Shortly after Oliver Loeser could walk, he was strapping on skis.
The Mercer Island resident’s parents introduced their youngster to snow skiing at an early age and he’s still going at it as an 18-year-old member of the Crystal Mountain Alpine Club racing squad.
At the age of 10, the current Mercer Island High School (MIHS) senior dug into the racing side of the sport and has flourished throughout his career.
A recent step on his successful journey was placing second overall at the four-day Northwest Cup Finals series in March at Stevens Pass. During that event, he notched first in the Super G (giant slalom) and second in both the giant slalom and dual panel slalom. Earlier this year, Loeser said he was proud to take 11th overall in the Super G at the regional Junior Olympics at Mission Ridge.
“I really do enjoy speed sports,” he said. “I do a lot of road biking with my dad and that’s kind of a speed sport in some respects. I also do some surfing, too, and (that sport) has the wind in my hair. There’s something about going fast.”
Loeser’s mom is a snowboarder and his dad participated in ski and snowboard racing when he was a kid.
The MIHS athlete chuckled while telling the story about how his dad tried to discourage his son from ski racing.
“He said that it was ‘a lifetime of disappointment with a few sprinkles of happiness,’ just because of how the sport operates ‘cause there’s hundreds of racers and only one winner. One slip-up can make you unhappy for the rest of the day,” Loeser said.
Loeser went for it anyway and has accumulated copious sprinkles of happiness, he said. One slip-up a few years ago during a free skiing session resulted in a crash and tearing of tendons off the back of both his femur bones. He was sidelined for a few months to recover and was back on the slopes in time for summer skiing.
In the fall, Loeser will attend Middlebury College in Vermont, where he’ll get in some non-school team ski racing when he’s not hitting the books.
During his years with the Crystal Mountain Alpine Club, Loeser has formed tight bonds with his coaches and teammates. He appreciates their support and chucks a shout-out in their direction.
“As much as skiing is an individual sport, there’s something about the team that makes or breaks the athlete. It really is a team effort,” he said.
The Reporter asked Loeser a series of questions to get a behind-the scenes glimpse into his life:
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
“Rogue One” of “Star Wars.”
What superpower would you like to have?
I’d like to manipulate time. That would be cool. Freeze time, slow it down or speed it up. It would help with skiing, certainly (laughs).
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I really dislike it when people don’t close my door when they open it and then they leave and they keep it open. I like it closed.
What’s your most binge-worthy TV series?
I recently started watching “The Americans,” and I like that one a lot.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
(Wake) surfing with parents and family and playing games with my brother and the like.
If you’re having a tough day, how do you break out of it?
Maybe I’ll take my dog for a walk or just get outside. I think that works, it clears my head.