To most, waking up at 4:30 a.m. and heading out for a whole day of hard work in the cold is not quite appealing. For sophomore Katelyn Paliwoda this is a normal day. As a competitive alpine skier, Paliwoda spends her weekends gliding down the slopes of Mount Peter in New York with the New Jersey Ski Association Team to train for her next event.
Skiing has been a major part of Paliwoda’s life ever since she was young. Growing up, she was surrounded by skiing, spending her early years admiring her father, who was a ski coach, and her siblings, who were also prominent skiers. She was challenged and inspired by her older siblings to become the skier she is now.
“At first I started skiing because my dad encouraged me too, but as I got older it became an activity that grew on me.” Paliwoda’s love for skiing grew into a passion.
There are many different styles of ski racing. Paliwoda competes in alpine, skiing both the slalom and giant slalom courses. Both styles require skiers to move between poles around curves, but giant slalom poles are spaced apart from one another. Paliwoda has the most fun gliding down the slopes during the giant slalom race. This race gives her the ability to go really quickly but still remain in control.
Paliwoda must be able to balance her schedule so that she is able to give maximum effort in both activities. While she maintains good grades and takes challenging classes, she still makes time to work on her skills. With a combination of academic achievement and top ski finishes, she hopes to gain a scholarship to continue skiing at the collegiate level.
Paliwoda has had many accomplishments throughout her skiing career. Even though Paliwoda competes individually her individual scores can qualify her for a spot on Team New Jersey. Her first place finish at Mountain Creek guaranteed her a spot on the team this season. She said every time she places in a race, she gets “validation that this is the right thing for me”.
Paliwoda never lets fear of getting injured stop her from doing well. In the past she has suffered from injuries, but always had a strong recovery. When she was in eighth grade she pulled her MCL. It was suggested that she not ski post-injury, but her perseverance and love for skiing could not pull her off the slopes. Paliwoda also experienced a couple mild concussions throughout her career, but they didn’t limit her from skiing.
Skiing has dramatically changed Paliwoda’s life. She is not sure how far skiing can take her. But her skill and passion for the sport are leading her in the right direction.