Looking back, it is crazy to think that this is my 13th season racing at the FIS level. FIS racing started a year younger back then, and I was just a freshman in high school with no idea about the journey on which I was embarking. I came to GMVS as a junior in high school prior to my third year of FIS, but at the time it was a tough decision to commit to a full-year ski academy. At the time, I had been attending Waterville Valley Academy for three months per winter for three years and then returning home to play baseball in the spring and summer. I had very limited summer training and had spent just as much of my time focused on baseball, so I was very hesitant to give that up and focus fully on skiing. However, both sports require a lot of repetition and in order to take either sport to the next level, I decided that I needed to commit full-time. I chose skiing because I enjoyed the freedom, speed, and constant variation. While not knowing much about my school options, I knew that GMVS had a great group of skiers my age and a good academic program to support my chances for college.
I came to GMVS in the fall of 2010 at 17 years old and immediately did not know what I got myself into. I was out of my comfort zone with the two workouts per day, more intense academics than I expected, and my first trip outside of North America, but I knew that this was necessary for me to make a jump in my skiing. I trained alongside a fast group of skiers that season with coach Martin Guyer and I started to find more and more speed. Marty taught me mental skills and tactics that I had never before considered, and that led me to appreciate the process more and dig deeper into the sport. I ended the season with some solid races in GS and SG and upon returning to campus I was surprised to find out that I had qualified for the US Ski Team Development team. I didn’t even know what the criteria were or have this as a goal through the season, but at 17 years old I was very excited to take this next step in my ski career. I ended up playing four baseball games for Montpelier High School that spring but then had to leave for my first USST camp in Mt. Bachelor, thus completing the transition to full-time ski racer. In hindsight, I probably was not quite ready to make the jump to the demands of the USST at 17 and after only six months of skiing at GMVS.
After my first stint with the USST, I returned to GMVS for a postgraduate year training with athletes Sandy Vietze, Thomas Woolson, Danny Duffy, and Drew Duffy, and coach Luc Robillard. We all pushed each other hard and enjoyed a really fun season, which resulted in fast skiing and a majority of us qualifying for the USST. That year on the C Team I represented the US at World Juniors and had some solid race results, though it was not enough to keep my spot on the team. Thankfully I had been accepted to Dartmouth during my time at GMVS, so I enrolled that spring and got started on a college ski racing career. This was not a super easy transition as I had recently focused on speed while skiing some GS and virtually no slalom.
It took some time to get the technical skiing going again, but by my sophomore year I was skiing some pretty fast slalom and after shoulder surgery, my GS got back on track as well. My third stint on the USST, the National University Team, also contributed heavily to my training outside of the college season. My senior season culminated with an NCAA Championship in GS and a NorAm Cup GS Title, including a World Cup start spot. These results led to invitee status with the USST World Cup GS Team for the 2018-2019 season, where I had some early success, scoring World Cup points twice and earning a spot on the World Championship team. I realized the need for changes in my skiing to become more consistent at skiing’s highest level. These changes proved more difficult and time-consuming than I expected, and I struggled between training and racing mode all season. I never regained my race line or speed, leading to disappointing results and season-ending knee and collarbone injuries in February.
This season, I reached out to a familiar contact, GMVS alum, former GMVS coach, and current Head Coach of Global Racing, Paul Epstein. He is running a great program with fast GS skiers, so it has been a great opportunity for me. It has been a tough season for me returning from injury, trying to regain my world ranking, and fighting COVID and the accompanying race complications. I have returned to my mindset from my days at GMVS of focusing on good skiing, an efficient line, and a level-headed race approach, first taught to me by Marty and Luc, and now reinforced by Paul. I am also living with my GMVS teammates AJ Ginnis and Sandy Vietze in Austria, remembering the teamwork that started our ski racing paths. It is crazy how many of my GMVS friends keep appearing during my ski racing journey, and it really does feel like a family for life. My skiing is finally getting fast again and I am appreciating my journey and all of the support I have gotten thus far. My development has come full circle with GMVS ties, and I look forward to using that experience to push my skiing even further at the highest level.