U.S. Teams Return to Snow Business

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | March 21, 2019, 5:57 p.m. (ET)
The U.S. women's snow volleyball team poses in Moscow
From left, Katie Spieler, Allie Wheeler, Karissa Cook and Emily Hartong celebrate their gold medal.
 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 21, 2019) – There’s no business like snow business.

After winning a gold medal at its first foray into snow volleyball, USA Volleyball is sending two teams to compete at the FIVB/CEV events on March 28-31 in Wagrain, Austria.

On the women’s side, the United States will send the same four athletes who won gold at the event in December in Moscow: Karissa Cook, Emily Hartong, Katie Spieler and Allie Wheeler.

The men’s team will be new and comprised of athletes with beach volleyball experience: Chase Frishman, Travis Mewhirter, Chris Vaughn and Eric Zaun.

Snow volleyball is played three-on-three with each team having one substitute.

Despite conditions that none of the players on the women’s team were used to (snowing with temperatures below freezing), Cook called it the most fun she has ever had playing in a tournament.

“We went in with no expectations,” she said. “We had never played snow volleyball and none of us had ever been to Russia.”

Cook credited a mix of indoor and beach volleyball skills for its success in Moscow.

“I think the conditions are mostly like a grass tournament where it’s muddy,” she said. “It’s hard to move from side to side. But you can jump; it’s more solid than sand.”

Cook said her team succeeded by taking matches one at a time and seeing which players’ skills were needed.

That is good advice for the U.S. men’s team who will be playing snow volleyball for the first time in Austria.

“YouTube, at the moment, has been an excellent resource; as has the weight room,” Mewhirter told the FIVB. “Gotta add the bulking season winter coat to stay warm out there.”

After the tournament in Austria, both teams will travel to Kronplatz, Italy for another on April 5-7. There, they will be joined by a U.S. men’s teams including beach players Maddison McKibbin, Riley McKibbin and Troy Field.