Cole proves he’s king of the college ranks
May 26, 2007
Parkite Adam Cole knows a thing or two about gratitude and perspective and all those things that the struggles of life impart. Two years ago, he was jettisoned from the U.S. Ski Team after a number of injuries kept him from competing. Last week, he was named the College Skier of the Year by Ski Racing Magazine.
The 24-year-old sophomore always knew he had it in him. He had been slowly creeping up the rakings as an elite skier before the injuries. As a graduate of the Winter Sports School he joined the U.S Alpine Team and hoped for an exciting future ahead, but when fate seemed to block that path after three years, he decided to reassess.
As the son of an educator, college had always been important, but it was a goal Cole was willing to put on hold until the skiing career was over.
"I was definitely on the track where school was, hopefully, not a priority and I’d focus on World Cups," Cole said.
But then suddenly, it became the path back to his skiing career. The Denver University (DU) Pioneers, a powerhouse in skiing, were willing to wait through a redshirt year to get a skier of Cole’s caliber. It gave Cole a chance to get healthy and start skiing competitively again and all while getting an education as a scholarship student athlete.
"Where I’m sitting, it couldn’t have been scripted better where I can make a way to get back on the U.S. Ski Team," Cole said.
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At the beginning of this season, things didn’t seem so promising for Cole. He fell during his first three competitions.
"It was a different experience when you are skiing for your school instead of yourself," Cole said.
Once he got a knack of the team concept, things began to happen. At the World University Games, he took second in the men’s combined and third in Super G and giant slalom. After that, Cole was on the podium for the rest of the season.
"I had momentum going into the final for sure," Cole said.
When he got to the 2007 NCAA National Championships he made school history by claiming national titles in the slalom and giant slalom.
But, for Cole, it’s not all about winning awards. Since starting at DU, he’s gained a new respect for earning his education and embracing new people and a new environment.
"I feel privileged to go to this school and not have it cost me a dime," Cole said. "They’ve blessed me with a free education for four years. It’s amazing to get that just because I can ski."
He has made many international friends. He has roommates from Sweden and Italy, and a team full of international skiers.
"We’re from all over the globe," Cole said. "It gives me a global relationship when I get out of here."
Cole is known for bragging to his skiing peers about growing up in walking distance from world-class ski resorts. Two days a week and every weekend during the season the team must drive an hour and half at the crack of dawn to train in Winter Park, Colo.
He actually has a lot to brag about back home. He also had parents who let him make the decisions about his skiing career, letting him switch to the Winter School for high school and begin skiing full time after graduation rather than going to college.
"They’ve been great," Cole said. "They’ve let me decide everything in my path."
Next month, Cole will return to Park City for the summer with training trips planned in between. First he will; head to Mt. Hood, Ore. with his girlfriend to help her mom with youth ski camps and use the opportunity to train on snow. After that, it’s off to Chile for more training.
Cole will compete for the Pioneers again next year and then hopefully be in a position to earn his way back onto the U.S. team.
"I want to leave next year being close to world ranking," Cole said.
then, he will have reached the maximum age for college competition, so if he isn’t back to elite skiing he will devote that winter to getting back into elite competition, and the surrounding seasons to finishing his education.
"I’m giving myself one year," Cole said. "I think I’m capable of being where I want to be."
If skiing is not in the cards at that point, the marketing major will likely return to Utah to start another career, but the College Skier of the Year isn’t ready to accept defeat right now.
"I’m not ready to give up the dream just yet," Cole said.
Ski Racing Magazine skier of the year
NCAA men’s giant slalom and slalom national champion
Earned first individual title for Denver University since 1999
Only the second male from in Denver University’s storied history to win GS title