Aerialist Kate Reed of Montrose, Colorado, who was the youngest skier to make any U.S. Ski Team when she joined at 14, has retired after nine years with the team, Program Director Polly-Jo Clark announced.
PARK CITY, Utah — Aerialist Kate Reed of Montrose, Colorado, who was the youngest skier to make any U.S. Ski Team when she joined at 14, has retired after nine years with the team, Program Director Polly-Jo Clark announced.
Reed, 23, a member of the U.S. Ski Team since the 1999 season and a World Cup athlete since the '01 season, took off last winter and is attending classes at Westminster College. She plans to major in communications at the Salt Lake City college, which is a cornerstone of the ski team's athlete advanced education program.
"This worked out perfectly for me," Reed said. "My teammates and all my coaches, and the ski team are like my second family … and they were all so supportive of what I was doing. It's awesome, something I couldn't pass up … and now I'm halfway through my sophomore year." She had taken online courses at Colorado's Mesa State before entering Westminster full time.
"Kate's a huge asset to our team. I say IS a huge asset," Clark said, "because I still consider her part of our USSA team and family of alumni. Kate's a tough competitor, who was always harder on herself than anyone else could be; she always expected more from herself. I'll miss her every day, but I'm excited for her future and her new role with the alumni. She has a great perspective and I hope she can mentor athletes coming up through the pipeline."
Reed, the 2006 U.S. aerials champion and a two-time World Championships skier, came through the Telluride Ski Club, starting at 4 as an alpine skier before becoming a freestyle athlete several years later. She also trained at the Waterville Valley camp run by former U.S. Coach Nick Preston and was just past 14 in the spring of 1998 when she was named to the '99 U.S. Ski Team; that winter, she became a junior national champion in acro and aerials.
She reached a World Cup podium twice, had 20 other top-10 finishes and was the 2002 NorAm aerials champion. She was eighth in aerials at the 2003 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships at Utah's Deer Valley Resort.
But, after narrowly missing the 2006 Olympic team, Reed decided to take some time away from skiing and focus full time on her college studies. "I was ready for it and it worked out so well. Studying was a different kind of stress because I hadn't been a full time student for a few years, but it's been good … and just what I wanted.
"Now that I've stepped away, my goals have changed and I was ready for things to be different. I have a different perspective and jumping isn't what I wanted any more," she said. So, having won the national title in 2006, Reed leaves as a champion. "It's good to go out on top; it's something really nice to take with me. I didn't want to be staying around because I had nothing else to do …
"But the ski team has given me opportunities I never could have had — the World Cup, World Championships, all that … and my teammates aren't just my teammates. They're my friends and we've developed strong bonds that are going to continue."