SKIS UP: Muzny Found Passion in the Air
THE MUZNY FAMILY TOOK A LEAP OF FAITH OVER THE PANDEMIC, AND FOR DAUGHTER, REESE, SHE FOUND HER PASSION… WELL, LEAPING.
Dr. Carrie and Victor Muzny put their lives on pause in The Woodlands and moved to Park City, Utah for a change of pace in 2020. The parents gladly accepted the challenge of running their booming dental practice remotely, in order to focus on family.
Park City is also home to the Utah Olympic Center; this facility allows elite winter sport athletes to train year-round. Thousands of tourists visit the facility every day, and it was here, that chance visit introduced Reese to the sport where she saw athletes performing multiple flips and twists while flying 30-50 feet into the air.
As an avid gymnast back in The Woodlands, she asked to give it a try.
"First, I love adrenaline," she said. "Growing up, my family loved to go skiing and with a background in flipping in gymnastics. It kind of came naturally. I just put the two together and went with it. I love the feeling of being that high in the air."
Mom, "covers her eyes", and dad "lives through me", Reese laughed.
It doesn't hurt that Reese is ultra-competitive and uber-athletic. She also balances volleyball, soccer, golf, track and cheerleading for the Warriors all while traveling to Utah to train in aerial ski jumping.
After that first encounter at the Olympic Center, Reese dropped into classes to check it out. She learned the basics of skiing the ramp and a basic jump. The second day, she impressed her instructors by asking if she could try a flip and sure enough she nailed it.
"The coaches told us that it is not uncommon for an athlete to train six months to do what Reese was doing in a week," Vic said. "After they saw her willingness to attempt these advanced jumps, she was invited to try out- and joined the Park City Ski and Snowboard Women's Aerial Team."
"Because Park City has the only Aerial Facility in the US, this is the only developmental team that produces aerial athletes that go on to the US National Ski Team and the Olympics."
"We thought she was late to the sport, but actually for aerials, it turned out she was really early. At first, Reese was very intimidated and self-conscious as a 13 year-old training and jumping alongside older athletes who were in their late teens and early 20s."
After training into a pool all summer, she was cleared to attempt her jumps on the less forgiving snow when winter rolled around. Eventually she gained her first experience by participating in two competitions where she really started to "dig in" with the sport.
"We asked her coaches if this is something we should really pursue, or if she had enough talent to continue with the sport. We didn't really know much about the sport," he said.
"Her coach was emphatically encouraging, even laying out a "road map" that was just a few years from competing in the world cup tour and eventually a possible Olympic birth as soon as the 2026 Olympic Games in Milan, Italy…Of course, that is if everything goes as planned."
It was a whirlwind season for Reese, but she was on the clock. Before all of this, as a family, the Muzny's committed to one and only one year full-time in Park City. They have a son Grant (13-years old), who was ready to get back to his buddies and Texas football. That was the deal… one year.
"It was truly the best year of my life, meeting new friends and skiing with this all the time," she said. "Our school even had early release, so we got to ski most days." She will return this winter and continue the pursuit of her goal.
"Of course, my dream is to make the Olympics someday," she said. "But I'm ready to compete. That's just my nature. I'm ready to get back up to Park City and practice. I'm really excited to travel to places like Canada and New York for competitions and have those experiences."
She will have to work around school and miss a few Warrior soccer games, but she knows the sacrifices it will take.
"It's a lot, but we will just figure it out. If you love something, you will always find time for it," she said.