What does it mean to call yourself an American Downhiller? Starting with Bill Johnson’s brash personality and unapologetic style in the mid 80s, Americans have always felt like they’ve had something to prove in Europe where the sport’s biggest names are immortalized by legions of fans and constant media attention – all while being able to escape back to home when things get to be too much.
In a sport as Eurocentric as alpine ski racing, the long, cold, and lonely stretches away from home can easily cause the mystique of spending the winter traveling through Europe to wear off quickly for Americans.
The brotherhood of today’s American Downhillers pays homage to the spirit of legends like Johnson, Tommy Moe, and Daron Rahlves while also forging a new team identity that prioritizes cooperation and friendship that in recent years has allowed the team to flourish into one of the most formidable squads on the World Cup.
“Without a doubt, we need something like this to be strong throughout the season,” says Head Men’s Coach Sasha Rearick. “Competing in Europe all year, year after year after year, against people that are at home, we need to have our own family, a tight family, a sense of identity, and the American Downhiller has really created that opportunity.”
“It’s almost America versus the rest of the world,” says Marco Sullivan, who first coined the “American Downhiller” moniker several years ago. “It has a bit of a rebellious, renegade attitude like, ‘We’re going to come over there, into your house, and try to be the fastest guys.’”
Join us this winter as we take an inside look into just what makes the fastest Americans on two skis tick in our new web series: American Downhiller, presented by POC.