• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 57s

Family cheers on Alaskan competing in Olympics

By KTVA Alaska 8:22 PM February 5, 2014

Slopestyle snowboarder Ryan Stassel competes in Winter Games Wednesday at 9 p.m.

ANCHORAGE – Slopestyle snowboarding is a sport in which big air can lead to major glory.

For one Olympian on the cusp of that glory, his journey can be traced back to the snowy mountains just south of Anchorage. That’s where the Stassel family would spend cold afternoons out on Hilltop and Alyeska slopes.

“I think he was 9 years old when I dropped him off at Hilltop on a weekend and he asked to sign up for an event, and we did,” Ryan Stassel’s father Steven recalled. “When I picked him up that evening he had a gold medal around his neck.”

Little did Steven know, family recreation would become Ryan’s profession and that gold medal would offer a shimmering glimpse into the possibilities now within his reach.

“There’s lots of times that I had absolutely no idea how we could make something happen, but simply because I didn’t know at that time didn’t mean I wouldn’t try,” Steven said.

That family support, coupled with the sheer determination, would propel Ryan to the pinnacle of an athletic career — competing in the Winter Olympic Games.

“He would say, ‘when I go pro’ and we had no idea what it meant. But I guess we do now,” Steven said with a smile.

Ryan’s family said they were elated to learn he would be joining Team USA in Sochi, Russia, but they said the news came as no surprise.

“To make the Olympic team is a huge accomplishment, but it’s only another tiny step in his progression over all these years,” Steven said.

Hours before Ryan was set to begin shredding powder at Sochi for the inaugural slopestyle snowboarding competition, Ryan’s younger sisters Emily and Allison did the same with adaptive sports program Challenge Alaska.

“He just really got me outside and able to enjoy snowboarding,” Allison said.

Allison followed the first tracks left by Ryan into competitive snowboarding. Her brother’s journey has taught her an invaluable lesson, she said.

“You’re not always going to be the best, but you can get there,” Allison said. “You just have to really work on it and be able to move past the little things.”

And what better proof than Ryan’s own story — when you wipe out, dust off the snow and continue to grind, and there’s no telling what heights you might reach.

Latest Stories

  • News

    UA system takes $8M cut in proposed agreement

    by Bonney Bowman on Jun 22, 17:46

    The University of Alaska Board of Regents is moving forward after the legislature announced a funding agreement for the university system. The House and Senate agreed to a $317 million budget for the university and the regents voted to approve it. It’s a cut of $8 million, less than the regents asked for, but also […]

  • News

    Investigators probing if Trump campaign got info from Russian hacks

    by CBS News on Jun 22, 17:04

    CBS News has confirmed that congressional investigators are interested in whether Trump campaign associates obtained information from hacked voter databases. A source indicated it is still early on in the process of scrutinizing the issue, but the House Intelligence Committee is said to be scrutinizing relevant documents to see if there is a connection. TIME […]

  • EggFest, Strawberry Festival, Quidditch this weekend

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 22, 16:39

    Pyrah’s Pioneer Peak Farm Strawberry Festival When: June 23 and 24 Location: Pyrah’s Pioneer Peak Farm 4350 Bodenburg Loop, Palmer Price: $7 to $25 Houston Music Festival When: June 23 through 25, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Location: Zero Lake Road, Houston Price: $10 to $90 GPS Scavenger Hunt When: June 23, 2:30 p.m. to […]

  • News

    ASD teachers likely keeping positions

    by Steffi Lee on Jun 22, 16:16

    New developments out of Juneau are leading to optimism among Anchorage School District officials. A conference committee agreed on a budget to fully fund K-12 education and it could mean the 220 teachers from the district who were given layoff notices will likely get to keep their jobs. Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop says it’s good […]

  • Politics

    Committee compromise slashes PFD, funds schools

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 22, 15:58

    The Alaska conference committee reached a tentative compromise Thursday that could help the state avoid a government shutdown. Among the agreements are fully funding education, limiting the PFD to $1100 this year and paying for the operating budget out of the Constitutional Budget Reserve rather than Permanent Fund earnings. The latter is something Governor Walker […]

  • News

    Photos show close encounter between armed Russian jet, U.S. warplane

    by CBS News on Jun 22, 15:31

    Military officials have released images showing a Russian jet that came within five feet of a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea this week. The Russian aircraft came within five feet of a wing tip of a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance plane, then flew under the U.S. aircraft and came up near the other wing […]

  • U.S. missile defense test fails to intercept target over Pacific

    by CBS News on Jun 22, 15:23

    A joint missile defense test conducted by the U.S. and Japan failed to intercept a targeted rocket over the Pacific on Wednesday, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said. The failed attempt was the second intercept test of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile, which is being developed by the U.S. and Japan to […]

  • ‘Making a Murderer’ confession coerced, judges rule

    by CBS News on Jun 22, 15:16

    CHICAGO – The confession of a Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” was improperly obtained and he should be released from prison, a three-judge federal appeals panel ruled Thursday. Brendan Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in photographer Teresa Halbach’s death on Halloween two years earlier. Dassey told […]