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Finally an athlete speaks out!
Monday, May 19, 2008

Dear all,

I thought it was necessary to send this email out to all of you. Bryon Friedman did what I've thought about many times, but every time I sit down to write a brutal critic of the US Ski Team I find myself so bummed out over the situation that I just never put it into words. Not to mention, when you're forced to work with USST, publically speaking out against them will only have a negative impact on your carear.

Either way, this is certainly worth reading and it's only the tip of the iceberg in my view. I called Friedman up today to personally thank him for coming forward. Ironically, he's in Mammoth at a USST camp.
Happy reading, w

P.S. If you click on the website where his blog is published there are some interesting comments.

bryonfriedman@gmail.com has sent you this article from Yardbarker.com.
bryonfriedman@gmail.com says:
Check out this article I wrote on Yardbarker.com Feel free to reply... Bryon

U.S. Ski Team Comes Up Short....again!

As they say, History repeats itself, and once again the U.S. Ski Team cannot afford to to fund their athletes, including me. After one of the best seasons in the history of U.S. Skiing (2 overall World Cup Titles, 3 discipline titles, 15 World Cup wins, and 37 Podiums) the National Team, led by Alpine Coordinator Jesse Hunt, does not have the financial backing to fully fund their team. What's wrong with this picture? As of now the athletes who are not funded include Erik Schlopy, who happens to be one of our best skiers and a 3-time Olympian, 7-time National Champion, World Championship Bronze Medalist, and 3rd place overall World Cup G.S. skier...again, what's wrong with this picture? Dane Spencer, also one of our best skiers, is coming back from a near fatal injury and happens to be a 2-time Olympian and National Champion. Oddly Dane was not even named to the team, even though this was his first year back after breaking his neck and crushing his pelvis. Dane and I were both given access to train with the National Team on our own dime, which is proposed to cost between $20,000 and $30,000 for the Season. Furthermore, Jake Zamansky (currently ranked 5th in the U.S. and 54th in the World in G.S.) who earned a World Cup spot by winning the Nor Am G.S. standings has been ostracized from the U.S. Ski Team and is not even allowed to pay his way to train with the World Cup Team...once again, what's wrong with this picture? Just wait; there's more. Recently the entire Men's C-Team was told they have to pay for the competition portion of their season, which will cost each of them $10,000. The C-Team includes the best up and coming athletes in our country including Will Brandenburg, who is ranked 1st in the World for his age, and Travis Ganong, who is one of the best 4 event skiers I have seen since Bode Miller. Do I dare say it again...what's wrong with this picture?

I'll tell you what's wrong. Our organization, or "company" as upper management likes to call it, has lost site of their core values. To put it bluntly, Jesse Hunt (our Alpine Coordinator) summarized it best by saying "the organization is not going the direction of the athlete/individual." This was a direct quote that I received from Hunt when I asked for help in my recovery from my injury. If the organization is not going the direction of the individual (keep in mind skiing is an individual sport, not a team sport) then where is it going? I'll tell you where. It's going to the pockets of the upper management, specifically CEO Bill Marolt, who egregiously recorded a $300,000 bonus this season on top of his already high $700,000/year salary (up from $559,880 in 2004). That's right, over $1million dollars for the CEO of a non-profit organization that can't even afford to sufficiently fund their own athletes...that's what's wrong with this picture! (Although I cannot find this year's accounting information as of yet, I have a reliable source within the organization that backs this claim). Either way you look at it, Marolt is overpaid, and although he is entitled to a good salary due to the stellar results the Team posted this year, his athletes are suffering.

What makes the problem worse and harder to swallow; is that all of us were told by Hunt that the Ski Team is downsizing because he believed it was best for "everybody." By everybody I'm assuming he meant executives like himself and Marolt, so they could cut athletic funding yet maintain his astronomical salary for a non-profit organization *(I make this claim in light of study done in 2007 by Charity Navigator, which keeps an eye out on non-profit organizations, and found that the average salaries for non-profit executives fell around $145,270). Hunt's poor excuse for a cover-up did not resonate well with current Ski Team members, as none of them agree with his philosophy to downsize. Furthermore, every single named athlete protested Hunt's decision to cut Dane Spencer, Jake Zamansky and myself because it was unethical and downright illegal in Zamansky's case. I say illegal because Zamansky actually made the Ski Team's published criteria for his age, and is entitled t o a spot on the team regardless of any individual criteria he was given. That's what's wrong with this picture!

So, to answer any questions about my position with the team here it is. I am not a named athlete, but I am able to train with the World Cup Team on my own dime, and compete for World Cup spots next season. My plan is to solidify my comeback and attend to the unfinished business I left on the hill after my injury. If you are interested in joining my comeback I welcome any and all support.

Thanks for listening...


You can view the full article here.

posted by Warner at 5/19/2008 08:21:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

A Few days on Heads
Sunday, May 18, 2008

I’ve been home for a few days now, but that trip was pretty wild. We only ended up training three days, but not because of the weather. The weather was absolutely perfect for our entire stay. For Bode the main objective was to find or help develop good slalom skis. And after two days of slalom training he was psyched with two models. The days we skied slalom we’d drive up the 30 minute access road to arrive half way up Kauntertal by 6:30 AM in time for a warm up run or two and a slip run before we dove right into training. I was skiing on four different pairs of slalom skis taking two runs in the course on each pair. Bode had 6 different pairs so he only took two runs on a couple pairs of skis, if any, since he took a few runs on his speed skis before Rainer and I finished up in the course.

Either way, it was a sick set up. We were lapping around on a snow mobile and those guys were hammering. There were a few times when I was getting pulled on a relatively flat section where we were easily doing high 60s (mph not k’s) the only thing I was thinking was don’t catch an edge… please, don’t catch an edge. With GS skis it was pretty moderate, but with slalom skis it was certainly squirrelly. We were able to get 8 runs in before the mountain opened at 9:00 and we were off the hill by 10:00 when it started to warm up a little. The snow was great and the training was better. Unfortunately, we only skied one day of GS. The GS skis were good, but not totally money. Rainer thought it had something to do with the snow; but it seemed to me, I just couldn’t generate enough speed out of each turn. Perhaps that was because it was my first day on them. Usually it takes a few days or even a good week to break in a pair of skis. Either way, they have potential and we’ll see what happens.

After we stopped skiing we rallied to Heinz, Bode’s speed tech, house in Lustenau, Austria for a few days to play some golf and hang out on his boat before Forest and I ripped over to Patsch to take care of some things. It was a killer trip and I hope there are more of them in my future.

Hope all of you are doing well. GO CELTICS!! w

posted by Warner at 5/18/2008 10:55:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Can you say great opportunity?
Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Dear all,

So I received a phone call a couple weeks ago from Forest Carey, Team America’s Head Coach, and he asked me if I wanted to help him test skis in Europe. I jumped at the opportunity and nervous it would fall through I didn’t tell many people. Last night we caught a flight to Munich, picked up a car, drove to Patsch, picked up some of Bode’s ski attire (which Bode left in his RV for his childhood buddy and driver to neatly packed in different containers of Helmets, boots, jackets, suits, etc at the end of the season), and drove to Kauntertal (a glacier in Austria).

I settled in at the hotel and met a bunch of Head technicians and race bosses. It’s just after 10:30 PM here and I’m going down stairs to the hotel lobby to get a pair of Head boots fitted to my foot since my Atomics from last season are too small to fit into Bode’s skis (he has 313 mm boots while I used 294). Either way, tomorrow morning from 6-8 AM Rainer Schoenfelder, Bode, and I will start testing a couple hundred pairs of skis. There will be no shortage of bodies apparently there will be 12 people on the hill between coaches and technicians while we rip laps on a snowmobile.

We’re back on snow in a foreign ski set up, but ready to get after it.

Hope you all had a great month. w

posted by Warner at 5/06/2008 04:20:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments