Will Solow is currently skiing for SVSEF as a Post Grad athlete this season. Originally from New England, he is enjoying his life in Idaho and has taken a moment to share his thoughts on why he chose a PG year over college, some of the rewards and challenges of being a PG and the skills outside of skiing he has gained by taking this path.
"The choice to take a PG year was daunting as many of my friends headed off to college, some of whom continued to ski for the varsity team. For many of our competitive careers, skiing in college and making NCAA’s is an overarching goal. However, with the depth of skiers applying to New England colleges, skiing as a college freshman wasn’t a given for me without JN’s qualification as a highschool senior.
I started to explore gap-year options after I realized I may not ski my freshman year. Knowing that I wanted to ski varsity for Colby College in Maine, I leaned towards a post-grad year focused on skiing. While the East boasts the ski schools Stratton and GMVS, I knew I didn’t want to continue to compete in the East as I wanted the chance to move far away from home to grow as an individual.
Many post grads may be under the belief that the only point of a gap year is to improve skiing results, however I would argue that personal growth is equally important. The opportunity for personal growth is ultimately why I chose to ski in Sun Valley for the year before moving back East to Colby College. Sun Valley’s program has similar structure and the resources to rival GMVS and Stratton, but athletes live on their own or with a host family.
I currently rent with another PG athlete in Hailey and commute around 20 minutes to practice each way. While the cooking isn’t as good as meals from home, it has given me the opportunity to learn how to feed myself, budget, and shop for groceries (more difficult than it sounds when staring at aisles of food!).
The West Coast’s mountain ranges were a large for me. Even after living here for months, I continue to be in awe of the jagged peaks which are unlike anything in the smooth and lush Green Mountains. These peaks offer top notch hiking, mountain biking, and running with the bonus of altitude training. The rollerskiing does not live up to the road networks of the East, however it is easy to limit rollerskiing to intensity sessions and the SVSEF rollerski treadmill while volume training in the mountains.
Living without the responsibilities of school is a blessing for training through the fall and winter seasons, and for the first few weeks I lived out here, I did next to nothing aside from training, house cleaning, and cooking. This was great until I realized how bored I was outside of organized training. One of the challenges of not being in school was learning what to do with myself. I spend a fair bit of my time reading (hooray for the Ketchum Public Library!) and doing intern work for a local software company.
Having a form of extracurricular activity whether it be a job, internship, online course, or volunteer work is vital to a meaningful PG year. Finding the balance between training and personal growth has allowed me to mature, and I hope it will make the transition to a college athlete easier as I balance a heavy workload."
Thanks Will, IMD is glad to have you and wished you the best of luck this season and beyond!