Holladay, UT – If you’ve ever spoken to him, you’d think Jared Goldberg was born with skis attached to his feet. Having grown up in Utah, shredding pow at Snowbird, a strong passion for the mountains emanates from Goldberg’s pores. And lucky for Goldberg, he’s been able to make his love affair with the mountain his day job.
Though this passion for the mountains was innate, it was definitely a gift from Goldberg’s parents – Don and Annette – who are not only two of his biggest fans, but his biggest adventure buddies. He’d spend most of his childhood in the mountains, and when he wasn’t on the mountain he was surfing in Maui. He credits his parents for instilling in him this love for nature.
“I think they bestowed upon me an appreciation of the outdoors and constantly wanting to be active,” reflected Goldberg. “This mentality definitely helps me train harder – go on that bike ride even though I’m really tired, or do a few more reps in the gym.”
At just 24 years old, Goldberg has tasted the Olympics and already has five top-15 World Cup finishes under his belt. He’s come a long way from his days as a young shredder when Goldberg looked up to an all-star line up of on and off-mountain renegades like teammate Bode Miller in the gates, along with backcountry/freeski pioneers like Jeremy Nobis and Seth Morrison.
Revisiting Goldberg’s history helps him to realize his progress, and it’s where he finds motivation. “To go back and talk to my coaches is all the motivation I need to see how far I’ve come,” notes Goldberg. “To see young racers having fun and to remember that I was there once too is pretty cool and definitely inspires me to keep plugging away and to be the best.”
Goldberg is well aware of the impact an athlete at the elite level can have on young racers. It was Miller who had that impact on Goldberg. “Starstruck” might not be the right word for it, but Goldberg was stoked to be skiing with Miller after looking up to him since the age of 10, when he witnessed Miller race giant slalom in Park City World Cup and the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.
Perhaps it was Miller’s unconventional style both on and off the mountain that was the catalyst for Goldberg to take notice. In a sea of spirits that are similar on the traveling White Circus, Goldberg stands out. He keeps the mood light. Oftentimes, you’ll hear Goldberg speaking in an Australian accent or quoting a movie with a near-impeccable impression. He’s funny.
Goldberg will be the first one to remind you that it’s important to have fun. The earliest sacrifice he remembers making? “I had to miss a high school dance with a girl I really liked because of a ski race,” remembered “Goldie,” as his teammates call him. His humor/antics have even earned him a hashtag: #jaredoftheday. Catch him during inspection, though, and you’ll see his intense focus. In order to hurl your body down a mountain at 90 miles per hour, that kind of intensity is necessary after all.
Words of wisdom that have had an impact on Goldberg, “If you’re suckin’, start tuckin.” are spoken like a true American Downhiller.
Megan Harrod took some time to sit down with “Goldie” to explore what makes a champion. This is what he had to say.
Q: In your words, what makes a champion?
JARED GOLDBERG: I believe a champion is someone who truly loves what they do. They also know themselves very well, and have learned how to approach any situation for the best outcome. With a champion, it’s not about the race; it’s about the moment. That’s how they excel in high-pressure situations. To truly be a champion I think you have to constantly be trying to better yourself and when you win, you have to work even harder. But honestly I’m not really sure yet, so I’m trying to learn how to be one every day.
Q: Do you remember the first time you felt like a champion?
JG: The first time I felt like a champion was probably when I was about 7 years old. I finished in second place in a race wearing a one-piece jacket; I don’t think many kids had a race suit yet. But it was a feeling of accomplishment that gave me motivation to keep going. Also I had a bet with my father – he didn’t think I had a chance being one of the youngest racers – that I could get a race suit if I was top three. Well, BOOYAH!
Q: What is the biggest piece of advice you have for aspiring kids who want to be sitting where you are today?
JG: It’s important to ski a ton when you’re younger, and that doesn’t necessarily mean in a race course. The best training I had growing up was dodging trees and rocks off the groomed trail. Today, it’s still what I’ll do pre-race – grab some free ski runs and try to enjoy myself by hitting jumps. That’s where you really learn to anticipate terrain and make the recoveries that keep you in the race. Not to mention, it keeps your head in check because you need to make sure skiing is your first love, then racing.