Oregon’s Olympic Skiier Laurenne Ross Discusses her Journey to Sochi
Photo Credit: NBC Olympics / USOC
Laurenne Ross of Bend just landed in Sochi, after qualifying to race in super combined, downhill and super-G events. When we caught up with her earlier, she talked about how getting to Sochi was going to be tough. Find out why in our interview with Ross, who grew up skiing at Mt. Bachelor, and even check out a video of this 25-year-old renaissance woman’s guitar and vocal talents. Once you do, we’re betting you’re going to want to follow her performance in the games.
Tell us when and where you started skiing.
I started skiing when I was 18 months old, on a tiny garbage hill in the middle of Edmonton, Alberta called Snow Valley.
Was there a turning point for you when you decided to go all in?
My career has definitely been a progressive one. There was never an “aha” moment, a sudden realization that ski racing was my calling. I have always loved to ski race and dreamed of becoming a World Cup skier when I was younger, but my development built slowly over the years, and now I find myself where I am today. Craziness.
Who were your icons as you developed as a racer?
I’ve always looked up to Picabo Street. She may not have been the most technically sound skier of her generation, but she knew how to compete and believed in herself. I aspire to achieve that level of mental confidence. I also looked up to Bode Miller and his carefree attitude and innate athletic talents. Some combination of the two athletes is my ideal ski-racing self.
What is your favorite event? Why?
My favorite event is Super-G. You go nearly as fast as you do in the downhill event, but it’s a bit more technical, and you get to turn more. There’s nothing better than arcing a perfect turn in Super-G. You only get one chance, one shot at running the Super-G course. There are no training runs, and I enjoy the aspect of laying it on the line for one run. Who knows what could happen?
What do you have to do this season to get to Sochi?
Getting to Sochi is going to be tough. There are six girls on the U.S. women’s speed team who are all incredible skiers and are very competitive on the World Cup circuit. Four of us had our first World Cup podiums last season—all six of us were on the podium at one point or another. Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Vonn are consistently two of the best skiers in the world. There is no doubt in my mind that I can make it, but I also believe whole-heartedly in my teammates. No matter what happens, U.S.A. will have an insanely talented women’s speed team in Sochi.
Laurenne Ross, U.S. Ski Team member and 2013 World Cup silver medal downhiller sings “Take Two” while playing banjo.
“I have been playing a lot of music with a friend here in town (who I actually grew up ski racing with), Raman Ellis. He is an incredible musician and has been inspiring and amazing to play with. I have been so lucky to learn from him. He lent me his banjo one day, and I sat to play with it and couldn’t put it down. I ended up writing a song with no idea what I was doing. It is this track called “Take Two.” I’ve never played the banjo before, but I love the unique sound and am having so much fun exploring different instruments. Enjoy!”
For a full rundown of schedules, athlete videos and Olympic protocols check out NBCOlympics.com or TeamUSA.org.
As a reminder, you can watch the first competitions of the Games on NBC starting February 6th and they will run through February 23rd. The Paralympics take place two weeks later in Sochi March 7-16.
Looking for more info on the Olympics? Check out our stories about Ashton Eaton and Oregon’s Nike Project.