Here in Ellicottville, you always hear about the great skiing and snowboarding, but not often do you hear about the advanced programs offered at our local resorts. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Ellicottville natives Hayly and Logan Fredrickson (twins), two U16 alpine ski racers out of the Holiday Valley Training Center (HVTC).
“Ski racing is a different and exciting sport that not many people do,” Logan told me. The girls have been racing since they were 7 years old. They were introduced to the sport by their father, Kelly, who raced as a kid growing up. “When we were old enough to enter the training center programs, my dad asked us if we wanted to ski race,” said Hayly. “We immediately said yes and haven’t looked back; it’s a thrilling sport and I like to go fast.”
Hayly was named the U14 Racer of the Year for the Niagara Frontier Ski Council (NFSC) last year, which earned her a spot on the NFSC Gold Team. The Gold Team completed their yearly camp at Holiday Valley in mid-December. “It is my favorite camp to attend and this was my 3rd year on the team,” said Logan. “It was nice to have my sister there this year, as it was her first time on the team.”
As a former ski racer myself, you gain a unique perspective of an individual sport and learn very much about yourself during the process. There are so many components that need to align for a good race: conditions, training, weather, proper equipment, etc. This is what the girls love about it - the variables. Last year in their final season as U14’s, both girls made it to the Eastern Championships at Sunday River, Maine. “It was so much fun to travel up there and get an opportunity to race against the best on the East Coast,” the girls said in agreement.
Both Hayly and Logan aim to ski race in college; Hayly wants to be a large animal veterinarian and Logan wants to become an anesthesiologist. “Our goals for this season are to make U16 Easterns,” said Logan. This will be a large feat for the girls as they are now competing against girls older than them. “We have been cross training since the spring to attain our goal - playing soccer, running track and training with Doug Schindler of Peak Performance.”
I asked the girls what their favorite part of ski racing was and what they would say to someone that is thinking about racing. Logan told me, “You get to make friends from all over the state who share the same love of skiing and competition that you do.” For Hayly, it is “because you get to travel all over the state and East Coast seeing new places.”
Just a few years ago, the Ellicottville High School formed a varsity ski team. (It only makes sense to have a ski team at a school that’s located in a ski town.) It is evidently a growing trend here in Western New York, as Williamsville just added a team for this season. Hayley and Logan’s father, Kelly, coaches the Ellicottville team. Both girls advanced to the New York State High School Championship last season, finishing in the top 20. Anyone interested in helping to sponsor the Ellicottville team can contact the school’s Sports Boosters at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Holiday Valley Training Center also offers a great sponsorship program available to businesses and individuals; for more information contact Karina Prokopchuk, President of the Training Center’s Parents Association, at email@example.com.
Ski Racing is a sport that stays with you for life. It is an opportunity to learn to ski at the highest levels all while having fun. You learn that if you crash, you get up, finish your run and try harder the next run - lessons you do not get very often in our society where everything is disposable. The discipline and hard work you learn will carry over into all aspects of your life - that is what sets it apart from so many other sports. So if you are on the fence about ski racing or having your child ski race … JUST DO IT. I promise you will not regret it!