U.S. team announced for 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships

By Brianna Tammaro and Mary Kate Lau | Feb. 18, 2015, 4:55 p.m. (ET)

U.S. athletes compete at the 2014 Alpine Copper Mountain World Cup from Jan. 17-20 in Copper, Colorado. Photos by Joe Kusumoto.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced the seventeen athletes including two guides who will represent Team USA at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Panorama, B.C. from Feb. 28 to Mar. 10.

“This will be our biggest international competition since Sochi,” high performance director for U.S. Paralympics alpine skiing and snowboarding Kevin Jardine said. “With so many of our athletes competing and finding success at the Games, that experience will be invaluable for the world championships. This will be a great opportunity coming off of the world cup circuit and national championships for us to finish the season with momentum.”

The U.S. returns a strong contingent from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games with 14 athletes competing in the world championships. The team also consists of 10 national team members. One of the leaders is Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Massachusetts) who won the sole U.S. gold medal in the downhill sitting category and a bronze medal in the super-G at 2013 world championships in La Molina, Spain. Stephen Lawler (Burlington, Vermont) joins Stephens as the event’s other U.S. medalist, securing silver after coming within a fraction of the gold medal in the men’s downhill race.

The women’s team comes out of the 2014-2015 world cup season as the second ranked nation in the world behind Germany in the women's standings. Danelle Umstead (Park City, Utah), a two-time Paralympian, leads the way as the overall world cup globe winner in the visually impaired class, coming in first in speed, second in slalom and second in giant slalom. World cup standings also feature Tyler Walker (Franconia, Washington) as the second ranked men’s athlete in the sitting giant slalom category. Mark Bathum (Mercer Island, Washington) and guide Cade Yamamoto (Quincy, Washington) are currently ranked first in both downhill and super-G in the world.

Here’s a look at the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing World Championship Roster: 

Jasmin Bambur
Granby, Colorado | LW11, Sitting

A native of Serbia, Bambur was granted U.S. Citizenship in 2010 and became a member of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team for the 2012-13 season. He was a member of Team USA for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Later in 2014, he won one world cup medal and three NorAm medals as well as two national championships in downhill and super-G.

Mark Bathum and Cade Yamamoto (guide)
Mercer Island, Washington and Quincy, Washington | Visual Impairment

Mark Bathum began skiing at the age of 9, and just three years later discovered his passion for ski racing. He competed at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, where he and guide Slater Story took home silver in downhill.  He then took home two silver medals at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in super-G and super combined with Yamamoto. This season, Bathum and Yamamoto took home two medals in downhill from the Tignes world cup.

Tyler Carter
Topton, Pennsylvania | LW4, Standing

Carter started skiing at eight after attending Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports camp but didn’t begin international competition until 2014 when his first-ever world cup finish landed him a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Team for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. He also earned bronze in slalom at the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Championships last year.

Chris Devlin-Young
Campton, New Hampshire | LW12-1, Sitting

Devlin-Young has appeared in five Paralympic Winter Games, his first in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway, where he earned a gold medal in slalom. In 2002 in Salt Lake City, he won a gold medal in super-G and a silver medal in downhill as a mono-skier. Devlin-Young also earned silver in Torino in 2006 and narrowly missed the podium in Vancouver, taking a fourth-place finish in super-G. He was a member of the Sochi 2014 team and earned two world cup medals last year. This January, Devlin Young won X Games gold in Monoskier X, becoming the oldest medalist in the history of the X Games.  A week later, he won an I.P.C. World Cup downhill in Tignes France.

Josh Elliott
Yakima, Washington | LW12-2, Sitting

Elliott, a retired Marine sergeant, shifted gears from snowboarding to skiing after an accident in Afghanistan that took both his legs above the knee. He tried mono-skiing for the first time seven months later after being invited to an event put on by Disabled Sports USA and fast-tracked since. Elliott is a member of the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club. He won two gold medals in the super-G and super combined events at a 2015 IPCAS event in Winter Park, Colorado and recently competed at the X Games in Monoskier X in January.

Ralph Green
Brooklyn, New York | LW2, Standing

Green first began skiing in 1999 and competed in his first international competition in 2004. Green is the first African-American man to make the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team, and he represented Team USA at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 Games. He is an 11-time U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team member and four-time national champion.

Connor Hogan
Foxboro, Massachusetts | LW9-2, Standing
  Born with cerebral palsy, Hogan learned to ski at age three and fell in love with it instantly. Competing in his first race in 2004, Hogan now competes on the international level in slalom, giant slalom and super combined. He is a member of the Disabled Sports USA E-Team, a program for young emerging U.S. athletes competing in alpine skiing, snowboarding, and/or nordic skiing.

Stephanie Jallen
Harding, Pennsylvania | LW9-1, Standing

Jallen began skiing at nine and made the 2011 National B-Team at just 15. The next year she was the national champion in slalom and went onto earn three world cup medals in 2013. She won two bronze medals in super-G and super combined at the Sochi 2014 Games. Stephanie was awarded by fans at the 2014 Best of U.S. Awards Show as “Best Female Paralympian” and for “Best Moment of the Paralympic Games” after her bronze medal performance in the women’s super-G standing event. In this year’s world cup circuit, Jallen has picked up three gold medals and one silver.

Andrew Kurka
Palmer, Alaska | LW12-1, Sitting

Kurka has always been an athlete, winning six Alaska state championships for wrestling but didn’t pick up mono-skiing until age 15. In 2014, Kurka won gold at the Panorama world cup in downhill before later winning the same event at the national championships. He was a member of Team USA for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games and was crowned the U.S. National Champion in downhill and super-combined last week in Aspen, Colorado.

Stephen Lawler
Burlington, Vermont | LW12-1, Sitting

Growing up in Vermont, Lawler has been skiing since the age of six and won his first world championship medal, silver in downhill in 2013. In 2014 he was a member of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Alpine Team and lives and trains in Winter Park, Colorado at the National Sports Center for the Disabled.

Katrina Schaber
Carlsbad, California | LW9-2, Standing
After partnering with a Paralympic ski club in 2009, Schaber has progressed to compete for the U.S. in the 2014-2015 world cup season as she aims to make the U.S. National Team. The 17-year-old is a member of the National Sport Center for the Disabled (NSCD) Adaptive ski team and won back-to-back national junior championship titles in 2011 and 2012. Schaber was selected as a TD Ameritrade Next Generation Athlete after being nominated by teammate Danelle Umstead and traveled to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Melanie Schwartz
Aspen, Colorado | LW2, Standing

Schwartz is a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen and competed for Team Canada at the 2010 Games but transitioned to the U.S. National Team in 2012. She earned five world cup medals in 2013 and represented Team USA at the Sochi 2014 Games. During the 2014-15 season she also earned three NorAm medals and a silver medal in downhill and super g at the US national championships in Aspen last week. 

Laurie Stephens
Wenham, Massachusetts | LW 12-1, Sitting

Stephens began racing World Cup in 2004 and finished that year as the overall and giant slalom world cup champion. Stephens earned two gold medals at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games and silver in Vancouver in 2010. She earned bronze in the downhill and super-G in Sochi and continued the year as the national champion in slalom and giant slalom. She was named the USOC’s Paralympic Sports Woman of the Year in 2006 and was a 2006 and 2014 ESPY Award nominee for "Best Female Athlete with a Disability".  This season she was victorious in slalom at the La Molina world cup and picked up four more podium finishes in Tignes and St. Moritz.

Danelle Umstead and Rob Umstead (guide)
Park City, Utah | Visually Impaired

It was 2000 when Umstead started skiing and 2009 when she won her first national championships in downhill, super-G, super combined, giant slalom and slalom, all guided by her husband, Rob.  She then went on to earn two bronze medals at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and another bronze in super combined in Sochi. She was first overall in the 2014 and 2015 world cup overall standings 

Tyler Walker
Franconia, New Hampshire | LW 12-1, Sitting

Walker excelled at adaptive sports from an early age and has been one of Team USA’s top mono-skiers for a decade. At just 19, Walker was the runner-up in overall standings for the 2005 world cup season. He went on to make the 2006, 2010 and 2014 U.S. Paralympic Teams and won Monoskier X at the Winter X Games three times along with the IPC World Cup Overall in 2014. Walker won a world cup giant slalom in St. Moritz in early February.