Rotter rising on national ski scene |

Rotter rising on national ski scene

Charles Whisnand column

What began at the age of three when she learned to chase around her older brother, has now led to winning medals on the national level for Carson City’s Corrinne Rotter.

The 14-year-old Rotter returned from a successful trip at the USSA J3 National Training Camp for alpine skiers ages 13-14 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. Rotter was one of 42 skiers from across the country to qualify for the camp, which was held last week.

Competing against 180 skiers from across the country, including the 42 who qualified for the camp. Rotter placed third in the giant slalom and after starting in the 60th position, placed second in the slalom. Overall, Rotter took top honors for the entire weekend of racing with her second and third place finishes.

“It was actually really neat to meet all the best racers in the U.S. who are my age,” Rotter said. “It was really cool.

“They’re my competitors. It’s really neat to know who I’m racing against. It was really exciting and fun.”

Rotter’s performance at the national camp was a confidence builder for the freshman, who attends Reno’s Sage Ridge Ski School.

“It actually gave me a lot of confidence for my years, to know I’m one of the best J3s in the country,” Rotter said. “I took back a lot of confidence when I won my medals.”

Rotter admitted that she was somewhat surprised with how well she did.

“I knew what I had to do,” she said. “I went into it knowing I was going to do well, but I didn’t think I was going to do this well.”

Now, Rotter also has a pretty good idea of where she stands with some of the best skiers in the country.

“It didn’t really give me a ranking, but it gave me knowledge of where I was,” she said.

Rotter began skiing at age three, chasing around her older brother, Danny, who is now 16. Danny is an accomplished skier himself, who is a defending state champion for Carson High.

At age 5, Rotter began racing. At the J4 level, she took the gold medal in the slalom at the Far West Championships in 2001.

Later that year, she competed in the Western Junior Olympics in Jackson Hole, Wyo. She just missed one of the two qualifying spots for an international race in Whistler-Blackcomb when she placed third overall.

She qualified for the J3 Western Junior Olympics as a 13-year-old last year. Racing against mostly 14-year-olds, Rotter earned a top 10 finish in the slalom.

Rotter has loftier goals for this year’s Western Junior Olympics to be held in March in Montana.

“I’m going to Junior Olympics hoping to win and now I have plenty of confidence,” she said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m ready for it.”

Next up for Rotter when she turns 15 is to compete in Federation of Internation competitions in the Western region and possibly a few on the national level. After that, she hopes to make the U.S. Ski developmental team and then eventually the U.S. Ski team.

“I’d really like to make the U.S. Ski team and there’s a few steps to do that,” Rotter said.

The ultimate goal is to compete in the 2010 Olympics when she will be 21. With the Reno-Tahoe area looking to host the 2014 Olympics, competing in the Olympics in her own backyard is even a possibility.

“That would really be awesome,” Rotter said. “That would definitely be a dream.”

“I think the whole town of Carson would be there,” Danny said.

Along the way, Corrinne, who maintains a 4.0 grade point average, said a possible long-term goal is to become a physical therapist.

At the national camp, a typical day for Rotter lasted from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and including dryland training and training on the slopes. Rotter even took a trip down the luge course at Lake Placid. The camp included conditions that ranged from 80 degrees to brutal cold on Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid.

Among those who were at the camp were Olympic medalists Steve Mahre of the U.S. and Finland’s Finn C. Yagge.

“It was motivating,” said Rotter about the skiers’ time with Mahre. “He basically told us where we were heading.”

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.