VAIL — Tess Johnson wants to show youth that it’s possible to succeed through sport in Eagle County, and success in sport can lead to other success in life.
Located in Edwards, a few minutes from the home Johnson grew up in, the Riverwalk Inn is a logical setting to represent that goal, as the inn just named Johnson its resident Olympian. An out-of-industry sponsor now supporting Johnson in several different ways, the Riverwalk Inn will serve as example of Johnson’s successes, in addition to providing a nice setting for a Q&A and autograph-signing. The event is at 5:30 p.m. on May 25.
Plus, says Johnson, “They remodeled their hotel in the past year, and it’s really, really nice.”
MEET NEW FANS
Fans will have a chance to ask questions, get their picture taken with Johnson and get an autograph on an item of their choosing. Johnson will have posters to give away, as well.
Another one of Johnson’s big goals with the event is to meet her supporters in Eagle County — and perhaps a few people she might not know.
“People who have been following my journey, and who maybe I’ve inspired to become a mogul skier, or try a new sport,” she said.
For any young skier, trying moguls is trying a new sport, as the fringe discipline is one that recruits only those who are already well accustomed to being on snow.
Johnson’s journey began when she was just a kid, her parents — locals TJ and Carol Johnson — watched her skills on the snow quickly surpass those of her older sister and suspected they might have a child with a talent for skiing.
Johnson discovered moguls skiing and never looked back. When she was just 14, she received word that she would be nominated to the U.S. team, the youngest athlete to receive such a call in the modern era of the sport.
Jonhson then helped usher in a younger generation of moguls skiers, producing results that proved the team’s gamble on young competitors was justified. By age 16, she had achieved top-10 finishes on the World Cup and by age 17 she had won a World Cup event. She made the Olympic team in 2018, finishing 12th in Pyeongchang, and won the bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships.
“I think it’s really important that local kids around the valley have an inspiration to look up to, especially someone who was born and raised like them, in Vail,” she said.
Recently, as 14-year-old moguls skier Kai Owens of Vail received word that she has been nominated to the national team, her thoughts went to Johnson’s journey.
“When (Johnson) first made the U.S. team, she had fundraisers and stuff, and she’d pass along U.S. team jackets,” Owens said. “And this year I had one that I wore in Chile.”
While the May 25 event with Johnson is free to attend, registering on EventBrite is encouraged, as the lobby of the Riverwalk will reach capacity at 40 people.
Register on EventBrite.com and search for “Tess Johnson Q&A at The Inn at Riverwalk.”