Teenage skiing star Dean Travers is representing the Cayman Islands at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Colorado this week. Opening ceremonies were held in Vail on Monday, and competition starts on Tuesday.
Travers has qualified for the finals of the speed event, the Super G, on Wednesday.
Youngest brother of two-time Olympian Dow Travers, 18-year-old Dean is a graduate of Aspen Valley High School and the Aspen Valley Ski Club.
He will race against the world’s best, including two-time world champion Aksel Lund Svindal and World Cup specialists Marcel Hirscher and Kjetil Jansrud.
Travers has spent many years excelling in junior level events, including a gold medal in the Super G at the Whistler Cup. His coach Jake Zamansky, who is a former U.S. ski team member and Olympian, believes the time is right for him to compete with the seniors. Zamansky said, “This is, of course, a big ask, but on his day Dean could surprise a lot of senior racers.
“He is now within two seconds in training of some big names.”
Travers will also compete in the elimination round for a place in the finals of the Giant Slalom.
He showed early season form in training alongside the U.S. ski team at Copper Mountain, Colorado, under the watchful eye of his coaches Zamansky and former U.S. Olympian and World Cup racer Thomas Vonn.
Travers said, “Although I am still an Under-21, I have the opportunity to test myself against the best ski racers in the world at senior level and see what shakes out.
“The time has come for me to dive headfirst into the professional ranks, and I’m confident that after years of intense training and preparation I am ready for the challenges I will face on a world championship course.”
In addition to skiing every day in the season and in the Southern Hemisphere each summer, Travers has been on a strength and conditioning program for several years.
He added that he is confident based on current performance that he can be competitive in the Super G and the Giant Slalom at senior level.
His junior career has him ranked by the International Ski Federation in the top seven for his age in the world in three of the four main alpine ski racing disciplines, including a second-place ranking in the downhill.
“The prospects of racing at the world championships are exciting,” Travers added. “I learned to ski in Beaver Creek when I was 4, so you could say I have a hometown advantage. My brother Dow has a 48th place to his credit in the world championships at Val D‘Isere [France] some years ago, and I am hoping to improve on that.”