Bozeman skiing community cheers on Heather McPhie


BOZEMAN, Mont. - In Bozeman, folks gathered to watch the mogul ski event and cheer on their very own Montana Olympian, Heather McPhie.

Bridger Ski Foundation hosted the Northern Division Freestyle Moguls this weekend, and young athletes from the region gathered to watch their sport on the international stage.

"I'm excited about this year's Olympics," said Bridger Johnson, a skier who competed in this weekend's event at Bridger Bowl.

About 100 people crammed into a hotel conference room on Saturday night to watch Olympic moguls and cheer on their hometown hero.

"There's a lot of Montana US athletes, and there's Heather McPhie; she's a really good skier," Johnson said.

Earlier in the weekend, these kids competed in the Northern Division Freestyle Moguls at Bridger Bowl, an event and location Team USA's Heather McPhie knows well.

"It's so cool to be so closely connected and be able to cheer her on," explained skier Rian Zetzer, who knows McPhie personally.

Tony Gilpin competed with, and then coached, McPhie.

"She was pretty competitive," he said. "She was a great athlete right from the start."

He said Heather started out just like all the kids who sat in the audience who have fallen in love with the sport of mogul skiing. He explained the Olympics are important and inspiring for these young athletes.

"We want them to see its not only a difficult sport, a serious sport, but something that will take them somewhere and make them somebody someday," he said.

And the kids agree, explaining seeing Heather and other Montana athletes make it all the way to Sochi makes them want to keep working toward their goals.

"It means a lot," Johnson said. "I think it inspires all of us."

"It's exciting," said Zetzer. "I'm pretty proud to be part of Montana."

And Coach Gilpin said this inspiration may be just what these kids need to make it to the top.

"I think we have kids right here today that could be at our next Olympics," he said.

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