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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Sports > High School >> Skiing

Slope slayer

Monticello's Shane Bittinger reflects on stellar ski career

Mar 16, 2020

By Joseph Abraham - co-editor

By: Photo by Barb Ward-Blank
Monticello's Shane Bittinger has had a great high school ski career.
MONTICELLO -- When sorting through ski results for the past few years, one consistent name you'd see among the top athletes in Section 9 is Monticello's Shane Bittinger. The senior skier has won three Section 9 titles, and earned three state medals during his high school career which just came to an end. His leadership paired with several talented skiers has contributed to the Monticello Boys Alpine Ski team winning the section the past three years.
At the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Alpine Ski Championships last month, Bittinger took fourth in the giant slalom and fifth in slalom. He was also a part of the Monticello boys team that finished fourth as a team.
Reflecting on his high school career, Bittinger said, “It was a great experience.
I missed out on winning at states which is a bummer, but I still feel like it was a success.”
He's been the team captain since eighth grade, taking pride in motivating his teammates and keeping the energy high, as well as sharing the knowledge he's learned.
In addition to skiing, Bittinger also played soccer for the Monties.
Upon graduation, Bittinger hopes to attend either Alfred State University or Castleton University in Vermont, and plans to study electrical engineering. Wherever he goes, the plan is to continue to ski regularly.
But when was the magic moment when he fell in love with the sport? For Bittinger, it was at a young age.
At 15 months old, the Sackett Lake resident would watch his sister ski at Holiday Mountain. According to his family, even before he could formulate full sentences, he showed a great interest in the sport, and just a couple years later he'd begin skiing alone.
“I love the thrill of going fast,” he said, adding that he loves action sports. “I think I'm pretty good and I just fell in love with it. For me it's one of those things you grow up doing and it becomes your thing.”
Bittinger outpaced the competition and was always looking to try his hand at the next level. After not being challenged by kids his own age, he first started racing against older kids at Holiday Mountain, and eventually moved on to travel skiing.
He's spent six years racing in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), earning 13 medals in that time. At this year's USSA New York state race, Bittinger finished second on days one and three, and fourth on day two. He also races for a club team in his free time, and has completed a winter term at the New York Ski Educational Foundation Academy.
No matter what he does next, he will remember the lessons skiing taught him, including the importance of having a strong work ethic. Since skiing is a very individualistic sport, all an athlete can rely on are themselves. There's no excuses.
“If someone is working towards the same thing as you and you're sleeping [on it] and not taking it seriously, you will not succeed,” he said. “Life is a competition.”

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