SNU Student Elle Murphy talks ski racing, olympics, and beyond


Courtesy photo

Elle Murphy in 2019, at the Wilder Dwight Speed Series in Aspen Highlands, Colorado.

Arianna Barielle, Reporter

Every morning, before the sun rises, an alpine skier is already preparing for training. At 7 a.m., you must be prepared with your boots on and ready to do your best on the slopes. The daily life of a skier can be fun, but it is also very demanding; you need to have the ability to switch from a student to a professional athlete as soon as you hit the snow.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado-native Elle Murphy first strapped on a pair of skis at 2 years old, and started competing at the age of 7. She is not only a skier, but an athlete from all angles. The 19-year-old is passionate about outdoor adventures such as whitewater rafting, mountain biking, endurance, and camping.
“Adrenaline, in the skiing itself, being upon a hill and dedicating myself to something, being powerful and free even in the cold and pushing myself beyond my limits. It doesn’t have to be necessarily satisfying, but it is something rewarding,” Murphy says on what makes her passionate and motivated to keep going through the adversities of skiing.
Alpine skiers have their own routine to prepare before a race, but what is most important before going at high speeds is to be comfortable and aware of your strength. It is not enough to train constantly at the gym, on the slopes, and memorize the route during a race. If your mind is not in the right place, the results will never come.
In her career, Murphy has faced multiple injuries that have resulted in four knee surgeries.
“The recovery process was very hard,” she said. “I had my first two surgeries when I was 14; recovery is still on my mind because you can see everyone around – your friends and teammates – being injured. It is not something you cannot think about.”
Despite all the obstacles she has overcome, Murphy has accomplished something that many athletes aspire to: the Olympics. Her tenacity and determination landed her a spot on the Irish Olympic Ski Team, and she has the opportunity to represent her country internationally. Murphy, who has dual citizenship in Ireland and America, is also a guide for the blind and hopes to qualify for the Paralympics.
This upcoming ski season is very important for Murphy, especially for the winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022. It is also the year of the World University Games, and she will represent Sierra Nevada University internationally. She also wants to qualify for the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association Nationals in Lake Placid, NY.
In the future, Murphy hopes to move on from a racing career to work in business management. She is thinking about a managerial career. But, for now, she is focused on skiing.
“Ski racing is mentally and physically challenging. I hate to compare it to other sports, but it is intense on another level. Being cold, waking up early, training every day even during the summer, and sacrificing a great part of your social life is not easy,” Murphy said. “Every sport has its pros and cons but as a skier, you must be prepared for a lot of ups and downs and keep going even if the results are not coming.”