HM Skier Off to Olympics

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HM Skier Off to Olympics
Tricia Mangan Joining Olympic Team in Seoul
Story by John Thomas
Staff Writer

 

   On Tuesday night the US Olympic Ski Team announced Tricia Mangan, a former member of the HoliMont ski team, would be joining the US Alpine Ski Team in PyeongChang South Korea. She will be joining team members Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn, and others.   Ms. Mangan will be replacing Jackie Wells who was injured in a bad fall in a competition at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany on February 3rd. Upon the announcement of her position on the team, Mangan flew from Zurich with some of her teammates to Seoul. “She was unbelievably excited,” said her mother Martha Mangan, who talked to her just after the announcement. “She started to cry and said, ‘I made the team!'” She likely will be competing in Slalom, Super-G, and Giant Slalom; Her family will be flying to South Korea on Friday to cheer her at the games.

   It’s a cliché to say that Tricia grew up on skis but in Tricia’s case its true. Her parents put her on skis when she was just two years old. By the time she was five, the young skier was on the HoliMont race team. At the ripe old age of seven, she was beating most of the boys her age and some older girls. Like many HoliMont and Holiday Valley racers, Ms. Mangan began to race in statewide competitions. But by the time the racer was 16, it became clear her talents were able to take her far beyond state races. She won her first Eastern Championship which qualified her to move up to the World Cup circuit. In 2016 at Killington VT she made her first World Cup start. Last year Mangan went to Europe to compete in seven World Cup tournaments.   Skiing in the Super Combined Race in Lenzerheide Germany, she scored her first World Cup Points, which qualified her for a possible place on the Olympic Team.   Her ski coach at HoliMont, Travis Widger remembers her well, “She’s a gifted athlete. She loves it and is super driven, which I think is her greatest asset.”

It was her brothers who sparked her competitive drive. Skiing with her at that tender age of two was her twin brother William. The story goes they decided to race to the bottom of the bunny hill. William won, and Tricia spent the intervening years chasing him and her two older brothers. But it was a near family tragedy that served as Tricia’s greatest inspiration. Her younger brother Andrew broke his C5 vertebrae in an accident and was paralyzed from the neck down. As their mother now recalls, “He worked really hard and was able to walk and ski again.” Mom says he had a great attitude and, “probably inspired Tricia when she got down.”

   Tricia, now 20 years old, grew up in Derby New York, a hamlet just outside Hamburg. Her mother Martha was on ski patrol at HoliMont, and every weekend Mom, father David, and her brothers would make the commute to Ellicottville. All the children were homeschooled, and Martha credits that with their close family bonds and mutual support. Eventually, the family bought a place in Ellicottville where the ski practice and schooling continued. It’s a period mom remembers fondly, “We were fortunate. We love Ellicottville, and being able to spend time there during the week, when things were a little quieter.” Tricia is now a sophomore at Dartmouth, majoring in biomedical engineering. She’s able to attend classes in the summer and fall, and spend winter and spring on the slopes. With her talent and a loving family behind her, the future is bright.

The Mangan family at Copper Mountain. Back row from Left: Connor, Peter, Mary, William (Tricia’s twin), David (father). Front row: Martha (mother), Andrew, and Tricia. Photo by Elliot Jerge.