Olympic freestyle skier Annalisa Drew: Mass.-born, NH-bred
Annalisa Drew, a Massachusetts resident who grew up skiing at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H., competes in the FIS World Cup halfpipe finals at Copper Mountain, Colo., in December. Drew is scheduled to compete Friday in the inaugural Olympic women's freesking halfpipe during the Sochi Winter Games. (USA TODAY Sports)
Then came the weekend her cousins introduced her to freestyle skiing on the halfpipe at Loon Mountain, and Drew was hooked. Good-bye, ice skates; hello, twin-tip skis.
Now 20, Drew is set to compete in the first women's freeskiing halfpipe event in Olympic history Thursday at the Sochi Winter Games.
"The coolest thing about the ski team was that I was still able to ski with my cousins, wear what I wanted and use the run I wanted. I never spent days memorizing a run like you would a skating performance," Drew said.
"Steezy" is X-Games slang combining the words "stylish" and "easy." It describes the way Drew appears on the slopes but belies the hard work that led to her success after her relatively late introduction to the Loon Freestyle Program.
Drew entered the New Hampton School for her sophomore year and was able to ski every day as a member of Waterville Valley's Black and Blue Trail Smashers team. As a senior in 2011, she won her first NorAm title and received an invitation to a World Cup event in La Plange, France.
The following season, she placed fourth in her first Dew Tour, and she's remained one of the country's top freeskiers — in slopestyle as well as halfpipe — ever since. She entered the Olympics ranked eighth in the world in the halfpipe.
Back at where it all started, Loon Mountain will hold a viewing party in the resort's Paul Bunyan Room Friday at 8 p.m., when NBC is scheduled to show a recorded broadcast of that morning's competition. As she prepared for the biggest moment of her athletic career, Drew was confident her performance would be worthy of prime time.