The Athlete of the Month is Chiara Gelardi, a 13- year old alpine athlete from Fayetteville, NY who currently attends Eagle Hill Middle School.  Chiara was introduced to skiing at the age of 3 in Sunday River, ME by her father, Mark, who is a U12 Coach in the NYSEF – Whiteface Program. 

Despite the unique challenges athletes encountered this season, Chiara constantly found new ways to balance her school work and athletics. “My priorities are always on school and whatever sport is currently in season. My closest friends either ski race, play lacrosse or run cross country with me.” Chiara also makes an effort to stay fit and practice health and wellness while staying on top of her work in the classroom, be it virtual or in-person. 

Coaches noted that Chiara’s focus paid dividends on the hill. “Chiara put in a lot of hard work over the summer and it showed in the way she skied,” notes U14 Head Alpine Coach Jimbo Johnston. “It’s important for Weekend Program athletes to take full  advantage of every on and off- snow training opportunity, which Chiara did. It clearly showed in her development this season.” 

On her racing, Chiara said, “I was definitely most confident in my GS and Super G going into the final races, but this season I improved most in Slalom.” In the future, she plans to make sure her Slalom is just as good as her GS and Super G.

“NYSEF has always been supportive of my racing goals. My coaches never fail to make sure that we always have fun and come out of the race leaving it all out on the hill and growing from it,” adds Chiara.

While NYSEF offers athletes the tools and coaching they need to succeed, it’s up to each athlete to show up ready to train and race. “Chiara’s dedication and approach to skiing is exactly what we are looking for when athletes decide to join NYSEF.  Chiara shows up each day ready to work and her results are the byproduct of her dedication and commitment,” adds Jimbo.

Chiara’s short term goal is to improve in Slalom and become a well-rounded athlete in all disciplines. Her long term goal is to race FIS and be a part of a ski racing team in college. In addition to her skiing, Chiara runs and plays lacrosse. She also studies martial arts and holds a second-degree black belt in two different styles. She trains alongside her father, Mark, who is her main instructor. 

Chiara hopes to enroll in the NYSEF Winter Term Program next season. The Winter Term Program allows aspiring junior athletes the opportunity to access top-tier training and coaching opportunities, while continuing remotely in their school’s curricula through one-on-one tutoring support. Congratulations, Chiara!