With the highest elevation in Minnesota being only 2,301 feet, Minnesota certainly doesn’t seem to be a likely birthplace of world class alpine skiers. The reality is that Minnesota happens to be the birthplace of several world class downhill skiers. Here is a listing of Minnesotans that have left their mark in the downhill skiing world.
- Sterling Grant (born Minneapolis, MN)
Current member of the U.S. Women’s Ski Team and 2009 World Cup teams. 2007 U.S. National Slalom Silver medalist.
- Keri Herman (Bloomington, MN)
Herman is a US Olympic slopestyle skier, a new freestyle skiing category introduced in the 2014 Olympics. She is the first American to win the World Cup Title in women’s slopestyle, and a two time silver medalist in the X Games. She is a 2001 graduate of the Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota, MN and a 2005 graduate of Denver University in Denver, CO.
- Kristina Koznick (Apple Valley, MN)
Has six World Cup victories. Competed in three Winter Olympics (1998-2006) and placed 17th in the 2002 Olympics for the Giant Slalom. Ranked 2nd overall in the World Cup Slalom rankings in 2001-2002.
- Cindy Nelson (Lutsen, MN)
Earned a berth on four Olympic teams and four World Championship teams. Won three World Championship medals and two Olympic medals (1974 Bronze, 1976 Silver).
- Tasha Nelson (Mound, MN)
Olympic ski team in 1998 and 2002. Regular member of the US World Cup team for five years and on the US Ski Team for 7 years.
- Jamie Pierre (Minnetonka, MN)
An extreme downhill skier, Pierre is best known for setting the world record for the highest cliff jump on skis, a 245-foot drop in the back-country behind the Grand Targhee Resort in Wyoming. He had also appeared in a number Warren Miller ski films. He died tragically in November 2011 in an avalanche triggered while snowboarding at the Snowbird ski area in Utah. He was a resident of Big Sky, Montana at the time of his death.
- Kaylin Richardson (Minneapolis, MN)
Member of the U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Teams in 2006, 2010. Competed in the 2010 Olympics and the 2007 World Ski Championships. Has competed in the World Cup for the past seven years. Three U.S. National Championships in Downhill and Slalom.
- Lindsey Vonn (Burnsville, MN)
Vonn has been on the U.S. Ski Team since 2000. She is the only American woman to receive a Olympic Gold medal in Downhill, and the only American woman to win four Overall World Cup titles. Vonn has also won seven individual World Cup Downhill titles (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015). She Earned a Gold and Bronze medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics, but missed the 2014 Olympics due to an injury. In 2015 she rebounded and broke the all-time record for World Cup victories (67). The previous record (62) was set in 1980 and held by Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria.