Radical Recreation: Rather be skiing

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Taschappat posing with her one true love: her skis. At the age of four, Taschappat’s parents enrolled her in ski lessons at Hilltop Ski Area, and she has been skiing, and coaching ever since.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Madeline Tschappat-Larson, found the same passion for skiing as a child. At the age of four, Tschappat’s parents enrolled her in ski lessons at Hilltop Ski Area, but, after noticing how fast she was progressing, they decided to take her out of the class and let her hit the big slopes with her father. After that, all Tschappat wanted to do was ski with her dad and go inside for the occasional hot chocolate and soft pretzel.

At the age of six, Tschappat joined the Nordic cross country skiing program and soon found a greater love for alpine skiing. The ability to reach high speeds is what attracted her to downhill skiing.

“My favorite thing about skiing is the snow and being able to go really fast,” Tschappat said. “I downloaded an app on my phone that tracks miles per hour just by being in my pocket and bolted down Silvertip, a run at [Alyeska Resort], to the bottom of chair four, maxing out at a speed of 78 mph. It was thrilling.”

Tschappat is going to UAA as a full-time student to pursue her justice major, working as a medical assistant at Hillside Family Medicine and coaching a five and six-year-old alpine race team for the Hilltop Alpine Race Team (HART).

“It is one of the most rewarding things that I do with my life, there is nothing better than being able to share my love for the sport with kids who have their entire life to develop the same kind of passion that I have for skiing and continue to be little ski bunnies,” Tschappat said.

Tschappat first started instructing at Hilltop around 2013 as a private instructor then recruited to race coach for the next season. This will be her the third season coaching the HART and plans on continuing.

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“Nothing is better than returning to the pre-season barbecue and having 15 little ones running at me screaming ‘Coach Maddie, Coach Maddie!’ it absolutely warms my heart,” Tschappat said. “Not just the kids, but the parents who keep coming back, year to year, and being a huge part in their skier’s success in the sport.”

Many live for the summer, but Tschappat’s love for skiing is just as strong as her love for winter, her favorite season.

“I love the cold and the snow, the skiing is just the cherry on top. Skiing clears my mind, I can spend the entire day on the mountain and not worry for a minute about my bills that I have to pay, how well I am going to do on an upcoming exam, or any other issue that causes me grief,” Tschappat said. “Skiing is most definitely my happiness and is so healthy for me. You will never find me without a smile on my face while I am on a pair of skis.”

Tschappat is passionate about skiing for a variety reasons, but the lack of repetitiveness, nature and friends is what makes each time more enjoyable.

“The beautiful thing about skiing is that every run is different. Different trails, different turns and lines, different riders, that is the beautiful thing about the sport,” Tschappat said. “Skiing to me means happiness, being able to be a part of nature, doing something that brings me such joy, is my definition of perfection. The only thing that makes it even better is shredding with my buddies who have just as deep of a passion for skiing as I do.”

Tschappat plans to graduate with a major in justice and minor in legal studies while continuing to ski every winter and coach her race team. With winter coming to an end, she plans hiking and spending time with her dogs outdoors.