We check in with Traverse City West High School’s Morgan Culp, one of the fastest downhill skiers in the state of Michigan, for her inside scoop on staying fit and why young girls should consider following in her turns.
Last year you took 2nd in slalom in the state’s Division I. This is your senior year, I take you are gunning for a gold in the slalom?
Okay then, you must be putting in your snow time to make that happen.
Morgan: I train from 4 to 7 every week night. I usually go to the non-mandatory weekend practices too, so that’s about 20 hours a week.
Beyond that time on your skis, do you do other workouts?
Morgan: Yes. I do a weights and conditioning class at West [high school]. I do a lot of squats and core exercises. Off-season I run and do dry land training with the team. I also play tennis and swim.
Wow, all of that and homework—and you work at Thatsa’ Pizza in the summer and during the school year too! What’s your advice for younger girls looking to take on all of that and a highly competitive sport like skiing?
Morgan: Eat healthy. You can’t eat a bunch of bad stuff and expect to do great. Also, get sleep! I changed my sleep patterns this year. I used to stay up late and wake up early. But I realized that if you do that you can’t reach your full potential. Now I shoot for at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
So, what does a typical Morgan Culp meal look like?
Morgan: Fruits and vegetables are what I try to eat the most.
Mind breaking it down by meal?
Morgan: First, it’s important to eat full meals—you can’t just snack throughout the day.
For breakfast I try to stay away from things like pop tarts and pancakes and opt for things like eggs, fruit, yogurt, orange juice. You need something to get you going without too much sugar.
For lunch I usually have a sandwich with lunchmeat and a banana. Then I’ll have a Cliff bar for protein. You have to eat protein.
Dinner is usually meat, vegetables and fruit. But the night before races we’ll carb up because we’ll be burning a lot of calories.
In our Kids Up North newsletter we are trying to make kids understand that passing up pop is the easiest and most effective way that they can keep themselves fit and healthy. No pressure here, but what is your position on pop?
Morgan: I don’t drink it at all. I stopped a couple of years ago. I don’t like the taste and the facts about it. I stick to water and juices stuff like that.
So being a competitive skier means you have goals to work towards, a reason to stay fit and healthy, what other reason might you give a younger girl for going out for a ski team?
Morgan: Friends. The biggest thing for me is friends. My teammates are genuinely good people. They stay on the right track and are really supportive of each other.