WESTERNVILLE, NY (WKTV) – The world witnessed an emotional slide from Olympic alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin in Beijing this week.
The Woods Valley Ski team was also watching, taking notes and learning valuable lessons from the 2022 Winter Games.
Kaelyn Barry, a ninth-grader in Whitesboro, joined the ski team when she was ten, which she says is late for a skier, but adds it’s never too late to join a sport you will love all your life.
Barry watched the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“I watched slalom the other night with Mikaela Shiffrin,” Barry said. “It’s sad that she didn’t finish, but it shows you how ski racing is a mental sport.”
It is a mental sport at any age.
For James Vaccaro, a 10-year-old skier, it’s also a sport that requires concentration.
“I concentrate pretty well when I’m up there,” Vaccaro said. “I at least try.”
Vaccaro watched Shiffrin’s run closely and learned from it.
“She’s good but her first race she went a little too low,” said Vacarro. “It was still good.”
For Barry, it is also a release.
“I think it’s adrenaline,” Barry said. “It’s being able to do your own thing and it’s a feeling of freedom.”
Woods Valley Ski Team coaches also monitor their skiers as they take note of Olympic successes and mistakes.
Coach Tyson Brooks, who has worked there for ten years, tells us there were about 15 members on the ski team when he started coaching. The team has grown to over 40 today, with seven coaches.
He sees his ski racers watching the Olympics and learning valuable lessons.
“They’re watching the technical aspect,” Brooks said. “And it’s good.”
But there is something more important than any technical skill these coaches can teach.
“We teach them something about competition and how to ski,” Brooks said. “The intention is to teach them to ski and to love skiing for life, no matter how good a racer they are.”
From what the skiers have told us, it looks like it works.
“I really want to have fun with this for my high school career, because that’s what it’s all about,” Barry said.
As for Vaccaro, he’s not going to stop skiing anytime soon.
“I think I’ll do it for a while, probably until I can’t anymore,” Vaccaro said.
As for Coach Brooks, between training and watching the Winter Olympics, he’ll be sleeping in the spring.
“I’m losing a lot of sleep with the time change in Beijing,” Brooks said, “I’m watching the whole thing!”