Sisters ski team is strong this season


Last updated 3/19/2024 at 3:20pm

Photo by Jack Turpen

The Sisters High School ski team is nearing the end of their season. Each racer has pushed extremely hard this season to do their best and approach each race with a positive mindset.

The Nugget asked the athletes how they prepare for their races.

"This has been a challenge for me, but I think it all comes down to mindset," junior Cooper Merrill said. "I'm not going to improve my skills or my fitness in the hour before a race, but focusing on my goals and staying calm leading up to a run has a huge impact on the quality of my performance."

Junior Ava Riehle said, "I prepare for a ski race by eating tangy turtles, listening to some hype music, and laughing with friends."

In order to lock in before a run, it can be best to remain calm and enjoy the day. If the skier focuses too much on the run, they might stress out and increase their nerves, which may result in a bad run. 

Ski racing is very difficult to compare to any other sport, as it is so unique. When discussing how ski racing is different from other high school sports, freshman Abi Duda said, "It is much more out in the open. Take basketball for example, you train a few times per week at the school in the back gym, and go to games in other schools. Yes, you're in a public school/area, but everything the team does is secluded to a gym. For ski racing, practice is out in the public, we ski on mountains with other skiers all around, we run the same runs as they do, and it's just out in the open for all to see and interact with."

In a similar sense, Merrill explained, "Ski racing is really unique because it isn't an OSAA sport, therefore the ski community has to come together to make the season happen. Ski races take a lot of work, but dozens of parents and community members collaborate to put them on. Having so much support and cooperation with our community makes race day really special. I think it's a great example for us racers to see so much care from our community, and it definitely has an impact on all of us."

The Outlaws expressed a common theme of friendship.

Riehle explained, "My favorite thing about racing is seeing how much everyone improved throughout the season and the camaraderie with teammates. Everyone becomes so close which makes for such fun practices and free skiing."

Merrill followed this theme, stating "My teammates are definitely the best part of the sport. Being up on the hill with my friends so much has to be the best part, but off the slopes the team bonds are really strong, too."

The impact that ski racing leaves on people is a key factor to the sport. When asked how ski racing has impacted her, Duda said, "Being on the team has forced me to be more active in our community, developing my teamwork and people skills."

Riehle had a similar opinion: "Ski racing has helped me so much with working on my own goals and bettering my own skiing and motivation. It has taught me a lot about commitment and pushing myself out of my comfort zone."

"Personally, the team has had the biggest impact on me," Merrill said. "As an underclassman, building relationships with the upperclassmen helped me understand what kind of teammate I wanted to be. Now, being a captain, I get to be an example for the upcoming boys, and I get to pass on what I learned from our alumni. Ultimately my teammates have been wonderful to compete with and are what makes this sport so special."


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