Athlete Profile: Mike Radford

Photo by Roger Miller
Photo by Roger Miller

Sandpoint, Idaho native Mike Radford might be known for his skills on the ski hill, but the MSU alpine skier also has a big heart. “I had probably 200 trophies when I moved from California to Idaho. I took off the plaques and donated them to the Special Olympics.”

The Exercise Science major’s favorite class so far has been Master Works in Music, taught by Eric Funk. “There’s so much information that may not be relebant to what I’m involved in, but it’s nice to understand that art form,” he said. “Maybe more so because I’m not too involved in the field.” Radford is a music minor.

However, Radford, a sophomore, came to Bozeman for the skiing. “It’s the best skiing in the world. Best snow, most challenging hills. And it’s packed into a small area called Bridger. [Bozeman is] a pretty nice place,” he said.

What is the best part of competing in Alpine skiing?
Diversity. Everything is different from day to day.

When and why did you start skiing?
I was two years old. I started racing at age five. My parents got me into it. They both worked at the ski hill. I started seriously competing when I was eight or nine, and I was pretty good. I decided I wanted to go to the Olympics, and it just went from there. That was the goal and still is.

What is your favorite thing about skiing and why?
It challenges you to zero in on your skills. You have to have mental focus, and tune out distractions. Anything can happen in a blink of an eye. I find the challenge to be exhilarating and invigorating at the same time.

What do you do to prepare before a race?
You have to have a certain fitness level — you want to peak at the right time and maintain that during the season. There’s a huge mental aspect, too. You have to try to get your head right and have confidence.

Do you plan to continue competing in skiing in the future?
I plan to get done with school and hopefully be able to pursue ski racing on my own as an independent skier. I’ll see where that takes me.

What do you think is the key to your success as a student-athlete?
Time management. You have so many different responsibilities you have to manage. Being an athlete is an honor. There’s a reason student comes before athlete. You get what’s required of you done to the best of your abilities, and then you can focus on competing.

Have you received any awards while skiing?
I was on the podium for some junior events when I was younger. Last year, I placed ninth at the NCAA championships in Giant Slalom. This year, I won the Denver Invitational in Giant Slalom.

What person or quote inspires you?
“When opportunity strikes, you must strike back.” It was on a fortune cookie.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I read, write, play guitar, hike and bike. I just like anything that gets me out in nature.

What would you like to tell students/readers about MSU skiing?
We work hard, race hard and we like to play every once in a while.

Editor’s note: The RMISA Championship/NCAA West Regional Ski competition will be held Feb. 22-24 at Bridger Bowl.