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Season of recovery for pro teleskier

Lory Pounder
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Mark Fox/Summit DailyErin Young slides across the rail on her way to a first-place finish in the women's ski division at the 5th annual Leftover Yam and Jive Turkey Rail Jam at Copper Mountain's Eagle Jib Park.
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SILVERTHORNE, Colorado – Professional telemark skier Erin Young had big plans for the season.

She attempts tricks many women wouldn’t dream of, and a list of new ones to accomplish was ready to go along with a string of competitions.

However, none of it will happen this year.



Less than a month after Young, 21, of Silverthorne, demonstrated her skills taking the top female skier position at Copper’s sixth annual Leftover Yam and Jive Turkey Rail Jam in November, she struggled to get out of bed. Twenty-five staples lined her leg and a metal rod was placed inside.

Young, who also is a member of the Summit County School Board, had broken her femur during a fall doing urban rail tricks on her teleskis for a photo shoot in Denver. And while this may have discouraged some people, Young is no stranger to injuries and the rehabilitation process. In past years, she has separated her pelvis, had eight concussions and broke three vertebrae in her back.



“You accept that this is just a consequence of what we do,” said Young as she sat recovering at home with her boyfriend, Scott Winn, who was mending from a knee injury at the same time. “It’s just going to stall me for a bit.”

In March, about 10 weeks after the accident, she will be testing out the new rod that stretches the length of her thigh. She hopes to be skiing by the end of the season. However, tricks will likely be put on hold for a while.

Young grew up in Summit County and started skiing as soon as she could walk. Her dad, Benjamin Young, is a doctor and her mom, Louisa Morrissey, is a telemark and Nordic skiing teacher at Keystone Ski Resort. Also, before she turned pro, her sister, Taiga Young, 23, led that path as a pro big mountain teleskier.



When Young was growing up, she did some alpine racing, but then her focus turned to gymnastics and teleskiing.

At age 14, she switched completely to telemark skis. In 2002 and 2003, she won junior nationals in telecross events, and it wasn’t long before she started scouting sponsorships.

Now, she is sponsored by High Society Skis, Copper Mountain Ski Resort, Core Action Sports, Garmont Boots and Bomber Bindings.

“I wanted to make skiing a little more accessible to me,” Young said, explaining how she shopped her resume out to gain sponsorships as a woman rider.

Since then, the sport has taken her throughout the world. About three years ago, Young traveled Italy for a world telemark festival and Austria for the world telecross champions.

“It’s more like surfing,” she said. “It’s a unique turn. It’s a feeling you don’t get in Alpine skiing. Many people refer to it as being kind of like a dance.”

After graduating from Summit High School a year early, Young attended the University of Colorado Denver where she majored in political science, graduating with honors in Dec. 2006. Throughout her time in college, she still managed to ski at least three or four days a week and after graduation the mountains called her back.

In the summer she heard about the four Summit School District Board of Education seats opening in November and felt that would be a great place for her to give back to the community.

Now, at age 21, she is still figuring it all out, but what she would ideally love to do is put her education with policy making and her skiing skills together.

“I think you can combine the two and have a fun program. I’m just not sure how yet,” Young said.

Along the way, it will always be days like Valentine’s last year at Beaver Creek that keep her excited about the sport she loves. She went out with her friends just for fun and it was the kind of day where it was a blue bird sky one minute and blizzard the next, she said.

“It was just face shots and powder all day. … What I am at my soul is I’m a skier,” Young said.


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