PCST athlete snags great result | ParkRecord.com

PCST athlete snags great result

Andrew Miller, a 16-year-old Park City Ski Team athlete, traveled to Copper Mountain, Colorado, last weekend for the U18 Alpine Nationals. The top junior athletes from the U.S. were in attendance, vying for top spots in slalom, giant slalom, super G and downhill.

Despite being one of the youngest competitors, Miller had his sights set high, wanting to prove himself as one of the best young alpine racers in the country.

"It’s a really competitive field and everyone’s extremely talented," he said. "It’s a very high-energy event and a lot of fun. I worked all season for this as my major event. My best event is giant slalom and so I was shooting for being a top competitor."

The first of two runs went well for Miller, who found himself in second place heading into the final run. That run, however, got off to an auspicious start for the young skier.

"I ran 28th, since they flip around the top 30 from the first run," he said. "I skied the top flats and came down with the 23rd-fastest split."

He knew he’d have to pick up his speed on the second half of the course, which, fortunately for him, suited his skiing style a lot better.

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"Down the steeps, I skied really well and took the top position temporarily," he said. "Patrick Kenney (skiing after Miller) had a better top section, though, so he moved in front of me."

Though Kenney won and Miller ended up second, the Parkite was still thrilled with how he skied.

"I’m super happy with how it went," he said. "The snow was super great and the weather was OK. It was a great course and I had a lot of fun."

Miller enjoyed the course, but one has to wonder how much better he could have skied the course if he had practiced on it before.

"I wasn’t familiar with it at all," he said. "It was my first day on it. I’ve done training camps in the past at Copper Mountain, but never skied that course."

Still, he knew he would have to fight through the flats and attack the steeps, because that’s the way he’s always skied.

"My skiing style is that I love to turn," he said. "That’s one of my stronger points. I knew that I might have a little more trouble on the flats, so my game plan going into it was to ski with intensity. I really was working on generating speed on the flats. My skiing is I love to turn and ski the steeps, so that’s where I really shined."

Miller was thrilled with the outcome of the race and what it means for his future.

"It means a whole lot," he said. "My whole season is basically leading up to this one event. I’m here to show how talented of a skier I am. I’ve had some great results this year in the Western region where I compete, but knowing that I skied really well among my peers from across the country is great."

Since he’s only 16, Miller will be back competing at the U18 Nationals again next year. Having a second-place finish under his belt already will be a big confidence boost as he vies for the top spot on the podium in 2016, he said.

"Skiing at the top of the whole nation at my age and skiing that well was a special moment for me," he said. "It shows I’m moving in the right direction and my hard work has paid off."

Next up for Miller is a trip to Sun Valley, Idaho. There, he’ll compete in the Spring Series races, which take place from April 1 to 6.