By Alisha McDarris
For Hometown News
HOBE SOUND -- Lacie Greenwald of Hobe Sound has been skiing practically since she could walk, and now, at 12, she's well on her way to the big leagues.
She competes all across the country and even has a brand new endorsement from ShipSkis in Palm Beach Gardens, bringing her one step closer to status as a professional skier.
Her love of the sport was handed down to her from her parents, Brett and Jeneane Greenwald, owners of Treasure Coast Health and Wellness in Stuart, who brought her to the slopes at age 2 near a vacation spot in Utah. By 8 she was competing, zigzagging down the slopes at impressive speeds.
Ms. Greenwald is glad she got started with the sport so early since she has to travel so far to practice on actual snow. But she does enjoy frequent trips to Utah, Vermont, Colorado, even British Columbia to hone her skills.
While here in Florida, she practices at Virtual Snow in West Palm Beach that has a carpeted system set up for skiers to practice and analyze their form in front of a mirror which Ms. Greenwald's dad says is invaluable.
Ms. Greenwald also does a lot of cross training, running, and agility and balance training to become the best she can be. It must be working because ShipSkis recently took notice and now takes care of shipping Ms. Greenwald's gear wherever she roams. She wears their logo on her racing attire as an ambassador for the company.
In February Ms. Greenwaldwas recognized as the fastest skier under 30 at the East Coast Nationals in Vermont where she won first place in her division.
She still gets the jitters when she races, but they are short-lived.
"I feel really nervous at first but once I get out there and start my first race I feel really strong and not nervous anymore," Ms. Greenwald said. "It's really awesome that you can compete with people all across the country."
The seventh grader will be competing in Vermont again in February 2014 and then at Nationals in March in Colorado. Long term, she has her sights set on the 2018 Olympic games where she dreams of competing with Lindsey Vonn, gold medalist for the U.S. Ski Team.
The sport is one of her true passions and her love of it keeps her motivated.
"I could never imagine my life without skiing," Ms. Greenwald said.
But she also has a passion for animals. As part of her Mitzvah project she started a nonprofit organization called Animals' Last Hope to raise money for the medical needs of dogs in shelters. She wants nothing more than to keep them happy and healthy and increase the chances that they'll go to a good home.
On the slopes or as an advocate for animals, Ms. Greenwald is going places.