At the young age of 16, Kyla Miller has earned a name for herself on the slopes after placing second in the Super-G and third place in the Downhill at the U18 Alpine National Championships at Mammoth, Calif. last month.
Miller started hitting the slopes at the age of three when she would spend every weekend at Stevens Pass. Her skills as a skier encouraged her to move to Idaho where she attends school.
“I am a sophomore in high school at Community School in Sun Valley, Idaho where I live in a dorm at boarding school away from my family and friends 10 months of the year,” Miller explained. “I attended Lake Stevens schools from kindergarten through eighth grade.”
Miller credits her first ski coach for many of her successes in skiing.
“My skiing accomplishments have mostly been impacted by my first coach ever Dave Lyon out of Stevens Pass Alpine Club. He taught me everything I know in my skiing and many life lessons,” she said. “I can confidently say he is still the best coach I have ever had. This sport can all be a mental game and he is the base of my mental stability.”
Miller is use to being the youngest in most of her competitions and feels that it only makes her work harder. This latest contest was no exception.
“I have always been one of the youngest athletes on the hill competing against 16-year olds all the way to 25 year olds in some cases. But this particular national race in Mammoth, California that was just 16, 17, and 18 year olds I was the youngest,” Miller said. “Some people look at it as a disadvantage but in my opinion it’s an honor to be keeping up and competing with the top girls in the country at such a young age.”
Some may worry that Miller is “giving up” a lot for her sport of choice but she has no regrets and is looking forward to a future of snow and slopes all over the world.
“Coming home from the 2013 U18 Nationals with a Silver and two Bronze medals is a great feeling. But I have another year to prove myself as the best in the nation and I plan to next year,” Miller said. “Although I don’t get all the high school experiences such as football games, dances, and the weekend fun, there is something about going as fast as you possibly will let yourself down a sheer ice pitch that I cannot let go of. I truly believe you can go as far as you want no matter where you are if you work hard enough, but I owe it all to my parents for providing the best resources I can possibly have.”
Looking ahead she would like to make the US Ski Team and maybe even head to the Olympics some day.
“As of now, my goal is to make the US Ski Team and who knows maybe the Olympic team. I have reached most of the stepping-stones leading to that higher goal but if that path does not work out I plan on racing for an NCAA college and living the ‘normal’ life,” she explained.
Miller is grateful that she was able to grow up in Lake Stevens and also benefit from the advantages at Sun Valley Ski Academy. Continually pushing herself on the slopes and in school is her gauge to true success.
“Sun Valley Ski Academy, all the personal trainers in the gym, and the best equipment is because of them. They opened doors to opportunities most small town girls could never imagine,” Miller said. “No matter where this sport takes me, I love calling Lake Stevens ‘home’. I am learning life values everyday. Sometimes they come with failure. To me, success isn’t measured in how many medals or titles you receive, it’s knowing you did the best you could do until there was no more to do. That is my ultimate goal in Ski Racing.”