The Eastern Ski Writers Association (ESWA) has awarded 16-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin (East Burke, VT) and Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT), 19, with the 2011 Don A. Metivier Golden Ski Award. This is Shiffrin’s first Golden Ski Award and second consecutive win for Cochran-Siegle. The winners will be officially recognized on Friday, June 3 at the New England Ski Museum in Franconia, NH during a 5-7 p.m. ceremony.
“The Golden Ski Award is the oldest honor given to alpine ski racers that exists today,” says Jim Gregory, Chair of the ESWA’s Golden Ski Award Committee, “It has been presented to top ski racers from the East since 1969, the year after the modern World Cup circuit started. Many of the Golden Ski winners have gone on to World Cup gold as well. We are proud to honor Mikaela Shiffrin and Ryan Cochran-Siegle, two extraordinary athletes, and look forward watching them set the bar even higher as they pursue their careers on the slopes.”
The Golden Ski Award has been presented to the top male and female skiers in the East since the 1960s. In 1975, the ski was “lost,” until four years ago, the New England Ski Museum was given some artifacts. Within the donation was the original Golden Ski. ESWA revitalized the honor in 2008 and began recognizing the top junior athletes from the East in memory of long-time snowsports journalist Don A. Metivier.
In his first year on the U.S. Development Team, Cochran-Siegle proved he is one of this country’s top up-and-coming ski racers. As a 2010 graduate of Mt. Abraham Union High School, ski racing became his focus last winter and it paid immediate dividends
In the first NorAm of the season, he started 44th and “out of the blue came down winning,” he said. It was his first of four NorAm wins. By season’s end, he won the NorAm super G title, was second in the super combined, and third overall.
At the Putnam Investments U.S. Alpine Championships, Cochran-Siegle finished third in super G and was the top junior. Like Shiffrin, he was named Ski Racing Magazine’s Junior of the Year.
“This is a lot of motivation to get better,” said Cochran-Siegle, who has one more year as a junior. “I really want to push myself this summer. I feel like I have a lot more going for me so I definitely want to keep rolling.”
Look for this 19-year-old to follow his mom, 1972 Olympic gold medalist Barbara Ann Cochran, uncle (Bob Cochran), and two aunts (Marilyn Cochran Brown and Lindy Cochran Kelley), as well as four of his cousins, including current U.S. Ski Team athlete Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH), up the World Cup ladder.
A sophomore at Burke Mountain Academy, Shiffrin, who turned 16 in March, had a remarkable year. She took control of the NorAm standings in December, winning a super combined. She then stood on the NorAm podium three more times over three days and in January won two NorAm slaloms.
At the 2011 Junior World Championships, Shiffrin earned a bronze medal in slalom despite competing with a heavy cold. U.S. Ski Team coaches took notice and offered her a World Cup start in March where she missed qualifying for a second run of slalom by five hundredths of a second.
By mid-month, she had sealed the NorAm slalom title and took third overall. But Shiffrin saved her best for last. At the Putnam Investments U.S. Alpine Championships in Winter Park, CO, she won her first national title, taking the slalom crown ahead of four-time Olympian Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) and Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY). At the awards banquet that night, Shiffrin was named Ski Racing Magazine’s Junior of the Year.
“I guess anything is possible,” said Shiffrin after the slalom win in Winter Park. “Sarah [Schleper] and Resi [Stiegler] have been so supportive of me, beating them today is a crazy feeling but the better part about it was that they were still supportive of it. This is the best end to a season ever.”
A former member of the Ford Sayre program and Lebanon Outing Club, Shiffrin splits her time between East Burke, VT, and Vail, CO. As for her long-term goals, her dad, Jeff Shiffrin, says she “keeps them under wraps.”
The ESWA is the Eastern division of the North American Snowsports Journalists Association, a professional organization consisting of major media members who cover skiing and snowboarding. The Golden Ski Award is underwritten by the generous support of Doyle & Doyle Communications and K2 Skis.
Golden Ski History
1969: Tyler Palmer, Karen Middleton
1970: Charles Bent, Karen Middleton
1971: Judy McNealus, Rod Taylor
1972: Jody Palmer, Laurent Gaudin
1973: Jerry McNealus, No female winner
1974: No award
1975: Holly Flanders, Scott Light
1976-2007: Award Lost
2008: Bump Heldman, Julia Ford
2009: Nolan Kasper, Julia Ford
2010: Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Julia Ford
2011: Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Mikaela Shiffrin
For more information on the ESWA: http://www.nasja.org/east.cfm Photo: USSA/Doug Haney