Tyler Hamel snowboarding in Saas- Fee, Switzerland Submitted

BETHEL — Surreal is the word 17-year-old Tyler Hamel uses to describe how he feels after earning World Cup stats in December and January which could potentially lead to a spot on the US Ski and Snowboard Olympic team come winter.

“It’s crazy because at this point last year, I was more worried about making sure I could get to races last year. Now to have a spot at these Olympic qualifiers wasn’t even close where I expected to be at 17,” says Hamel, a Bethel resident.

When preparing himself mentally for the races, Hamel says his mind is far from winning.

“When I’m in the gate all I’m thinking about is how I’m going to go snowboarding during this run instead of how I need to be the first person down to the bottom,” says Hamel. “All I’m doing to train my mind is to just remember that I’m snowboarding and the only reason I do it is because it is a lot of fun. That’s why I do it. Not ever focused on winning or anything.”

His coach, KC Gandee, Snowboard and Ski Cross Program Director at Gould Academy, highlights Hamel’s strengths; being naturally talented, helpful, and a hard worker. He emphasizes Hamel is mature about conversations about tactics. He drives home that, “He tends not to overreact to the little things, even in the classroom.”

This goes hand-in-hand with his family’s motto. His Mom, Chrissy Hamel, says their family strives forward by the word, ‘composure.’


“You know, he is so down to earth [and] determined,” says Chrissy. “He said when he was 7-years-old he wanted to be an Olympian. He did a school project on being an Olympian. He has such drive [and] ability to overcome…. came back from that [broken leg and two surgeries] strong, [with] will power, desire, and determination yet remains so humble.”

“[My parents are] the best. I couldn’t do anything without them,” says Hamel. “They made so many sacrifices just so my brother and I can snowboard and go to races.”


“We have crazy meetings. Talk about goals, plan, nutrition, mental strength and training 5-7 [days]…. Train on reaction time…..the mind is the most important thing. 90% mental, 10% physical,” says Gandee emphasizing he teaches Hamel and all athletes to, “Focus on what they can control.”

The World Cup is in Austria and another World Cup in Italy and possibly Russia, depending on how Italy and Austria go. Those three are Olympic qualifiers.

“I’m just super excited for what’s to come,” exclaims Hamel. “I can’t wait for it. World Cup’s going to be crazy. Big step forward, so excited to do that. And can’t wait to see what’s coming, really.”

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