Q&A with OST’s Brianna Macdonald
AOA chats with graduating OST racer Brianna Macdonald to learn more about her next steps after the Ontario Ski Team. Bri was on the OST for three seasons but did not race during the 2017-18 season due to injury. She grew up at the Osler Bluff Ski Club and was recently voted the 2019 Mackenzie Investments Female Alpine Athlete of the Year.
Q1: Wow what a great season you had. What do you attribute this success to?
This year I had goals I wanted to achieve, and I spent all of my time and energy working towards accomplishing them. I became confident, I had an amazing support system, and I started to ski really well.
Q2: You are off to the University of New Hampshire to continue racing. What level of NCAA racing will this involve and what kind of financial support are you getting?
I will be racing the NCAA college circuit and studying Architecture and Art. I got an athletic scholarship for my four years there, and I’m so excited!
Q3: Is your end goal to come back to race for Canada one day?
I would absolutely love to come back to Canada after college and race.
Q4: Ontario is not a big mountain province. Do we suffer as a result of not having these big hills to grow up on? (compared to say Alberta, BC)
I don’t think we suffer as a result of smaller hills. I actually think it’s to our advantage especially for younger racers. The return time is much shorter, so we actually get much more volume than any of the west coast skiers on the big mountains.
Q5: You were injured over the 2017-18 season and had knee surgery. Tell us about this injury and how long you were off snow in total?
I never knew how hard it would be to come back from an injury until I experienced it first hand. I was off snow for nine months, which I was really happy about. It gave me more time to build my confidence in the gym. When I did return to snow, I spent a month free skiing to focus on my technique. And by the time I got back into gates, I was so confident in my knee and my skiing, that it didn’t take long at all to get back into the swing of things.
Q6: Mentally this must have been very hard. How did you overcome this?
Having a setback when you’re an athlete is challenging, both mentally and physically. But what I’ve come to realize is that overcoming my obstacle made me an all-around stronger athlete. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t easy, there were ups and downs, but that’s life! I wanted to work harder in the gym. I never took a day back on snow for granted. I just had this hunger to be back skiing, and doing what I love. There were days where I wouldn’t be confident, or I would lose motivation, but I overcame that by the amazing support system that surrounded me. It was a game changer having a coach that was a top ski racer and faced setbacks as well. Having Katie by my side was beyond helpful. She understood exactly what I was going through mentally, physically and emotionally.
Q7: Who is your idol and why?
I have always been a Mikaela Shiffrin fan. I love the way she skis, and admire her work ethic.
Q8: I know you’ll miss Katie (her coach). What made her such a special coach to your team?
Katie has coached me for the past two years. During that time I have come to realize what makes Katie such an amazing coach is her passion for the sport. She invests all of her time and energy into the girls she coaches because she just wants to see them be their best selves, on and off the ski hill. I think I can speak on behalf of the women’s team by saying we’ll all miss her and her positive look on life. She’s genuinely humble, and when I learned about her ski racing career and the success she had, it was inspirational. Katie wasn’t just my coach; she’s my role model.
Q9: If you could say one thing to the kids reading this what would it be?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
Q10: Now you are always smiling every time I see you. Is this always the case or are you, in fact, a normal teenager?
I would say I smile a lot more than the normal teenager 🙂