Our Newest Premier Partner… American Downhiller!

Published by Kyle Watson on

We are super excited to kick-off 2021 with the official addition of our newest club premier partner – AMERICAN DOWNHILLER!! Over the last few years we have been a strong supporters of their mission to celebrate speed – where the best current and former downhill ski racers and coaches band together to create a speed-centric platform for future generation of ski racers.

Unofficially, we have been strong supporters of the American Downhiller movement since 2015, when we took our first group of members to Kitzbuhel, Austria to watch the Hahnennkamm and cheer on the US Men’s Team. It was at that race where we met veteran racer and the American Downhiller founder, Marco Sullivan. Marco spent 17 years chasing World Cup glory for the US Ski Team and participated in 2 Winter Olympics. He retired from racing the year after we met him in 2016 and made it his mission to brand the American Downhiller culture, brotherhood and mission to celebrate the men who came before him and help inspire and teach the young ones that will come after.

Marco Sullivan on his final run, wearing the infamous AD Jean Jacket.

AMERICAN DOWNHILLERS HAVE ALWAYS FELT THEY HAD SOMETHING TO PROVE.

“The history of American Downhillers goes back more than 50 years, and long before the advent of the World Cup. The foundations were laid down by pioneers like Buddy Werner and Billy Kidd in the 1950s and ’60s. Over the years American Downhillers have created history and built a reputation as fearsome competitors.”

As outsiders trying to claw their way to the top of a tightly held European alpine sport, the Americans were always the underdog, underfunded and under respected by the proverbial powerhouse teams like Austria and Switzerland. Over the years with the experience gained from those before them, knowledge transfer, better coaching the team elevated its reputation with stand out performances by AJ Kitt, Bill Johnson, Doug Lewis, Kyle Rassmusen and Tommy Moe. Fueled by their successes the next generation sealed their reputation as a team that had earned the respect of the Euros with Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller racking up major wins and results. Their story and more can be seen in the recent documentary American Downhiller from Ski Racing Magazine and POC Sports which we proudly showed at this winters club kick-off party in November. If you missed it watch it below.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MAKING OF THE FILM AND BACKGROUND STORIES HERE

Originally the ADL Ski Club’s relationship with the American Downhillers could be chalked up as a mere fan club, showing up at Kitz and waving the American flag, but over the years our relationship has evolved due to our shared passions for the sport and our desire to keep the pedal down for future success. Our club non-profit 2Hammers has proudly, with all your support, sponsored an official scholarship for needy and deserving youth racers to attend Marcos American Downhiller summer speed camp. Our first year a young racer from Mammoth with 3 brothers and sisters submitted his application and came out on top from a field of about 13 applicants. The panel of Judges consisted of Marco, his wife Anna, ADL founder Kyle Watson and founding member John Chalmers III. We are poised to sponsor another youth racer in 2021 as well.

THE ADL WENGEN CREW WITH AJ KITT SHOWING OFF OUR AD GEAR UNDER THE EIGER!

As a club, many of us have racing backgrounds, or currently race in beer leagues and USSA Masters so we are fans of the sport as much as we are fans of the current and past racers who have inspired our own unfulfilled racing dreams. To that end we are  working hard to incorporated more and more American Downhillers into our DreamTripsAJ Kitt came with us last winter on our Wengen Dreamtrip and had a great time with the guests and really added some unique perspective to the experience. Not only did we have him with us for most the trip but it was the 90th anniversary of the race and the organizers invited all the past winners to come and celebrate. So we also got to visit with Kyle Rassmussen and Daron Rahlves at the Canadian Corner during the race. AJ also joined our annual summer Mahre Camp as a guest coach this last June.

It’s not just the racers who contribute to the ADL experience, current and former AD coaches like Scotty Veenis, Peter Anderson and Johno McBride have included us in post race discussions and celebrations and their passion for the sport leaves a great impression on the groups. This special relationship with the American Downhiller has led us to have multiple fun nights in Kitzbuhel after the races at a special dinner party and fire show with Daron Rahlves, Andrew Weibrecht, Steve Nyman, Jared Goldberg, and Bryce Bennett. It has been a fun ride and we hope to get back to Europe in 2021/22 and keep the fun meter going strong.

To kick off this new chapter of our partnership we will be going skiing on a little domestic DreamTrip with Daron Rahlves to his home mountain of Sugar Bowl in Lake Tahoe Feb 1-6, 2021. We also have a trip to Wyoming featuring a day with Tommy Moe on the docket and this partnership will see us bringing many more of the guys into the fold with unique trips, events and camps in the future.

We are super proud to be associated with this band of brothers, cheering on the current crop of racers, celebrating the past and promoting the future!

Thank you to Marco & Anna Sullivan and all the AD’s… Racer Ready in 3-2-1!