Rory posted a 1.53 handicap on Friday and a 3.04 handicap on Saturday for a two day average of 2.285. As the number one seed going into the Race of Champions, Rory would start last and all eyes would be on him to see if he could win the overall NASTAR title and a trip to a U.S. Ski Team Training camp. The pressure was on, but how did a native of Charlottesville, VA get to this point?
"I grew up skiing a few days in the mid-Atlantic (Wintergreen, Bryce, Snowshoe, etc.) and a few days in Jackson Hole each year" said Rory. "I remember racing a NASTAR when I was very young in Jackson. It was a complete white-out. I got to the bottom of the course and the finish tent had blown away and was cart wheeling across the tree tops. My mom told me it had blown away because I had skied so fast. I believed her and decided ski racing was definitely for me."
Did you ski race in high school?
"I skied at Crested Butte Academy in Crested Butte, CO and Holderness School in Plymouth, NH. I went to JOs once at Crested Butte, and once at Holderness."
Did you win any big races?
"The only title I ever remember winning was the Skimeister Award while I was at Holderness. The award goes to the athlete who scores the most overall points at the New England Prep School Athletic Conference championships in Alpine, Nordic, and Ski Jumping. Oddly enough, I think I scored most of my points in ski jumping."
Did you race in college?
"I skied for Colby College. I loved team ski racing. I was lucky enough to ski with some of the fastest men and women in the country, and our men's team finished 2nd & 3rd at the 2005 NCAA National Championships in GS & SL respectively. I don't think I ever won any individual titles; does most improved count?"
Your NASTAR race record does not have many results. What have you been doing since you graduated from Colby College?
"Ski racing full time is exhausting. I guess I needed a 7 year break from skiing to find the energy to pop back in the gates. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect at NASTAR Champs. I just flew out, got Harb Ski Systems to build me a new pair of boots the night before the race, asked Saucer Wax to throw an overlay on my old GS skis from college and gave it a go. I'll let Harb and the Saucer guys decide which one had more to do with my success at the race ;)"
Do you compete in Masters races?
"I haven't, but it looks like fun. What I really want to do is race in a beer league somewhere near D.C. (Unless someone wants to fly me out to ski for their local team!)"
What are the highlights of your ski racing career?
"Beating my mom for the first time, participating in the US National Championships, serving as captain of the Colby Ski Team and this."
How many days do you ski each winter?
"Since graduating college, I only get to ski 5-10 days a year. I was hoping I could win that trip and change all that, but it was not to be."
The fastest male and female racers from the Race of Champions at the NASTAR National Championships win a trip to a U.S. Ski Team training camp. This year the trip is to the new speed racing facility at Copper Mountain.
What is your favorite ski memory?
Skiing has always been very much a family affair in my house. It’s the one thing we all do together. In the spring of 99, I went to Whistler/Blackcomb with my whole family and it dumped on us for 7 days straight. We skied waste deep powder every day. It was one of those perfect weeks you never forget.
If you could ski anywhere, where would you go?
"Valdez, AK. No question. I have been dreaming about skiing those steeps since I was a little kid!"
Rory was skiing very fast during the Race of Champions but he ran into trouble four gates from the finish and slide out of the course. Danny Elkins took the victory and the trip to the U.S. Ski Team Training Camp. Thanks go out to Nature Valley for sponsoring this amazing experience.