First-Year Olympians: Say Hello to These New Faces on the U.S. Alpine Team

Curious about the newbies on the U.S. alpine team? Join Ski Expert Tess Hollister as she welcomes and intros the new skiers to the 2022 Winter Olympics.

A close-up of River Radamus in his ski gear racing in the 2016 Youth Olympics.

River Radamus at the 2016 Youth Olympics. Photo by Laura Godenz with the IOC Young Reporters

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The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will be starting on February 4th, and the U.S. Alpine Ski Team is fully ready for its journey overseas! In 1936, the first alpine event debuted in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Fast forward 86 years, and we find ourselves welcoming the new faces of the 2022 U.S. Alpine Ski Team heading to Beijing.

A total of 17 Olympic athletes—eleven women and six men—will be racing in Beijing’s Yanqing Alpine Ski Center. Alpine skiing is divided into two categories of events: technical and speed.

In the technical category, there is slalom and giant slalom. In the speed category, there is supergiant slalom (super-G) and giant slalom. The speed events are based on how fast you can get down a certain course, whereas the technical events focus on maneuvering through obstacles and gates. Finally, they will have alpine combined events. The winner of these events is the racer with the lowest overall time.

The two most popular events today are the combined slalom (a mix of slalom and giant slalom runs as well as the combined downhill (super giant slalom and downhill run). Make sure to keep an eye on these events as you watch the upcoming Olympic Games!

First-time Olympians named to the 2022 Olympic Alpine Team include:

Paula Moltzan

Born in 1994, Paula’s hometown is Prior Lake, Minnesota. She made the Alpine A-Team for the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. Paula was a part of the Buck Hill Ski Team and the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail where she trained and progressed as a skier. She attended the University of Vermont, and in her ski career, she snagged the World Cup podium in Lech Zuers, Austria in the parallel event!

After winning NASTAR Nationals in Park City, her passion for skiing skyrocketed! In 2015, she took the podium for junior worlds and became the first American woman to win gold in slalom! She kept progressing, and in 2017, she became NCAA Slalom Champion. In her free time, Paula loves to raft guide and garden.

Katie Hensien

A 1999 baby, Katie is from Redmond, Washington. She grew up learning how to ski at Rowmark Ski Academy in Salt Lake City and has been part of the U.S. Olympic C-Team for 8 years. Katie is currently in her senior year at the University of Denver where she is earning a degree in Computer Science and Business.

Grabbing 2nd in the Junior Worlds Championships, Katie’s love for skiing grew! She was even awarded the Olle Larsson Skier of the Year award in 2015, 2017, and 2018 from her ski academy. She is passionate about inspiring other women to chase after their dreams. In her free time, she loves to fly-fish and spend time with her family and friends!

AJ Hurt

The youngest skier on our list, born in 2000, AJ is from Carnelian Bay, California. AJ’s love for skiing exploded when she joined Team Palisades Tahoe. Today, she will be joining the 2022 U.S. Olympic Alpine B-Team where she has been for the past 5 years! AJ currently attends Dartmouth College.

In 2021, AJ obtained the bronze medal at World Juniors in Bansko, Bulgaria. Additionally, she claimed the spot as the top junior for the birth year 2000 in NorAm qualifying race points during the 2016-17 winter season. In 2018, she grabbed two national alpine combined and giant slalom titles in Sun Valley, Idaho. In her free time, she loves to be at the beach!

Maureen Lebel

Another California crusher, Maureen’s hometown is Truckee, California! Born in 1998, Maureen’s love for skiing grew on the Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Mammoth Mountain Ski Team. She attends school at the University of Utah pursuing pre-nursing. She is currently on the 2022 U.S. Olympic Alpine C-Team.

A series of injuries kept her out of competing the last few years, however, she is strong and ready for the 2022 Olympic Games! Her two goals this year were to score points in the World Cup and go to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. She has accomplished both of these! In 2018, she won the National Championship Downhill race. Additionally, she also has four NorAm Cup podiums with two victories—one in downhill and one in super-G. In her free time, she loves to surf, mountain bike, and play golf!

Nina O’Brien

Nina grew up in San Francisco, California and was born in 1997. Her stoke for skiing grew when she joined the Burke Mountain Academy and Team Palisades Tahoe. She attended Dartmouth College and is currently on the 2022 U.S. Olympic Alpine A-Team!

In the 2020/21 season, she scored top 10 in the giant slalom at World Championships. In 2019, she achieved NorAm overall title, 1st slalom, 1st giant slalom, 1st super-G, 3rd alpine combined, and 6th downhill! With several national titles under her belt, she is well prepared for the Olympic Games. In her free time, she is heavily involved in Voice in Sport—an organization inspiring female athletes to have a voice. She also enjoys studying, biking, and hiking!

River Radamus

Born in 1998, River is from Edwards, Colorado. He was a part of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, and for academics, he attended TEAM academy. For this upcoming Olympic Games, he is was nominated for the 2022 U.S. Olympic Alpine B-Team.

River was a three-time Youth Olympic Games (YOG) gold medalist and two Junior World Championship gold medalist (super-G and giant slalom). He is a huge advocate for non-profits, including POW (Protect Our Winters) where he donates some of his race earnings. He is actually working to develop his own non-profit to make skiing more affordable and accessible. In his free time, he loves to surf and travel.

Luke Winters

Luke is from Gresham, Oregon where he was born in 1997. An alum of the Mt. Hood Race Team Academy, Luke attended the Sugar Bowl Academy where his love for skiing exploded! You’ll find him on the 2022 U.S. Olympic Alpine B-Team.

In 2019, Luke grabbed two National Titles, and in 2018 Luke double podiumed at the World Junior Championships in Davos, Switzerland. In his free time, he loves to fly planes and recently got his pilot's license!

For more on the other skiers to watch this year, check out What to Look Out For in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

And that is a wrap! We hope you enjoy watching the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing this year. Cheer these new faces and first-time Olympians on as they embark on an incredible journey repping the red-white-and-blue! Feeling inspired about skiing after learning about these new Olympians? Speak with me or another Ski Expert here on Curated about all your ski gear-related needs.

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Written By
Tess Hollister
Tess Hollister
Ski Expert
Hi! Ever since I was little, I have always had a passion for skiing! I love the stoke, happiness, and funny stories that come from a great day in the mountains. I have been skiing since I was 8 years old; I grew up learning how to ski in Sun Valley, Idaho and currently live in Bozeman, Montana. I lo...
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