Lowe has been skiing since she was 2, and is considering whether to continue on to college after her senior year or take a break from school to focus on skiing professionally.
Lowe has been skiing since she was 2, and is considering whether to continue on to college after her senior year or take a break from school to focus on skiing professionally.

Teegan Lowe believes she skis her best when her mind is clear and thoughts are calm.

This season the Monroe High School junior tested her tried technique at the national level for the first time. She has been working toward competitions of this caliber for many years. After starting out in the back of the pack in March’s competition, she placed in four events, including taking 13th Place in Super G.

“I had no expectations,” she said.

Lowe first pointed her ski tips downhill at Stevens Pass when she was 2 years old. Her parents and older sister, five years her senior, are also avid skiers. Her father raced when he was younger, and shared his love of the sport with his wife and kids, she said.

“I feel like I had to work hard toward it, and I am still working hard toward it,” Lowe said. “But enjoying the sport came right away.”

Lowe started racing around the time she turned 5, at first against her peers. She would also vie with her sibling, but their races were more friendly competition than high stakes. Lowe said sparring with her sibling, on or off the slopes, fueled her internal drive in the long run.

“I was a competitive child,” she said with a laugh.

Lowe tried out different sports while growing up. Though some caught her interest, they conflicted with skiing, which she liked much more. Her burgeoning skills landed her in a more competitive division when she was 12.

Lowe said she has come to prefer speed over technique. The discipline is not for everyone. A competitor has to deeply enjoy the style to excel at the level she has achieved, she said.

Lowe and most of her peers specialize in multiple disciplines. Super Giant Slalom (Super G) and downhill are considered speed events. Giant Slalom and Slalom, courses with turns marked by poles, are technical events. Alpine combined races incorporate Slalom and downhill runs.

Most resorts aren’t set up for downhill because they require many extra safety measures, Lowe said. All five are styles of Alpine Skiing. Skiers’ boots are strapped in from heel to toe, as opposed to Nordic Skiing, where the heel is loose.

Lowe placed 13th in Super G at the U.S. National Championships in Sun Valley this March. She took 18th in Alpine combined, 25th in Giant Slalom and 33rd in Slalom. Making the cut for the competition automatically put her in the U.S. Junior National Championships, which immediately followed nationals.

The 17-year-old said she really started training seriously around the time she turned 14. Lowe had taken another step up in divisions and started working with Team Alpental Snoqualmie. She began competing against girls who were older, and saw which of her own skills needed more work, specifically technique.

“I still feel like I am working toward being aware of what my body is doing while skiing,” she said.

Lowe said she hit a plateau in those years. Progress was steady, but not at the rate she had imagined. Those were the toughest in her career so far. Her love for skiing helped her get through it.

Patience eventually paid off, Lowe said. Progress often comes down to a mindset for Lowe. She said she takes each setback as a chance to learn. She watches videos of her at competitions, sometimes taking notes in her journal about what she did well and what needs improvement.

“You can’t change what happened in the past,” she said.

Support from her family and friends has also helped keep that mentality. Her sister, who joined the Marines, always texts her encouragement before an event. Either her mom, dad or both will come and cheer her on.

Lowe said some of her best friends are skiers. They are people she has met through the sport, and spread out around the country. Being friends with her competitors makes the sport much more enjoyable, she said.

She and her peers support and learn from one another when they are together, aside from when they are at competitions. Lowe said she always tries to keep things in perspective.

“You can win one day and be last the next day,” she said.

At the end of 2016, she joined the Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation. During ski season she would spend most of her time training with the team in Bend, Oregon, and attending Western Region projects.

The decision meant being in Monroe much less. However, Lowe’s goal has always been to graduate from Monroe High School. She said she likes the change of pace, and being able to have experiences outside skiing.

With the help of school administrators and her teachers, she was able to complete her school work even though she would sometimes be gone for weeks at a time. Their arrangement has been in place for the past two ski seasons. Lowe usually returns from Bend to take tests and focus on other work. She is part of the National Honors Society and has maintained a 3.5 GPA or higher.

The lifestyle has its challenges, Lowe said. Spending so much time away can make it hard to return. She said she does have friends she likes to catch up with when she is home and who support her while she is gone.

Lowe is still deciding her next steps after she graduates in 2019. She is eyeing the Air Force Academy, but that wouldn’t allow her to ski as often. Dartmouth would give her more training opportunities.

If Lowe doesn’t get skiing scholarships, she may take a year off to train and see if she can make the Olympic Team, or get scholarships the next year. She said a career in science, particularly biology, is appealing, if she doesn’t keep skiing.

In the meantime, Lowe is looking forward to training in Chile and potentially Europe for a few weeks this summer. She is excited to have a more flexible schedule for a few months — meeting her two-a-day exercise goal isn’t always possible during the school year.

Part of Lowe’s attitude is to prepare as much as possible. She said she also remembers to trust herself and be ready to adapt if conditions change.

“Be yourself and do what you need to do to perform your best.”