We recently caught up with Sam DuPratt, a recipient of the 2019/2020 SYNC Athlete Fund, to ask him some questions about his season and he gave some great ski racing advice. Check it out below!

Q: So where did you grow up skiing?

A: Squaw Valley, California and Park City, Utah for my later development years.

Q: What is your favorite discipline and why?

A: Downhill is the rawest form of ski racing. It's the skiers vs. the mountain and every track is extremely unique. There are very few things in this life that feel as good as crossing the finish line of a scary DH.

Q: How has this season been going so far? Are you on track for the goals you set out for yourself at the beginning of the season?

A: The season started out very frustrating. Technically I felt very sound. but the speed wasn't there. The World Cup season came very fast and I felt underprepared. My confidence was low and it showed in my early season results. However, I figured some stuff out in my equipment setup and found some speed in my last race before Christmas. Things are looking up and I am hopeful to reach my goals by March!

Q: So where do you see yourself in five years?

A: Wherever the world takes me. Where I want to be is comfortably at the top of the World Cup Start list, tail gunning down some 'smooth' DH tracks, driving fast cars while sipping macchiatos, and ideally making enough money where I have to actually pay taxes.

Q: What is one fun fact that many friends, teammates, and coaches don't know about you?

A: This summer, I tried to train my brain to fall asleep every time it smelled a lavender candle, so I could sleep better on race nights. It didn't work...

Q: If you could give yourself one piece of advice when you first started racing what would it be?

A: There is no single road to reaching your goals. Coaches, parents, athletes, and mentors all have their own idea of what it takes to get to the top (or to wherever you want to go), but they don't know what you think, feel, and want. From everything I have seen, not one athlete on the USST (or WC Circuit) is the same. Motives, work ethics, body types, mental attitudes, skiing styles, equipment, diets, parental involvement, and work out routines vary to all ends of the spectrum. The only constant is that each athlete believes what they are doing works for them.

We idolize people who have shown success, and we can learn from those people, but they are not you. So my one piece of advice, trust yourself. Surround yourself with people you trust and learn from everything, everyone, good, bad, FAILURES, and success. Find what makes you happy and what makes you ski fast, by pushing your comfort zones at all aspects of the sport. Don't blindly follow coaches, mentors, and other athletes. Take control of your career and use the people that want to help you as tools to get to where you want to go.

Q: If you were not a ski racer what sport do you think you would pursue instead?

A: Hockey. The only sport where people don't complain for penalties.

Q: Which World Cup race would you want to start in the most?

A: Kitbuhel. Greatest race on the planet. If you haven't been, 12/10 would recommend.

Q: Can you walk us through your pre-race routine and describe how you mentally prepare?

A: I have to be nervous to do well. However, when I am nervous, I spend the entirety of the time leading up to the race trying to calm my nerves. I listen to music, I do a lot of free runs, make nervous jokes, and look at my weirdly shaky hands.

Leading up to the start I sing songs that I can't remember the words to distract myself from what I am about to do while I warm my body up. I say 3 super secret things to myself right before I kick out of the gate and then I try really hard to ski fast for a minute and a half.

Sam in the zone

Q: Finally, we have to know, if you could be any part of a burger what would it be and why?

A: The bun, living the dream in the fresh air on the outside of all the mess that's in the middle of a burger.