18 May, 2023

Through athletics and swimming, skiing won Matyas’s heart over!

Thriving Thursday - Matyas-Thriving Thursday - Matyas-TT - Matyas

Coming from a family of skiers, Matyas never thought that skiing would become his long-term pursuit and passion. He has always been a sports enthusiast, from water sports to athletics and his beloved football. As his skiing progressed, he had to give up other sports to solely focus on skiing. His journey in skiing began years ago when his parents put him on little skis at the age of three. Since then, he has been part of the Czech National Team, competing in international races and competitions and is now aiming at the US where he wants to study and be part of the university ski teams.

We asked Matyas, our Year 12 students about his journey and how he manages his time with schoolwork and training.

What sports do you do?

My number one sport is alpine skiing. I was part of a swimming, athletics, and skiing team, which was tough initially, because I had eight training session a week and races during the weekend. As I got older, I had gradually cut those sports out to focus more on school and skiing.

It started as a fun activity. My parents introduced me to skiing when I was around three years old, and it became something I did for enjoyment. When I was eight years old, my parents enrolled me, and my siblings into a ski team. Initially, it was just another sport alongside swimming and athletics, but in my first full season, I performed well and placed third overall in the Bohemian region and that's when skiing became a true passion for me. I always wanted to do something related to sports, but I had no idea that skiing would become my long-term pursuit.

What has been your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement was being nominated to the Czech National Team, competing in the international Giant Slalom at Skiinterkriterium Ricky (the oldest international FIS Alpine Ski Race for children). I competed against skiers from around 30 different countries from Europe and parts of Asia. It was an unforgettable experience because I had never been part of a race at such high level. Although, it was nerve-wracking, I felt privileged to be there with skiers who were not only my competitors but also friends I grew up with, competing against each other in races throughout the years and progressing through the age categories together.

Do you push each other during trainings?

It's a challenge, but we push each other during training sessions and timed training sessions. We compete to see who is the fastest on a given course. It's always exciting to see how we progress against each other, especially when we are at a similar skill level. Having others who push you to improve is beneficial and makes the experience more enjoyable.

For me, it's all about the group and the community. While winning is important, having friends who share the same sport or hobby and being able to push each other is incredibly valuable.

What are your proudest moments? Can you share them?

One of the last races of the season stands out. It was a parallel slalom, which is not a very common race format. There is a qualification phase where everyone races in two tracks next to each other. Each racer competes on each track once, and based on the results, they move on to the knockout stage. From there, when you win, you progress until the final. In the qualification phase, I finished third, which was already a very good achievement. But I won the race and placed first, which was a very proud moment for me.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge has probably been narrowly missing out on being nominated to the Czech national team, more than once. After all the hard work during and off-season, when your goal is to be part of the national team to then learn that you weren’t good enough, is frustrating.

But it taught me how important setbacks are for reflecting on past mistakes and constantly self-improving. It has motivated me to work harder to improve my skiing abilities and to reach my goals.

What is your schedule like during the season?

During the winter season, my schedule is incredibly busy. We start with training camps at the end of September and have dry sessions four times a week. From December to April, which is the race season, we usually have 5 to 6 camps in Austria and Italy, along with various races. Because of that, my teammates and I miss a significant amount of school to prepare for these competitions.

But the school has been supportive and flexible with my schedule. Additionally, my teachers have provided me with extra resources and giving me additional time for assignments when needed. I am grateful to have teachers who have guided and supported me throughout my journey.

What are your next steps?

I don't tend to look too far into the future. With skiing, I always take it step by step and see how it goes. I need to decide with my family since they have guided me through this journey. However, I would like to study in the US because there are many universities that incorporate sports into their schedules, giving me an opportunity to continue with sports. I'm particularly fascinated by Dartmouth and Brown University, but I need to explore them further.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into skiing?

Take it slow and see how you progress, but the important thing is to have fun. If you don't have fun and you invest too much time into it, it will be worth nothing and you'll get bored of it very quickly.

It's also important to stay motivated and focused, even when progress feels slow.