U.S. Ski Team Athletes Hit the Books During Off Season
SALT LAKE CITY - Summer is here, marking the "off season" for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding and the beginning of summer school sessions. Through the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association educational program's partnership with Westminster College, many U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Ski Jumping athletes are hitting the books.
"It was such a pleasure to meet in person so many of the U.S. ski and snowboarding athletes whom take part in the tuition grant exchange program at Westminster. They were all very gracious and so appreciative of the opportunity that we have made available to them to pursue their college education with this grant exchange program," said Director of Corporate Relations and USSA Liaison for Westminster College Safia Keller. "I am glad that I work for a college that has made it possible for these athletes to not have to choose between their education and their dreams of being a champion."
With a wide range of fields of study, the 24 ski and snowboarding athletes and alumni are taking full advantage of the educational opportunity the USSA and Westminster provides. While many athletes focus on "right now," the partnership between the organization and the school allow for the athletes to prepare for the future and life after competition.
"Taking classes at Westminster is incredibly easy to balance with my training schedule and it was amazing how simple it was to enroll, said 2010 Olympian Hailey Duke (Boise, ID). Westminster takes such great care of us on all levels and basically makes everything work for our needs."
"The summer classes allow me to shift gears a little and concentrate on something other than my jumping. It helps me to stay focused and well balanced throughout the year," said U.S. ski jumper Alissa Johnson (Park City, UT). "The faculty at Westminster is very understanding of each student's personal needs allowing for a more intimate class room experience."
Westminster provides an athlete friendly schedule, allowing time for both training and academics. The summer is an important time for the elite winter sport athlete. While everyone else is thinking warm thoughts, they are flying to winter training and preparing for the upcoming season. With not much free time in their schedules, Westminster College has made it possible for them to pursue their career now and plan for their career in the future.
"Westminster not only offers an opportunity to find the balance many athletes lack in their lives between physical and mental stimulation, but does so in a way that becomes much more readily available than others," said U.S. Snowboarding's Graham Watanabe (Ketchum, ID). "Basically, a stone's throw away from our headquarters ski and snowboard athletes can train and take classes, in the same day, without inconvenience of travel or distance communication."
As summer continues the athletes will continue to attend classes. Many of the summer school athletes will be heading off to on-snow camps around the world. They will take a break from their academic endeavors for the winter season, rejoining Westminster College in the spring or early summer in their respective studies.
Westminster College Summer Students
Hailey Duke, Boise, ID*
Travis Ganong, Olympic Valley, CA
Leanne Smith, Conway, NH*
Megan McJames, Park City, UT*
Alice McKennis, Glenwood Springs, CO*
Andrew Phillips, Sandy, UT
Laurenne Ross, Klamath Falls, OR
Eric Camerota, Park City, UT
William Graves, Putney, VT
Skyler Keate, Salt Lake City, UT
Elizabeth Stephen, East Montpelier, VT*
Lacy Schnoor, Draper, UT*
Jana Lindsey, Black Hawk, SD*
Ryan St. Onge, Winter Park, CO*
Allison Treleaven, Fort Wayne, IN
Timothy Massucco, East Otis, MA
Holt Haga, Boise, ID
Avery Arovino, Park City, UT
Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT
Elizabeth Beerman, Weston, VT
Dylan Bidez, Minturn, CO
Lindsay Lloyd, Salt Lake City, UT
Graham Watanabe, Ketchum, ID*
Victor Wild, White Salmon, WA*