With subtle humor, Yale-bound Liberty Bell High School Senior Lazo Gitchos reflects on growing up in the Methow Valley as part of the Nordic and Biathlon Teams. 

When did you start skiing?  Biathlon?  

I started skiing when I was two but joined the team when I was 6. The minimum age for Biathlon is 9 (something about gun safety and small children) so I skied for 3 years before I started Biathlon.

What’s your favorite trail in the valley?

My favorite trail in the valley is the McCabe system because I can walk out the front doors of the school onto the corduroy. Our program is definitely lucky to have access to that system. I also enjoy racing there, as well as using the Biathlon range.

What’s your favorite part of being a part of these programs?

My favorite aspect of being a part of MVNT is being physically challenged and being able to share the experience with my friends and teammates. Being a part of the team definitely feels special because of the camaraderie, but also because it offers a chance to get outside every day after school when I otherwise wouldn’t, and to see the valley in its most beautiful state. Spending so much time on the trails has definitely influenced my perspective on the valley.

What else have you been involved with in the community and at school?

Other than MVNT, I have been active as a Cross Country (running) captain, Knowledge Bowl captain and part of the State Champion team, an intern and employee for Eqpd in Twisp, and active member of the Loup Loup Ski Patrol, and a recreational climber, cyclist, and backcountry skier. Balancing all of this has been a challenge, but well worth it to do the things I love.

Do you have a favorite memory from your experiences in MVNSEF programs?

By far my favorite MVNT memories are from the Silver Star Thanksgiving camps. Between punishing workouts and very large meals, spending time with the team and bonding proved an irreplaceable experience.

Do you feel like there have been any lessons from your involvement in sports that have transferred over to other parts of your life?  

Many lessons that I have learned inadvertently through skiing have transferred to my life at large. A few of these include how to push myself to accomplish difficult goals, how to manage my time effectively, to not be afraid to commit to something I love, even when it takes a lot of work to make it happen, and to always keep my hips forward.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Being a part of MVNT has been one of the most important and formative experiences of my childhood, and I feel grateful to the team that I was able to take part in it.