This summer, Rowland Hall welcomed former competitive ski racer Foreste Peterson to the Rowmark Ski Academy team.
We could not be more excited to have Foreste on board to work with our Academy athletes on and off the hill to share her knowledge, work ethic, and grit.—Todd Brickson, Rowmark program director
Foreste joins Rowmark as U19 International Ski Federation coach and academic liaison. A former racer for the Squaw Valley Ski Team, US Ski Team, Dartmouth College Ski Team, and Team X Alpine private women’s team, Foreste brings to Rowmark valuable elite athlete knowledge and experience that will benefit our student-athletes.
“We are thrilled that Foreste has joined our Rowmark Ski Academy staff,” said Todd Brickson, program director. “Her international experience and skill as an elite ski racer; her determination to scratch and claw her way to the top of collegiate skiing, all the way to the World Cup; and her humble yet confident demeanor all combine to bring an incredible person and personality to our coaching team. We could not be more excited to have Foreste on board to work with our Academy athletes on and off the hill to share her knowledge, work ethic, and grit.”
To help introduce Foreste to the Rowland Hall community, we asked her to play a round of 20 questions. (Be sure to also check out 20 questions with Colette Smith, Upper School girls soccer coach, published earlier this fall.) Foreste's answers have been lightly edited for style and context.
1. We’re so excited that you’re one of our Rowmark Ski Academy coaches. What made you decide to join the Rowmark team?
Thank you, I’m excited too! It was a pretty easy decision to join Rowmark. I had just retired from my own racing career and knew that I wanted to stay in the sport and give back to the next generation of ski racers. I also knew I wasn’t ready to leave Utah, so it was a no-brainer to not pass up this opportunity.
2. What initially got you interested in ski racing as a kid?
Both my parents were ski racers and avid skiers, so they put my older sister and me on skis at the age of two. At four I joined the Squaw Valley Ski Team junior program, which transitioned into the race program. Skiing has always been a huge part of my family’s lifestyle, so I didn’t really have a choice in the beginning. Luckily, I fell in love with it early on and knew that I wanted to take it as far as I could.
3. You have impressive credentials: you were a member of the US Ski Team for four years, then competed for Dartmouth College, where—among your many achievements—you raced in World Cup competitions and earned the Class of 1976 Award as one of the college’s most outstanding female athletes of 2017. You also skied for Team X Alpine, the elite private women’s team, for two years. How did these opportunities as an athlete prepare you for this new chapter of coaching?
While I’ll certainly take all that I’ve learned from my experiences as an athlete into my coaching career, I think what prepared me most were certain pieces of feedback and advice I got from my former coaches over the years. How I thought about skiing and how I carried myself as an athlete were largely influenced by how I was coached. Now that I’m the one in the coaching role, I’m still benefiting from the pearls of wisdom that struck me back when I was an athlete. This wisdom has not just prepared me, but has compelled me to stay in the sport so that I can pass it on to the next generation, and hopefully make a difference in their athletic careers.
4. You are coaching Rowmark’s U19 athletes (students aged 16–18). As someone who began competing with the US Ski Team at age 16, you understand what it’s like to juggle athletics and academics at a young age. How do you see yourself helping your student-athletes balance those areas?
I do know what it’s like to juggle athletics and academics, and I know how challenging it can be. It wasn’t until I got to Dartmouth that I realized what time management really meant. More than that, I learned how incredibly important it is to make the most of the limited time you have, whether in the library, in the gym, or on the ski hill. I found that staying present, focusing on the task at hand, and being deliberate about what I was trying to accomplish helped keep me grounded, especially in times of stress.
I’m already so impressed by how much the student-athletes I’m working with have on their plates and how well they manage the loads. That said, I realize there will inevitably be bumps in the road for each of them, so as their coach I fully intend to serve as a resource, provide guidance, and do whatever I can to help them figure out how to best strike a healthy life balance so they can focus on what’s important in the moment.
5. As a competitor, you skied all over the world. If you could only ski at one resort for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
That is a really tough one, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be Jackson Hole.
6. If the powder fairy granted you the chance to pick your perfect ski weather, what would it be?
Twenty-five degrees, bluebird skies, little to no humidity, and no wind!
7. Necessary equipment aside, what’s the one item you can’t be on the mountain without?
A neckie, a.k.a. neck warmer, neck gaiter, or buff. No matter the temperature, I feel naked if I’m not wearing one.
8. What’s your favorite aprѐs ski meal?
Nothing beats Wiener schnitzel in Europe.
9. Who’s your favorite professional skier to watch?
When I was younger it was always Bode Miller. Nowadays, it’s probably Wendy Holdener for the women and Alexis Pinturault for the men.
10. Let’s step away from skiing for a moment and chat about other areas of your life. What is one of your favorite things you did this summer?
I went home to California to see each of my parents, which I hadn’t done in a long time. Part of my time I spent visiting my dad in Squaw Valley and Berkeley (where I split my time growing up), and the rest of my time I spent visiting my mom in Santa Barbara. Squaw Valley and Santa Barbara are two of my favorite places, so getting some quality time in each place made me really happy in and of itself.
11. What book do you read over and over?
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
12. What’s the last show you binge-watched?
I’m not much of a binge-watcher, let alone TV watcher, but I’m currently making my way through Ozark.
13. What’s your dream vacation?
Anywhere that has white sand and clear blue water. It would also include eating freshly caught seafood for most meals, hiking to waterfalls, no snakes, and daily massages.
14. What’s one fun fact about you that you don’t often get to share?
I have two: (1) I am a fifth-generation Californian, and (2) I strangely enjoy the hiccups.
15. What one phone app could you not live without?
Probably Spotify. Music and podcasts add a lot of enjoyment to my days.
16. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would you pick?
This one is really hard for me, so I picked three from our lifetime: [musician] Taylor Swift, [tennis player] Naomi Osaka, and [basketball coach] Steve Kerr.
17. You grew up in Berkeley, California, but moved to Park City when you joined Team X Alpine. What do you most enjoy about living in Utah?
I love being able to walk out my front door and be on a hiking or mountain biking trail within five minutes, or to be within a 30-minute drive to some of the best skiing in the US. The access here is truly incredible. I also love the community feel of living in a mountain town. There’s always something going on, and it’s so fun to live in a place where the options are endless everyday.
18. Who has been one of the biggest influences in your life?
Each of my parents has been very influential in my life. They have always been my biggest supporters, no matter what the outcome looks like. They’ve taught me how to put my best foot forward and give 100% in whatever it is I’m pursuing. They’ve shown me what it means to set your mind to something, and what it takes to get there. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for them, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have had them as my role models.
I’d love to be able to instill a resilient mindset in my student-athletes … if they can learn to be resilient in this sport, they will be resilient in all other areas of life.
19. What is the top life skill that you want to help build in your student-athletes this season?
I’d love to be able to instill a resilient mindset in my student-athletes. 2020 is certainly showing all of us that life can throw some major curve balls, so whether it’s on the scale of a global pandemic or a DNF [Did Not Finish] in a ski race, I want my athletes to be able to pick themselves up when the going gets tough and “keep on keeping on.” That’s not to say I want them to be heartless, emotionless robots—absolutely not. I just think that ski racing can teach them so much about not giving up when things aren’t going well or as planned, and if they can learn to be resilient in this sport, they will be resilient in all other areas of life.
20. If you had to give your athletes one piece of advice or one affirmation to keep in mind before they race, what would it be?
Trust in your abilities and take the reins. Once you get into the starting gate, you are the boss, so make the most of it!