Three students, Ella Andrews, Alice Padilha, and Arthur Padilha from Killington Mountain School (KMS) have qualified for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) set to take place January 19 - February 1, 2024 in Gangwon Province, Korea. The games will be shared by two host cities PyeongChang, and Gangneung. PyeongChang was the named host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Arthur, Alice, and Ella, will get to compete at venues in PyeongChang at the High1 Resort (Alpine events) and Welli Hilli Park (Freeski events), many of the facilities from the 2018 Winter Olympics will be used again for the 2024 YOG.
The region that the athletes will be competing in is dominated by the Taebaek Mountains which run along almost the entirety of the east coast of the Korean peninsula. The mountains are known for their steepness on the eastern side of the range and thick vegetation, which is where the host cities are located. Perfect for high level skiing. The three qualifying students train mostly at their home mountain Killington Mountain Resort located in Central Vermont; but travel frequently around the globe to Europe, South America, and the Western United States for training camps and competitions. Both Padilhas spent up to two months this summer in South America training and racing to qualify for these games.
Ella Andrews, a junior at KMS will be representing the United States while attending the games. She started skiing when she was 3 years old but has been competing and training in park skiing since the age of 7. “I originally got into skiing through my mom who loved the sport and wanted my siblings and me to be well-rounded athletes and skiers that could take on any terrain. This is why she [Ella’s Mother] put us in the all-mountain freeride program at Seven Springs. From there, I found my love for freeskiing and park and continued it at KMS when we moved from Massachusetts.” Ella has been training with KMS for the past six years, since the move, and with the team, has been preparing for the games through lifting sessions to build strength; as well as focusing on her repertoire of tricks that she will use in competition. This is done on gymnastics style trampolines, the airbag, and the mountain park and jump terrain. In special preparation Ella stated that “Building consistency on more basic tricks will be super important for a competition like this because I will need something to rely on with the pressure as well as just being ready for anything.” The pressure that these young athletes will face will be much greater than that of any other competition leading up to the games. When asked about how she is feeling for the upcoming games, Ella had this to say “I am nervous because of the unknown, I have never skied in Korea before and haven’t seen the course yet, but once I get there I'm sure I will be able to focus and do what I know how to do.” Overall Ella is excited for the experience that is yet to come, and despite any nervousness, is ready for the opportunity, the experience, competitions, and the people she will meet while on the world’s stage. “I'm super excited to travel with and compete with the other athletes from the US, I think this is a perfect opportunity to make lasting connections with my fellow competitors as well as the coaches.” Ella would like to shout out Jesse Paroline and Pete Dubois KMS’s Freeski coaches who have been working with Ella for the past six years. She credits them with helping her get to where she is today; and to Brandon Westberg for his more recent support and coaching.
Alice and Arthur Padilha are twins, and both juniors at KMS. They will be competing in Alpine Ski Racing at the games and will be representing Brazil. As KMS student athletes they live, train, and go to school in Vermont for the winter season, but return to Brazil every summer to see family, and compete in National Competitions. They were both born in Brazil, and are dual citizens of Brazil and the United States. Alice and Arthur will be the only Alpine athletes representing Brazil.
Racing on the world stage was never the starting intention for the Padilha siblings, simply starting for the sake of enjoying family trips to the mountains. While at their first home mountain in Connecticut, their passion grew, learning to ski at the age of 6, they quickly advanced through the sport in terms of skill and passion. Soon they joined their club’s development team and then the Alpine race team. The desire to improve their skills and compete at higher levels led the family to make a significant decision, moving from New Canaan, CT to Killington, Vermont in order to attend the KMS, a ski academy dedicated to helping students reach their full potential academically, and athletically.
Outside of the heavy training and competition loads Arthur finds time for his love of baseball and football, while Alice also loves Equestrian and Field Hockey.When asked about qualifying for the games Arthur had this to say “Participating in a Youth Olympics has always been a dream for me, and now I am about to make it a reality. I am incredibly happy and confident in representing Brazil in this international setting. Every step of my skiing journey has contributed to this moment, and I look forward to facing the challenges and celebrating the successes that lie ahead.”
This is a major achievement for all three athletes, the Youth Olympic Games are the pinnacle of sport. Many of those that attend the Games continue on to compete for their home countries on the world stage for a career. It is the goal of all three athletes to continue to compete as long as they can after graduating KMS while in college, with eyes set on the 2026 or 2030 games.
Continue following their stories by following Ella, Arthur and Alice on Social Media:
Ella Andrews: https://www.instagram.com/eleanor_andrewsss/
Alice Padilha: https://www.instagram.com/alipadilha18/
Arthur Padilha: https://www.instagram.com/arthur_pdilha/
To see the official announcement for Team Brazil check out their instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1DHLrYuXSw/
To learn more about the Winter Youth Olympic Games please visit the official event website at: https://olympics.com/en/news/gangwon-2024-winter-youth-olympic-games-preview-schedule
About Killington Mountain School:
Killington Mountain School is a residential NEASC accredited Vermont Independent School helping student-athletes with high aspirations to realize their full potential through personalized education. Located near the base of Killington Resort, KMS is a year-round center of excellence serving student-athletes in grades 6-12, as well as elementary school aged children through its variety of program offerings.