St. Charles girl, 11, honored with skiing award
By: Warren Mayes
A St. Charles girl recently was honored with a regional Shelley Glover Award for Commitment in Alpine Racing.
Ainsley Proffit, 11, earned the award that was named in memory of former U.S. Ski Team member Shelley Glover. It is given to skiers who race in the Wisconsin Junior Alpine Racing Association (WIJARA) races in the Midwest and upper Midwest. Athletes recognized with the Shelley Glover Award demonstrate passion and commitment to the sport of alpine racing. They also display dedication to academics as well as exhibit positive sportsmanship in reaching out to fellow racers and younger athletes.
Proffit trains with the Hidden Valley Ski Team (HVST), based in Wildwood.
In nominating her for the award, WIJARA Race Director and HVST WIJARA Head Coach Matt Sadl, said Proffitt demonstrated why she deserved the award.
“Ainsley has demonstrated growing leadership skills and a positive attitude as she has excelled in racing,” Sadl said. “More importantly, she has been reaching out to other athletes to share her love of the sport and offer encouragement. These are the qualities we hope to nurture in our athletes as we teach them the skill of alpine racing.”
The award was announced at the Wisconsin Junior Alpine Racing Association’s (WIJARA) last regional race held at Tyrol Basin Ski Resort in Mt. Horeb late last month. Proffit finished the 2012-2013 WIJARA alpine racing season in second place overall in the 11-12 age group. Profitt garnered 13 top 10 finishes in 15 races and earning 10 gold, silver and bronze medals.
“It is such a great honor to win the Shelley Glover award and I was very surprised because most people who win are in high school,” said Proffit, a sixth-grader at Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. “My teammates and coaches are always helping me get better and if it wasn’t for them, I couldn’t have received this honor.”
She has excelled in alpine racing over the past several years. Last year, she also completed the WIJARA race season at the top of the leader board for her age group. She capped off the end of the 2011-2012 season with a stunning win at the NASTAR National Championships by winning both her age/skill division and taking third place overall in the NASTAR Race of Champions, which pit her against both teens and adults for fastest handicapped race time. As a result of her track record, she was invited to train with Ski Team Vail in Colorado this past fall.
“Training in Vail was amazing!” Profit said. “We trained right next to U.S. Ski Team and World Cup athletes from all over the world. I was able to really develop my form and the coaches gave me the confidence to know that I could compete against some of the best girls in the country. School was very different than at home because we skied on the mountain from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., then went to school from 12:30 to 5 p.m. After that, we then had conditioning after school from 5 to 6 p.m. at night.
“I am looking forward to going back next season and I am so thankful to my coaches from the Hidden Valley Ski Team because they have really helped me get this opportunity.”
The Hidden Valley Ski Team, which trains at Hidden Valley Ski Resort, has a consistent track record of athletes winning at regional and national races. During most weeks while she is in town, Proffit is on the slopes at Hidden Valley from three to five days a week during the ski season.
“We probably have the smallest team of racers traveling to WIJARA races,” said Sadl. “We typically compete against other teams that bring sixty or more racers to each regional competition. To see Ainsley come home with 10 medals this year for first, second and third place finishes is a remarkable accomplishment.”
One of Ainsley’s role models is 16-year-old Abigail Murer of Wildwood, who also is a member of the Hidden Valley Ski Team. For the past two years, Murer has earned first place in the NASTAR Race of Champions and is currently skiing full-time with Ski Team Vail. Murer also has been invited to train in South America and the United States with members of the U.S. Ski Team.
“Abigail has been a great role model for Ainsley and our daughter hopes to follow in Abigail’s footsteps to train full time in Vail when she reaches high school,” said Matt Profitt, Ainsley’s father. “Ainsley has displayed a true passion for alpine ski racing and during the offseason she took it upon herself to train, work out and develop her racing capabilities. It was that commitment, along with her successes in racing, that created the opportunity to join Ski Team Vail this winter.”
HVST’s motto is “Train Hard. Ski Fast. Have Fun!” In Proffit, said Sadl, you see the combination of all three.
“She definitely is a determined racer and her dedication to training has really shown in her consistent track record of winning in her alpine racing division,” Sadl said. “She may be just 11 years old, but she’s a tough competitor and a joy to watch race.”
Profitt just likes to ski.
“Ski racing is a very fun and competitive sport that has given me the chance to make friends all over the country,” Profitt said. “I love the speed of racing and I’m always trying to do better than the run before.”