According to valley-raised World Cup ski racer Ben Thomsen

Pro skier credits his mom for getting him hooked on racing

“Thanks Mom,” especially if your mom helped you get started on your way to a World Cup alpine ski racing career.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s a fitting time to say “Thanks Mom,” especially if your mom helped you get started on your way to a World Cup alpine ski racing career.

Long before he was standing on World Cup podiums and blasting down Olympic courses, Ben Thomsen got his beginning on skis with the encouragement of his mom, Shelley, who is a ski racing coach.

“I’m doing my dream and she basically started the whole thing,” said Ben.

Shelley, who coached at Fairmont and then later at Panorama (where she still coaches), recalls Ben starting to ski at about age three and, not long after, tagging along with her as she coached much older racers.

“I remember I used to hide behind the chairs so I could get away from my Nancy Greene group and go ski on my own,” said Ben. “Once I’d done that a few times, my mom said, ‘Well, if you don’t want to ski with them, you’ll have to come ski with us.’ So when most five year olds were doing ‘pizza and french fries,’ I was doing GS (giant slalom) with 15 and 16 year olds.”

Ben’s dad was also a ski coach (although he worked mostly with older kids) and, according to Shelley, skiing makes for a pretty good family sport.

“For a family, it’s something you do together. Everybody participates. It’s fun,” she said. “To me, the most special part is that Ben’s got the same passion for the sport as I do.”

Ben recalls his mom’s approach to coaching fondly.

“With my mom it was, ‘Let’s go have fun and develop ski skills on the way.’ She didn’t care if we did our warm-up runs in gates or by skiing through the trees or somewhere else on the hill. It was about keeping things fun. Nobody else understood that approach, but I still take a lesson out of it, even on the World Cup circuit,” said Ben. “You need to enjoy your passions, and that’s something I learned from my mom.”

Ben says he also adopted a competitive yet humble persona from Shelley.

Shelley for her part, credits the family’s passion for skiing that helped shape not just Ben’s athletic talent, but his personality.

“Skiing as a family means you learn pretty quick about being organized and that things aren’t always going to be easy. Those traits help create who you are as a person,” she said.

These days Ben and Shelley still keep connected, although they are frequently on different continents.

“I do watch every race, even if he’s over in Europe and I have to get up at 3 a.m. here to watch it through Live Timing,” said Shelley.

“It is sometimes tough being on the complete other side of the world, even though there’s Facebook and Skype, but we both get the reality of the situation,” said Ben, adding that he’s been away from home for Christmas or his mom’s birthday for the past six years.

“I do talk to her, and my dad, every race,” he said. “It’s pretty cool knowing your mom gets up in the middle of the night to see how you did.”

When Ben is home, he and Shelley are often on the valley’s slopes skiing or, in the warmer months, out on the golf course.

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read