Competing Athlete Bios
2020 Freestyle Aerials U.S. National Championship
U.S. Ski Team Athletes
Alex Bowen: 2015 World Cup Rookie of the Year. Bowen’s silver medal in the 2015 World Championships was the first medal for the USA since Ryan St. Onge won gold in 2009. In 2015, Alex was awarded World Cup Rookie of the Year. When he grows up, Alex wants to be a high school math teacher. He has been on the world champs team for three different seasons (2015, 2017, 2019). Alex aspires to compete in paragliding.
Ashley Caldwell: Three-time Olympian and 2017 World Champion. Caldwell is the only female who has ever landed “The Daddy,” a quadruple-twisting triple back flip. She has been to three different Olympic Games and has placed in the top 10 for two of them. Caldwell was World Cup Champion in 2017. Ashley holds a World Record for hardest acrobatic trick ever landed by a female. She hates the cold.
Chris Lillis: U.S. Champion and World Cup Winner. Chris was the youngest man ever to win a FIS aerials World Cup, claiming the top spot as a 17 year old in 2016. He has had 13 career podiums in NORAMS, with four of those being career wins. He gets to compete, travel, and train with his older brother, Jon Lillis, who is also an aerialist. When he isn’t on the slopes, Lillis teaches guitar and piano lessons to local students in Park City.
Eric Loughran: 2018 Olympian. He has 11 career top-10 World Cup finishes. Eric had his first Olympic appearance in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang. At the age of two, Eric’s parents caught him trying to teach himself to ski by using his big sister’s equipment. Eric is an avid fly fisher and guides trips in the summer season.
Jonathon Lillis: 2017 World Champion. Lillis landed his first career World Cup podium in 2016 and then became the Aerials World Champion in 2017. He finished in the top-ten at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, posting the team’s best finish. When he’s not training and competing, Jon enjoys riding motorcycles. His little brother, Chris, is also on the Aerials team.
Justin Schoenefeld: Justin had three wins on the NorAm tour in 2018, landing him the overall title and a spot on the U.S. Ski Team. When Justin isn’t flying in the air, he enjoys fly fishing, playing guitar, and golfing. Despite his age, Justin has already had an impressive career with five NorAm podiums and two top-ten finishes in the World Cup circuit. During the 2018-19 season Justin competed in his first World Cup tour and finished ranked 10 overall.
Kaila Kuhn: Kaila was a competitive gymnast at 12 years old and was invited to an aerials recruitment camp. This was where she found a passion for freestyle. At the age of 14, Kaila earned second place at U.S. Nationals and won Junior Nationals.
Madison Varmette: World Championship Team Member. Madison had 12 career NorAm podiums by 2017 and was the NorAm Freestyle Overall and Aerials Champion which earned her a spot on the U.S. Ski Team. In 2018 she landed a 6th place finish at Deer Valley World Cup and was honored FIS Rookie of the Year. 2019 was her first full World Cup Tour and she landed an impressive all top-10 finishes, ranking her 6th in the world. In the same year that Madison was partially paralyzed, from a diagnose of Transverse Myelitis, she learned to walk again and earned a spot in the EADP. She now enjoys telling her story of perseverance in motivational presentations to young students facing difficult challenges. When Varmette is not training, competing, and speaking she enjoys caring for dogs, reading, creative writing and anything fun in the sun.
Megan Nick: Two Top-Ten World Cup Finishes in 2019. Megan graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in economics. She grew up as a gymnast, which has helped her tremendously with flips and twists. Megan has been a star both on and off the snow. She has volunteered with other U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes at Primary Children’s Hospital to cheer up patients. Megan had two top-ten finishes on the World Cup circuit in 2019.
Megan Smallhouse: 2019 NorAm Cup Champion. In the 2018-19 season, Megan was the NorAm Overall Champion. She is currently ranked No. 1 in the Freestyle Aerial Nor-Am Cup with 297.0 points. Megan has a twin brother who is a ski racer. She started skiing at 11 months old at Mt. Rose and was on the Rosebuds, Learn To Fly, Peregrines and Falcons ski teams.
Morgan Northrop: U.S. Champion. Morgan won the World Cup 2016 Rookie of the Year title. She has earned two top-10 World Cup finishes and a U.S. National Championship title. Morgan volunteers as a track and field coach for the Special Olympics.
Nicholas Novak: 2017 NorAm Cup Title Winner. Novak is the 2016-17 NorAm Cup Champion. Nick’s family is originally from Czechslovakia and were trampoline gymnasts in a traveling circus. Novak can backflip on command. He has had eight career podiums in the NorAm cup.
Quinn Dehlinger: 2017-18 and 2018-19 Junior National Champion. Quinn is the 2017-18 and 2018-19 Junior National Champion and 2018-19 NorAm Cup Champion. In his spare time Quinn enjoys mountain biking, video games, movies, and fishing. Quinn likes and is inspired by Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan.
Winter Vinecki: 2018-19 U.S. National Champion. Winter ran her first 5k when she was just five years old, her first 10k when she was eight and a 10-miler when she was 10. Winter is a seasoned public and motivational speaker. Winter is the founder of the Team Winter non-profit organization for prostate cancer research and awareness in honor of her late father, who passed away from an aggressive form of the disease. Winter achieved two World Records before she turned 15: the youngest person to run a marathon on seven continents, and for being the first daughter-mother duo to do so as her mom joined her on her quest.
Other Competing Athletes
Ashton Salwan: Ashton began skiing soon after he could walk and a few years later became a very avid flipper so it only made sense to combine the two in a sport. Ashton began his aerial ski training at 10 years old under the direction of 40 year veteran Aerial Ski coach Bill Harris at Mont Chalet Freestyle Aerial Training Center in Chesterland, Ohio. Ashton has now spent 5 years training on the trampoline and water jumps at Mont Chalet in Ohio, Lake Placid in New York and Park City in Utah. Ashton trained on aerial snow jumps with the Buffalo Ski Club in New York and their dedicated team of coaches and with the US Ski Team Fast Track Aerials program in Park City, Utah. His passion for Aerial Ski Jumping prompted full time training with Park City Snow Sports along with moving to Park City, Utah in 2019 at 15 years old which included changing his schooling to online. Ashton has pure love for aerial ski jumping and appreciates the network of coaches that have helped him achieve his goals. He looks forward to learning more skills and competing on the double aerial jump next season.
Ben Coletta: I have recently transitioned from the sport of competitive trampoline to aerials, and this is my first ever winter season!!!!
Bobbi Vornheder: Bobbi is 14 years old. When she’s not jumping or skiing she likes to play piano and hang out with her friends.
Casey Helm: I have been flipping for 2.5 years, but this is my first year competing at this level. I am passionate about this sport and strive to progress every single day.
Ian Schoenwald: Ian is 15 years old from Kaysville, UT. He is a sophomore at Farmington High School. This is his second year competing aerials. He switched to skiing last year and grew up an avid snowboarder.
Karenna Elliott: I was a competitive trampolinist and won nationals at level 8 and 10. I was recruited into aerials and was taught how to ski at age 15 and started aerials in 2016. I won my very first aerials competition, it was the 17/18 U.S. Selections competition. I made finals in my very first World Cup competition in Lake Placid, NY and ended in 12th. I love to rock climb. I also enjoy hiking, swimming, running, and skateboarding. I like to paint, read, color, draw, and craft during my down time. I plan to travel to almost every country and eventually want to turn a sprinter van into my home and live in it. After aerials, I want to work for Delta as a commercial airline pilot.
Karyl (Dani) Loeb: I’m from Montgomery Alabama, and 18 years old. I have a pet pig named Wiggly. Follow him at wigglythepig on Instagram. She can eat a whole pizza all on her own!
Katie Swartvagher: Katie lives in Wappingers Falls, NY with her parents and 7 siblings. She trained as a gymnast under Teodora Ungureanu Cepoi and Sorin Cepoi. Katie joined the EADP in 2016 and she currently trains in Park City, Utah.
Sam Ferrino: Sam is a member of the Buffalo Ski Club Freestyle Team. Sam recently took 1st place in the Eastern Freestyle NY State Aerial Championships.
Tasia Tanner: Tasia Tanner is 17 years old and a junior at the University of Utah majoring in business and chemistry. She finished 4th overall in NorAms and competed in Junior Worlds at ValMalenco, Italy.
Wesley Naylor: Ex national Australian diver. Only Australian male aerialist. Gay. Works as a physiotherapist and a bar manager to pay for aerials.