Swoosh! Thwap! Swoosh!

Emerald Connection, February 13th, 2023

Wind, cold, bitter wind cuts across my exposed face. Thwap. I listen for the gates as they hit my shins. The familiar swoosh that my skis make when I turn echoes the wind.  Thwap, swoosh, thwap, swoosh. The welcoming sound of people cheering me on as I fly through the final gate and the finish line just beyond it. Then it is all over, the tension, the anxiety, and the adrenaline. 

Skiing has always been a big part of my life. When I was two years old, I went skiing for the first time at the little mountain of Bromley in southern Vermont. At first, the sport wasn’t my idea of fun. I wasn’t interested in sliding down a hill with weird things strapped to my feet. But the wind and the cold, the mountains, and the snow grew on me. And, most of all, I liked going fast. As the years passed, I got better bit by bit. At age five I went up the detachable quad for the first time. At the time I had just called it “the big kid lift” because I had only looked at it from the magic carpet and dreamt of going up it. This jump up led to my skiing getting better because I was exposed to bigger terrain and different trails. I was no longer skiing on a practically flat hill now. My family and I moved to Canada when I was in second grade, and I started to race for the first time.

My new home mountain went by the name Mont Olympia. Though Mont Olympia wasn’t big like the mountains here in the Rockies, it was the place I turned my first few gates. Mount Olympia taught me more than any other mountain I have skied. I learned the basic essentials to make a proper turn and how to propel myself down a course instead of just sliding down one.  At Olympia, I learned to be tough in cold weather. Some days it might be negative fifteen degrees out and I still had to go skiing. This skill, being able to withstand cold weather, would come to benefit me later on in my sport.  

Before I go any further, I would love to thank my amazing parents Julie and Eliot, they have supported me a lot throughout the years and they have also made me a better skier by forcing me to go to training even when I didn’t want to. That has really paid off.  

I still remember the day when my parents told my sister and me that we would be going to visit Colorado. I didn’t know it yet but moving to Steamboat was going to take me to places in skiing that I never knew I could go. Living here has really been amazing, and I hope to live in this wonderful place for a long while more. I have had amazing coaches and an amazing community of skiers to support me at races. In the Rockies, the most valuable thing that I have learned is to go with the flow. You might go to sleep one night expecting to race in the morning but when you wake up there is a foot and a half of snow on the ground.  This is just one small setback that occurs way too much in the mountains. Other setbacks could include injuries, shortage of course crew, and the worst of all, cold weather. Skiing has taught me to work around setbacks to find ways to still have a good run even in bad conditions. All in all skiing has made me who I am today, a person who can adapt to and embrace challenges with relative ease. So go outside and have fun in the snow and winter and I can guarantee that it will put a smile on your face.

The Connection