Lillian Nimmer: freeride skier for Northwest freeride

by Allen Chan, Reporter


That was a sound skier Lillian Nimmer really wished she hadn’t heard. What followed that pop was a diagnosis no one wants–especially a competitive skier: An MCL tear. 

Freeride skiing, a form of skiing that takes place on natural terrain and includes deep powder snow and steep runs, is a sport that requires high endurance, leg strength and mental focus.

Nimmer, junior, has been skiing since she was young and has gotten into freeride skiing too. “When I was 3 years old I started skiing because my older brother who is 12 years older than me, was super into skiing. So my family decided to get season passes for everyone and go up every weekend,” said Nimmer. 

A spark of inspiration and perseverance to try something new can be life changing, a mind blowing experience that’ll make an individual realize what possibilities are out there for one to achieve. Nimmer felt this once she had a chance to try freeride skiing. 

“After my first free ride competition, there were only two girls in my category, so I got first place. This was a really exciting moment for me and definitely made me realize that I want to keep competing in free ride competitions,” said Nimmer recalling her first freeride competition. 

Skiing isn’t something that is solely based upon tricks and the ability to stay constant throughout the run. For freeride skiing, different categories are judged in order to produce a final result. 

“This kind of skiing is not like racing and it is not like park skiing. It is like backcountry skiing but as a competition so you are judged on your line (the way you decide to go down the mountain), your technique, your style/energy (what tricks you do), your control, and your fluidity (not stopping on course). You are ranked depending on how you do in each category,” Nimmer said. 

Joining a sports team can be a place where people can meet new people and begin to broaden their horizons. Being part of a team allows people to meet new friends but also take things at a slightly less serious level in order to have fun. 

“Skiing has really positively impacted my life. I’ve made extremely good friends. It gives me an outlet for myself where I can have fun with my friends and not take everything super seriously all the time,” said Nimmer. 

Coaches tend to have a way with words that will influence an athlete in order for them to strive to be at the top of their game. They are people whom athletes will always remember because they are the ones who helped them succeed. 

“Being coached by a ski coach is way different than being coached by a team coach. Because they just want you to succeed and get better for yourself. Rather than having to focus on a whole team and different strategies. And it’s really beneficial and can create a great relationship with a coach,” said Lillian Nimmer about her experience with her coaches. 

Being a student athlete isn’t something that is easy. Juggling school work and practice takes a toll on the body. It isn’t something that anyone can get through straight away, it takes a lot of effort and perseverance in order to balance between the two. 

“Balancing skiing in school isn’t always easy. There’s a lot of assignments that I turn in late. Ever since we switched to online school. Time management has been so much easier for me because I can just go out and ski and then do my schoolwork when I get home versus having to actually show up in person for class,” Nimmer said. 

Said Nimmer: “In the long run, I know that I want to make a career out of skiing. So as long as I make sure to keep my grades up, having to ski and school are both super equally important to me.”