For Team USA’s Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Alpine skiing is the family business. Not only did his mother, Barbara Ann Cochran, win slalom gold at the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics, she also runs the Richmond, Vermont ski school where a four-year-old Ryan first strapped on a pair of skis. Now age 29, Cochran-Siegle is a veteran of the World Cup circuit who is finding the best form of his career just in time to compete at his second Winter Olympics. Cochran-Siegle scored the long-awaited first World Cup race win of his 10-year career in December 2021 in super-G. He arguably represents Team USA’s best hope for a medal in men’s Alpine Skiing at the Winter Games.
As part of our preparation for the 2022 Winter Games, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to numerous athletes to learn more about their lives both inside and outside of sports. Here’s what we found out about Cochran-Siegle:
How influential were your parents in your athletic career?
I got into skiing because of my mom, Olympic gold medalist skier Barbara Ann Cochran. As a kid, my grandparents, Mickey and Ginny Cochran, were in charge of our family-owned ski area, Cochran’s Ski Area, which is where my mom ran the ski school program and where I learned to ski.
Do you have a job outside of your sport?
When I’m around home during my offseason I help out at my cousin’s maple syrup farm, Slopeside Syrup, located on our family land in Richmond, VT. Depending on the time of year it typically involves either boiling maple syrup or pulling taps from trees once the sap run has finished. For me it’s less of a job and more of a way to come home and help out with my cousin’s family business. It’s also a great way to be productive while spending time outside in the woods with family, exploring our Cochran family land.
How has your hometown shaped who you are today?
I spent my whole childhood in Starksboro, Vermont. It’s where I grew up. The people and places there helped shape me into who I am today. It’s where I learned humility, hard work, and dedication, along with how to be a good person and be respectful.
How much time do you train on a given day? How much do you sleep?
Usually two to three hours a day on snow, another hour or so with dryland. I try to get nine hours of sleep a night with a 30-45 minute nap during the day.
What’s a surprising thing about your training?
That we still spend a lot of time on snow skiing in the summer in South America, New Zealand, and occasionally on European glaciers.
What’s your earliest memory in your sport?
I can remember skiing at Cochran’s Ski Area around the age of four or five, right about the same time that I started racing. I mostly remember chasing the older ski club kids around the mountain and through the courses. I’ve loved skiing and ski racing from the very beginning. I wouldn’t consider that I really dedicated my life to it until after I graduated from high school and made the US Ski Team.
Did you have a specific breakthrough moment?
Scoring my first World Cup points in Beaver Creek, Colorado at the age of 19 in 2011. It was the first time I felt that I could actually compete against the best ski racers in the world.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I enjoy photography a lot. I don’t know that I’m skilled enough to call it a talent per say, but I enjoy the art of composition and creating something that feels good to look at and share with the world.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an athlete?
Making maple syrup!