Congratulations to Waterville Valley skier Emma Ryan who’s been named to the the Irish National Alpine Ski Team. Emma is hoping to represent Ireland at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
There’s a great write-up about Emma in the Irish Times, excerpted below.
“I started when I was two,” explains Ryan. “My parents would just take the family up to a mountain in New Hampshire called Waterville Valley. I just learned to ski there and I always loved it. For some reason, I was never really bothered by the cold as much as my other siblings were. I joined the local ski club [WVBBTS], started racing at seven and from there, my passion took off.”
Ryan is the daughter of two Irish emigrants. Her mother is from Keadue, Co Roscommon and her father is from Dublin. The pair met while studying in UCD and moved to the United States after winning the green card lottery. They settled in Massachusetts – first in the Boston area, before relocating to the seaside town of Duxbury – where they continue to reside with their three children.
Ryan continued to ski throughout her childhood and started participating in competitions. A few years ago, Ryan started competing on a more elite stage. “When I was 13 – that’s when you can start competing on a national level – I was competing with the US,” she said. She qualified for the United States National Championships when she was at U16 level for three consecutive years. She switched nationality and started competing for Ireland last summer.
Around that time, Ryan acquired her FIS (International Ski Federation) licence, which allows her to ski at international competitions and any other races sanctioned by the International Ski Federation. Since then, she has competed in the likes of New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Canada, and earned her first overall FIS win in January, a feat she describes as a career highlight.
At just 17 years old, Ryan is still a year shy of graduating from high school. She is enrolled at a winter sports academy in New Hampshire [Waterville Valley Academy], designed for student athletes pursuing skiing and snowboarding. The structure enables her to attend international competitions, while staying on top of her schoolwork and she counts members of the US freestyle skiing team among her classmates.
“They’re set up to allow us to do these things. The teachers are very understanding. But it is a lot of work. I do have to bring all my work on the road with me, and learn through online materials and stuff.”
Go Emma! The Waterville Valley community is cheering you on!