Lundin bound for B.C. |

Lundin bound for B.C.

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Randy Wagner Sharpshooter Imaging

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Travis Lundin was merely 2 years old and just learning his way around on skis.

“I took him down just a little, flat run,” Fritz Lundin, Travis’ father, recalled. “He pointed up the mountain and said, ‘I want to go up there.’ So off we went.”

That fearless 2-year-old is now a fearless 15-year-old with a promising future in alpine skiing. Bound for Whistler, British Columbia, for the April 8-10 Whistler Cup, his present is awfully bright, too.

Lundin will represent the United States as one of 18 skiers in Canada, where the top J3 skiers in the world will congregate for an event that, in the past, has featured the likes of U.S. Ski Team standouts Steve Nyman, Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Vonn.

“It’s huge to be able to go against the world,” Travis said.

Lundin, a freshman at Glenwood Springs High School who trains with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (AVSC), qualified by virtue of being the top U.S. finisher in the super-G at the recent Rocky/Central J3 Junior Championships in Aspen.

Fighting pneumonia the week of competition, a Whistler Cup berth didn’t come easily for Lundin.

“I didn’t know if I was going to compete,” he admitted. “On Friday, if it wasn’t better, they were going to give me steroids and I was going to skip the downhill and just do the super-G track and qualify for Whistler and be done for the week. I ended up getting better.”

How’d he get through it?

“Lots of water,” said Lundin, who lost six pounds battling the illness. “Lots of water and rest, and not much socializing.”

The prestige of qualifying for the Whistler Cup certainly served as motivation.

“It’s more of a just a recognition kind of thing, qualifying for Whistler,” Lundin said. “Your name is on a list.”

Getting on “the list” means landing on the U.S. Ski Team’s radar.

“Next year, they’re going to send me to a speed camp, where we do Beaver Creek’s downhill – the World Cup downhill – for five days training on that,” Lundin said. “And then we get to go to a bunch of national development camps where they put you with kids from around the U.S.”

Lundin hopes his J3 success translates to NorAm Cup and World Cup races in the coming years. He’s even thinking Olympics.

“Definitely,” Lundin said with a confident smile. “Either 2014 or 2018.”

Lundin’s athletic exploits aren’t exclusive to the ski hill. He’s also a big-armed quarterback for Glenwood Springs High School’s football team. He’ll vie for a starting role with the Demons in the fall.

Ski racing and football equally share Lundin’s focus.

“I love them both,” he said. “They’re both the same.”

One day, Lundin will likely have to choose one over the other. But that day is not today.

“I’m just going with it, seeing how far both take me,” he said. “Then we’ll see.”

While the two sports are wildly different, they’re also similar in one big way. Both have taught Lundin how to deal with pressure.

Whether nervously perched atop the mountain awaiting a run or standing behind center on the gridiron, Lundin’s mettle has been tested on countless occasions.

One occasion, in particular, stands out.

Lundin, a bright-eyed freshman just a few weeks into his first season of high school football, learned two days beforehand that he’d be the starting quarterback in a game at Montrose on Sept. 10, 2010.

Filling in for injured starter Luke Jacob, Lundin kept the Demons afloat in a 6-0 loss to the Indians.

“I had the same nervous feeling I get skiing, for sure, but when I got into warm-ups, I felt so good,” he recounted. “I was throwing it so good that day. I’m happy coach let me throw a couple of ’em in the game.”

Jacob returned to action the following week, taking Glenwood all the way to the state title game. It’s a season Lundin won’t soon forget, a season rife with lessons that he’s taken to the slopes.

“Football and skiing, they’re so different,” Lundin said. “Skiing is just – you have your team – but it’s just you and you’re the only one who’s going to do it. You either make it or not.

“With football, you’re there for each other and you play for each other. … I’ve learned a lot from football. It’s matured me. It’s definitely helped me become a better ski racer.”

Since deserting the bunny slopes as that fearless 2-year-old, Lundin’s thirst for speed has only intensified.

His best events are the speed events – the downhill and the super-G. As such, it’s no coincidence that World Cup racer Travis Ganong is among Lundin’s idols.

“He’s the young guy from Squaw Valley,” Lundin said. “He’s a downhiller and I’m more of a speed guy anyways.”

Lundin’s no slouch at the technical events – giant slalom and slalom – either.

“I guess I’m a pretty good all-around skier,” he said.

Those all-around skills were honed both on the Western Slope and on the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, where Lundin spent his early childhood.

The Lundins moved to the Western Slope in 2001. It was a familiar setting for Fritz Lundin, who grew up in Glenwood Springs.

“We came back here so Travis could have more of a diverse athletic experience,” said Fritz, a pilot for United Airlines. “Tahoe is real small. The skiing’s great, but they don’t have the football like they have here. And my family’s here.”

And so Travis and his family ditched the Sierras for the Rockies.

He participated in Sunlight Mountain Resort’s youth programs before linking up with AVSC. He’s also learned a thing or two from his father, a competitive ski racer in his athletic heyday.

The two still find time to bond on the slopes here and there.

“I had to show him once or twice how to ski and now I can’t keep up,” Fritz joked. “I’m the old guy.”

Fritz and his wife, Kim, were the ones who introduced Travis to the mountain in the first place. And Travis fit right in.

“He’s skiing with his mom and I and he goes flying by her,” said Fritz, recalling a young Travis showcasing his natural abilities. “She’s like, ‘Slow down!’ She goes chasing him and he did this big hockey stop. She said, ‘OK.'”

Travis, as fearless as ever, hasn’t slowed down since.

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