Between my first and second birthday, my parents joined Alpine Ski Club in Collingwood and introduced my brothers and I to skiing. My competitive nature quickly made it evident that skiing would be more than casual family bonding. My parents tell me that I was always striving to beat the older competition, especially the boys. I don’t really remember those days, but I do remember when I was about six years old and frustrated by the lack of competitiveness in ski racing, so I asked for a snowboard for Christmas. I stuck with skiing, but I also picked up snowboarding as a hobby and still enjoy it to this day.
When I was 11 years old, I joined the National Ski Academy (NSA) on a summer camp in Switzerland. It was a moving experience for me - I think it was when I first started thinking, "this could be my life", and I wanted it to be.
During 6 amazing years at the NSA, I made friends for life, I competed in and won provincial and national championships, won races at the Whistler cup and won a silver medal at the Youth Olympics. I even graduated high school on-time. I will forever be grateful to Jurg Gfeller, Sami Piana and all the amazing teachers, coaches and staff at the NSA for helping me to become who I am today!
After the NSA, I joined the Alpine Canada Development Team. This was an exciting step as the opportunity to race world cup and to pursue my ultimate goals appeared within reach. Unfortunately, I joined the program with some nagging injuries and sustained further injuries while on the team. There were a few highlights, such as winning the national downhill title in 2014, but with limited training and race opportunities, I was not able to obtain the results necessary to advance within the Alpine Canada system.
Skiing has shaped me into the person I am today, and I am proud of that. Skiing has brought me disappointment and has hurt me more than anything in the world could have. But skiing has also brought me triumph, success, and happiness. Skiing has taught me how to appreciate competition; how to pick myself back up after a fall, whether physical or emotional; skiing has taught me how to enjoy the good times and learn from the bad times. Most importantly, skiing has taught me how to dedicate myself, how to set goals and not stop until I achieve them. I am so thankful that my parents brought me to Alpine Ski Club those many years ago because this wonderful sport has forever changed my life.
By 2015 I had reached a low point in my ski racing career, but at 19, there was no way I was going to throw in the towel! And since university was always in the cards for me, I looked to the NCAA system for an opportunity to ski race and to get educated at the same time. I had conversations with some great schools, but in the end I chose Utah and they chose me.
College ski racing gives us skiers the privilege of competing as an individual and as a team. This past year, my teammates and I won the NCAA national championship. We all came together and achieved what we spent the whole year working towards. It left me speechless, hands down one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
During my first two years at Utah I was also able to improve my health, mature as a person and as an athlete and to requalify for the national C-Team. Utah has provided my with the opportunity to put my education on hold this year and to focus solely on ski racing. I am very excited and motivated heading into the 2017/18 competitive season. I am healthy, strong and ready to compete in all disciplines. Thanks for joining me on my journey…. Roni.