Park City ski jumper calls it good after short career
June 12, 2009
PARK CITY — After jumping for most of her life and competing for the U.S. Ski Team for two years, Brenna Ellis, a Park City resident and sophomore at Westminster College, is retiring from her competitive career.
"Brenna has been a big part of women's ski jumping in the U.S. and she should be very proud of her pioneering efforts to gain attention for this rising sport," U.S. Nordic program director John Farra said. "She was named to the first Women's U.S. Ski Jumping Team in 2006 and was a key part of one of the best teams in the world for two and a half years.
"I wish Brenna luck in school and hope she remains connected to the great sport of ski jumping."
Ellis, who could only attend school and work part time due to a heavy competition schedule, is excited to dive full time into school and continue her work with a local online company.
While the distant future is a mystery to Ellis, she knows where she will be permanently for the next 24 months, and she couldn't be happier.
"I have two more years of school and I love it. It's been fun to meet new people there and do the college thing," she said.
Ellis has been attending Westminster since 2006 as part of the college's U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's tuition grant program. Through this program, Westminster offers USSA athletes free tuition so they can pursue their athletic dreams without sacrificing their academic ambitions.
Westminster presently has 35 USSA athletes attending the college on either a full or part-time basis.
Ellis was immediately interested in the ski jumps at Utah Olympic Park when they were constructed in the mid-90's. Eventually she had the chance to try the 2002 Olympic venue out as a Friday afternoon after-school activity and from there she was hooked. Ellis joined Park City's National Sports Foundation's jumping program the following winter and competed in the demonstration events when women's jumping was introduced to the Junior World Championships. Ellis was later 16th in 2006 when women's jumping formally was added to the JWC's schedule.
According to the life-long jumper, the decision to leave the sport had been something she has wrestled with for some time.
"I had been going back and forth for a while, but at the end of each season after I had a month off, I was ready to go back to the sport," Ellis said. "But after I hurt my knee this year and after having spent time away from jumping I realized that it wasn't what I wanted to do anymore."
As far as Ellis is concerned, it has been a welcome change to invest in her life back at home.
"It's been nice to have some time to be able to do my own thing," Ellis said.
Ellis was honored as a retiring athlete in May at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's annual Congress Awards Dinner.