Needs financial support
David Chodounsky is one step closer, and one ranking away, from reaching the US Ski Team. About the only thing standing in his way is funding.
Chodounsky started racing at the age of seven at Buck Hill in Minnesota before his family moved to Crested Butte in 1995. From there Chodounsky’s racing career took off as he trained with and raced for the Crested Butte Academy eventually earning a place at Dartmouth College.
Chodounsky’s college racing career spiked early when he won the NCAA title in slalom as a freshman. He spent two years as the captain of the team including his junior year when Dartmouth College won the NCAA overall title, the school’s first title in 32 years.
With college behind him, Chodounsky hit the road to continue his quest to make the US Ski Team.
He took one step closer this summer winning a slalom race in New Zealand in August that bumped his world slalom ranking to 61.
According to US Ski Team doctrine, when an American racer reaches the top 60 in the world in one discipline, they automatically earn a spot on the team.
Upon returning, Chodounsky went to work to start earning money to support his ski-racing career, surveying in New Mexico for most of September.
“I’m just trying to make as much money as I can for the season,” says Chodounsky.
He received a huge psychological boost recently when he was invited to travel, train and race with the US Ski Team in November and December.
“This is a huge opportunity,” explains Chodounsky. “What I need to do is capitalize on it.”
Rewk Patten was Chodounsky’s coach at the Crested Butte Academy and is now the World Cup downhill and Super G coach for the US men’s alpine ski team. He sees this as a chance for Chodounsky to learn from the best.
“It’s so big to train with guys that are faster than you,” says Patten. “He’s going to learn tricks training with the better guys. See the faster lines they’re skiing. It’s awesome. I’m psyched he got invited along.”
It is Chodounsky’s plan to knock his slalom world ranking down to 60 or below and get named to the team when the roster is announced in the spring of 2009.
“If I get one more comparable result (to New Zealand) it should be enough to qualify,” says Chodounsky.
Until then, he will spend the 2008-2009 winter racing in the U.S. and in Europe on his own.
“I’m not on a team, I’m completely independent,” says Chodounsky.
Therefore, he must cover entry fees to races, airline tickets, lodging and food costs while on the road.
Chodounsky will open his 2008-2009 racing season at the Europa Cup races, races that attract World Cup competitors, in October in France.
The races are held at indoor venues, a new format for Chodounsky.
“It’s going to be interesting,” says Chodounsky. “The courses are really short but it’ll be fun. I’m excited.”
Unfortunately, while the invitation is an honor, it comes without financial support and Chodounsky is in need of help.
“It helps me out a little bit but I still have to find funding for plane tickets, lodging and food,” says Chodounsky.
Chodounsky invites everyone to track his progress on his website, www.davidchodounsky.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can donate to Chodounsky’s mission to make the US Ski Team on his website.