AST Athlete Journal: Devin Mittertreiner

Wow, what a year. At a time of so much uncertainty and disruption, I’m thankful to have a constant which has been skiing. While there are so many negative and daunting aspects surrounding the situation we are all in, skiing has been something that has provided relief and relaxation. 

Aside from the global pandemic, this year has provided many new opportunities for me to grow and push myself as an athlete and a human. I am both an athlete on the Alberta Ski Team as well as a full time, full course load student at the University of Calgary. It’s been tricky to find the balance between sport and school in a way to have success in both, and it’s an aspect that I’m still looking to improve on. The prior two seasons, I had been fully focused on skiing. It was a time of immense growth for me as I travelled, pushed myself, met new friends, broadened my horizons, and yet, I felt that something was missing. This year I feel I’ve been able to fill that by sharing my focus and efforts on school and skiing.

I think there is a stigma regarding the commitment of athletes who choose to commit to both academics and sport. So far I can say it is quite the contrary. Ski racing is a sport that demands commitment on and off the hill, both mentally and physically. I’ve found that this can be draining, with your focus all in one basket and not much to escape with. With the balance I’ve found between academics and sport, it is something that requires more focus and drive than I’ve had before. I’m pushing myself to succeed in my studies at a high level, and that commitment has driven and pushed my goals for skiing in a new direction. While my on-snow time is reduced from what I’ve had available the past two years, I’ve had to make the most of every on-snow opportunity I get. This situation has caused my commitment and my focus to increase.
Having such high levels of dedication in two aspects of my life has truly allowed me to grow and look at this sport in a new light. Now having such a big focus on school, skiing has become a time of relaxation and escape from the demands of school. A time where I can focus on me pushing myself to ski to the best of my abilities. This has allowed skiing to become even more fun and emphasize my love for the sport
While COVID-19 has hindered our season in many aspects, such as racing, it has provided many of us with a unique opportunity. That is time to train, train, train. I’ve really been able to take a step back and look at my skiing from a new direction, allowing time to make big revisions and try new things. This is an opportunity that we would never get in a normal race season. While I’ve been able to see positives, that doesn’t take away from the fact that some of us haven’t been able to do what we are in this sport to do. And that is to race. 

I’m extremely eager and excited for the possibility of racing at home soon, and I’m grateful with what this season has provided me with to prepare for that. I’m hungry both for bringing home A’s and shaving hundredths! I am also extremely thankful for my amazing group of teammates and coaches that have provided athletes with a fantastic environment for growth and success. 

– Devin