Jared Goldberg: A Passion for the Mountains
From local ski hills to the PyeongChang Olympics, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) encompasses all athletes that share a passion for skiing and snowboarding. We explore what makes each skier and rider a champion with stories from the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing, next to kids winning a NASTAR medal, landing their first cork 7 or joining a club team. Alongside USSA’s mascot Champ, take a look at how all of these athletes strive to be Best in the World.
As we continue to explore what makes USSA athletes champions, we’re learning more than we ever expected. To be a champion is holistic – it goes beyond the medals and the titles. It’s someone with great character and an undying belief in themselves; it’s someone who loves their sport with an unmatched passion. We are honored to share these stories with you. In this installation, Alpine Press Officer Megan Harrod sits down with Jared Goldberg to discuss #WhatMakesAChamp.
If you’ve ever spoken to him, you’d think Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT) was born with skis attached to his feet. Having grown up in Utah, shredding pow at Snowbird, a strong passion for the mountains emanates from Goldberg’s pores. And lucky for Goldberg, he’s been able to make his love affair with the mountain his day job.
Though this passion for the mountains was innate, it was definitely a gift from Goldberg’s parents - Don and Annette - who are not only two of his biggest fans, but his biggest adventure buddies. He’d spend most of his childhood in the mountains, and when he wasn’t on the mountain he was surfing in Maui. He credits his parents for instilling in him this love for nature. “I think they bestowed upon me an appreciation of the outdoors and constantly wanting to be active,” reflected Goldberg. “This mentality definitely helps me train harder - go on that bike ride even though I’m really tired, or do a few more reps in the gym.”
At just 24 years old, Goldberg has tasted the Olympics and already has five top-15 World Cup finishes under his belt. He’s come a long way from his days as a young shredder when Goldberg looked up to an all-star line up of on and off-mountain renegades like teammate Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) in the gates, along with backcountry/freeski pioneers like Jeremy Nobis and Seth Morrison.
Revisiting Goldberg’s history helps him to realize his progress, and it’s where he finds motivation. “To go back and talk to my coaches is all the motivation I need to see how far I’ve come,” notes Goldberg. “To see young racers having fun and to remember that I was there once too is pretty cool and definitely inspires me to keep plugging away and to be the best.”
Goldberg is well aware of the impact an athlete at the elite level can have on young racers. It was Miller who had that impact on Goldberg. “Starstruck” might not be the right word for it, but Goldberg was stoked to be skiing with Miller after looking up to him since the age of 10, when he witnessed Miller race giant slalom in Park City World Cup and the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.
Perhaps it was Miller’s unconventional style both on and off the mountain that was the catalyst for Goldberg to take notice. In a sea of spirits that are similar on the traveling White Circus, Goldberg stands out. He keeps the mood light. Oftentimes, you’ll hear Goldberg speaking in an Australian accent or quoting a movie with a near-impeccable impression. He’s funny.
Having grown up on the slopes of Snowbird, Goldberg gives back to the sport by coaching the next generation of rippers. (Snowbird)
Goldberg will be the first one to remind you that it’s important to have fun. The earliest sacrifice he remembers making? “I had to miss a high school dance with a girl I really liked because of a ski race,” remembered “Goldie,” as his teammates call him. His humor/antics have even earned him a hashtag: #jaredoftheday. Catch him during inspection, though, and you’ll see his intense focus. In order to hurl your body down a mountain at 90 miles per hour, that kind of intensity is necessary after all. Here are some words of wisdom that have had an impact on Goldberg, “If you’re suckin’, start tuckin.” Spoken like a true American Downhiller.
Goldberg spent his Christmas break from World Cup racing to coach kids at Snowbird Resort. (Snowbird)
We took some time to sit down with “Goldie” to explore what makes a champion. This is what he had to say.
U.S. SKI TEAM: In your words, what makes a champion?
JARED GOLDBERG: I believe a champion is someone who truly loves what they do. They also know themselves very well, and have learned how to approach any situation for the best outcome. With a champion, it’s not about the race; it’s about the moment. That’s how they excel in high-pressure situations. To truly be a champion I think you have to constantly be trying to better yourself and when you win, you have to work even harder. But honestly I’m not really sure yet, so I’m trying to learn how to be one every day.
Jared displaying championship form at 7-years-old. (Don Goldberg)
U.S. SKI TEAM: Do you remember the first time you felt like a champion?
JG: The first time I felt like a champion was probably when I was about 7 years old. I finished in second place in a race wearing a one-piece ski suit; I don’t think many kids had a race suit yet. But it was a feeling of accomplishment that gave me motivation to keep going. Also I had a bet with my father - he didn’t think I had a chance being one of the youngest racers - that I could get a race suit if I was top three. Well, BOOYAH!
U.S. SKI TEAM: What is the biggest piece of advice you have for aspiring kids who want to be sitting where you are today?
JG: It’s important to ski a ton when you’re younger, and that doesn’t necessarily mean in a race course. The best training I had growing up was dodging trees and rocks off the groomed trail. Today, it’s still what I’ll do pre-race - grab some free ski runs and try to enjoy myself by hitting jumps. That’s where you really learn to anticipate terrain and make the recoveries that keep you in the race. Not to mention, it keeps your head in check because you need to make sure skiing is your first love, then racing.
Now, we want to hear your answers! Tell us what makes you a champion on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and include #WhatMakesAChamp.