Hometown ski racer rallying support
VAIL — Nellie Rose Talbot leaves for Chile this week to train with the U.S. Ski Team’s FIS National Training group.
One of only two athletes born in 1999 to make the training group, Talbot earned her spot on the team by winning the U-16 National Championships super-G this season.
Now, though, the hard part really begins for Talbot, as she takes on the difficult task of finding funding for her continued training. The Chile trip will cost a minimum of $4,000, and it’s one of the first stops on the National Training Group’s busy schedule. A couple of trips to Europe and Canada will follow as Talbot takes on NorAms and the Europa Cup, and just making it to nationals again this year will also come with a heavy price tag.
Her father’s time is completely occupied as a Vail firefighter and ski instructor, so taking on another job is not an option. The family has turned to USSA.RallyMe.com for help, a fundraising platform for United States Ski and Snowboard Association athletes and clubs. Visit Nellie Rose Talbot’s page at https://ussa.rallyme.com/rallies/2029.
‘LIKE GOING INTO A FAMILY’
Nellie’s father, Tom Talbot, is a former ski racer himself. He made the U.S. Ski Team back in the early ’70s in the class with Olympic bronze medalist Cindy Nelson and Alan Kildow, Lindsey Vonn’s father.
“When I was 16 and made the team, the parents checkbook closed and the U.S. Ski Team checkbook opened,” he said. “It was a totally different time back then.”
While the changing times have affecting his wallet, Talbot is not bitter about the current state of affairs. Especially here in Vail.
“When Nellie came into Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, it was truly like going into a family,” he said. “They’ve really brought in some high-level, talented coaches, and the public school at Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy is such a key component that is unlike anything else in the U.S. Other ski academies will cost you $40,000 per year.”
When Nellie Rose Talbot made the National Training Group this year, it wasn’t her first time being named to the squad. She was also named to the group last year but was unable to fully commit to it due to a lack of funding.
“I just kept skiing and training here with a group of boys,” she said.
She trained with coach Matt Underhill at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, and under his tutelage Nellie’s father said she became noticeably more motivated.
Underhill said at first he was concerned that a female athlete training with the boys would be apt to credit failure or time gaps off pace to gender.
“Nellie proved me wrong,” Underhill said. “She told me she would beat the boys by the end of the season, and that she came very close to achieving.”
In her limited time with the National Training Group, Nellie has left a big impression on head coach Thomas Erhard.
“Nellie’s character is filled with spirit and determination,” Erhard said. “She demonstrates her incredible passion for skiing fast and clean in every run she takes, and she is a supportive teammate that everyone — including her coaches and fellow competitors —enjoys being around.”
Aside from ski racing, Nellie just enjoys being around Vail, where she has spent her entire life.
“My focus is always on ski racing, but my community is my family,” she said. “Some day I’d like to come home, be a part of the club and help young athletes that are going through the same things I’m going through.”