Hopke is competitive on the slopes

Ava Barsness, Writer

If you watched the winter Olympics, you probably saw the incredible skiers flying down the side of a mountain. As someone who only skis once or twice a year, I’ve always been amazed by competitive skiers who can zip down the mountain faster than I can put my boots on. 

Recently, I got the chance to ask competitive skier and New Prague High School Sophomore Kyan Hopke a few questions about his experience with competitive skiing. 

Hopke started skiing when he was 1 year old and has been skiing competitively since he was 6. He skis with USSA, which stands for United States Ski Association. This year he competed as a u16, a level that takes him around the country doing races. Getting to travel around the country and see unique things is one of his favorite things about skiing. He also loves how calming skiing is.

When it comes to accomplishments, Hopke has many, including his top three: winning the regional competition, placing third at the Rocky/Central championships, and making it to nationals. According to him, these awesome accomplishments take a lot of work. The tremendous amount of time and effort that goes into this sport is something that is oftentimes overlooked. Hopke practices every night except Fridays, which are usually considered a travel day for skiers to get to their races. He also participates in camps throughout the summer and fall to prepare for the season. 

Something most people don’t know about skiing is how fast the skiers actually go. During some events, Hopke goes at least 65 mph. I was definitely in the category of people who did not realize this, and it led me to envision a downhill skier zooming past cars on the highway. 

Hopke qualified for the USSA National Championship, which takes place at the end of March in Sugarloaf, Maine. 

After hearing about Kyan’s experience with competitive skiing, I’m even more impressed. Although I’m not a huge fan of the blistering cold, our interview left me wishing I got out on the slopes more often.