Our biggest liability- that we’re such a small group, is also our strongest asset. We have shared something so rare: heel-free flight. We speak a language so few can truly understand. We are so bonded! For life! I share the emails above in case anyone had any doubts on this.
So- if you feel these connections I hope you’ll take a moment and give back just a bit to the sport that is so deeply woven into your fabric. Amount doesn’t matter. Just get your name on the list. Join your friends. Let us know you’re out there and still dreaming of flight. If you name a coach or mentor who helped get you there, I’ll add them with your name. Just put it in the comments section.
Let’s do this.
Curator USANS Story Project
Steamboat Winter Sports Club
Stramboat Springs, CO
USANS National Team Member
TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read): You don’t have to be 8 years old to start doing something that brings you joy.
This is a ski jumping story that starts with an epic powder day. I was 15, almost 16, and in Apex, British Columbia for some alpine ski races I had qualified for. I had spent countless hours training and way too much of my parents’ money to finally make it to that competition. But when I woke up to 16 inches of fresh powder and a canceled race I was overjoyed. That day was filled with lap after lap of face shots and whoops of joy. It was the best day I had skiing the whole year.
That’s when I realized that ski racing didn’t bring me that joy. I wanted to feel that way when I was doing my sport, not when it was canceled! I had been ski jumping a day a week in Steamboat, just for fun, and even though I wasn’t that good at it yet, at least it was exciting. This is what led me to take that summer off of ski racing and attend the very first Fly Girls summer camp, which is ultimately what convinced me to quit ski racing full time and become a ski jumper.
It was a scary decision, and one I agonized over for a while. How to know if you’re making the right decision? Everyone else starts this sport so young! What if I turn out to be awful and just gave up something I was really good at? I tried the pros and cons list, talking to family and friends, but eventually had to go with my gut: I was searching for the joy. I didn’t know then that I would make the national team and travel across the world and meet amazing people. But I knew that ski jumping was fun and I could see the potential of the joy of flight.
This story isn’t that much about ski jumping itself, but I guess if it has a moral it’s that making changes is scary but important. It’s important to chase the joy. It’s important to support things that make you and other people joyful. Right now for me, that’s ski jumping.