By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
WATERVILLE VALLEY — Plymouth resident and Waterville Valley Academy alum Nora Healey is an aspiring Olympic snowboarder and U.S. team hopeful. This week, she's come that much closer to achieving her dreams by being named to the U.S. Snowboarding Rookie Team.
"Nora isn't just a great athlete, but a great person and a wonderful role model for others," said Robert Sampson, headmaster of Waterville Valley Academy, the snowsports academy where Nora has been training every winter for the past five years.
"It has been an amazing five years with Nora Healey," said Tim McLaughlin, Waterville Valley Black and Blue Trail Smashers Snowboard Program director. "When she first came to the Waterville Valley Academy, she was 12 years old. We knew then that Nora was going somewhere in snowboarding. She rode with conviction at such a young age that it was easy for us to mold her fundamentals and help her become the snowboarder that she is today."
This has been an amazing season for Healey. She had multiple World Cup starts, two first place finishes on the Revolution Tour, earning her the title Overall Female Revolution Tour Champion. She was invited to her second Junior World Championships in Seiser Alm, Italy, where she earned a bronze medal in Slope Style and a silver medal in Big Air. And now she's been invited to join the U.S. Rookie team.
"This is an exclamation point on her season and we could not be more proud of her. She has been a great role model for our young snowboard athletes. We wish her the best of luck as she moves to Utah next year. I can't wait to see what the future brings for Nora" said McLaughlin.
She will be coached by rookie coach Dave Reynolds, and will have full access to the Olympic Training Facility in Park City, Utah, which includes personal trainers, physical therapy, nutritionists and a chef.
Healey begins her journey this summer by attending a camp in Mt. Hood. From there, she will travel with the B and Rookie teams until the season begins. Once the season starts, she will compete in World Cups, the Grand Prix in Mammoth and more Revolution Tour stops.
Currently, Healey is working out a schedule with her accepted college, Westminster College. Westminster works closely with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Teams so students can pursue their studies while training with the team.
With all that in her future, it is safe to say that Nora is extremely excited about the road ahead.
"The moment that I saw, on my cell phone, that the U.S. Snowboarding Team coach was calling me, I started to freak out!" she said. "I tried to keep my cool throughout the phone call. It is such an amazing opportunity to have and I can't wait get started."
Healey said she wants to thank her coaches and the faculty at Waterville Valley Academy for all their help and guidance to reach her goals. She also continues to thank family, friends and community members in Plymouth and all the surrounding areas in New Hampshire for all their support.
"I would like to thank everyone who helped me get to this point. Without out all of the support I have gotten over the years, I wouldn't be where I am today." she says.
Nora's mother, Karen Healey, said, "None of this would have been possible without the support and guidance from USASA coaches and directors, WVBBTS and Waterville Valley coaches and faculty, Waterville Valley Resort, and all the family, friends and community members of the Plymouth, and surrounding New Hampshire areas."
She says Nora will have to continue to raise funds to cover travel and lodging expenses. Nora says she plans to get a summer job as in previous years to help with costs, but despite the financial concern, her sights are still set on the 2018 Olympics and beyond.
This is an exciting time for the Healeys. Nora's sister, Colleen, also competes on the World Cup circuit. This year, she made it to the World Cup finals in Spain for U.S. Boarder cross. Coleen, also a Waterville Valley Academy alum, has been working to make the team as well.
"It's so amazing to have two sisters both on the World Cup circuit for U.S. Snowboarding. Nora and Colleen know how lucky they are to receive enough support to help them with travel to all these new international events. We are truly blessed," said Karen Healey.
Nora Healey of Plymouth at the podium after winning on the Revolution Tour. She has been named to the U.S. Snowboarding Rookie Team. (Courtesy photo)