Matt Risley and John Risley
I had a chance to sit down with Gavin McGough to talk with him about his winter activity, Alpine Ski Racing and what being a member of the team is like here at KUA.
GP: Hi, Gavin, thanks for taking the time to meet with me. What is your afternoon athletic activity?
GM: Skiing – Alpine Ski Racing.
GP: How long have you been skiing?
GM: I’ve been skiing at KUA since freshman year and probably ski racing for 6 or 7 years in total.
GP: What attracted you to the sport?
GM: I enjoy being outside everyday in the mountains. All the ski areas around here are a lot of fun and it’s part of our New England heritage to be engaged in the outdoors and with winter. All the ski teams in the lakes region are pretty competitive and most kids enjoy the program.
GP: What makes Alpine skiing an important part of the community?
GM: Alpine skiing is an important part of the community because it is a really traditional and old sport in New England and is a big part of our culture. Even though it is traditional in New England, it’s a unique sport at KUA because a lot of other sports are team-based. Although skiing is team based, you race individually, and because we practice off campus and compete off campus, it’s a sport you only really experience if you are part of the team.
GP: What is an everyday practice typically comprised of?
GM: When there is snow in the areas around here, we go skiing everyday. Early in the season we do “dry land training,” which involves a lot of running on campus and specific exercises that help with balance and strength.
GP: What about races? How often do you have them?
GM: We race on Wednesdays against other prep schools and everybody races as a team so your placement will count for the overall placement of the team. On Saturdays or Sundays there are the USSA races, which are similar to prep school races, but we race individually and they’re often more competitive.
GP: How would you describe your team?
GM: We have a lot of different experience levels, so some people have been skiing for a long time and some people haven’t raced competitively before. We also have a lot of skiers from different climates, so some people have only skied out West or in Europe, which makes it hard adjusting to Eastern skiing. At the beginning of the season we ski on man-made snow, [which can prove challenging for those not used to it].
GP: What do you bring to the team?
GM: It’s a very personal sport and you have to bring an attitude toward your own skiing and be able to coach yourself as well as incorporate the coaching of others. I hope that I can be as much of a mentor to the freshmen as the seniors were to me because I looked up to them and their dedication to the sport and to improving themselves as athletes.
GP: How has skiing for KUA affected your life?
GM: All 4 years of skiing at KUA have been really different for me because I’ve had three different coaches; that’s been hard for the program, but every year has been really fun. I’ve always been happy with what we’ve been able to do with the team and what the team has meant for us and for the KUA community as a whole.