Meet Jamie Stanton

Posted in Voices from the Mountain

Meet Jamie Stanton

The No. 1 men’s standing skier in the U.S. shares his story, from his first time on skis at 3 years old to his 2014 Sochi Paralympic accomplishments.

Sports: Alpine skiing

Date of Birth: June 16, 1994

Hometown/Current Residence: Clinton Township, Michigan

Education: University of Denver ’16

Jamie’s Story

Jamie Stanton first skied at age 3, no surprise for a young boy who started walking by his first birthday.

“I remember the first time I was on snow,” Jamie said. “I was with my family and I just loved it so much. It made me one happy kid. That moment will always stick with me.”

Jamie was born with fibular hemimelia, a growth deficiency of the fibula, and as a result had his right leg amputated below the knee when he was 6 months old.

Now Jamie is a sophomore in college at age 20, and his amputation has done anything but stop him from pursuing his passion and accomplishing feats most people can only dream of.

Jamie started competitive skiing in high school, making the varsity team his freshman year. When he was a junior, he competed in the 2011 Michigan Adaptive Sports Skiing state competition, where he won by the large margin of eight seconds.

“I use regular skis and poles. If you look at me while I ski, I look exactly like an able-bodied skier. I just use a special ski leg for extra knee support.”

Soon after repeating his victory in the 2012 Michigan Adaptive Sports Skiing state competition his senior year in high school—in addition to claiming the Huntsman Cup overall champion that year—he was introduced to Erik Peterson of the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) and was named to the 2013-2013 U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing Development Team. Petersen brought Jamie to his first race camp in Breckenridge, Colorado, and from there, Jamie was hooked on international competition with the goal of representing Team USA at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

“Early fall of my senior year, Erik Peterson [head coach for U.S. Paralympic team] called me and said, ‘We’ve seen your accomplishments and invite you to the Ski Spectacular Camp in Colorado.’ I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go; to be honest, I was more interested in college golf. But, it turned out to be the best decision of my life.”

In 2013 alone, Stanton took second in slalom and giant slalom at World Cup Thredbo; third in slalom at World Cup Coronet Peak; and first in giant slalom at NorAm Copper Mountain. At the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Championships, he won first in slalom and giant slalom. Obviously, he had earned a spot on the 2013-2014 U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team—Jamie was told he could go to Sochi. At age 17, he moved to Colorado to get serious about going to Russia.

“My mind was blown—a big door opened for me.”

At the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, Jamie won sixth in super-G, 13th in super combined and 22nd slalom. Watch Jamie at 19 years old in the super-G run below.

As if his efforts in Sochi weren’t enough for the year 2014, Jamie also won 10th in slalom run one, 11th in slalom run two and 12th in giant slalom at 2014 World Cup Copper Mountain. At World Cup Panorama, Jamie took 14th in giant slalom, 16th in super combined, 17th in downhill and 23rd in super-G. At NorAm Aspen he won second in downhill, and took first in giant slalom at NorAm Winter Park. At the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Championships, Jamie won third in downhill. Jamie is currently ranked the No. 1 men’s standing skier in U.S.

“You make yourself work harder and climb the ladder until you are the best.”

His Greatest Achievement

Success is no stranger to Stanton, as he received the University of Denver’s prestigious Freshman of the Year Award in 2013. But if you ask Jamie, he’d say his greatest achievement is a result of work ethic.

“My hard work paid off. In my first year with NSCD, a lot of guys beat me, but by the end of the season I was winning championships. It was eye-opening how far my skiing had come in just one year.”

Jamie Stanton Stanton_Jamie12_Kusumoto

“Being ranked 24th in the world for alpine skiing, there weren’t high expectations for me. But I came in sixth, which was higher than expected, and the highest male U.S. world ranking based on low points. Now, I’m ranked 20th in the world.”

Advice

“My favorite quote is, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Everything I’ve gone through has taught me that if you have the determination and the drive, you can do anything.”

What’s Next for Jamie

Jamie is currently a sophomore at University of Denver studying finance and accounting, and is on a full-ride, five-year scholarship for disabled scholar athletes, the Willy Schaeffler Scholarship.Jamie Stanton headshot

“It’s a blessing to get an education and be able to ski that competitively.”

His short-term plans are to compete in the World Championships in late January, 2015 in British Columbia, and to continue training for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Korea. His long-term goal is to work on Wall Street as a stockbroker.

Jamie Stanton has accomplished so much at such a young age, proving that no matter the deck you’re dealt, hard work pays off.

Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieStantonUSA

By Lauren Reiniger