• 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

  • Lifestyle

    The ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ folds its tent for good

    by CBS News on Apr 30, 10:12

    Faced with declining ticket sales, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus — after juggling the numbers as best it could — is staging its final performance two weeks from today … which means that for anyone wanting to take one last look, there’s no time to lose. Lee Cowan reports: “Ladies and Gentleman, […]

  • Lifestyle

    Facebook acknowledges election manipulation

    by CBS News on Apr 29, 18:07

    Without saying the words “Russia,” “Hillary Clinton,” or “Donald Trump,” Facebook acknowledged Thursday for the first time what others have been saying for months. In a paper released by its security division, the company said “malicious actors” used the platform during the 2016 presidential election as part of a campaign “with the intent of harming […]

  • There’s a celestial trick to the latest postal stamp

    by CBS News/Associated Press on Apr 29, 18:04

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The U.S. Postal Service is going all out for this summer’s total solar eclipse, with a first-of-its kind stamp. Just touch the stamp with your finger, and the heat transforms the image of the blacked-out sun into the moon. Remove your finger, and the eclipse reappears. The trick is using temperature-sensitive […]

  • Lifestyle

    Citywide Cleanup Week begins in Anchorage

    by Eric Ruble on Apr 29, 18:02

    As temperatures in Southcentral warm, Anchorage’s snowpack is quickly dwindling. The melting snow leaves behind garbage – lots of it. For the forty-ninth year, Anchorage Citywide Cleanup Week aims to beautify the city before summer. The cleanup kicked off Saturday, with a particularly large group of volunteers picking up trash in Mountain View. “We haven’t […]

  • News

    12 hazing complaints since 2014 confirmed at Marine base

    by Associated Press on Apr 29, 17:42

    BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) – Officials at the Marine Corps’ training base in South Carolina say half of 24 hazing complaints investigated since 2014 have been confirmed. The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette reported Saturday that documents obtained through a public records request show the complaints involve all four of Parris Island’s training battalions. The […]

  • News

    China deports US citizen convicted of spying after 2 years in custody

    by CBS News on Apr 29, 17:33

    China has deported an American citizen who was convicted and sentenced on an espionage charge after she was held in custody for more than two years. A spokesman for the State Department confirmed to CBS News that the U.S. is aware Chinese authorities deported 45-year-old Sandy Phan-Gillis on Friday. The deportation follows a trial last […]

  • AST: Stolen weapon found in stolen car after pursuit

    by KTVA Web Staff on Apr 29, 17:06

    A report of a stolen car led troopers on a chase in Ninilchik Wednesday evening. Someone spotted the stolen car on the Sterling Highway and called it in. When troopers tried to stop the car, the driver refused and a pursuit ensued before coming to an end when the driver stopped the car on a […]

  • News

    Ice jam raising flood concern on Kuskokwim River

    by Melissa Frey on Apr 29, 16:39

    Many rivers in southern Alaska are in the process of breaking-up. The first ice jam reported this season could cause flooding near Red Devil. The Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center reported the ice jam on the Kuskokwim River Saturday. They say the ice broke free near Red Devil Friday night, but ice is still in place […]