Competitive Skier Ben Andrews Sets his Sights on a New Adventure: Mechanical Engineering
Ben Andrews lives a hyphenated existence—that of a student-athlete—and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
For Ben, skiing has been part of his life since long before structured school time was even a part of his day.
“I've been skiing since I was about two-and-a-half, and I've been ski racing since I was seven,” Ben says.
Now in his fourth year at Laurel Springs School, he juggles his time between competitive skiing, online school, and planning for what’s next.
Success in sports is partly due to natural ability and mostly by hard work. For Ben, he has a genetic disposition. His mom, Kim, was also a youth ski racer. He says it comes down to honing that innate talent with perseverance and persistence. It’s something you learn from putting everything you have into what you love and seeing the results of that commitment.
[Skiing is] a really, really tough sport,” Ben says. “It's early mornings and long days traveling. But if you just stick with it, and you keep wanting to improve…you become a better skier. The progress is going to come.”
Freedom and Flexibility
With his eye on dreams of competing, Ben began training at the Loveland Ski Club in 2016 to help him further his sport-related goals, while still maintaining a focus on academics. The ski club, a Laurel Springs School partner, provides a world-class, perfectly maintained, safe training environment in the Colorado Front Range for athletes to explore and grow the full potential of their abilities.
They provide this training in a unique setting allowing each athlete to live in their own family home, attend their own school, and still have essential access to year-round, world-class training.
The freedom and flexibility to build a schedule providing Ben time to commit to both academic and athletic pursuits are exactly why he chose Laurel Springs. The asynchronous model for learning is invaluable, Ben says, as he pursues his goals. It enabled him to fulfill his dream of qualifying for the U16 Nationals in 2020 (which were canceled due to COVID) and continue excelling in his studies.
It really came down to flexibility—the fact that I could go to a race and do school while I was there was huge,” Ben says of his experience with Laurel Springs. “A lot of times, when I was still in a physical school, I'd be at a race, get back, and then I'd have like 20 assignments to catch up on. Or I would have to grab all the materials for the next week and bring them with me, which was a massive pain and really difficult to do.”
To that end, Ben says he appreciates that he can take school at his own pace and work around his race schedule. Sometimes he works in spurts. Other times, training sets the schedule, and school is slotted in where it fits best. In other words, Laurel Springs accommodates his lifestyle and goals, meaning Ben doesn’t have to define his sport as more important to him than academics—or the other way around.
In some ways, Ben says he has to be more disciplined than students in traditional high school programs because he has to plan and adhere to a schedule he sets for himself. He admits this was challenging at first, but once he mastered the art of setting self-imposed deadlines, he had a firm foundation for success.
What's Next for Ben Andrews?
Though he has plans to ski for fun after Upper School at Laurel Springs, Ben knows life will change next year, upon graduation. He has his sights set on enrolling in college to become a mechanical engineer. In his words, “I actually hope I'm shooting for the moon, literally, and become an astronaut.”
Ben knows this career path will require a great deal of math and science in college. Right now, he feels he is on the right track academically. In fact, he has been accepted to all three of his top-choice higher education options to date—Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Colorado School of Mines, and Montana State University Engineering.
“I'm a big fan of my environmental science course this year,” he says. “It's been a lot of fun. It's super interesting.”
Outside of school and ski racing, Ben enjoys reading and playing video games in his limited free time.
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