Local skier wins spot on U.S. freestyle team

UVM student and Vermont native Bryan Zemba  captured the gold medal in the moguls event at the Junior World Freestyle Championships in Finland on March 20.

Zemba beat out the host country’s own Justin Penttala to secure the win, which crowned him the junior world champion in moguls.

The victory also qualified Zemba for the U.S. freestyle ski team, allowing him to fulfill a lifelong dream.

“I always believed that I would some day make the U.S. ski team, but to get a spot on the team as well as be a world champion is pretty awesome,” Zemba said. “It’s a title I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Zemba has been skiing since the early age of 2, competing since age 8 and skied with the Killington Mountain School. He currently trains with the U.S. ski team in Park City, Utah.

Since he began skiing, Zemba found his niche in freestyle skiing rather than ski racing.

“I never really tried anything else besides freestyle skiing,” Zemba said. “Racing was never appealing to me.”

“I was, and still am, a bit of a firecracker and going off jumps, skiing through bumps and around the rest of the mountain was much more entertaining to me than going around gates, so I stuck with moguls and have never regretted it.”

Now a sophomore and exercise and movement sciences major, Zemba has future career aspirations of being a strength and conditioning coach.

Vermont is right where Zemba wants to be for school to make this happen.

“Once I was accepted into UVM, it was an easy decision to attend,” Zemba said.

As Zemba looks toward his journey with the U.S. freestyle ski team, he is also looking forward to the rest of his skiing career.

“As a member of the U.S. freestyle ski team, I hope to have a long, healthy career filled with both domestic and international successes,” Zemba said.

“This includes World Cup victories, national championship titles and to stand a top the podium at the Olympic Winter Games.”