Seven SVSEF Athletes/Alumni Qualify for 2023-24 National Teams

U.S. Ski and Snowboard announces cross country and alpine nominations for next season

Last week brought exciting news for Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation athletes and alumni. SVSEF Cross Country Alumni John Steel Hagenbuch and Sydney Palmer-Leger, along with SVSEF XC Gold Team athlete Sammy Smith, were again named to the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team. SVSEF Alpine Alumni Jack Smith and Dasha Romanov return to the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team, along with newcomers Finnigan Donley and Colin Hanna, both graduating in 2023.

On May 9, 23 athletes were nominated to the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team based on set criteria. Johnny Hagenbuch returns to the B team and Sydney Palmer-Leger makes a move from the Development team to the B team based on her strong results last season.

“I’m really excited to keep working towards my goals with the U.S. Ski Team and Dartmouth,” said John Steel Hagenbuch, SVSEF Alum now skiing for Dartmouth College and the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team. “Next year my main focus is to achieve top results at the World U23 Championships in Planica and at the NCAA Championships in Steamboat Springs.”

Rising high school senior Sammy Smith will be back for her second year with the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Development team after racing her first World Cup last season in Drammen, Norway; while also competing as a member of the SVSEF XC Gold Team during the 2023-24 season. 

“I’m super grateful to be back on the U.S. Ski Team for my second season,” said Sammy Smith, Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team and SVSEF XC Gold Team athlete. “Getting to ski on a team with such a supportive and positive culture is an incredible privilege, and opportunities to represent the U.S. and compete at the international level are experiences that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

According to U.S. Ski & Snowboard, each athlete who accepts their nomination to the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team will receive top-of-the-line athletic and medical support, world-class coaching, sport science, sports medicine and access to the USANA Center of Excellence facilities, including on-site high performance staff and education. 

Two days later on May 11, 55 athletes were named to the U.S. Alpine Team based on their published nomination criteria. SVSEF Alumni Jack Smith and Dasha Romanov make the move up to the C team, while Finnigan Donley and Colin Hanna will join the D team for the coming competition season.

“I’m super excited for my third year with the Stifel U.S. Alpine Women’s Ski Team!” said Dasha Romanov, U.S. Ski Team athlete and SVSEF Alum. “Moving up from D to C team has been a goal of mine so I’m super happy to accomplish that! I’m super thankful for the support I have received from Sun Valley to help me accomplish these goals. Also could not have done this without my parents. They have been my biggest supporters in ski racing and I would not be where I am today without them. It truly takes a big team and I’m really grateful for everyone who has helped me along in this journey so far.”

High school senior and SVSEF FIS Team athlete Finnigan Donley was named “Rookie of the Year” by U.S. Ski & Snowboard during the opening ceremonies at the U.S. Alpine Nationals held in Sun Valley in March. The award was voted on by U.S. Ski Team athletes. Donley was voted in as rookie of the year for his impressive results at U18 Nationals, where he won the super-G and was second in the downhill.

“It’s a great honor to be named to the U.S. Ski Team,” said Finnigan Donley, SVSEF Alum (class of 2023) and new member of the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team. “This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I am excited to work hard during the off-season and push myself against other high level skiers!”

Colin Hanna will graduate from Sun Valley Community School this spring, and also met the qualification criteria to be nominated to the alpine team.

“I am super excited for what is to come, and I can’t thank SVSEF and all of my coaches throughout the years for making this possible,” said Colin Hanna, SVSEF Alum (class of 2023) and new member of the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team.

Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team:
C Team:

  • Dasha Romanov ‘19
  • Jack Smith ‘19

D Team:

  • Finnigan Donley ‘23
  • Colin Hanna ‘23

Stifel U.S. Cross Country Team:

B Team:

  • John Steel Hagenbuch ‘19
  • Sydney Palmer-Leger ‘19

D Team:

  • Sammy Smith ‘24

For complete U.S. Ski & Snowboard team announcements, visit the following links:

Photo credits:

  • Dasha Romanov by Heather Black 
  • Finnigan Donley by Tim Carter
  • Sammy Smith at 2023 Jr Worlds by FlyingPointRoad
  • Colin Hanna by Tim Carter
  • Sydney Palmer-Leger by Glen Allison
  • John Steel Hagenbuch by Glen Allison