January athlete of the month is seventeen-year-old Amanda Quiles – an alpine athlete competing with the NYSEF Gore program. Amanda is a junior at Mahwah High School in NJ and learned how to ski at Jiminy Peak (Hancock, MA) when she was four-years-old. Not long after her first turns, she joined the local race program at Campgaw Mountain (Mahwah, NJ).

Amanda had early success this season, placing first in the U16+ West Mountain Giant Slalom event. When discussing her success and the race season, she said, “I was so excited to race because I did not think we had a lot of events due to COVID-19.” 

Even with the lack of races, Amanda was still as excited than ever to train for the season. NYSEF provides a supportive team environment where athletes are brought together to do what they are passionate about: Amanda agrees, NYSEF has allowed her “… to take a break from school and get out and ski.”  Although COVID-19 made some obstacles for student-athletes, she feels more focused in school, having her best year academically.

When asked about her coaches and support from NYSEF, Amanda mentioned, “since I started skiing at Gore, I have learned to challenge myself daily… some skills develop quickly and there are others you need to work on for months… I am so thankful for all the coaches at NYSEF because they are so supportive and will always treat you like family.” 

Amanda is no stranger to competitive sports. In addition to ski racing, she is also on her school’s varsity volleyball team and the captain of her mountain biking team. “Her participation and success with other sports has provided her focus and success with her alpine skiing…it has been a great pleasure watching her grow up and mature within our NYSEF programs (in the weekend program, in Winter Term and our summer camps),” said Gore Head Alpine Coach, John Morgan. 

Amanda’s short term goals are to push herself “…in training, be more aggressive in the course and to be the best I can be academically”. Her long term goal is to ski in college.  

Amanda is an advocate for diversity in the sport. “I am Hispanic and rarely do I see other athletes of various ethnicities,” she said. Amanda supports a local NJ nonprofit, the Winter 4 Kids, a program providing snowsport opportunities to low-income kids from urban areas. “I love to teach others to ski and never miss an opportunity to teach a friend, family member or neighbor how to ski,” she added.