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How one KUNR Youth Media student reporter conquered her fears of ski slopes

Three skiers wearing helmets and ski goggles look down as they prepare to sit on a ski lift.
Courtesy of Kesley Morris
Kesley Morris (center) prepares to get on a ski lift to travel to the start of a race at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe in Reno, Nev., on Feb. 25, 2022, as a senior on the Spanish Springs High School ski team.

University of Nevada, Reno freshman Kesley Morris gained many skills during her time on the Spanish Springs High School ski team. KUNR Youth Media’s Ellie Mundt talked with Kesley about how she overcame her fears to conquer the slopes.

Kesley Morris smiles as she puts on ski boots sitting in the passenger seat of a car. The door is open and snow builds up on her clothing.
Courtesy of Mimi Longballa
Kesley Morris prepares to go skiing on a snowy day at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe in Reno, Nev., on Feb. 21, 2022.

Ellie Mundt: Do you remember your first time skiing?

Kesley Morris: Yes, it was hilarious! My first day skiing was literally me going down the steepest green run I could possibly go and just went straight down without stopping or anything.

Mundt: So was it your family who originally taught you to ski then?

Morris: Kind of. My grandma first taught me basically the basics. Except for she has a ton of ski friends who taught me stuff like parallel turning, how to stop and sideslipping. Basically, it was just a mixture of her and her friends.

Mundt: What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome when it comes to skiing?

Morris: When I first started ski team, I was terrified of steep runs. And so, in turn, I did really bad. But now, I could look at a run and go, “I know how to do this.” I have learned a few tips and tricks, not in my skiing, but in just making it not look as steep basically and to give myself more confidence.

Mundt: That’s really cool. Kind of like a mental trick.

Morris: Yeah. All I basically do is just look at the hill at a different angle. And, well, if that doesn’t work, I kind of just go down and count “one, two, three, turn!”

Mundt: Describe the perfect ski day.

Morris: The perfect ski day for me would be nice snow — not super powdery because that is very difficult to ski — but just enough powder to be able to carve into. And not super cold but not super hot, so it's just like that nice perfect chill.

Mundt: That’s amazing. What would you say to someone who wants to start skiing but they haven’t yet, or maybe they’re nervous to?

Morris: I would say to take it easy. Don’t go on something that you can’t go on because you could get seriously injured. And also, you learn faster without poles!

Ellie Mundt graduated from the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology. Kesley Morris is a graduate of Spanish Springs High School and is now studying at UNR. KUNR Youth Media is a special partnership with the Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists.

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