February Athlete of the Month is Shane Bittinger, a 16-year old, alpine skier from Monticello, N.Y. Shane began racing with the NYSEF-Belleayre program this year. Shane decided to move to the Belleayre program because of the competitive training opportunities NYSEF offers to their athletes and terrain at Belleayre Mountain.

“Determined, balanced and respectful are words that can describe Shane,” Program Director of NYSEF-Belleayre, Jim Catalano. Shane races for both US Ski and Snowboard (USSA) and High School which creates a demanding athletic schedule. Jim commented, “Shane has executed a solid season while balancing USSA racing, High School racing and managing his academics at a high level.”

As a U19, Shane is determined to “focus on this year and lower his points at the next race event.” He had the opportunity to travel and visit a variety of mountains while meeting new athletes. “Being a part of USSA has allowed me to compete with all levels across New York State,” Shane said.

When asked about recent obstacles in the sport, Shane said, “my skis at U19 Finals.” It is important to have valuable training time on skis before race day. Shane was unable to train on his new 165 cm slalom (SL) skis and had difficulty in the SL event—his best (and favorite) event during U19 Championships at Gore Mountain in March.

Shane’s goals for next season is for early training at Copper Mountain with NYSEF. In the summer, Shane water skis and rides dirt bikes!