By Taylor Brandt, Fast and Female Jr. Reporter
I recently got the chance to sit down with former US Alpine Ski Team member Karen Ghent.
Karen Ghent is currently the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail Alpine Program Director. Karen is a Level III certified coach and has been skiing since she was five years old. Karen is married to Brad Ghent and they have three daughters, Erika, Christa, and Abby, who are all alumni of Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV).
Erika Ghent is currently coaching U14 athletes at SSCV, Christa Ghent was a member of the CU Cycling women’s team and Abby Ghent is a member of the US Ski Team. Karen Ghent’s whole life basically revolves around the sport of skiing; who knows what her life would be like if she deiced that she just was not quite cut out for sports.
Karen Ghent grew up in Lake Tahoe playing soccer, waterskiing, running, and climbed mountains in the summer time. In the winter she skied and at the age of eight she started ski racing. You could say that sports and being active had a big role in Karen’s life.
When I asked Karen how sports affected her life she said: “Sports helped me stay healthy and make the right choices. They gave me a purpose in life, something to strive for, so that I did not stray from the right path.”
When asked about how skiing effected her school and grades she said “I had to work hard to stay up with my school work in order to be able to do my athletics.”
Karen Ghent knew that to be able to ski her grades had to be good too and because of this she worked harder to keep her grades up. As a kid and teenager Karen said that “skiing became her identity”.
Karen Ghent is the mom of three female athletes and is now the director of a program full of female athletes; Karen has been inspiring young girls to be their best for a long time now.
This is what she told me about the advice she gives female athletes when they are feeling like they do not belong in the world of sports: “You are every bit as strong as any other person out there, no matter the gender, and that it’s okay to be feminine. But the girls that I know that have been successful in athletics are tough as nails.”
“If you are tough and strong in your mind and body gender really does not play as big of a role in sports,” she tells. “Yes, guys will be stronger than girls that is just a fact every girl athlete has to accept at one point, but that does not mean you cannot strive to be just as strong as them and work your hardest every day.”
When I told Karen that girls are six times more likely to drop out of sports between the age of nine and fifteen than boys she said she was not surprised.
“Society still sees women and girls as the homebody, the person who has to stay with the kids and raise the family.” This was what Karen said was one of the reason she was not surprised. Another reason was that boys have more athlete role models than girls do: “Not lack of, but fewer role models with women in sports”.
So, to any and all young girls I suggest that you find an inspiring female role model who you can look up to. Find a passion that can help you stay healthy and active. Realize that you are only as strong and tough as you believe that you are. Believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. Set goals and find something to strive for so that you can make the right choices for the right reasons and not just because your parents told you to.
I am a 13 year old alpine ski racer at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail. I am in eighth grade and I have a passion for skiing and writing. I have all male coaches and everyday I am struggling to prove to them that girls are just as tough as guys. I am extremely happy to be given this opportunity to write articles about amazing female athletes who proved that they are just as tough as guys.