XCCROSS COUNTRY2012 U.S. Ski Team Preview
Hometown: Winthrop, Wash.
Hometown: Afton, Minn.
Club: Central Cross Country
Equipment: Salomon, Toko,
Swix, Rudy Project
Overview: Rising star prospects like Jessie Diggins do not
come along very often. A junior
phenom — with five national junior titles and three Minnesota
state championships — she recently earned a “senior” national
title and her first experiences in
KATIE PERHAI/U. S. SKI TEAM; U. S. SKI TEAM
Europe, including a World Cup start and a spot at the World Championships. She just turned 20 this summer and all except one of her
results last season at World Juniors, in Scandinavian Cup starts
and on the U.S. Super Tour were top- 10 finishes (she had one 12th
at World Juniors). It was her first season racing full time. Diggins
says her goals going forward “are to keep it fun and hopefully gain
more World Cup experiences.”
Hometown: Durango, Colo.
Club: Ski and Snowboard Club
Sponsors: Salomon, Swix
Overview: Tad Elliott is named
for his grandfather. Grandpa Tad
taught Tad’s dad, Mike Elliot, to
ski on a powerline cut down Coal
Bank Pass. Those lessons were
successful enough to land Mike
on three U.S. Olympic teams before he taught his own son how
to ski. There is no doubt today’s
Tad Elliott has the same genetic gifts. He balances his nordic career with mountain biking at the elite level and placed sixth in this
past summer’s U.S. Mountain Bike National Championships despite not competing at the international level all year. The approach
was much the same in 2010 when he grabbed first in the 50K cross
country race skiing at Nationals as well as a second in the 15K free.
He got to his first world championship last season and is one of the
hooks on which to hang the ski team’s distance program.
Hometown: Aspen, Colo.
Club: Sun Valley SEF
Equipment: Fischer/Swix/Rudy Project
Overview: Despite having been on the national team just a season
and a half, Hamilton has been a
force. He made the 2010 Olym-
pic team after snaring a pair of
national crowns, and wrapped
up a collegiate career in 2009
winning All-American honors
for Middlebury for the third time.
After his first full season on the
squad, Hamilton not only can
see where he wants to go, but
also has a solid idea of how to
get there. “I saw some really
great gains in my racing this
past year, especially in distance,
and being able to sprint on the
World Cup on a regular basis was invaluable,” says Hamilton, add-
ing that the highlight of last season was racing at World Champs in
Oslo with 20,000 spectators watching. Now it’s a matter of whittling
down those numbers between himself and the front of the pack.
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Club: Ski and Snowboard Club
Overview: Think of Noah Hoffman as the engine driving the
back of the pack. He’s a relatively raw athlete, gifted but still
figuring out what he needs to do
to move up that pecking order.
Improvements to technique and
a focus on consistency — both
accomplished while spending
his first season on the international scene — took him to his
first world championship. He posted a third (30K pursuit freestyle),