A self-propelled prodigy
Self-driven basketball and football players who put in all the extra practice time they can get are often called gym rats. It’s the same story with hockey and rink rats.
Kutter Moum belongs to the same family but is a member of a separate species. He’s more of a slope rat.
Moum, a 13-year-old from Bottineau, is a member of the Bottineau Winter Park (BWP) under-14 ski team. The BWP team competes in the Manitoba Alpine Ski Division (MASD), but Moum hasn’t limited himself to just that.
Over the past three years, he has also competed in United States Ski and Snowboarding (USSA) events. What’s more, he recently competed in the Junior Olympics skiing event in Winter Park, Colo., and was the first skier from Bottineau to qualify for that event in 30 years.
Some would look at that wonder if Moum could become a generational athlete, one that his sport only sees once every couple of decades.
Boyd Sivertson, one of the BWP team’s coaches, doesn’t see Moum that way. Instead, Sivertson suggested, what sets Moum apart from his peers is how he goes about his business.
From his training regimen to his off-slope workouts with his older brother Brody to how he navigates his skiing runs, Moum has an uncommon work ethic.
“We’ve had other kids over the last couple of years that could’ve done what Kutter has, but the difference is they weren’t as highly-focused as Kutter is and they didn’t race USSA as much,” Sivertson said. “We primarily compete in Canada and had two or three kids before Kutter came in that could’ve done the same thing he has, but Kutter’s a special case that way.
“He’s definitely self-motivated a ton. He gets up early in the morning to go lift weights with his older brother at school and, even though we usually practice as a team on Fridays and Saturdays, he’s up there, as schooling allows, on Thursdays and Sundays, too, and goes to a lot of camps,” Sivertson continued. “Kutter’s such a hard-working kid.”
Moum comes from an established skiing family, as his father, Brent, and older brother, Brody are also both well-steeped in the sport. When asked where he gets his motivation from, Moum credited his brother, father and mother, Anne.
“My parents and Brody support me really well and are able to push me,” Moum said, “and I also have a supportive group of friends where we support each other and push each other to do better.”
Moum and his BWP team finished their season last weekend at a Manitoba Alpine Ski Division (MASD) event in Inglis, Manitoba. Moum won the gold medal in both the giant slalom and skier X (four-man race) events, and he finished third in the final overall Manitoba Cup standings.
At the Junior Olympics event two weeks ago in Colorado, Moum competed against 108 of the best under-14 skiers in the country. He finished 59th in the super-giant slalom, 35th in giant slalom and 35th in the Kombi (super-giant slalom and giant slalom).
Moum felt he could’ve fared better at the Winter Park event than he did, but he’s satisfied with how his most recent season went.
“I met my goal of going to the Junior Olympics and I felt like I did pretty good for my age group,” he said. “There’s more I can do, though, and I want to keep pushing myself more and go further than I have.”
His next skiing season will see him move up to the under-16 ranks. Moum will have to get used to being the new kid in his division again, but he believes he’ll be ready to meet the challenge.
“You can do a lot in a year or an offseason, and I think I’ll notice that in going from U-14 to U-16,” Moum said. “You can train a lot in that time and get a lot better in just a year, and I’ll need that with the better competition.”
Sivertson believes that the next 24 months could be big for Moum in terms of continued USSA and, potentially, United States Ski Team exposure.
“Next year will be a little different for him, but (U-16 is) largely the same competition and I really see him qualifying again, and then after that his development is up to him,” Sivertson said.
“USSA and the U.S. Ski Team looks hard at U-14s and U-16s,” he continued, “and if Kutter’s going to stick with it and go further, with as hard as he works, he’s a kid that’s going to get noticed.”