Olyvia Snyder races at US Ski nationals during Summit High rugby season
Summit High School junior Olyvia Snyder represented Team Summit at the U.S. Nationals at Aspen Highlands on April 16 — in the middle of Summit’s rugby season.
Snyder raced in a slalom competition composed of a packed field of the country’s best skiers. She was in 40th place after her first run before not finishing her second run through the course.
Snyder said the race on the short sprint course was a great experience.
“It was so cool to see all the different coaches and elite athletes there competing,” Snyder said. “I was just going in to have a fun race to finish the season and charge and go for it. I was focused on staying strong because the ruts were pretty big and gnarly and changing. I was making sure I was over my outside ski through the ruts.”
Snyder also said being present for the retiring American Resi Stiegler’s win in her final race was a great moment to be a part of.
“I admire that she just never gave up her passion for skiing,” Snyder said. “The drive is always there. She always believed in herself and never doubted it for a second. That’s why she was able to have such a good career.”
Snyder, also a star wing on the Summit High School varsity girls rugby team, credited Team Summit FIS Alpine head coach Doug Elsey and rugby head coach Karl Barth for being flexible to allow her to compete in both sports.
Despite her promising Alpine racing career, Snyder has opted to play the high-contact sport of rugby after initially saying “no“ to the sport as a freshman.
“But then I saw my friends make the team and saw that, really, rugby is like a family, and I wanted to be part of this,” Snyder said. “So sophomore year, I joined, and I met some of my best friends through rugby.”
Snyder said the multisport approach she and her younger sister Ella Snyder — a varsity volleyball player and also a championship ski racer — take is encouraged by their mother, Joanna, who was a track runner at the University of Florida, and their father, Casey, who was a Division 1 skier for the University of Colorado.
Tigers junior Jenna Sheldon — who is also an elite national-level ski racer and member of the rugby team, though she’s out of the rugby season this spring due to injury — said Olyvia Snyder’s accomplishments this spring are amazing.
“It’s special to have a friend who understands it and supports you,” Sheldon said. “We are each other’s No. 1 cheerleaders.”
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