Erin Maidman: Homeward bound

Erin Maidman

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This is it. My last day on snow for the 2012-2013 ski season is tomorrow. Two more races, one right after the other, and then I’m done. That’s it. No more skiing.

 It’s bittersweet. I’m excited to come home, see my friends, focus on school, get in the gym, and prepare for next year. I’m both physically and mentally exhausted. No matter how much rest I get, nowadays I always wake up tired. My body is shutting down. My knees (oh… my knees) are toast. My quads barely hold me up at the end of the day. Bruises cover me from head to toe. I’m ready to be done.

On the other hand, I’m mortified to have finally come to the end of an amazing chapter in my life. My time as a U16 has been unforgettable. I love my coaches, my teammates, my competitors, my races, everything. Everything about these last three years has been absolutely wonderful, even the hardships and setbacks. I’ve learned from those mistakes, and am better because of it. 

I’ve grown so much as a person. I started fragile, emotionally unstable, and unsure of my identity. I didn’t ski to my potential, and I didn’t know how fix it. I didn’t have a clear direction. I doubted myself. I was, to sum it all up, immature.

Three years later, I’m leaving more confident than I have ever been. I’ve learned how to handle criticism, execute under pressure, suck it up and be brave, face my fears, but most importantly, I’ve learned how to have fun for the first time in my life. I know that the greatest triumphs come with hard work, and that to truly enjoy the things I do, I have to do them with all my heart. These last few years have taught me what true dedication is, and have affirmed that I am doing what I should be. Now, I’m wiser, happier, and more responsible. I’ve developed such a great sense of self that now I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I’ve changed from the small, insecure girl I was three years ago. I am capable. I am strong. I am confident.

I’ve loved every minute of U16’s. I am so grateful for the skills my coaches have taught me, both on and off the hill. They’ve helped me develop a love for skiing that I will never lose. I know I can take on whatever the world throws at me, because they’ve instilled in me an incredible level of confidence. For the first time ever, my coaches are not harsh or apathetic experts on the sport; my coaches are my teachers, my supporters, and my friends. They’ve taught me to ski at a greater level than I could’ve ever imagined. I credit all successes to them. They helped me become the skier and person that I am today.

My teammates… gosh, what can I say other than that I love them all so much. They’ve made going to the mountain early every morning something that I look forward to because I know that I’ll see them. We’ve talked, laughed, and danced our way through this season, and I’ve grown so close to all of them. They are my best friends. I will miss them when I go back to Ventura.

Mammoth has become my second home. I love the brisk cold air, the scent of pine, the ever-changing weather. This town is my territory and my haven. Nowhere else in the entire world can compare to Mammoth Lakes, California. I love it here.

This environment, these people, and this sport have been an immediate part of my life for over six months. This place directly contributed to my successes and my failures; it’s affected every part of me. Living here has been the absolute dream come true. I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do and done it well.

This year has been the best one of my entire life. I have no regrets and zero disappointments. I love what I do. Words can’t describe how extremely happy these past few months have made me. I am living out my passion every day. I’m doing something productive with my time. I’ve had the greatest experience of my life.

Tomorrow, that experience will end. After tomorrow, I’ll go back to school, resume real life, and become a normal student once again. Life will change completely for the second time this year. I don’t resent the change. I’ll welcome it, because I’m ready to move forward with all the experience and maturity that this season has given me. This time when I come home I’ll be ready for the world.

Next time I talk to you I’ll be in the same area code as you. Be prepared Foothillians…

Erin Maidman is coming home.

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