It’s cold and the snow is dumping but that doesn’t stop hundreds of locals from turning out to cheer on the Snowboarders in their final comp before the U.S. Olympic Team is named.
“It’s fun family time,” says Dan Kemp, with his wife and two young daughters.
As world class athletes—including those named to the team Hannah Teter, Gretchen Bleiler, Kelly Clark, Shaun White, Louie Vito and Scotty Lago—wow the crowd with their tricks, the youngest kids are busy sliding down the snow and making snow balls to watch while older ones are mesmerized by the action.
So are the athletes’ parents. Some, like Cathy White, Shaun White’s mom, can’t bring herself to watch. “It’s not about winning and losing,” she says. “It’s about his safety. I liked it better when they were all little!” Of course White makes it all look effortless.
Getting to this point for parents, of course, involved lots of schlepping, acknowledged Lore Vass, Danny Kass’s mom. “A labor of love,” she laughed. “You just do what you have to do.”
And good for the kids, added Earle Bidez, whose son Dylan and daughter Claire both were competing. “They learn from every loss and every disappointment,” he said. “Something good comes from it. Whether they win or lose, they are better for the experience.”
Some of the young competitors were cheered on by aunts and cousins, siblings and in one case, an entire junior snowboarding team from Sun Valley that had been competing nearby and came to root for hometown girl Kaitlyn Farrington, said her dad Gary.
And for many here, just getting to this final night of the competition was victory enough. It certainly was for 17-year-old Broc Waring, said his mom Heather. “This is a huge accomplishment.”
“You should support your kids in anything they are passionate about,” she said.
And if not for the parents schlepping and encouraging, financing, and picking up the pieces when they get hurt, they wouldn’t be Olympians today. Just ask Hannah Teeter.
“I couldn’t ask for more supportive parents,” the two-time Olympian says. “Be the most positive you can be with your kids,” she said. “And let them go for it.”
Whatever you do, adds Cathy White, “Make sure it’s fun.”