By Michael Sun:
Ontario’s Berkley Brown is coming off a successful first season with the Canadian NextGen Moguls Team, the next step in realizing her dream of competing in the Olympics for Canada.
Berkley, an 18-year old King City native, had a solid 2018 season. Her highlights were a first-place finish in Dual Moguls at the Park City Nor-Am and second place finishes in Moguls, and Dual Moguls at Canadian Championships.
“Training with the best in the world makes you train like the best in the world,” said Berkley. “It was awesome to have that step up in degree of difficulty in training and competitions. It really helps you set your mind to what you want.”
Berkley’s journey to the national team started when she learned to ski at a young age, with her family at Beaver Valley Ski Club.
“The minute I was able to walk, I was skiing,” Berkley said.
She started skiing moguls at age seven in the Jumps and Bumps program before progressing to the competitive freestyle team.
The first time she faced adversity in her ski career was when she tore her ACL at 13.
“It was really disappointing when it happened,” said Berkley. “But it made me realize that mogul skiing is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
It was difficult balancing rehab and school, but the experience showed Berkley how serious she had to work to become a top-tier mogul skier.
“Once I tore my ACL I realized that it’s not just the hours on the hill that count, it’s what happens at home, and what happens in the gym,” she noted. “It’s a full-time commitment.”
Berkley’s career progressed after recovering from her injury and she skied with Southern Ontario Moguls Team for a year before moving up to the Ontario Mogul Team (OMT).
The highlight of her OMT career was winning the 2017 Nor-Am Cup. She was the first non-national team athlete to win the Nor-Am Cup since Jennifer Heil in 1999.
“I think it’s definitely shaped who I am,” said Berkley. “The progression onto the Ontario team was amazing to get prepared to make the national team. I was really prepared for the next step.”
Making the Olympics is Berkley’s number one goal. It drives her in everything she does.
“You have to take a moment to realize why you’re doing it,” she said of her motivation. “Why you love the sport. Why you keep pushing and training to your goal – which for me, is the Olympics. That’s how I overcome challenges.”
“There’s no tomorrow,” she said of her mindset. “That’s what I always say in my head. Whatever’s not done today, it’s gone.”
While she is singularly driven to achieve her Olympic dream, Berkley knows that a balance between skiing and time off is important.
She makes sure to spend time with family and friends, as well as dedicate time to school. She appreciates how far she’s come in her mogul skiing journey.
“In five years or six years from now, I’m going to look back and appreciate the amazing opportunities at such a young age,” Berkley noted. “I’m 18 and I’ve already traveled all around the world and trained and been introduced to all these different things to focus on.”
Right now, she’s finishing grade 12 and setting her sights on the 2022 Beijing Olympics. She plans to go to university when her skiing career is over.
If she reaches her Olympic goal, it wouldn’t just be about the accomplishment itself, but the journey taken to get there – including recovering from her torn ACL.
“If I were to make the Olympic team in three years, it would be an awesome reflection of how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am,” Berkley smiled. “I think just in these next three years, there’s a lot of goals to accomplish before I can make it to that step of the Olympics.”
Editor’s Note: Berkley is currently working her way back from an ACL injury suffered during pre-season training in Switzerland. She plans on coming back stronger than ever once again