A ski racer growing up in Washington, Connecticut, Phil McNichol turned to instruction and then coaching while a student at Northern Arizona University in the mid-1980s and quickly became one of the best in the world.
Before becoming a United States Ski Team coach in 1997, McNichol led the Ski Club Vail and the Park City Ski teams. McNichol worked through all levels of the U.S. program before being named men's head coach for the 2003 season.
Sometimes fans never forget their introduction to an athlete. Americans met Bode Miller at 2002 Winter Olympics. Then a relatively unknown skier, Miller won two silver medals. But another seemingly less significant act in Salt Lake City won Americans over. Following a slalom performance, Miller, who missed a gate, hiked back up the course to finish. The rare act of dedication to the Olympic experience struck a chord in the United States. With Miller now in the nation's consciousness, Americans started to notice what European had for years - Miller was one of the world's best skiers. As an 18-year-old, Miller became the youngest skier ever to make the U.S. World Cup Team. He pioneered the use of parabolic skis (shaped like an hourglass) while still a teenager, and shaved two seconds off his run the first time he used them. Europeans mob and treat Miller like a rock star for good reasons. A superstar overseas for years, Miller's 2004-05 season brought him to the level of hero when he won the World Cup overall champions, the first American to win the title in 22 years. He also became the first man since 1989 to win in all four disciplines in and won the downhill and super-G at the World Championships. Born October 12, 1977 in Franconia, New Hampshire Starting skiing as a three-year-old and began competing at 11 Has collected 18 World Cup wins over his career (eight giant slalom, five slalom, two downhill, two combined, one super-G) Finished second in 2002-03 World Cup overall standings Won two disciplines - giant slalom and combined - in 2003-04 World Cup season
For Erik Schlopy, the grass wasn't greener on the other side.
So after he left the United States Ski Team for the World Pro Ski Tour, Schlopy took the unprecedented step of trying to return to the team in 1998. No one had ever done it ... until Schlopy.
Needing to earn enough points in FIS sanctioned races to qualify for the team, Schlopy borrowed $25,000, bought a minivan and hired a coach. His limited budget confined his race schedule to the U.S. But Schlopy eked out a return, and by his second season back on the World Cup Tour, he was the third ranked skier in the world.
In 2006, he competed for the U.S Olympic Team in Turin, Italy.