The beautiful views, fresh powder snow, and unbelievable off-piste skiing continuously bring Isobel Bohmer (’16) back to mountainous regions each winter.
“[My family] was on a glacier, and it was up-to-our-knees powder; it was the best skiing I’ve ever done. It just feels really nice when you get it right. Those moments I just love and it keeps me going as well,” she said.
Bohmer’s father taught her and her brother, Asher (’13), to ski when she was 2 years old and she has been an ardent participant in the sport ever since. Her goal has always been to be able to keep up with her father on the mountain.
Isobel’s father continues to be her inspiration. She strongly affirms that skiing allows her to spend an extended amount of time with him.
Bohmer used to live in Boston, a convenient location that would allow her to ski in many parts of New England. Although she grew up skiing those mountains, Bohmer believes Europe has more to offer. “Places in New Hampshire and Vermont are all really beautiful, but they’re nothing like the Alps and are often very icy,” she said. She is nostalgic for New England, but believes the skiing in Europe is simply better. To her there are many countries which are easy to travel to and are “just beautiful with fantastic off-piste.”
Her skiing has improved due to living closer to the Alps, which has enabled her to ski more “exciting slopes and advanced mountains,” she believes. Her family has recently traveled to many different ski resorts, such as Val D’Isere, France, Gressoney, France and other areas in France and Italy.
Although Bohmer is passionate about the sport, she does not race competitively. For Bohmer, skiing represents more than just a sport, it also serves as a convenient social activity with family and friends. She has not raced regularly enough nor has she lived close enough to a mountain where she has had the ability to join a racing team.
Nik Huth (’15) has enjoyed skiing for the past eight years from the snowcapped Rocky Mountains of Colorado to racing in Kitzbühel, Austria.
Huth skied competitively until the age of 14 but now skies for enjoyment because he began to find it was monotonous. He now mostly skis touring, a form of nonstop explorative ski, and off-piste.
Although skiing off-piste contains the sinister and persistent threat of sudden avalanches, Huth believes that skiing with an instructor greatly reduces any concern for one’s safety. “If you ski with an instructor, you know you’re safe. And even if there is an avalanche, and you have an avalanche beacon. You know you’re not going to do anything stupid if you’re with an instructor,” he said.
Inspiration can come from many different situations for people, but for Huth, skiing itself serves as his biggest motivation.
The instructors Huthhas skied with over the years have helped him become the skier he is today.
Huth previously skied in America before coming to the U.K., and does not believe the skiing regions in Europe far outweigh those in America.
Ryan Nealis (’17) classifies himself as a “good skier.” Nealis has been skiing since he was 3 years old in Lech, Austria. A cherished and perennial destination, the town of Lech allows Nealis to indulge in a culture he greatly admires and experience a multitude of new traditions.
Nealis was forced to learn the sport quickly as his parents signed him up for ski school alongside a plethora of Austrian skiers, who had all experienced the sport before. It compelled him to improve quickly in order to keep up with the group.
Nealis likes to ski in powder but also enjoys skiing down steep, black runs “that don’t have moguls.”
As for motivation, Nealis looks up to his older siblings, Emma (’14) and Stefan (’12). “My siblings are really good skiers and when I was younger I aspired to be able to keep up with them,” he said.
Living in London has played a role geographically for Nealis, allowing his family to continually revisit Lech without extensive traveling.
Nealis attributes his parents and siblings with aspects of his improvement, but believes that ski school has truly made him into the skier he is today. “Ski school definitely deserves most of the credit for the skier I am today. [The instructors] taught me correct form and how to be fearless on the mountain,” he said. “There is no word that describes how I feel when I ski.”
Peter Ryan (’15) feels that the fundamentals of skateboarding have helped him become a better snowboarder.
“I don’t think [snowboarding] was as difficult as it would have been if I hadn’t been a skateboarder or done any other board sports,” he said.
Ryan started skiing at the age of 7, but switched to snowboarding when he was 12. He enjoys snowboarding in Europe more than the U.S. because there is a lot more to do, although he feels it is harder and more diverse. His favorite places to snowboard are Lech and St. Alberts, Canada.
He prefers snowboarding to skiing because it is more challenging and a lot better for off-piste.
Many of these ambitious skiers and snowboarders hope to continue pursuing this hobby in the future. Nealis wants to go to school in the Northeast or potentially Colorado, to enable him to ski more often, and is considering the possibility of taking a gap year to work at a mountain somewhere.
“A long-time dream of mine has been to be a ski instructor at the same ski school that taught me, so I always looked up to them,” he said.