Turning a passion in to a career is something that most people only dream of and often seems unrealistic. If you’re reading SkiRacing.com, it’s safe to say you share the same obsession and have devoted yours or your family’s lives to this crazy sport. Luckily for us, it’s actually a healthy obsession that provides amazing tools, opportunities and lifelong benefits that can set us up for success in all aspects of life.
Ski racing and competition, at the intense level we pursue, creates life-learning experiences that few people likely encounter in other daily endeavors. The quest for perfection – be it the perfect turn, holding an edge, tactics or confidence – all correlate in some way to what we need to succeed in other pursuits. Garnering the nerve to tackle down a steep icy pitch feels strangely similar to mustering the confidence to take on a new career challenge.
Almost all ski racers reach a point in their career where they have to hang it up and ask themselves, “What’s next?” At this point in life, it’s likely the hardest decision a still relatively young athlete has ever had to make. How do you walk away from something you’ve devoted your whole life to, something that’s been so great to you, especially if you still feel like you have more to give?
It was no different for me.
I experienced that very same “OMG, what’s next?” panic attack that I had hoped to avoid. I thought I’d be a ski racer forever! After graduating from the University of Denver in 2009, when jobs were scarce and I wasn’t quite ready to abandon my World Cup dream, I had some soul searching to do. I had a really difficult time transitioning out of competing. I was still so consumed, but also had a diploma in my hand that I was ready to put to use.
Luckily for me, I was still scouring SkiRacing.com daily at the time and stumbled upon an internship opportunity. Six years later after trying my hand at every area of the SR business, I’m now the Publisher. I’m fortunate to now to call World Cup finishes, training courses, FIS conference rooms and the U.S. Ski Team’s Center of Excellence my office.
My background in the sport and the skills I’ve acquired allowed me to find success in this career. The late Gary Black Jr., who I believe has been one of the greatest patrons of American ski racing of all time, had a gift for assembling a great team. Our staff of five (currently comprised of four women!) places a lot of value in women’s perspectives. Gary allowed me to be the individual who I am, not inhibited by limitations that might be imposed on women in other businesses, but as a person who was not confined by boundaries. I now have the confidence to tackle the business world of the ski industry all while keeping it fun, placing myself in the vortex of what is happening in the sport to pursue excellence for our media entity.
Our SkiRacing.com team, all former ski racers, has a strong foundation to take on the tough challenges that come at us, sometimes nearly every day. Pressing deadlines? Solving technical digital issues? Coordinating meetings, coverage and negotiations on different continents? Building new relationships? Well, those are all things we’ve faced before while rising through the ranks of the sport of ski racing.
Yes, it helps that we have a deep understanding of our sport from doing it ourselves. But what skiing gives you after what it demands of you helps in many other ways – from work ethic to in-the-moment concentration, to commitment in pursuing success. Those things can be positive forces in other aspects of your career and life outside of the sport.
I’ve recently discovered that there are many more ways to stay involved in the sport than I ever imagined, especially for women.
Blizzard and Tecnica are companies with deep ski racing roots that employ a number of former ski racers, acknowledging that they are the most well-rounded, passionate and driven members of their staff. They also have a handful of sharp, ripping women on board that they feel are bringing a much needed female perspective to all areas of the business.