U.S. ski team, Team Summit inspires next generation of athletes

Tommy Ford, left, Erik Arvidsson, center, and Sam Morse, right, answer questions at Frisco Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 10. The three U.S. ski team athletes visited the school in conjunction with Team Summit in order to inspire the next generation of snow sport athletes.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

There is nothing more inspiring for an elementary school student than to meet the athletes they watch on T.V.

For students who live on the Front Range, players from the Broncos, Nuggets or Avalanche may leave them awestruck.

For kids in Summit County, however, their sports heroes are on the U.S. ski team. This past week, several hundred Summit County elementary students were captivated as members of the U.S. Alpine ski team spoke in to them. 

In conjunction with Team Summit Colorado, the U.S. ski team made several stops to elementary schools within Summit County to give back to the community. 

As classes made their way to the Frisco Elementary gymnasium on Thursday, Nov. 10, students gawked and smiled when they saw Tommy Ford,  Erik Arvidsson and Sam Morse standing in their presence. The trio have been training at Copper Mountain Resort over the last few weeks in order to train for this year’s Alpine ski season. After a short introduction video was displayed on the gymnasium wall, Ford, Arvidsson and Morse introduced themselves.

Ford hails from Bend, Oregon before becoming a world-class Alpine skier. Arvidsson is from Woodside, California, and mainly competes in downhill and the super-G. Lastly, Morse is originally from Carrabassett Valley, Maine, and competes mainly in downhill.

Once introductions were completed, the floor was opened up for questions from the students. With hands flying in the air, the three athletes tried to navigate the barrage of questions. Ford, Arvidsson and Morse were asked if it is scary to go so fast while skiing, if they have been injured, their favorite mountain to ski and when they first began skiing. 

After most of the student’s questions had been answered, Ford, Arvidsson and Morse gave the students high-fives and signed autographs. By the end of the event, the students were not the only ones feeling fulfilled by the event.

“It’s just so great to come out to talk to kids that are so excited about skiing,” Ford said. “There was so much engagement. We don’t get to do this very often. It was a nice reminder of why we do it.”

Erik Arvidsson gives high-fives to Frisco Elementary School students on Thursday, Nov. 10, following an all school assembly.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

Arvidsson further pointed out that it is common for other professional athletes to do outreach in schools, but due to spending most of their time in Europe, members of the U.S. ski team rarely get the opportunity. 

“Seeing the passion was crazy,” Arvidsson said. “It makes sense that everyone skis from around here, but it still blows me away.”

U.S. ski team athlete —Tommy Ford — signs an autograph for an ecstatic Frisco Elementary School student on Thursday, Nov. 10.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

Ultimately, the meet-and-greet allowed students to see that becoming a member of the U.S. ski team is attainable. Over the last several years, Team Summit has produced two skiers that have joined the U.S. ski team ranks. Camden Palmquist is a member of the U.S. Alpine C team and grew up training with Team Summit.

“We live in the best place in the entire country to do competitive snow sports,” Team Summit executive director CB Betchel said. “Because of that we get the best of the world to come and train. A lot of kids at Team Summit aspire to do that.”

“It is cool to show these kids what is possible,” Morse said. “They live in a great spot for it, and it is cool to inspire them and show what is possible.”

All three athletes are scheduled to compete at the 2022 Xfinity Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek from Dec. 2-4. The event is open and free to the public.

Team Summit will also host the free Bubble Gum race series and the Summit Cups. Both will take place later this winter. For more information or to join Team Summit, visit

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