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Aspenite Katie Ryan was on a bus with 120 other Aspen High School seniors when she learned she'd been called up to the U.S. Development Team. That was 2011. Since then, the miles on snow have paid off, with Ryan making a huge leap after the 2012 season straight up to the U.S. Alpine B Team.

How'd she do it? The simple answer is fast skiing, which earned her the 2013 NorAm downhill title and a top 10 in super G at the Junior World Championships. But the life of a ski racer literally, and figuratively, has its peaks and valleys.

If her NorAm title was her peak, then her blown ACL just before the NorAm Finals and Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships was her valley.

Without the injury she would have been in the hunt for the overall NorAm title. Good thing she's a fighter and has a long, long career ahead.

My season was cut short on both ends. I had an ankle injury that hampered my training last summer, but I was able to get up to speed pretty well with great training at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper. That, and a boot switch, definitely helped lift me to the NorAm downhill title. I was skiing with a lot of confidence and excited to close out the year at the U.S. Championships before I tore my ACL, but that's how it goes. I feel like an ACL injury is basically a part of ski racing initiation.

First order of business is getting strong. If all goes well, I hope to get a few World Cup starts next season and generally work toward making the A Team as a five-event skier.

Late to skiing, Ryan picked up the boards at age five after moving from Dallas to Aspen. She fell in love with snow and began skiing as a Powder Panda, eventually working up to the Aspen Valley Ski Club’s race program by age 10. Fitted in a one-piece yellow suit (nick-named SunKist), she was barely able to keep up with the team, but she proceeded to get faster and faster, taking extra training laps and trying to keep up with men's downhiller Wiley Maple while he bombed down Ajax Mountain. Her first real achievement was winning J2 Nationals slalom and super G during the ’09 season. She missed the cut during her first tryout for the U.S. Development Team, but as they say 'if at first you don't succeed…' The next season she proved her mettle by following up a mid-season broken arm with super G gold at the 2012 U.S. Junior Alpine Championships – her second race back. 

When she’s not on the road, home life in Aspen consists of spending time with younger sisters Maggie and Annie, shredding Ajax Mountain and roaming the Roaring Fork Valley, whether it’s on skis, on a bike or on foot. Ryan spends five months of the off-season in Park City, UT training at the Center of Excellence, taking classes at Westminster, playing beach volleyball and mountain biking. 



Silver, DH, U.S. Championships, 2013

NorAm DH Champion, 2013
Gold, SG U.S. Junior Championships, 2012