Steamboat Springs Michaela Frias looks forward to taking on the dual challenges of pursuing an Ivy League education and the equally competitive world of college ski racing when she packs her ski bags late this summer and travels to Hanover, N.H., to study and ski at Dartmouth College.
She hopes to major in international studies while hitting New England’s Winter Carnival Circuit as a cross-country skier for the Big Green. “I’m really excited about going to college,” she says. “Everyone I met on the team was so nice.”
Brian Tate, Frias’ coach at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, says she is an intense ski racer but many people don’t pick up on it at first because of her quirky sense of humor and easy laugh. “She’s very, very competitive, and she’s surprisingly intellectual,” Tate says. “She has a lot of thoughts on world issues. And she has a unique sense of humor. She’ll throw you some curveballs.”
Frias loved Advanced Placement English and sociology during her senior year at Steamboat Springs High School. But her advanced placement also pertains to Nordic racing. She attracted national attention in March 2010 when she captured a gold medal at the Junior Olympics in Presque Isle, Maine.
Things didn’t go as smoothly for much of the 2010-11 season as she battled fatigue and a mysterious malaise that held her back. Finally, it was determined she had been over-training and after dialing her workouts back in late winter, she stormed onto a Junior Olympic podium again in March in Minneapolis. She claimed second-place in the mass start 10-kilometer classic race, competing against peers from across the country.
Now she’ll do the same at Dartmouth, and it’s easy to predict how — hiding her competitive fire beneath her smile — she’ll make a name for herself in New England.