sure you are all aware that this year is a World Championship year, and we will be sending our fastest men and women to Verbier, Switzerland.



I hope your training is coming along well, and lets hope for a big winter!!


See you all at the races.



Skimo Season Kickoff

The start of the skimo season is less than 3 weeks away.  The season kicks off on 22 November with the Wolf Creek Race.  This is followed by the first Wasatch Ski Mountaineering Race on 28 November and the  Irwin Guides/Griggs Orthopedics Ski Mountaineering Race on 06 December.  Check the race calendar and start planning your winter of racing.



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