Local athletes are living a ski-racing dream
VAIL, Colorado – Eagle-Vail resident and U.S. Ski Team member Will Gregorak has wanted to be a professional ski racer since he was 2 years old – he could easily relate to the hundreds of young fans who came to Vail Village on Saturday evening to catch a glimpse of some of the best ski racers in the world.The U.S. Ski Team officially announced its 2011-12 teams in Vail on Saturday, as heavy snow came dumping down throughout the afternoon and well into the night. Despite the weather, a few hundred people showed up for the event to cheer on the team and get a few autographs.The crowd was full of young skiers with dreams just like Gregorak’s. They looked up on stage and could imagine themselves standing up there someday.”I came to see Lindsey Vonn,” said Sunlight Ski Team member Alexis Naylor, 11. “She’s just a really good skier, and she’s my inspiration.”Her friend and fellow Sunlight Ski Team member Devan McSwain, 11, also thinks Vonn is someone to look up to.”I want to be like her when I grow up,” Alexis said. For Zander Hirman, 9, it’s Bode Miller who stole the show Saturday. Zander skis with the Eldora Mountain Ski Club. He likes Miller because “he wins races,” Zander said.The young skiers aren’t the only ones who will remember Saturday’s event. Vonn loves being in Vail to see the fans and how excited they get about ski racing.”To see all the kids and how excited they get is just really humbling,” Vonn said. Mikaela Shiffrin, an Eagle-Vail resident who was named to the U.S. Ski Team’s B Team, stood up on stage Saturday and could hardly believe she was up there. She, too, could relate to all of the young skiers listening to her.”It’s still a dream,” Shiffrin said. “It’s always going to be a dream for me.”Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com.