Adventure Scholarship Update – Sophia Bisbee
If you haven’t already, meet our recent Adventure Scholarship recipient Sophia Bisbee!
Sophia is a sixteen-year-old athlete in her sophomore year at Champlain Valley Union High School. She was raised up skiing at Mad River Glen where she quickly found her passion for the sport through competitions in addition to her passion for soccer, swimming, sailing, golf and surfing, among other sports. She also enjoys playing music (piano, clarinet and drums), acting, singing, robotics and traveling. Sophia’s mother was born and raised in Perú which provides the opportunity to visit regularly. She has toured the rainforest, the majestic Andes (Machu Picchu trails), the coast and beaches in addition to studying in Peruvian schools for two years. She is fluent in Spanish and remains connected to the culture.
Six years ago, Sophia became a member of the MRG Freeski Team and in the 2018-19 season as well as the 2019-2020 season she finished in second position qualifying her for NORAMS. She was then invited to the IFSA Junior World championship which was held in Switzerland.
Sophia has returned from her trip and has the following update to share:
My Dad and I have returned to the states after an amazing trip, I just wanted to update everyone on how it went.
The trip started out a bit hectic, we were told a day before leaving that our flight through Belgium would not let us go any further, since their covid restrictions are very strict. Luckily with some help through a woman from the airlines we were able to change our flight to go around Belgium in order to know for sure that we would arrive in Switzerland without complications. After many hours in the airport and in the air we finally arrived in Geneva, Switzerland.
There, we were picked up by a driver who drove us two hours to where we were actually staying (Verbier, Switzerland) Although the drive was a bit long, it was probably one of the prettiest drives I’ve ever experienced. The driver first took us to a lookout where we were able to see some agriculture, the train, and of course the mountains in the background. After that we drove a bit more, just admiring the housings and farms. We really didn’t need to stop anywhere specific to be amazed by the views. After a bit the driver stopped again. We were at lake Geneva that was surrounded on one side by unique buildings and even castles. On the other side it was surrounded by mountains that went straight down to the border of the water. After taking lots of pictures we drove some more until we came to our last pitstop. The grocery store. Yes, this place isn’t usually very exciting, but trust me this time it was exciting and confusing.
After getting some food we drove for another ten minutes up the mountain where we finally arrived at our hotel in Verbier. That night we took some time to walk around the village just to get to know where everything was located. The next day was our first day on the slopes. We were lucky enough to not only be skiing on this type of terrain but also know our way around it since we were guided by some locals. By lunch time that day I had already scoped the potential venue, picked out some lines, and had gotten pretty comfortable with the terrain.
The next day we were more than excited to wake up and get an early start to our day. My dad and I did some solo skiing in the morning until we met back up with the local skier (Ben) who had been showing us around. To our surprise he was accompanied with a group of kids. The group he was with happened to be the official Verbier Freeski Team. So to our luck, we were able to ski the day with kids our age with incredible talent and skill – which was a great advantage. Unfortunately, before the day ended I tore my mcl (at the time we thought it was just tweaked). I made my way down the mountain early in order to rest my knee.
The next morning came along and my knee was not feeling 100 percent. This day was the hardest of the whole trip. I was so disappointed in myself as It was only the second day and the competition was still ahead of me. I was sitting in my bed knowing that I needed to be out skiing in order to prepare myself for the competition since this terrain was something I had never skied before in my life.
The following day I woke up feeling a little better but still far from 100 percent. I’m sure my adrenaline helped as it was finally inspection day. We made our way up the mountain. Chairlift by chairlift. I knew that inspection would be difficult since ¨visual inspection¨ was a foreign thing to me, but I didn’t imagine it to be as difficult as it was.
After getting off the tram everybody gathered around at the top and started pointing to the distance. I honestly had no idea what to look at. Everything was just so far away. Luckily, we were then directed to a long traverse that opened up where everybody could sit and inspect the venue at a better angle. I now could see the scary and long venue in front of me, but still far enough away that I needed my binoculars in order to inspect.
George Madison, My dad, Our new local Oskar (who is friends with Ben), and myself sat there staring at the venue for at least an hour and a half. The sun in the alps is strong and Needless to say, I got extremely sunburned.
We had come up with some different lines during that hour, but by the time we skied away I was pretty confident in one line in particular that I had chosen. At the end of the day I had a filling dinner and went to bed.
The next morning, I woke up early, taped my knee up with lots of duct tape, and walked up to the lift. The chairlifts opened up extra early for all the competitors since we had to hike an hour to the start of the venue before the event’s early start time. I happened to be the last competitor to drop (boys and girls) so I had some time before having to hike up. That time came quickly though and I began my hike with my dad. At last we reached the top. It was beautiful. We were so high up, and you could really see mountains for miles.
I had about 25 minutes before dropping into the venue. I took this time to talk with my dad about my run and to visualize myself skiing it. Before I knew it my name was called to stand in the starting corral. I gave my dad a hug, waved to the drones, and pushed myself through the starting gate.
Everything went so fast. I reached the bottom and unfortunately did not execute the run that I had planned. There were many things that I had to actually experience first in the competition in order to get used to. Although on normal days when I sometimes don’t run the way I had planned I usually become very upset, at the end of this run I felt the exact opposite of upset. I was a bit disappointed of course but I was honestly very happy and so excited that I had just done what I did.
The next couple of days that we were there we took it a bit easy but still of course enjoying the mountain. On our last day we drove two hours to the airport again, got on a plane and landed in the states as fifth in the world.
I can easily say that this was the best trip of my life, and it was all thanks to all of your kind support and contributions. It was and is so incredibly appreciated.
Thank You All so much.