By Patrick Ryan
Michael Beutner ’14 left Harvard-Westlake Nov. 16 and plans to ski full-time until April. He will take independent study and online courses, but when he returns to school next year, he will have to repeat 10th grade.
Beutner began skiing when his father first took him to the slopes at age 2. He started racing for fun when he was 5 years old, but he began skiing for the Mammoth ski team competitively when he was 7 and has raced ever since.
Beutner competes in the slalom, giant slalom, super G and downhill events.
“Short term, I would like to see if I can qualify for nationals this year,” Beutner said. “Long term, [my] goal would be to ski in college, but I guess to just keep working hard at it and see where it takes me.”
Beutner is the second sophomore to leave to pursue skiing elsewhere. Henry Elkus ’14 also left for the year to train in Santa Barbara and compete with the Park City Ski team.
Beutner’s training consists of six hours of skiing per day plus ski-specific weigh lifting in the gym. He will travel around the country competing against other teams this year.
“In the past, it has been difficult to balance my schoolwork,” Beutner said. “Last year, I had to miss many days of school, and it was tough, but I was able to complete the work.”
He plans to live in his family’s house in Mammoth, Calif. with his longtime coach, and his parents plan on visiting him frequently.
“I really like being outdoors, and it is a great opportunity to get away,” he said. “If you put in the time, it will give it back to you. I’ve been doing it since I was really young and I’ve really enjoy it.”