EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 31, 2014

Flying freestyle

Andover's Annalisa Drew to represent US in half-pipe event

Annalisa Drew was named to the U.S. Olympic Ski team last week, the culmination of thousands of hours of jumps, spins and “getting air.”

But, unlike a lot of her skiing brethren heading to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics next week, there never was a life-long dream to be an Olympic skier. She’s not complaining.

Drew says she always skied, most of the time at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H., for selfish reasons.

She loved being around her family, particularly several cousins.

“To this day, I love competing and trying new moves,” said Drew, an Andover native, from her Vail, Colo., apartment. “But the thing I loved most was the weekends with my family and cousins. I had more fun than you could imagine. It’s the reason I skied so much, practically every weekend. I loved being around my family.”

Her family next month is the U.S. Ski Team and their mountain of choice will be at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, about 30 miles from the city of Sochi.

Drew competes in the freestyle half-pipe, which is about “getting air” and acrobatics, things she learned with her cousins, several of which were, like her, from Andover.

Drew, 20, was added to the team after a vote by the committee, which noted her consistency the last few months of the season in five different competitions.

“I was speechless when I got the call from Coach (Ben) Verge,” recalled Drew. “I couldn’t really talk. He just said, ‘You got a spot on the Olympic team.’ I think he said, ‘Wait, you want to hear it again. You’re going to the Olympics.’”

While Drew finished in the top five in nearly every competition, she made a name for herself at the 2013 X Games in Aspen, Colo. and Tignes.

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