For the love of skiing: Sam Robertson's Blog

1 May 2013

BLOG: My obsession with skiing started at a very early age. I was born in the Snowy Mountains and I learned to ski at the age of 2. By the time I was 3, I was skiing top to bottom on the Thredbo Supertrail with my parents yelling at me to slow down.

We live in the smallest apartment you have ever seen and so my parents would take me skiing rain, hail or shine, just so that we could all be outdoors and not cooped up inside. I never complained even when it was raining- I just loved skiing. I used to be so jealous of my parents when I had to go to school and they would be getting on the first lift. There was one day I pestered my parents so much that they let me have a day off school to go skiing and we bumped into one of my teachers! Poor mum nearly had a heart attack, but nothing was ever said, I guess the teacher was supposed to be at school too!

Skiing has always been in my blood. My dad is an amazing skier- he is a ski instructor and race coach and has had a lifetime career teaching in Thredbo and overseas.  He trains all the top instructors and although he never competed, he is still regarded as one of the best skiers in Australia. Dad is probably my biggest role model.  I remember the instructors from overseas would tell me what a great skier my dad was and I just remember that I always wanted to ski like him.

One day Manuela Berchtold came to my primary school. She was a mogul skier from Jindabyne and she had just come back from the Olympics and she told us how amazing it was. From that day on I gave up my dream of owning a dog shelter- I knew that I wanted to be an Olympian.

My parents were not thrilled that I wanted to race as they knew how tough it was and they were worried that I would lose my passion for skiing and they really held me back from race training. When I found out the Thredbo Ski Racing Club had a scholarship program, I applied by myself and I was lucky enough to be selected and I have never looked back. I won lots of Junior titles, but I set myself a goal in primary school, that I would be the fastest skier in Australia by the time I turned 21.

By high school I became so obsessed with skiing that my parents sent me to boarding school in Sydney for years 11 and 12, thinking that I might concentrate on my academics more if I was away from it all. I think there is a saying that "you can take the man out of the mountain, but you can't take the mountain out of the man". Well whoever said that was talking about me and it was true. My teachers at boarding school soon realised that I was totally over consumed by my skiing and my mum wasted so much time driving up there to see the teachers when I was in trouble for reading ski magazines in school hours.  There was one occasion when the principal told me that I needed to stop thinking about skiing and start thinking about what I was going to do when I left school and that I needed a backup plan. You can imagine how embarrassed my mum was when I asked the principal if he had ever heard of a World Champion with a backup plan.  I wasn't trying to be smart, it just seemed like the obvious thing to say. Anyway, he must have thought about it (or given up on me) because from that day onwards they allowed me more time off than my previous school to race and train. 
I have already reached one of my goals as I am now the number 1 downhiller in Australia, and I am closer to my dream than ever before. My coaches have always told me that I had a unique ability to go fast, especially in downhill and Super G which not only requires physical strength but an amazing amount of mental strength- some of the courses are ridiculously tough!

Sam Robbo