Hello! My name is Karina Schwartznau and I am an 18 year old avid alpine ski racer out of Sun Valley, Idaho. Just graduating high school with the class of 2013, I have decided to defer my acceptance to the University of Vermont to take a year to pursue my goal of the United States Ski Team. Ever since my first race at the age of 6 it has been my dream to represent the United States in the Olympics and on the World Cup circuit. Skiing is a need based sport; meaning equipment, race fees, and the constant chase of snow are all needed to truly become the best in the world. That is why I need your help!
There is this moment; standing in the start gate staring down at the gates below, when your heart begins to race as the adrenaline kicks in, taking a deep breath and knowing this what you have been working for your whole life, and it's all you the moment you hear "go". I can't explain this feeling, nor could any other racer, but this is what makes me come back every day. Ski racing has given me a second family and lifelong friends. It has taught me that drive and dedication can only come from you, and what you put into the sport will directly affect what you get out of it.
I have sacrificed a lot to pursue ski racing in the highest level, and going onto 14 years of racing it is hard to settle for anything less than your childhood dreams. The U.S. ski team is just an arm lengths reach away and I have completely devoted my life to make my dreams come true.
Your story, your background
Originally from Crystal Mountain, WA I grew up loving snow and the sport of skiing. My parents were avid skiers before I came into the world and spent their every weekend in an RV at the Crystal Mountain parking lot. When I was born I was immediately immersed into the skiing lifestyle. At just 19 days old my father had me strapped to his back and at the top of the mountain for my first run. Since, skiing has come natural. I began skiing on my own pair of skis at just 18 months old. Quickly it became my favorite thing to race my dad to the bottom of the hill. At age 5 my parents put me into the local racing program, CMAC to help improve my overall skiing abilities. But after my first race at age 6 and my fifth place medal I had my mind made up on the Olympic Gold. Very quickly I loved the sport of alpine skiing, and continued to improve every day. Just one year later at that very same race I came home with the win. It was that moment when I had my first little medal around my neck that I had made up my mind on eventually becoming a U.S. ski team member.
Skiing is not just a sport, it is a lifestyle. It is the life that my parents had brought me to love and that I plan to share with my own family someday. Skiing is a community; it brings together people from all over the world who share the love of strapping two wooden sticks to their feet and rushing down the mountain in the search for the best snow. Skiing let’s all your worries drown and just enjoy yourself for a day. It doesn’t matter where you are from or how good you are, all that matter is that we all go up each day to share the love for the same sport.
What you need
Ski racing is not a cost friendly sport. From equipment to travel to training to race fees, things stack up. Equipment in skiing is the sport. I race on 8 pairs of skis, with four different pairs of poles, two helmets, and a skin tight race suit. Because in order to ski race you need snow, we end up traveling the world throughout the year in search of the best conditions to race and train on, meaning high travel fees and outrageous airline miles.
My parents are my greatest support system and the sponsor behind my ski racing. I would not be anywhere close in life now if it was not for them. I am very fortunate to have them work their hardest to financially support my ski racing. The donations I am asking for will help cover the costs of travel and racing. As I begin my race for the U.S. ski team, I must travel and compete against the best girls in the country where ever that may be.
I am an avid North American cup racer and have attended U18 (16-18 year olds) Nationals for the past two years. I have won the Most Outstanding Women Ski Racer from Crystal Mountain Alpine Club for the past two years and have had countless FIS podiums as well. I have placed second and third overall in the Junior Olympics as well as a third in Slalom and Super G.
Thank to my parents, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, Rossignol, Swix, Superfeet, Sturtevant’s, and Custom Boot Service for helping my dreams come true.
Other Ways To Help
Please help spread the word about my rally to your friends and family. Anything helps and I greatly appreciate your support!