HoliMont FLITE Team Member Maggie Ryan Celebrates Successful Season

By Alicia Dziak

With 2014 being an Olympic year, success on the slopes has been on the forefront. With two topnotch ski resorts, dedicated coaches and so much young talent, it’s easy to see why amazing skiers come out of Ellicottville.

One of those skiers is 15-year-old Maggie Ryan, a sophomore at Pittsford Sutherland High School, near Rochester, who has been skiing at HoliMont for years.

“HoliMont is where I learned to ski and I was taught by both my mom and my dad,” Maggie said. “I ski at HoliMont every weekend in the winter besides the weekends I am traveling for competitions.”

Five years ago, Maggie joined HoliMont’s FLITE team, where she discovered her niche in moguls.

“Maggie’s skiing has developed in so many ways through FLITE Team,” said Maggie’s mother, Tina Ryan. “Being lifelong members at HoliMont, our kids learned to ski there.  Maggie started in HoliSports at age five and went through every level of the program.  At age 10, she started FLITE Team when one of the coaches ‘discovered her’ in one of the other programs. When she started, she already had a love for freestyle. The coaches saw the no-fear attitude in her, saw her skiing every day with the boys, I think really saw her potential in the sport. FLITE Team has not only fine-tuned her skiing, but it has also taught her to be focused, disciplined and to always have fun.”

This season was an especially successful one for Maggie, pushing her toward her ultimate dream.

“The highlights of my season this year would be winning East Coast Championships, coming in 8th at Junior Nationals and placing 9th at Nationals,” she stated. “My future goals in skiing would definitely be making the US Ski Team and my ultimate long-term goal would be competing at the Olympics.”

“Maggie’s season this year truly went beyond our expectations,” Tina added. “After a knee injury that required surgery at the end of the 2012 season, we knew that it would take a year to come back to full strength and ability.  2014 was her come-back season, and making the NorAm events, finishing in the top 16 in one of them and finishing top 10 in both Jr. Nationals and Nationals was so thrilling, we couldn’t be more proud!”

In order to get this far, Maggie has endured a lot of training.

“I mostly trained moguls this year at HoliMont on the FLITE team’s mogul course, but I also did a little bit of training for my airs, which I practiced on the FLITE team’s air site,” Maggie said. “On top of ski training, one of my coaches worked out a fitness plan to keep me in top shape during the competition season, which I do at home.”

Maggie’s season also included some travel.

“I do travel a lot for skiing. Most of the regional events that I competed at were held at Stratton, Vermont, or Sunday River, Maine,” she said. “I also went to Quebec, Canada, for a competition, and in the past month of March, I traveled out West two times, both times to Park City, Utah.”

When on her home turf, Maggie spends her time at HoliMont with other team members.

“My overall impression of HoliMont and the FLITE Team is that it is a very supportive community and it’s the best of both worlds, since you are able to train and hang out with your friends at the same time,” Maggie said, citing that the world class coaching and training with friends are the best parts of being on the team.

Being a competitive skier is not as easy as Maggie makes it look.

“The hardest part about skiing competitively is that it is as much of a mental workout as a physical one. I have learned that you always have to have a positive outlook on a competition, course, trick, etc., or you won’t be able to perform at your best,” she said.

As hard as she works, Maggie makes sure she is having fun doing it.

“My advice to any young kids just starting freestyle skiing is to make sure you are always having fun. You will not progress or develop in any sport if you do not enjoy what you are doing,” she advised.

“Maggie is a very focused and dedicated skier and a very relaxed and easy-going kid,” Tina explained. “She has a great way of balancing both — embracing her skiing and the challenges of going after a big goal as well as being focused on school work, maintaining high grades and still being down-to-earth and having fun at home with her friends. She is a very positive person, always in control of herself, a quality that to me is pretty admirable for a 15- year-old!”

Her supporters at HoliMont and throughout Ellicottville would agree — Maggie Ryan is a wonderful role model for both boys and girls, as she shows the world how far hard work and a positive attitude can go in the world of freestyle skiing.

Her coach, Corey Hacker, said “It’s great to see Maggie finish the season on such a strong note. She’s in a great place, right up there with the best mogul skiers in the country. HoliMont, Snowsports, FLITE Team, and her family and friends are all really proud of her. We look forward seeing Maggie in South Korea in 2018.”