Steamboat Winter Sports Club, Steamoat Springs, CO
I retired from Nordic combined after the 2018 Olympics and committed to go ski for the University of New Mexico. Around this same time Bill Demong offered me an internship running the USA Nordic social media. I’ll be honest, I was a little hesitant about this gig. I had just retired and I felt like I needed a break from all things Nordic combined. However, hilariously enough this wasn’t really an offer. You see, I owed USA Nordic about $1,000 and I was completely broke. Bill worked out a deal with me that I would work off my debt over the summer. I agreed because as some of you may know, saying no to Bill Demong sometimes doesn’t feel like an option.
It’s funny how at the time this seemed like a pretty insignificant decision. I was just trying to pay off my debt! Well the summer ended and I had done such a good job Bill didn’t feel like he could replace me. This lead to Bill offering to keep me on board. Once again, I was a little hesitant! How was I going to complete 18 college credits, train and race full time for skiing, and have a job? Once again Bill found a way to convince me. “This job will pay for all your beer at college,” he said. Thank god for that job because I did drink a lot of beer in college.
About halfway through my first semester Bill called me and asked if I would take on a bigger role with USA Nordic. He wanted me to start doing all the communications for USA Nordic as well. Communications and Social Media intertwine a lot so it seemed like a no brainer. This was right around the time that Tom Kelly was brought on board. For those of you who don’t know, Tom Kelly is a legend. TK ran communications for so long at the US Ski Team I can just say he did it forever.
TK quickly became my mentor and all of a sudden, I was learning more from work than I was from school. I found myself prioritizing work over school because it was a lot more fun than trying to bullshit my way through a philosophy paper. Online philosophy, the hardest class I ever took.
Anyways, one thing lead to another and I found myself getting to miss a week of school to cover the World Championships in Seefeld, Austria. I had competed in two World Championships prior and it was very odd to be there as staff with all my old coaches and teammates.
However, the role quickly grew on me. I got to walk around with my camera all day taking photos, interviewing athletes, writing stories, making videos, and spectating events. I loved this job! Plus, when all my work was done at night, I got to go enjoy a big stein of bier! This was a huge improvement on being an athlete.
When I retired from Nordic combined, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Ironically, I found that in the sport I retired from. Starting in June I was offered a full-time job with USA Nordic. I’m six months in and couldn’t imagine a better job. I get to learn from Bill and TK every single day. Over the last six months I have negotiated sponsorship deals, created decks, run social media, taken photos, written stories, created videos, organized fundraisers, sold merchandise, created email campaigns, helped design race suits, covered events, and organized a concert!
I want to thank Bill for giving me such a great opportunity and Tom Kelly for taking me under his wing. The sports of Nordic combined and ski jumping continue to play a vital role in my life, in fact, more so now than ever before. This is something I could have never predicted.
I also want to end this story by thanking the entire staff at USA Nordic for everything that they do on a day to day basis- your hard work does not go unnoticed. Now that I’m a part of the USA Nordic staff, my biggest regret as an athlete is that I didn’t say thank you more. I don’t think I ever fully understood how much work went into allowing me to do what I did as an athlete.
I have some pretty funny stories from my career and promise I’ll share them in the years to come. Here is a list so I don’t forget.
- When Krampus visited us in Austria and ripped the door off our hotel room.
- Finishing a race with one ski
- Jumping to 16th in a World Cup with my jump suit unzipped. Immediately getting disqualified
- Skiing from 2nd – 32nd in a World Cup. Oh my gosh.
- When Bryan Fletcher almost died go karting
- The day we spent in the ROTC. Almost drowning in a swimming pool in front of my entire team.
- When Spencer Knickerbocker found a piece of his tooth in his mouth three days after a bad crash in Innsbruck.
- Hiding in the black forest and scaring all the other teams out on their night runs.
- Having 50 km/hr of speed on Ruka’s big hill
- How I found out I made the Olympics CURATOR’S NOTE- I found a nice USA Today article on this one- click here
- Shooting military grade sniper rifles and ripping ATV’s around the Hudson Valley!
IS IT SJ or NC? IT DOESN’T MATTER! WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM
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