Our February Athlete of the Month is Gabrielle (Ellie) Avallone, a 16-year-old alpine athlete from Southampton, NY. A current participant in the NYSEF Belleayre Program, Ellie started skiing at age 3 and was taught by her parents, Lynne and Joe, both of whom share a passion for skiing. Despite the unique challenges that her ski racing season brought with it, Ellie remained throughout. “I focused on working  on things that I can improve on. We got a lot of quality training this winter and I was able to focus on technique aspects that needed improving, instead of worrying about races every other weekend,” says Ellie.

“Ellie has come a long way this season, largely due to her intense focus during training sessions and her ability to translate what Jim (Belleayre Program Director) and I discuss from free skiing exercises to the race course,” reports Ellie’s coach, Belleayre Head U16/19 Coach Steve Mones. 

When asked how NYSEF supported her ski racing goals, Ellie said, “I’ve learned that the more you practice something, the more you will understand it and really absorb the skill. The coaches show us how much they want us to succeed, and I think that really helped this season.” Ellie has showed success this season in regional races, placing 3rd and 5th in the Windham GS events, 5th in one of the Windham SL events, and most recently, 4th at the Belleayre GS. Although reaching the podium is always a highlight in any athlete’s career, Ellie’s favorite part of this season has been the amount of training she has received. “Although the race season was slim, we got a lot of training in and it helped me and others really improve on different things,” she commented.

Like most student- athletes, Ellie definitely recognizes this season as a challenging one but she was able to create a routine by prioritizing her school work before focusing on her training. Ellie’s short term goal is to finish off this season strong. Further along, Ellie plans to go to college and play soccer. Ellie currently plays soccer for a travel team and is a member of the varsity soccer and softball squads at Southampton High School. To support her athletic charisma, she occasionally trades her skis for a board and goes snowboarding! Congratulations, Ellie!