High To Low And Back Again
Keene’s Olympics-Bound Athlete is Back on the Run
On Valentine’s Day in 2018, Tommy Biesemeyer left Jeongseon, South Korea, brokenhearted. The day before, what would have been his first Olympic event, the alpine skier had ruptured his Achilles tendon. “It was an extreme high to low, something I have never felt before,” recalls Biesemeyer, a Keene native. “I was devastated.”
After his initial surgery, a grueling staph infection resulted in two additional operations, which disabled Biesemeyer even longer. A downhill skier since the age of two, he’d long dreamt of competing in the Olympics, a homespun obsession fueled by his upbringing near Lake Placid (the town hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932, and for a second time in 1980).
“At times, I would ask myself if this was worth it, but my love for the sport always outweighed my doubt,” he says.
Now back on the slopes in less than a year since PyeongChang, he’s recently qualified for U.S. Ski Team in November 2018. As a member of the Alpine men’s B squad, his sights and spirits are primed for another Olympic debut.
Biesemeyer, has long made his rounds on the slopes in upstate NY. “I usually make it to Windham Mountain one to two times a year,” says Biesemeyer, who is one of the resort’s sponsored athletes. “My favorite trail is Why Not, and I always ski that the most...I have good history there after winning U16 State Championships back in 2002.”
Most recently, he’s been sharpening his technique in Park City, Utah (along with the rest of the U.S. Ski Team), where the athlete’s intensive training regimen has prepared the skier for upcoming races in New Zealand, Chile, Austria, and Colorado.
What does a full day of training look like for the hopeful Olympian? Biesemeyer is awake by 6:30am and at breakfast by 7am. At 8:30am, he kicks off and trains on the hill until noon (about 10 to 12 runs, to be exact). A two-hour nap follows lunch and then he’ll spend another hour and a half with dry land training (picture something similar to a spin class).
And though the alpine skier gears up for races around the world, New York will always be his home base. “I take a lot of pride in being a representative of New York state skiing,” he says. “I can only hope that my success in the sport and our state’s Olympic history will be a catalyst to the next generation.”
Biesemeyer Recommends: Even if you’re not prepared to ski like an Olympian, you can gear up like one. “The new item that has become game changing for our cold days are Lenz heated socks,” says Biesemeyer. “They will probably be the most expensive socks you will buy, but they will keep your feet warm at a whole new level.”
By Keith Flanag | Illustration by Alyssa Kiefer