• 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

  • Sports

    Alaska Aces vs. the NHL: Now a virtual reality

    by Dave Goldman on Sep 28, 22:25

    Gamers unite! You now have the power to create match-ups only dreamed of before. The Alaska Aces versus the Los Angeles Kings? Check. In reality, it’s EA Sports’ NHL 17, which has given its fans the option to mix and match. For the first time, the company added the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), the Aces’ governing body, and its teams to its […]

  • News

    Neighbors in Anchorage react to Assemblyman Flynn kneeling during Pledge of Allegiance

    by Sierra Starks on Sep 28, 19:50

    Tuesday’s Anchorage Assembly meeting wasn’t a packed one in terms of attendance, but it was a meeting that left an impact on the people there. Assemblyman Patrick Flynn took a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance, something he wrote about on his blog a few days before in a post titled, “To kneel or not […]

  • News

    Food Bank of Alaska hosts Hunger Action Month events in Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 28, 19:41

    One in seven Alaskans aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from, according to the Food Bank of Alaska (FBA). As part of Hunger Action Month in September, the nonprofit has organized a city-wide fundraising event with local restaurants to help feed hungry Alaskans. Dine Out Against Hunger is an all-day event featuring breakfast, lunch and […]

  • Lifestyle

    Hatchery busy producing new generation of salmon

    by Lauren Maxwell on Sep 28, 19:13

    If you’ve caught a king or silver salmon in the Anchorage area, it’s very likely it started its life at the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery on Ship Creek. Every year, workers there harvest hundreds of thousands of eggs from returning salmon they fertilize by hand. On Wednesday afternoon, workers at the hatchery were collecting […]

  • Lifestyle

    Aurora forecast strong across much of Alaska for the next few days

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 28, 17:56

    The northern lights are expected to be on display across much of Alaska Wednesday evening and through the rest of the week. The aurora will be visible from areas as far north as Barrow to as far south as Kodiak, according a forecast from the University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute. The predicted forecast for Wednesday, […]

  • Lifestyle

    The White House wants you to ditch your password and ‘lock down your login’

    by Brian Mastroianni / CBS News on Sep 28, 16:57

    We live in an age of massive cyberattacks – like the recently revealed hack on Yahoo that saw 500 million email accounts compromised back in 2014. News like this is worrying for consumers who want to keep their online information safe from hackers. This is where the White House and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) come in. They’re teaming up with more than 35 companies, […]

  • Crime

    Man allegedly targeted 14-year-old online for sex, APD concerned there are other victims

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 28, 16:23

    Last updated at 10:32 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 An Anchorage man has been arrested for allegedly attempting to entice a 14-year-old for sex via an online personals website, and police say they’re concerned he may have other victims. Police announced Wednesday they have charged 56-year-old Martin Baumann with one count of online enticement of […]

  • News

    Alaska transportation agency fined over waste storage

    by Associated Press on Sep 28, 16:00

    The state transportation department has been fined $118,100 for its handling of hazardous waste at a maintenance facility in Juneau. The penalty was levied by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The federal agency alleged that the transportation department failed to properly identify and label hazardous waste and stored more than 4,000 pounds of hazardous waste […]