Dominic Demschar: an Olympian on the U’s ski team

By Griffin Adams and Griffin Adams

Before Utah freshman alpine skier Dominic Demschar even wore a Utah uniform, he had already made a name for himself in the skiing world.

Second-place finish at the 2014 Iceland National Championships, second place at the 2012 Chile National Championships, two-time competitor at the International Ski Federation Junior World Ski Championships, and last but certainly not least, a 2014 Sochi Olympic Games participant — those are just a few of the accolades Demschar boasts on his résumé. But there is an even bigger reason why that last name speaks volumes among skiers across the globe.

Demschar’s dad, Herwig, is a big name in the skiing community. Herwig was an alpine ski coach for Austria for nine years before becoming the head coach for the U.S. Women’s National Alpine Ski team. Later in his life, he became an instrumental part in bringing the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City as a leader on the Organizing Committee. Additionally, he played similar roles for the 2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Despite being raised by one of the bigger names in the sport, Demschar never felt pressured to be a skier.

“Never really thought about it much as a kid, didn’t realize how big he was until I got older and more into the sport. He always stayed out of it for us,” Demschar said. “He’s seen all sorts of parents ruin relationships with their kids so he always took the backseat and watched … He would never push us into [skiing].”

With Herwig being so knowledgeable of the sport, it was as if Demschar had a coach his entire life.

“It’s easy when he’s your dad to trust him, and to know how much he’s done in the sport, so for me, he’s always the first person I go to,” Demschar said. “If I have questions or something I’m unsure about, I go to him … I have one or two other coaches, but he’s number one.”

The Demschars reside in Park City, where Dominic graduated from Park City High School. When it comes to skiing, Park City is one of the premiere destinations. With resorts such as The Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley and the Olympic training facilities, it is easily one of the most attractive places for skiers across the country.

Demschar believes he has seen success in the sport because of where he grew up. Not only does he get to ski on some of the best snow on the best mountains in the nation, but Demschar also gets to ski with some of the best talent as well.

“I have three or four really close friends that were [at the Olympics] at the same time — growing up in the environment where everyone is competing at the highest level is always helpful mentally,” Demschar said.

And to continue the path to competing on the highest level, Demschar decided to stay relatively close to home and attend the U.

“I’ve traveled so much in my life that it’s nice to be able to go up [to Park City] on a Sunday every now and then and see my family and my mom,” Demschar said. “It’s different from what I’m used to.”

The Utah ski team is no stranger to having Olympic athletes on its roster, but Ute assistant alpine ski coach Luke Patterson said that convincing Demschar to be a Ute was a goal of his, and the rest of the staff, for quite some time. Patterson believes Demschar can be an integral piece of the team thanks to his prior international experience.

“I’m sure he had a bunch of options, so we’re really excited he decided to come to the U,” Patterson said. “It’s great having an in-state athlete. We’ve had a lot of exposure to [Dom] over the years … Dominic’s exposure to those super elite race certainly allows him a special perspective on competition, doesn’t get any more elite than the Olympics.”

While Demschar has accomplished a lot in his young career, the freshman feels there is still room to grow. After pointing out that the peak age for this sport is typically 27 years old, Demschar hopes to compete in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics by the time his senior season rolls around.

Oh, and if you’re looking for Demschar to rock the American Flag next Olympics, don’t waste your time because you’ll never find him. Instead, he will be skiing under the Austrailian banner. Demschar’s mother, Michelle, was born in Australia, and he even lived there when he was a little kid. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t even a U.S. citizen until just a year ago.

“Yeah, most likely Australia,” Demschar said when asked who he would compete for in the next Games. “I’ve grown up racing for Australia my whole life, that was who I could race for.”

Thus far in the ski season for Utah, Demschar has finished in the top 10 in all three races, including two podium finishes and a victory in the Rocky Mountain International Ski Association qualifier.

No matter who Demschar ends up skiing for in a few years, you can expect the freshman to lead the charge for the Utes this season on the mountain.

[email protected]

@GriffDoug