Cochran skiis all the way to Vancouver

Born in Burlington — but raised in New Hampshire — 28-year-old Jimmy Cochran began skiing at age three.  After winning his first World Cup in 2003, he became a part of the U.S. Ski Team in 2004. Cochran comes from a family of champion skiers, including his father and aunts who, according to him, “were much more accomplished [than me].”After graduating from high school, Cochran enrolled at Middlebury College, where he studied for one year before transferring to UVM. Not only was Cochran a valued asset to the ski team, but he was also an accomplished engineering student.  His education was put on hold, however, when he was recruited to the U.S. Team.His motto and advice for all athletes and students is to “work hard and have fun,” and, as Cochran gears up for his races in the Vancouver Olympic Games, he plans to take his own advice.Vermont Cynic: First things first, how does it feel to be an Olympic athlete?Jimmy Cochran: It’s probably something that I’ll look back on and wish I had taken more time to appreciate. However, at the moment, it feels like the most normal thing in the world to be going to the Olympics — as if it’s just another race, and in some ways, it is.VC: When did you decide to move back to Vermont?JC: It wasn’t until I was done with high school — in the fall of 2000 — that I moved in with my grandmother in Richmond so I could ski and train at Stowe.  I remember feeling like I was coming home.  She lived on 600 acres and a little ski area that her and my grandfather built. I was never bored.VC: Why UVM?JC: Well, I started at Middlebury, and about halfway through that first year I was trying to pick classes for the next term. I mentioned to my mom that I loved the calculus class I had just taken and couldn’t find many more classes that were math-oriented. She sent me a course catalog from UVM and I was simply blown away by the engineering classes, so off I went. In the end, it was a perfect fit.VC: What do you miss most about skiing here?JC: I miss the team aspect of college racing. On the world cup, it’s all about you, all the time, whether you want it that way or not. Don’t get me wrong, we have a great group of guys that are a blast to be around, but it’s rare that everyone is happy at the end of a race day.VC: What do you feel are your biggest accomplishments?JC: The things I’m most proud of really aren’t skiing-related.  I received an academic award at UVM as an outstanding sophomore in mechanical engineering — I’m pretty proud of that.VC: What are you looking forward to most about Vancouver?JC: My girlfriend and a bunch of friends and family are going to watch the slalom and, more importantly, stay and ski powder for a few days after. I’m really pumped for that.