Growing up, few activities gave me the same thrill and enjoyment that skiing offered. I started skiing at the young age of two and by the age of six was skiing out of the Allegro program, the freestyle program at Stratton Mountain in Vermont. As a child, I was a ball of energy and didn’t like silence nor the end of the ski day. As I entered high school, I chose to make my favorite thing in life, mogul skiing, a major focus of my life.
In February, 2012, I won my very first international competition on what is considered one of the toughest courses in the world, Val St. Come. The course is steep and long with consistently cold temperatures, and unfavorable snow conditions. I rose to the number 1 position, climbing to the top of the Freestyle North American Continent Cup standings by over twenty percent! I was now heading to finals.
I began my finals run confident, but never expected what would happen next. My alignment was off and my skis slipped out from under me. I don’t remember much else other than I heard my hood grazing the snow as my body accelerated towards the next mogul. I fell seven meters and my left femur broke into six pieces. The necessary surgery to fix my leg required three titanium screws and a sixteen-inch titanium rod. I was immobile and bedridden for three weeks, and unable to walk for 10 weeks. I used this time to reflect on my life and skiing. I set goals and focused in on what it would take to achieve that success.
In the 2014-15 season, my determination paid off, I earned my first World Cup starts at Deer Valley and Lake Placid. At the end of that season I had surgery to have the the titanium rod removed but there were complications which set my training back but I didn’t let this stop me. I trained harder with the time I had, and the 2015-16 season was my break out! I landed on the podium seven out of eight races. And in addition, just four years after breaking my femur into 6 pieces, I earned my spot on the U.S. Ski Team. Not to mention, during this season, I also won on the course where I had broken my femur.
Then this past summer, I had my best prep period to date and I earned myself early season starts to the World Cups in China and Finland. I will be one of six men representing the U.S. in these World Cups as we begin our qualification period for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. I am striving to be one of the four men named to the 2018 Olympic Team on January 22nd.
“A champion does not become a champion at the end of the event, but in the years months and weeks leading up to it. Their victorious performance is simply a demonstration of their champion character.” -Alan T Armstrong
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