USA Skimo enters into agreement With U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee

Ski Mountaineering is set to make its Olympic debut in 2026

Ryan Sederquist
Vail Daily
John McDonald, left, Ashley Adkins, center, and Anna Stafford begin a ski mountaineering sprint race at the Frisco Tubing Hill on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Alongside 21 other athletes, the trio participated in the inaugural Summit Youth Skimo ski mountaineering season.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

The United States Ski Mountaineering Association (USA Skimo) announced on Monday that it has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to establish an Olympic high-performance program for ski mountaineering. The sport will make its Olympic Winter Games debut in Milan-Cortina in 2026.

The release stated that the agreement also “establishes the roles and responsibilities of USA Skimo and the USOPC in selecting and sending athletes to the 2026 Olympic Winter Games and competitions within the qualification pathway to the 2026 Games.”

“Formalizing our role with the USOPC represents a true inflection point for our sport. The USOPC will provide resources and expertise to our athletes, aspiring athletes, and the U.S. Ski Mountaineering community,” said Anthony Armstrong, executive director of USA Skimo.

“This partnership will take our sport to the next level of competition and professionalism.” 

The agreement contains 24 terms and conditions. The first states, “All Delegation Events and USOPC Ski Mountaineering activities for the sport of Ski Mountaineering are under the jurisdiction of the USOPC. The USOPC has the exclusive authority of athlete and staff selection criteria, and athlete nomination and entry into Delegation Events.”

Colorado is likely to supply at least a few members of the nation’s first Olympic team. Crested Butte’s Cam Smith was the first American to claim a World Cup podium in January of 2022 and headlined the Winter Mountain Games in Vail a month later. His Power of Four skimo record-holding teammate, John Gaston (Aspen), out-dueled him in the Mountain Games individual event that February. Both are among the six Colorado-based athletes on the 11-member U.S. senior squad. Gwen Rudy (Leadville), Hali Hafeman (Colorado Springs), Arthur Whitehead (Frisco) and John Rauen (Breckenridge) are also based in the state, as are all three U23 national team athletes, including Silverthorne’s Grace Staberg and Dillon’s Sam Burke.

“Though new to the Olympic Games program, ski mountaineering is a dynamic, fast-growing sport that also boasts more than a century of tradition,” said Rocky Harris, USOPC chief of sport & athlete services. “We are excited to welcome ski mountaineering onto the Olympic program and are excited to partner with USA Skimo to deliver results for Team USA.”

The International Olympic Committee unanimously approved adding the sport to the Milan-Cortina Olympic calendar in July 2021. According to the release, further details regarding athlete selection and resources will be made available as race calendars and IOC selection criteria become available.

To learn more about the sport and support USA Skimo, visit

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