Peak Performers nominee: Troy Watts, Alpine skiing
Editor’s note: Readers nominated their all-time favorite Summit County athletes for Peak Performers: The Mount Rushmore of Summit County. Voting is live until March 7 at SummitDaily.com/peakperformers.
Nominee: Troy Watts
Sport: Alpine skiing
After he moved to Breckenridge from Houston with his family at age 7, Troy Watts honed his Alpine skiing craft before competing for a half dozen years on the World Cup circuit.
As a kid, Watts improved his fundamentals with the Breckenridge Ski Club, taking laps on the long gone tow-rope at Carter Park. Once his skills progressed, Watts shipped off for Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy, where he moved up through the ski club’s ranks before returning to Colorado.
At the sport’s highest level, Watts was once regarded as the U.S. Ski Team’s “Great American Hope,” achieved top-30 status in giant slalom — a discipline he was drawn to thanks to its demand for technical skiing expertise — and skied in two world championships.
The ever-focused athlete first made the U.S. Ski Team in 1984, racing for a half dozen years and qualifying for the 1987 World Championships before a broken leg in a Europa Cup event prevented him from contending at the 1989 International Ski Federation World Ski Championships in Vail, an unfortunate development at the prime of his Alpine career. Watts also competed on the U.S. Pro Tour and won the South American Pro Tour as a rookie.
Afterward Watts got into coaching, both domestic and international, which ultimately brought him back to Summit County and Team Summit in the 2010s, a time during which he served for a period as the club’s Alpine director.
With his young athletes, Watts shared a message of perseverance, as the self-described “late bloomer” was one of the smallest kids back home in Texas before he channeled a dialed-in passion for the details of the sport to rise in the ski ranks. He instilled in his athletes to always be ready to embrace whatever the sport of skiing gives them, from bad weather to unexpected hurdles, keeping a positive attitude no matter what.
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