BOZEMAN – Montana offers some of the best skiing in the lower 48 states, so it’s no surprise that the Treasure State raises some of the best snow sport athletes in the world. And one is tucked away in the Bridger Mountains.
It’s been nearly eight months since MTN Sports last spoke to Sidney Simard and a lot has changed. The most obvious being the short hair.
“I chopped it off in January. I just felt like getting rid of it. It was kind of just a phase, I guess,” laughed Simard.
Simard is a freeride skier. Before this winter, he was the top competitor on the Freeride Junior World Tour. Since then he has moved up into the adult division, the Freeride World Qualifiers, and he has performed well in his first time in the pros.
“The competition is definitely a lot harder and everyone is really good at skiing,” said Simard. “I finished fifth overall in the Americas. So in the U.S., Canada, and South America.”
Top five in all of the Americas sounds pretty good, and Sidney traveled to places like Slovakia to compete. But for Simard, it just wasn’t good enough as he missed out on his lifetime goal.
“The goal is to try to get on the (Freeride) World Tour. So there are the qualifiers for that and in order to get to that, you have to be top-three overall. So I was close to that, but next year I have to basically restart and try to do that again,” said Simard.
In each event, freeride skiers acquire points based on how well they performed. Those points are continually tallied up throughout the season. At the end of the ski year, the top-three competitors from each region, like North America, Europe, etc. make the Freeride World Tour. And then they need to perform well enough on the Tour to stay there, or they risk falling back down into qualifiers once again.
But Simard’s spirit is not dampened and, at only the age of 19, Simard is one of the most promising freeride skiers in the world. Not bad for just his first season on the job. But Sidney knows that this career isn’t the most lucrative. So he is now starting to juggle being a world class athlete and an everyday college student.
“I took this year as a gap year to ski as much as I can and travel. I’m going to start school in the summer and then go to school in the fall and then try to take the winters off,” Simard said.
He wants to attend Montana State University and study wildlife biology. For his dedication we award Sidney simard this plaque as our Athlete of the Week. He’s still a teenager so God only knows how high he can reach.
“Hopefully I can make it on the World Tour and see how long I can stay on that and then go from there. But in the long run I just want to be able to ski until I’m really old,” smiled Simard.
One thing is for sure, Simard is only getting better when it comes to his craft. And who knows where another eight months will lead him.