Taking 1st at Junior Worlds in Italy
Trudy Crushing the Bumps
Water Ramp Training in Steamboat
How did you first fall in love with skiing? Is everyone in your family a skier?
It all started with countless laps on the backyard hill at the age of 2. When I was 5, my parents entered me into my first-ever mogul competition! Although I went around the jump and crashed a lot, I did it all with a big smile on my face. I also loved getting to the bottom of the mogul course to my coach, my dad. Ever since that day, I knew that mogul skiing was the sport for me. The adrenaline of competing, the focus and drive required in every training session, and the thrill of pushing myself to the next level all motivates me. All three of my brothers are also competitive mogul skiers, with my older brother now playing hockey. My mom is a snowboarder, which we have all taken up as well for cross-training.
At what age did you start taking on moguls?
From day one, I was always trying to keep up with my older brother and dad. So at the age of 4, the option was to stay home with my mom and my baby brother or tackle the moguls. I chose the bumps!
Can you tell us a little about mogul skiing and the differences from regular downhill skiing?
Mogul skiing includes at least a 200 meter in length, heavily moguled run. There are two jumps within the course in which to perform ariel maneuvers. Mogul skiing is judged based on turn technique, aerial maneuver and technique, and speed.
You’ve recently been named to the US Ski Team. What kind of path does that set you on now and what are your goals for the future?
I am very excited to be selected to represent Colorado and the United States on the US Ski Team while doing what I love. I am the youngest of 10 girls on the team. My upcoming path includes year-round training, which entails over 1,000 jumps on water ramps, and chasing snow for 8 months of the year. I am hoping to compete in my first World Cup on January 10–12, 2018, in Deer Valley, Utah. Competing against the best in the world is a great opportunity to grow as an athlete and a competitor. My long-term goal is competing in the 2022 winter Olympics.
What will your training involve come winter? Will you primarily be in Colorado?
The winter ahead will be very busy! I am hoping to spend most of my December and part of January training in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The long, challenging course makes for the perfect training hill and relatively speaking, it's close to home — Durango. The rest of the winter, I will be traveling around the United States and Canada to compete.
Do you have any special preparations or rituals before a competition?
The night before every competition, I take a freezing-cold ice bath. To pass the ice-bath time, I FaceTime my parents and brothers as if they are there with me. As I step into the gate of each competition, I give my coach a big hug and a double fist bump. The hug calms any last minute nerves and the fist bump gives me energy and power to put toward my upcoming run.
What’s a piece of ski apparel or equipment that you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my mogul skis — more specifically, they are my ID One mogul skis.
Do you have any tips for beginning skiers, especially people attempting moguls for the first time?
Go for it! Don’t be afraid to just jump right in and try out the bumps. Remember to keep your eyes up and your weight on your downhill ski. Although you might fall at first, get up and keep trying. Out in the Colorado mountains and fresh air, it is impossible not to fall in love.
Tell us about your favorite slopes in Colorado. Any secret spots?
My very favorite run is “Mammoth” in Telluride, on chair nine. It is long, steep and has hundreds of moguls. Even though I train for moguls almost every day, this run is an instant leg burner.
How do Colorado mountains stack up against far-flung ski destinations like Italy or Switzerland?
Nothing can compare to the fluffy Colorado snow. The large range and variety of terrain on Colorado mountains make them my very favorite place to ski. The bluebird powder days and great temperature compare to no others.
Can you share a particularly special memory or crazy story from being on the mountain?
A very special and crazy memory happened at a Colorado ski resort after just finishing a competition when I was 9. My three brothers and I had just loaded a gondola when a TV film crew hopped on with us. We were interviewed and saw ourselves on TV later that day. That was the Mickel children's first claim to fame!
We’re in the middle of summer right now, so what are your warm-weather outdoor activities of choice?
Although there is no snow in the mountains, the ski training continues. Currently, I am water ramping in Steamboat Springs to perfect my aerial flips and twists off a jump into a lake. Aside from strength training in the gym, I also love to mountain bike and explore through the mountains. When I go home to Durango, I like to go on my favorite hike to Ice Lakes. I also love to run with my dog along the rivers on the bike paths. The perfect activity for cooling off on hot afternoons is playing in the river. Whether tubing down the Yampa River in Steamboat or rafting, kayaking, boogie boarding or paddleboarding down the river in Durango, I love all forms of water!