'The most important thing is consistency, embracing the process.'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- “When I’m skiing on the mountain, I feel calm, I feel exhilarated -- gosh, I feel happy," Bend resident and 1992 Olympic skier Kyle Wieche remarked recently.
Wieche picked up his first pair of skis when he was just two years old. His passion to become a professional alpine skier sparked from countless ski adventures he and his family went on.
"By the time I was a senior in high school, I was traveling all over the world," Wieche said.
He first came to Bend as a teenager to train at Mt. Bachelor.
Wieche attended a ski racing academy in Vermont -- and a day after graduation, he made the US Ski Team.
“Instead of using kind of brute strength to attack a course and be super-aggressive and kind of gritty, I was a smaller guy, so I was maybe known as more of a finesse, a feel skier. Very good tactically," Wieche said.
Seven years after making the US Ski Team, Wieche competed at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, where he finished 23rd in the slalom.
"I remember thinking I was going to be super-nervous during the Olympics slalom -- and I was actually really calm," Wieche said.
After competing in the US National Championship, World Championship and World Cup, where he raced in the slalom, giant slalom, the super G and downhill, Wieche said the Olympics felt no more extraordinary than the other competitions, since each required his best.
“It’s just, you’re in the starting gate, and you see the first gate, and you know what you need to do," Wieche said.
He raced as a professional for five years.
“The most important thing is consistency, embracing the process," Wieche said.
That was just one of many lessons he teaches younger ski racers at the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation.
“If you’re in the starting gate, and you’re thinking about your result, or a competitor that you want to beat, then you’re already two steps behind," Wieche said.
But it doesn’t just take a tough mindset to overcome the pressures of being an Olympic-level skier. With the close calls he’s had on the slopes, having a tough exterior is a non-negotiable.
“Probably one of the scariest moments I had though was in a World Cup downhill in Aspen, Colorado, in a training run, and I crashed into the fence going about 70-75 miles an hour," Wieche said. "And that wasn’t fun. It took a little bit to get back.”
At one point, he also broke his hand, but that never slowed him down.
“If you’re not at that edge of risk, then you’re not going fast enough," Wieche said.
After his professional career, he found his way back to Bend in 2005 and became a Realtor.
Thirty years later, skiing is still a huge part of Wieche's life and an undying passion.
“I feel more comfortable on a pair of skies sometimes than I am walking around," Wieche said.
Both of Wieche's kids enjoy skiing and went through the MBSEF program. Clearly, these apples didn't fall far from the tree.