Andrew Weibrecht is serious about alpine skiing. The Lake Placid native has earned two Olympic medals in the Super G event — the bronze in 2010 in Vancouver and the silver in 2014 in Sochi — as well as placing high in a number of World Cup events. This year he'll once again represent the U.S. on the world stage as he skis in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea.
I recently spoke with Andrew by email to learn a little more about what it was like to grow up learning to ski in Lake Placid and what it’s like to ski here now.
1. Tell me a little about learning how to ski. When did you know you loved the sport?
I learned to ski when I was around two years old over at Whiteface Mountain with my family. I think that I always enjoyed the sport, but I don’t think I really loved it the way that I do now until I started racing with the NYSEF (New York Ski Educational Foundation) program.
2. What are some of your first memories of skiing?
One of my first memories of skiing was riding up the Mixing Bowl lift with my father when I was a real young kid.
3. Please tell me about your first experiences skiing at Whiteface. What is the first trail you remember skiing on? Which trail (or trails) became your favorites and why?
The Mixing Bowl was the first trail that I have a concrete memory of skiing on. Some of my fondest memories of skiing at Whiteface as a kid were from training on Parkway. Before Draper’s Drop was a thing, we would train every day on Upper and Lower Parkway, and that’s where I really learned to ski and ski race.
4. Do you have a favorite memory of skiing at Whiteface? What was that like and what makes it a favorite?
I don’t know that I have a favorite memory because there are so many good ones. I do remember one April break after the mountain was almost shut down and everybody had moved on from skiing, we got about four feet of snow and it was basically just myself, my brothers, and a couple local families that had it all to ourselves. That will always stick out as one of the most fun weeks of skiing I’ve ever had.
5. Are there any trail(s) at Whiteface you use for training purposes?
I grew up training on Parkway and Thruway, and then later on Draper’s Drop. On the rare occasion that we were allowed to, training up on Skyward was always a treat as well. All of those trails are literally World Cup level trails, so if you’re training for the World Cup and Olympics they are tough to beat.
6. As a professional skier, do you ever get to ski without feeling like you’re training? What do you look for in a trail when you just want to relax and enjoy the sport?
I ski just for fun whenever I can. I love all sorts of things when I’m skiing for myself: I love a cool view or a trail with unique terrain, but really it all boils down to where the snow is the best.
7. Which runs at Whiteface meet those criteria?
Skyward and Parkway are my two favorite trails. Skyward is always a thrill to ski because it’s steep and you’re heading right down the gut of the mountain. Parkway winds in and out of the trees quite a bit, and to me has some of the most “old time” character of any run on the mountain.
8. Same question with backcountry or cross-country skiing. What are your favorite trails in the area and why?
I have never done much backcountry in the ADKs (yet), mostly because my winters are so monopolized by my travel schedule. I do try to cross-country ski as much as I can because it’s a great way to cross train. I really enjoy skiing anywhere on the Jackrabbit Trail if I’m just going out for a workout; however, if I’m up for a longer day Avalanche Pass or Indian Pass are tough to beat.
This week in related ADK news:
5 paths to Saranac Lake winter fun
Birding near the northern border
Camp Santanoni winter weekends
Tupper apres cross-country ski