Hi, I am Thomas, (Tomas if you know me well enough), Woolson, one of the new members of Redneck Racing. I am very excited to be a part of the team for this upcoming season and everything that it represents but more on that later; here’s a little bit about me.
I was born and raised in Warren Vermont where I grew up skiing at Sugarbush and Mad River Glen. I always preferred to just point them straight down the hill and go fast but when my parents signed me up for the GMVS weekend program I started to find some joy in making turns.
While incorporating a healthy dose of freestyle and powder skiing into my weekends, racing quickly began to dominate the equation and soon took over fully. After finishing high school at GMVS I attended Dartmouth College for five years, (the more the merrier?), which pretty much catches you guys up.
Life up until the end of college was easy. I was spending all of my time with great, like minded people, traveling around world and skiing to my heart's content. Oh, and making sure I passed all my classes.
There was never any question about what I was doing with my skiing. I was either skiing through high school so I could race D1, testing my level in Europe, or racing for Dartmouth while working towards a degree. The whole time I was competing there was a bigger part of the equation, but that all ended the last time I kicked out the gate for the Big Green.
It’s one of the things you see coming from a long way out but you never know how you’re going to deal with it. At the start of last season I set goals for myself that all summed up to ‘Let’s justify another year of skiing’.
Well, I ended up falling terribly short of my goals at the end of last year which meant, according to my plan, it was time the hang up the race boots. But just because that was the plan, did it mean I was ready to be done?
For the last ten years everything has revolved around skiing. Summer is for working out and summer camps. Fall is prep period. Winter is eat, sleep, ski, and if you have some free time, study. I’d even plan my summer internships in South America so it was only a short flight for me to get some skiing in before and after. I didn’t know if I was ready to trade in the spring soul shreds with friends for the nine-to-five in an office, but isn’t that what I was supposed to do? This is the point where I’m supposed to transition into ‘the real world’ and leave this dream life behind.
Enter Redneck Racing.
I am thankful that in these moments of crisis I am surrounded by good people who aren’t afraid to nudge me in different directions. For now this path has landed me as a coach/athlete at Burke Mountain Academy for this upcoming season. In this role I’ll be able to gain experience and approach skiing from a new angle as I work with the coaching staff.
I’ll also still be able to continue my pursuit of the ‘perfect turn’ as I work towards being more competitive at Nor-Ams and other high level races. But the part that I am most excited about is working with the younger athletes here.
When I was looking for work outside of the skiing bubble I was always frustrated by my lack of experience in any of the fields I was applying. Here I was, an accomplished skier, (at least according to my mother), with a wealth of experience, starting over from scratch.
With Burke I have the opportunity to share my experience with some younger and very talented skiers. I’m hoping that throughout the year I can work with them so that they can reach the highest levels of our sport while helping them avoid some of the hardships that I’ve endured. It is also an opportunity for me to give back a little to the skiing community that has given me purpose through the first quarter century of my life.
I do have big ambitions outside of skiing, but there’s no reason they can’t wait just a little longer. For now this can be my ‘real world’ and I couldn’t be more excited.