By Nikki Fredrikson
Special to the Pioneer
Heading into her first year at the University of Denver, Amelia Smart never imagined she’d finish off the ski season winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship in slalom and giant slalom.
“I had a lot of goals going into the season, some of them I achieved and some I didn’t, however, I did manage to achieve some things which I didn’t even think of like winning both the GS and SL at NCAAs which was a bonus for the season,” said Ms. Smart.
On top of her individual wins at the NCAA championship, her team, the Pioneers, won their school its 24th national title.
“It was awesome winning the National Title with the team. In the past, skiing for me has pretty much just been an individual thing so to have this win as part of a team was really special,” said Ms. Smart.
Her accolades didn’t stop there. Ms. Smart earned two separate awards for her performance on the collegiate circuit. Finishing the season with six top five finishes and eight top 10 she was awarded the National Women’s Alpine Skier of the Year by the United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association and the RMISA Female Athlete of the Year.
Ms. Smart said she was excited and honoured when her coaches told her she was named the NCAS winner. Her coaches decided to be a bit more creative telling her she had been awarded the RMISA award, leaving her plaque in her locker.
“I was excited and surprised but honoured to have been given the award,” said Ms. Smart.
This season Ms. Smart not only competed at the collegiate level for the University of Denver but she also continued to compete on the North American circuit, stating it was difficult to juggle school requirements and skiing.
“I had a lot of support from my parents, coaches and teachers which is probably the only reason I was able to balance it all,” said Ms. Smart. “It wasn’t too bad managing school and most of the races because we have a six-week winter break at the University of Denver which made it way easier to be traveling so much for races during that time.”
Taking some down time from traveling Ms. Smart plans to spend most of her summer at home in Invermere, B.C. but will travel to New Zealand in August for a ski camp.