U.S. Ski and Snowboard investigating Alaska-born athlete’s allegations of racial slurs, sexual misconduct

ZHANGJIAKOU, China — The organization that oversees top-level snowboarding in the U.S. says it’s investigating an Alaska-born athlete’s allegations of racially and sexually abusive conduct by a top coach and another snowboarder competing at the Beijing Olympics.

Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, 32, was the first Alaska Native to make an Olympic team when she raced in the snowboardcross event in Vancouver in 2010. She was also on the U.S. Snowboard Team from 2005 to 2014, and is now retired and working as a coach.

In Instagram posts first reported by the website Outsports, Chythlook-Sifsof said the U.S. Snowboard Team’s longtime head coach, Peter Foley, had taken naked photos of female athletes. She also said that when she was 17, Foley made sexually explicit comments about a young woman on a dance floor.

Foley denied the allegations in a text to The Associated Press.

Chythlook-Sifsof also said Hagen Kearney, a two-time U.S. Olympic snowboarder, “routinely and continuously” used racial slurs and made rape jokes about female members of the U.S. Snowboard Team.

Chythlook-Sifsof told Outsports that her time on the U.S. team was “all-consuming.”

“I had to put on armor. I’m not being dramatic,” she said. “I had to put on armor and mentally prepare to be around those people.”


In a statement, a spokesman for U.S. Ski and Snowboard, the sport’s governing body, said that Foley “remains as U.S. Snowboardcross team head coach while all recent allegations are being investigated.”

“U.S. Ski and Snowboard takes all allegations seriously,” the statement said.

Foley said he was surprised by the allegations in a text to The Associated Press.

“I vehemently deny the allegations,” he continued. “I’m doing my best to concentrate on supporting the athletes at the Olympics.”

Kearney, who finished 17th in Thursday’s men’s snowboardcross contest, posted on Instagram that he faced expulsion from the team after the episode with Chythlook-Sifsof, and apologized shortly after.

“I did not have the same head on my shoulders back then as I do now and Callan was a huge part of me changing and growing as a human,” Kearney said.

Lindsey Jacobellis, who won her second gold medal of the Beijing Games by teaming with Nick Baumgartner in Saturday’s mixed snowboardcross event, said she never had an issue with Foley.

“I can speak very highly of his character and he’s always been supporting me through everything that I’ve gone through,” Jacobellis said.

Chythlook-Sifsof could not immediately be reached for comment.

Cases are investigated by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which opened in 2017 to handle harassment and other abuse allegations inside U.S. sports.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Nathaniel Herz

Anchorage-based independent journalist Nathaniel Herz has been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. Read his newsletter, Northern Journal, at