By Tommy Biesemeyer
“Do you get nervous?”
“Do you have any superstitions?”
“How many races have you won?”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Do you get free skis?”
“How do I get free skis?”
Answering questions is my favorite part when skiing and spending time with young ski racers. I recently had the chance to visit Windham Mountain and train with the young athletes in their race program, something that I remember having the chance to experience when I was a kid.
When I was 8 years old Courtney Straight, at the time a member of the U.S. Ski Team, came to Whiteface and skied with my group. She made us a deal that whoever got the most air, clocked the fastest time in NASTAR, and skied the best would get to wear her Ski Team jacket. I believe the honor of wearing her jacket was actually subjective to the athlete that simply wasn’t the most annoying, and as a result I had to wait another 12 years to wear a U.S. Ski Team jacket.
When I look back at this time in my childhood now, I realize how important and pivotal that was for me. I had exposure to the U.S. Ski Team, thus planting the seed in my head which eventually lead to a dream becoming a reality. If I knew that I played a small role in a young kid’s dream like Courtney Straight did for me then I have had a successful career.