Why Moms Matter: An Interview with Shannon Bahrke

Braveskimom.comIt’s no secret that moms are important. At least that’s what I like to think. And last December I met someone else who thinks so, too. Her name is Shannon Bahrke. Yeah, that Shannon Bahrke: the U.S. Freestyle Skier with two Olympic medals and a contagious smile. She was being honored at the U.S. Olympic Park Museum inPark City,Utah. The first thing she did was to thank her mom. As a ski mom, I knew I had to talk to her.

 Photo courtesy Deb DeKoff, Park City Photographers, flickr.com

BSM: When I saw you at the U.S. Olympic Park Museum, the first person you thanked was your mom. Why?

SB:  My mom is THE BEST. She is really the person who started me on skis. When I was three, my mom took me to our local mountain, Homewood Ski Resort. We always had so much fun together, so that’s what got me started.

BSM: How did you get involved in competition? What was your mom’s role?

SB:   One of the coaches of theSquaw Valley freestyle team asked me to try out for the team when I was 12. My first thought was “no way.” But then I did it and got into freestyle.

As a lawyer, my mom could make her own schedule, so she became the “Team Mom,” driving everyone on the team around. She would put 12 of us into her car, drive to Heavenly and watch us practice. She would bring food for the entire team. She also took on much of the volunteer work for the team.

She is a huge supporter of me and my brother, Scotty (who competes in aerials and recently won his first World Cup). But she never pushed us.

BSM:   You left home at 17, made the U.S. Ski Team and began competing all over the world. How did your mom support you then? 

SB:      My parents have been to each Olympics and they haven’t missed a National since Scotty and I started competing at that level. One time, my mom sewed red, white and blue hats that said “Go Shannon” on them. While I abandoned good luck charms, my mom never did. She has lucky socks, lucky underwear and lucky jackets. Sometimes I see her and think “Oh my God, mom, what are you wearing?”

BSM:   We’re talking about your mom, but clearly, both your mom and dad have been involved and supported you.

SB:      Yes, they have. What is so amazing about my parents is that we weren’t the richest kids on the block. My parents made so many sacrifices for us. We didn’t know anything else but skiing. We didn’t know about family vacations. Looking back, I see how much they gave up and it really means a lot to me. The places I’ve traveled and the things I’ve done would never have been possible without my parents.

BSM:   Let’s talk about your business, Silver Bean Coffee Company.

SB:      I love it my business! People come in before they go skiing, they come in to hang out with their friends, to sit down and catch up. It’s something I really cherish.

My mom always tried to work for what we wanted and she’s the one who made it possible for me to start a business. She was a businesswoman and did everything herself. She gave me the inspiration and strength to help me do what I want to do.

BSM:   It’s almost Mother’s Day. What would you like to say to your mom?

SB:      Thanks to the best mom in the whole world, who never doubted me and who is always at the finish line, giving me a hug. You are the most beautiful and inspirational person I know, inside and out.

Shannon Bahrke is a U.S. Freestyle skier who currently owns and operates Silver Bean Coffee Company with her husband, Matt Happe. They have two Utah locations: at the bottom of Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City and at Utah Olympic Park, in the museum. They also operate a coffee roasting business.

photo credit: Photo courtesy Deb DeKoff, Park City Photographers, flickr.com
2) me and Shannon at US Olympic Museum Park City
3)Shannon at Silver Bean Coffee. Photo courtesy teamusa.org
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