There’s nothing more inspiring for an elementary school student than meeting the athletes they watch on TV
For students who live on the Front Range, players from the Broncos, Nuggets or Avalanche can leave them speechless.
For the kids of Summit County, however, their sports heroes are on the USA Ski Team. Last week, several hundred Summit County elementary students were captivated when members of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team spoke to them.
In conjunction with Team Summit Colorado, the USA Ski Team made several stops at elementary schools in Summit County to give back to the community.
As classes headed to Frisco Elementary gymnasium on Thursday, November 10, students gaped and smiled as they saw Tommy Ford, Erik Arvidsson and Sam Morse standing in their presence. The trio have been training at Copper Mountain Resort for the past few weeks in preparation for this year’s downhill ski season. After a short intro video was posted on the gym wall, Ford, Arvidsson and Morse introduced themselves.
Ford hailed from Bend, Oregon before becoming a world-class downhill skier. Arvidsson is from Woodside, Calif., and primarily competes in downhill and super-G. Finally, Morse hails from Carrabassett Valley, Maine and competes primarily downhill.
Once the presentations were over, the floor was given to questions from the students. Hands in the air, the three athletes tried to navigate the deluge of questions. Ford, Arvidsson and Morse were asked if it’s scary to go so fast while skiing, if they’ve been injured, their favorite mountain to ski on and when they started skiing.
After answering most of the students’ questions, Ford, Arvidsson, and Morse gave the students high-fives and signed autographs. At the end of the event, the students weren’t the only ones feeling fulfilled by the event.
“It’s so great to come and talk to kids who are so excited about skiing,” Ford said. “There was so much commitment. We don’t get to do that very often. It was a good reminder of why we do it.
Arvidsson further pointed out that it is common for other professional athletes to do outreach in schools, but due to spending most of their time in Europe, team members American skiers rarely have the opportunity.
“Seeing the passion was crazy,” Arvidsson said. “It’s logical that everyone skis here, but it amazes me all the same.”
In the end, the meeting allowed the students to see that it was possible to become a member of the American Ski Team. Over the past few years, Team Summit has produced two skiers who have joined the ranks of the US Ski Team. Camden Palmquist is a member of the USA Alpine C team and grew up training with Team Summit.
“We live in the best place in the whole country to play competitive snow sports,” said Team Summit executive director CB Betchel. “Because of that, we bring the best in the world to come and train. A lot of the kids at Team Summit aspire to do that.
“It’s cool to show these kids what’s possible,” Morse said. “They live in a great place for that, and it’s cool to inspire them and show what’s possible.”
All three athletes are scheduled to compete in the 2022 Xfinity Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek from December 2-4. The event is open and free to the public.