Twelve year old Silas Weeden, ranked 1st regionally and 13th nationally for freestyle, is headed out to Copper Mountain in Colorado to compete in the National Championships. He’s been hucking himself off of jumps at the Kanc since he could walk basically, and this year had the opportunity, through both Loon Mountain and Loon Mountain Ministry scholarships, to participate in Loon’s Competition team.
To see Silas at school each day where he is in the seventh grade is interesting as he quiet, unassuming, and generally flies under the radar. However, put that 80 pound phenom on a pair of skis, and he is anywhere but under the radar. I’ve watched him ski and fly and spin and smile with his Kanc friends and Loon ski school friends alike as if it’s just another day in the park, and it is–literally.
His mom, Dori, is a Spanish teacher at Lin-Wood, and dad, Blair, owns Three Rivers Construction, both local to Lincoln and grew up skiing at the Kanc as well. They have a quarter pipe in their yard currently which has become a magnet for neighborhood kids and adults getting their inline skate moves ready. They are the kind of parents who are comfortable watching their kid hurl into the air and keep perspective about his competition. Dori writes, “I never would have imagined back in the fall when we started talking about Silas competing, that he would end up going to Nationals! The relationships that he has built over this past ski season with the Loon coaches and teammates is awesome! Everyone has been so supportive of his journey on the hill, and we are so excited for him to have this opportunity and forever grateful to Loon Mountain Ministry for opening the door and supporting him along the way.”
Blair is traveling with Silas and admires his eldest son for many reasons, but mostly because of his “true and compassionate heart.” He, too, is incredibly grateful for communal support for their son. “As a family we graciously thank you all for your help and support. None of this could have been possible without it. My hope is that Silas will go out west, represent, stay true to himself, his east coast small ski town community and God!”
Silas just loves skiing and has since he first shot up the rope tow at the Kanc Ski Slope; the freestyle features built there provided a true foundation for one of our local snow heroes to be able to compete and win at events taking place at bigger mountains in our state including Loon where kids come from all over New England. He shared with me in a recent interview (well, more like a casual conversation in the middle school hallway this week– but he could be famous one day and I want him used to technical terms like interview), “I loved skiing every weekend with my friends and coaches. It was so fun. The food was really good too! I am excited to go to Nationals!” His head is clearly in a level place– focusing on friends, coaches, fun, food, and, oh, hey, he gets to go to Nationals too.
Geoff and I were talking about how special it is that Silas gets to compete against kids from all over the country. Similarly, if Geoff didn’t work at Loon Mountain, our family would not be able to afford to ski at Loon, and Silas understands this and doesn’t take one minute of his training and coaching for granted. Not every kid gets to ski every weekend, although growing up here in Lincoln one might think otherwise. (Stay tuned for future blog “Growing Up Among Mountains”) Geoff, as the technical director for Loon Mountain’s Snow Sports School and PSIA National Team member, admits, “As much as skiing athletes value competition, medals, and certifications, at the end of the day, it’s the experiences, failures included, places, and people who make the journey worth traveling. Regardless of how Silas finishes up at Copper, he will never forget his first national experience; what he will be exposed to will help him grow as a person and an athlete. The story is just awesome, though, a young fellow like him growing up on a rope tow and taking that all the way to Copper– he will be able to see the potential out there of what he can be.”
Marcus Corey, a family friend and Loon Mountain’s minister, discussed what a special kind of kid Silas is. “God couldn’t have given talent to a cooler kid! Silas approaches his sport with a determination to get better while maintaining a laid-back attitude that allows him to thoroughly enjoy it. God’s fingerprints are all over this trip to Colorado– from not knowing if we could afford the trip to now having a slope-side ski in ski out three bedroom house and a car all given to us is incredible. It is not natural for a young boy with Silas’ talent to be as humble as he is. His appreciation for God’s gift of talent and opportunity is one of the many traits that make Silas so awesome.”
And what better send off for Silas than to hear from one of his teachers and coaches here at Lin-Wood, Aaron Loukes:
“The Lin-Wood Ski Team and the Lin-Wood skiing community is so proud of Silas and wish him the best out at the National Championship at Copper Mtn. Silas is a tremendous skier and his feel for the snow and his awareness of his body is truly amazing. This past year Silas took it to the next level; not only was he one of the top Giant Slalom skiers in the state on the middle school racing circuit, he is one of the best park skiers in the east, winning or reaching the podium in his USASA events. Best of luck to him out west. Send it, Silas!!!!”
We are proud of you, Silas Weeden ! Your village will be here when you get back so expect a lot of hugs, questions, and high fives! Thank you for giving little boys and girls from little towns like ours more reasons to dream big.