BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! . . . 7:00 am . . . . anticipating the alarm to go off like waking up on Christmas morning. I was up and out of bed excited being the first skier on the smooth water. Feeling the cold sand under my feet as we quietly sunk to the dock with all our gear in our hands, I would be smiling from ear to ear knowing I was about to ski with the hope I would be able to go first. Feeling the sun peak over the mountains and being blinded from the sun’s reflection off the smooth water was an invitation to rip it up with the biggest rooster tail. Being surrounded with mountains, the crystal clear water, the wind in my face, and skiing, this was paradise on earth.
This was a typical morning at Priest Lake for the Anderson Family. Not having a boat growing up, I was very fortunate to be considered family to the Andersons. Martin Anderson (Dad #2) who I consider to be my first coach taught me how to get up on two skies at the age of 10 and then at age 13 to get up on one ski (slalom). Once on the slalom ski I was hooked and addicted to sport. I could not get enough of it. Becoming family friends between the Andersons and my own family, I was able grow up with this lifestyle of being on the lake and learning how to ski during my summers all the way through my first year of college.
Receiving my very own ski, the Connelly Hook, from the Andersons as a graduation present, I was eager to take my skiing to the next level and learn the ski competition course. Once in college, I quickly discover Eastern Washington University had a Water Ski and Wakeboard Club. To my surprise it was just a recreational team, yet I was happy to be out on the water, skiing. Being involved with the club for less than a year, I soon became president. Not even a month being the president of the club, I was contacted by a camp called Camp Skylemar in Naples, Maine of all places and was asked to be a water ski and wakeboard instructor. At first I thought it was a joke since this particular camp was an all boys camp. Yet this did not stop me from still perusing this possible job position. After a couple e-mails and phone interviews I was off to Naples, Maine for the summer. There I made amazing friends, learned how to drive Malibu and Mastercraft boats and of course, skied almost everyday. The friends, the campers, the scenery, and the skiing brought me back to Maine for three summers. Yet through these summers I still only had a small taste of the course. My last summer at Camp Skylemar I was close to running the water ski competition course. Disappointed with myself of still not running the course, I started to take matters into my own hands.
With one more year of college, I decided I would take one more summer and work at a camp again. Yet, this time it would not just be any camp, it would be a water ski camp. That is when I started researching ski schools/camps and discovered April Coble’s Water ski and Wakeboard School in Lillington, North Carolina. After another round of multiple e-mails and phone interviews, to my amazement I was offered a job to work for April Coble. While all my friends where looking for work after college graduation, I was off to a new state to share my passion to teach others how to ski and with the hope of learning the course. Making a whole new set of friends, and having them coach me along with April’s coaching I was starting to learn the course. At the same time, I was able to share my passion and teach new skiers how to ski the course. Not wanting to leave and face the reality of finding work, I stayed at Coble’s as long as possible still learning everything I could about the sport. Not knowing where life would take me, I was content because I knew no matter where I was going I would ski.
I soon moved to Seattle, Washington to work as a personal trainer at the PRO Sports Club. With the recent move, I was determined to find people to ski with in the area. Just like I found out about Coble Ski School, I Googled (sorry for not using bing for those who are Microsoft employees) ski schools in Washington and this is where I met Mark Lord owner Seattle Water Sport (SWS) and ever since then Mark and I have been skiing together. Through Mark I have been very fortunately meeting amazing skiers and been able to ski on Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish and even Radar Lake. Those who are skiers understand the privilege of being able to ski on this particular lake and the legacy it has with the sport (I’ll explain this next post for those who are not skiers). Once ski season started, I was gone almost every weekend competing in a tournament. Again I met more skiers and learned the ins and outs of tournament skiing. One night I was on the American Water Ski Association checking my rankings and the qualification for regionals. I qualified! I had my roommate read the qualifications out loud to me to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. Right away I started planning my trip for the Western Regionals in Rio Linda, CA outside of Sacramento. There I placed a disappointing 6, one place away from qualifying for Nationals. But there was still hope to qualify for nationals through my rankings. The following week I woke up to a text from a ski buddy saying “you qualified for Nationals.” I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day. But then it was back to business– planning the trip to Wilmington, IL (Chicago area) and getting as much practice time in as possible.
Nationals was hot and humid and I pretended not to nervous. Placing 14th at my first national competition, I guess I can’t complain, but I wanted to do better like any athlete. However, the highlight of the trip was skiing with Wade Cox (a legend in the sport) and bowling and chatting it up with Marcus Brown, one of my favorite professional water skiers. Talking to the pros was inspirational and encouraging to continue working and dreaming. Now it is my turn to encourage you to follow your dreams and passions, no matter what obstacles may be in the path. Like Marcus Brown told me, anything is possible.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! . . . . the alarm sounds 7:00 am. . . it’s ski time!