December 04, 2023
At 8 years old, Tatym Smith was already winning gold medals for her impressive skiing skills. Now, she’s competing in half-pipe, slopestyle, and adding even more responsibility to her busy schedule as our youngest employee and Ambassador. She doesn’t even have her driver’s license yet, but being a teen doesn’t seem to stop her from getting after her goals. We could all probably learn a thing or two from her, which is why we sat down with her to talk skiing, mental prep, and Bend before the flakes really begin to fly. Check it out.
As our youngest LOGE Ambassador, we already know that you’re an amazing skier. Can you tell our readers about the specific events you compete in and how you got into the sport?
Both competitive Halfpipe and Slope Style skiing are my primary events. I have also competed in Rail Jam and X-Games. My parents had me on ice skates as soon as I could walk, and on skis shortly after.
I rarely attended pre-school. Instead, I spent most winters in ski school. My dad worked at the ski area, so I was pretty much raised in the daycare and ski school at Mt. Bachelor.
Ok, now it’s time to humble brag. How old were you when you won your first medal?
I won my first gold medal regionally at 8 years old which qualified me to compete in a national event where I received a bronze medal later that year.
Do you even remember that experience anymore?
What I mostly remember is the fun of preparing for those events, the travel to other resorts, and the recognition I received. I was only 8 and skiing was just a fun thing we did. I don’t recall training seriously or focusing on strategy like I do now. I had no idea that competitive skiing would take me this far.
Most 8-year-olds like something for a few seconds and move on. What made you stick with it?
I love the speed, adrenaline, scenery and camaraderie. I love learning new tricks and improving. I love being on the podium and being recognized for my hard work and dedication!
That hard work must be... hard.
I train on snow three+ days a week in the winter and participate in dryland (trampoline/strength) training once a week. I am also enjoying a high intensity interval training program 2-3 times a week during the off season. I am lucky enough to train on snow at Mammoth and Mt. Hood through July. Last year I was in classes full time, but this year I have modified my schedule to optimize athletic and academic activities.
So, what’s it like flying through the air like a badass?
Competing is like a final performance with butterflies and positive, exciting adrenaline all at once. It’s like being on a big outdoor winter stage. The weather and the way it can change is such a huge factor. The temps, precipitation, lighting all play a huge role in the outcome of a run. There are certain tricks that I am very comfortable with that sort of fill the spaces between difficult tricks. In my sport, all tricks must be landed and show a high degree of technical discipline. A “bobble” or imbalance can result in a difficult recovery and makes preparation for the next trick difficult. To successfully manage recoveries, I tell my body to regain position and prepare for the next take off or feature…………and yes, terms like holy crap are frequent in my head. The positive emotions, the feelings of accomplishment and personal reward, however, overshadow the holy crap moments. It’s a rush! If I’m skiing well in practice, I have confidence in my competition runs and competition runs are just practice for bigger competitions.
Then, you probably have that mental prep down pat.
Yeah, in the start gate I listen to up-tempo music with a lively beat (Taylor Swift, Shakira, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga etc.) while checking my boot/binding integration, goggle lenses, mouthguard, and helmet. Then I mentally focus, review my run, and check in with my coach.
Glad you mentioned your coach. Who’s inspiring you these days?
I look up to Zoe Atkin. I was able to train with her over the summer and I admire her skill and enthusiasm. Many of the pros at Project Gold, my coaches at MBSEF (if you have your own aspiring junior Olympic learn more about MBSEF here!), and my local teammates (skiers and snowboarders) keep me motivated and stoked to do my best too.
What else are you doing these days? Is TikTok considered a hobby now?
Haha. I like playing lacrosse, reading, running, whitewater rafting, hanging out with family, and friends. I like activities that crossover into skiing.
I also love walking and floating along the Upper Deschutes River because it’s calming. I’ll go swimming, paddling, picnicking. And I can wear sandals. Calm is good too.
OMG, you’re too well-rounded to be a teenager 😉 But seriously, what would you tell other kids (and maybe, more importantly their folks) who want to get into competitive sports?
Don’t take it too seriously too fast. Fun is number one! Develop solid skills and search for good coaching. Don’t give up. It’s not how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you get up.
We haven’t talked about this yet, but you’re actually more than a LOGE Ambassador.
Yeah, so we have a family friend who recommended me for a job at LOGE Bend. I discussed it with my father, and he liked the business model and philosophy. Additionally, I wanted to make money for my skiing expenses.
So, now I work as a housekeeper and provide support for front desk, events, and customer relations. As an Ambassador I like sharing the casual vibe of the LOGE property I work at, making extra money, talking about skiing and all Central Oregon has to offer with our guests. The staff are really kind and I like the sense of community. I even attend events there when I’m not scheduled. It’s a cool spot and it’s on the way to Mt. Bachelor and the Deschutes National Forest.
And since you’re local, where would you tell our guests to go during their stay?
I already mentioned the beauty of the Deschutes River. Don’t miss it! Many of the rapids and falls up here are shaped by lava flows and there are hidden swim spots everywhere, even close to town. There is a cool spot called the Lot that has delicious food trucks with ample seating (and the benches are heated). I also know where the best powder stashes are even days after a storm!
Where are the best powder stashes?! You’ll have to come to LOGE Bend and ask us in person to get the scoop 😉 Book your winter stay with us now, follow us on social, and if you haven’t yet, download our app.
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