Tricia Mangan

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When we were just shy of three years old, my parents strapped my twin brother William and me into two teeny pairs of skis, each with the tips tied together, and let us go at the top of the Bunny Hill. Apparently, William made it to the bottom before I did (debatable), and thereby won our first ski race ever. I then spent the majority of my early skiing years trying to keep up with William and our two older brothers, Connor and Peter, a quest that sparked my love of competition and going fast!

After that first race down the Bunny Hill, I spent every weekend of the winter skiing at HoliMont, a small mountain in Ellicottville, NY where my mom was a ski patroller and my dad was our biggest fan. When I was six, my brothers and I joined the racing program. Being one of the youngest members of the team, I relished every second that I spent training and racing with my older compadrés. As my siblings and I grew older and discovered our individual passions, I was drawn more and more to ski racing. I loved the endless challenge and always wanted to figure out how to be better and go faster.

I attended high school at Nardin Academy in Buffalo, NY, opting out of ski academy for financial and family reasons. I capitalized on any and all snow time I got and continued to chase podiums at a state and regional level.

On April 1st 2013, during my sophomore year of high school, I won the second run of the U16 Nationals at Park City Resort. It was the last run of the event and it solidified my qualification for the U18 National Team the next year, which then ultimately led to me being named to the US Ski Team. This result surprised a lot of people. I was a chaotic skier from a tiny mountain in Western New York, only trained a couple times a week, and was small, quiet and hadn’t made a name for myself. It’s been four and a half years since that race and people are still surprised when I tell them about my skiing background. What they don’t understand though is that my alternative route to the US Ski Team has helped me more than any traditional path ever could have.

For many years I thought of my background as a disadvantage. I knew that my competition had trained more hours than me and were usually better technical skiers than I. I think this helped me work really hard during training, knowing that I had a lot of ground to make up. In fact, I’ve always thought of myself as the under dog, a mentality that has fueled me in many ways. When other people have doubted me, I’ve forced myself to train twice as hard to prove them wrong. And at times to prove to myself that I belonged where I was. I don’t think you always have to believe in yourself to succeed. I’ve found that the most important thing for me is to work as hard as I can, without letting my mind, or my uncertainty, become a limiting factor. That being said, when I step into the start gate, I tell myself that I have the ability to be the fastest one there, whether I’m at a FIS race or a World Cup. This confidence, real or convincingly imagined, is critical for me. The only thing I am afraid of in the start is regret, and that’s why I try to give every single race my all. In the past this has helped me be unexpectedly fast, something I hope I can be in the future as well.

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