On Thursday, Thomas “BZ” Biesemeyer announced he would be stepping away from the sport of ski racing. What’s next? A lot of studying and the possibility to return to the sport at a later time.
Biesemeyer started skiing at the age of 3 out of the New York Ski Education Foundation at Whiteface Mountain. Growing up in Keene Valley, also referred to as “out there,” there was not much going on outside of Whiteface Mountain 15 minutes away. His parents quickly recognized Biesemeyer as a competitive athlete and he was placed in the local race program. Growing up with the Olympic rings seen on the daily, the Olympic spirit was always in Biesemeyer at a young age.
His Olympic dreams didn’t start until later in his career. He recalls the Herman Maier crash from the Nagano Olympics as one of the moments he embodied the sport. “Maybe that is where I went wrong,” said Biesemeyer. “I watched his crash and thought it was super cool. I always loved the Hermanator style of skiing, but it was more of a dream rather than something I always wanted to do.”
Biesemeyer dreamed of the U.S. Ski Team from the age of 10. He made the team at the age of 19 and made his World Cup debut in 2011. “It was at that moment when I realized this is what I wanted to do,” said Biesemeyer. “And then you make the team and there is so much more.”
Biesemeyer started with the team while Bode was still racing and Ted was at his prime. He was surrounded by high competition and successful teammates. “I had so many role models to embody and focus on and learn from,” said Biesemeyer. “It was awesome and very competitive.”
Throughout his 12 years on the U.S. Ski Team, Biesemeyer participated in two World Championships and the 2018 Olympics, not to mention a memorable 11th place finish in the Birds of Prey super G with four U.S. men finishing in the top 11. At the end of his career he was viewed as one of leaders and role models of the team.
“I had a lot of coaches with a lot of different styles,” said Biesemeyer. “But we had the best training and the best environment for the guys to be successful, that aspect never changed.”
This past spring, Biesemeyer knew the end was near. He felt ski racing wasn’t connecting to his life, like it had before.
“I got a call from Jesse Hunt saying, ‘You’re done, we aren’t going to provide the training or provide you the team to train with.’ The door got shut in that regard, but at the same time, I wasn’t expecting to hear that. I had a feeling that is where he was going,” said Biesemeyer.
Biesemeyer spent his summer with his own set of weights, working out to maintain fitness. His body feels “surprisingly” good after 12 surgeries and reminds himself that most of his body is new or fixed.
“I want to keep going,” said Biesemeyer. “The part of stepping away is part of the healing process of retiring. If I am watching races and can’t live without it, then I could come back.”
Biesemeyer cited his indecisiveness and inability to commit as a contributing factor to him stepping away. In the meantime he will be finishing his finance degree from the University of Vermont while helping his parents’ company.
“Ski racing has taught me how to work hard, be goal oriented — buzz words that are good to use,” said Biesemeyer. “How it’s really going to prepare me for the world is when you get faced with challenges it taught me how to be a problem solver. If you believe in yourself like I did in ski racing, you don’t really take the answer of ‘That’s not possible.’ You find out to make it happen.
Biesemeyer extends his thanks to his parents, his biggest supporters, and all of his coaches. He looks forward to trail running and golfing this fall before ski season starts this winter.