Todd Ristorcelli caught up with Jaimee on her way to the Hilltop Pro Am and had a pre-tournament interview with the young champ:
Seventeen-year-old champion slalom skier Jaimee Bull has never been one to back down from a challenge. Growing up in the cold Canadian climate, her home lake is iced over six months out of the year, making her an unlikely candidate to become a Junior Masters champion. But hard work pays off. As soon as the ice melts in the spring, she’s on it, giving it her all to reach the pinnacle of the sport. We recently caught with Jamie at the Hilltop Pro-Am in Arlington, Washington, where she ran 38 off in all four rounds.
Tell us about your site in Canada. Do you believe skiing a big public lake has made you the strong skier that you are?
I train at my house in North Bay, Ontario. I live on Trout Lake, which is a large public lake. I must ski early in the morning before the wind picks up and before the rest of the boats get out on the lake. The conditions are not great; it’s fairly rolly although I do believe that has helped me become a tougher skier. Since I train in challenging conditions most of the time, I ski well at sites that aren’t perfect, and I tend to ski very well at sites that are better than what I am used to.
What is your current Canadian record and what are your skiing goals for the rest of the summer?
My current Canadian record is three buoys at 39.5 off (10.75m). I have a busy summer ahead. I will be training at home and travel within Ontario for July. In August, I will be competing in the Canadian Open in which I am hoping to make finals. Following the Canadian Open, I have Canadian Nationals, my goal is to become the 2017 U17 Women’s Slalom Champion. I am also competing in the Malibu Open and World Championships. I think my biggest goal for the rest of the season is to work out some technical issues. If I can improve my technique, I will hopefully be able to push my national record a little further.
Who do you work with mostly at Jack Travers and what makes them a standout coach?
Since I have been going to Jack Travers Ski School in Groveland, Florida, I have worked with Jack. Jack has helped me a lot and understands me as a skier. In the past, I have also worked with the staff at the ski school including Pete Rönkkö, the Efverström brothers, and Alex King. All the staff members have a great understanding of skiing and have been mentored by Jack. They can identify technical issues and provide feedback on ways to improve. This year I started working more with Jon Travers. Jon is a good skier so even being able to train with him and watch him ski has been beneficial for me. As a coach, Jon can break skiing down and explain it in simplified motions.
What was it like to win the Junior Masters this year?
Winning Masters this year was awesome. It was my fourth year at Robin Lake and I haven’t performed as well as I would have liked in the past. I had a bit of a monkey on my back from previous years. I was confident going into the tournament and knew that I could ski well at that site. To finally put things together and come away with the win was great. It was also nice that the other HO skiers, Jon Travers and Will Asher, who I have been working with also skied very well. My parents and Marcus Brown, another person who has been helping me, were there as well which made it special.
What do you love most about the new HO?
I got on the new HO this spring and it feels amazing. The ski is very stable and reliable which is great. It’s cross course speed is like no other ski I have been on before.
What is it like being on team HO?
I thoroughly enjoy being on the HO team. Not only is the equipment great but the team is amazing. I’ve been working closely with Marcus Brown on my technique and mental game which has been productive and he has spent a lot of time watching videos of me and talking to me on the phone. I have also been skiing with Jon Travers and Will Asher. Having the opportunity to ski with them has been helpful but it has also been a great experience and super fun to get to know them and watch them ski. All the guys go out of their way on a regular basis to help me and are always thinking about me. The team is supportive and they all genuinely care.
What is it like to travel the world at such a young age and compete against the world's best skiers?
I have only started in ski pro tournaments this year and so far, I enjoy it. The few pro tournaments that I have been to have been a great experience. It is cool to stand on the dock with some of the girls that I looked up to as a kid and still look up to today.
Are you planning on skiing on a collegiate team?
I’m planning to go to ULL [ the University of Louisiana at Lafayette] and ski on the team there. I’m not sure what I want to take at school yet, I’m leaning towards moving into the sports medicine field.
Would you say that your dad is one of the most dedicated ski parents around?
Skiing has been very tough financially for my family and my Dad has always found ways to allow me to keep skiing. If I want to ski he will do what he can to make it happen. When it’s cold in the spring and fall, my Dad wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to start the boat to make sure that it does not freeze overnight. I was introduced to skiing at a young age, and my parents had no idea that my brother and I would be tournament skiers. After my brother’s first tournament, in which he did quite well he told my parents that he wanted to pursue the sport and they did everything they could to make that happen. Although my Dad does a lot for my skiing, I would say that he is an even more dedicated parent outside of skiing. Both of my parents have introduced my brother and me to many sports. We do everything as a family and they always put us first. I remember when my dad was teaching, he always wanted to have his tests marked and handed back the next day. His marking took a lot of time but he would always do things with my brother and me first, even if it meant that he had to stay up late into the night to finish his work. My parents had not gone anywhere without my brother and me since my brother was born, until this year when both my brother and I were away. We always go on family alpine ski trips together, bike together and spend most of our days together. I play basketball and volleyball and my parents have been to almost every game, only missing the ones that they have no choice but to miss. We have a very close relationship and I love the amazing life they have provided me with.