Trailside student chosen Outdoor Idol |

Trailside student chosen Outdoor Idol

Frank Fisher, of the Record staff

Trailside student Ryan "Zoo" Battersby has attained what some Parkites may consider the dream of dreams, he is a sponsored freeride skier at age 11. Think of it, new skis, the style, cooler than cool life riding boards.

But to Battersby, it’s really no big deal and he is as likely to talk about his friends and school as he is about skiing. Not that he doesn’t love riding the rails and shooting the chutes.

Battersby, or "Zoo," as he is known as, was recently named an Outdoor Idol by the Outdoor Industry Foundation. The honor has been bestowed on 10 young people, who not only excel in their sports, but who also give back by encouraging others to embrace the outdoor lifestyle.

The Outdoor Industry Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the non-profit Outdoor Industry Association. The foundation chose this years 10 winter Outdoor Idols at Brighton Ski Resort on Friday, January 26. Battersby was the only Utah Idol. Idols were nominated by fellow athletes, industry leaders and industry editors.

Battersby and other idols answered questions and acted as good-will ambassadors at the Outdoor Retailers’ Trade show in Salt Lake City. Idols are expected to get active in the community promoting healthful lifestyles.

Battersby does not need to do a lot of hard selling in Park City, as he said most students already are active outdoors.

Does Battersby dream of floating on powder while in the classroom? Hardly, he loves school, though he felt he was slacking when he recently brought home a B plus.

Speaking of ambassadors of activity, Battersby’s father, Bill, was a fully certified ski instructor who taught at Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley before moving his family to Chicago. "Zoo and his two brothers and sister learned to ski on a ski slope of 200 vertical feet, great for learning turns three of them before reaching the base, but the kids decided there was more to skiing, and the elder Battersby and his wife took the family on up to six ski trips to Park City per season. That didn’t seem enough for the kids, and now they live and train in Park City, while retaining their home in Illinois.

Battersby loves skiing the steeps, and said that he likes the challenge. He has suffered one concussion and has been banged up, but that seems a part of the sport. He loves powder, rides rails and boxes in terrain parks, and likes jumps.

"I ski way to hard for skis," Zoo said. Sides chip off and the tips split. Then his ski sponsor gives him a new pair.

"People think sponsorship is the ultimate goal, but it’s no big deal," bill said. "I’m most proud that they’re cool kids." If they want to ski, that’s fine, if they decide to change their priorities, that is fine also, he said.

For more information on the Outdoor Industry Foundation, visit, or call (303) 444-3353.

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