STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Mary (Desmarteau) and Skip Dierdorff, formerly of Monmouth, moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., from the Northwest for a job opportunity. Twenty-five years later, they are parents of an Olympian.
Their son, Mick, 26, learned to ski at 18 months old, as soon as they arrived in Colorado. Next week, Mick will compete with the U.S. Snowboard Team in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“We have teeny weeny cross-country skis,” said Mary. “We took him on the slopes when he was 18 months. He skied until fifth grade.”
Steamboat is an amazing community, Mary said, with plenty of opportunities to get involved in winter sports.
“When I was growing up, we had MIKI — Monmouth-Independence Kids Incorporated,” Skip said. “Little league, basketball, that was what we had available in the 1970s in Monmouth-Independence.”
In Steamboat, there is Winter Sports Club — ski racing, ski jumping, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding. After-school activities are at Howelsen Hill Ski Area. More than 70 Olympians have come out of this area and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports club.
“Most of the sports you find in the Olympics, the club starts out at a very young age here, and they have coaching available at a level that hands them off to the U.S. Team if they go that far,” Skip said.
By the time he was 5, Mick was ski racing, Skip said.
“When he was 10, he gave up ski racing and played hockey, and that’s where he learned to snowboard,” Skip said.
Mary said it is exciting and unbelievable that her son will be in South Korea on the world stage.
“He has worked so hard,” she said. “People don’t really understand how hard he’s worked to get to this point. It makes me cry. It’s a lot of dedication on everyone’s part — family and everything.”
Qualifying and attending the Olympics is expensive, including everything from gear to travel to training.
“He’s worked very hard working in construction as a framer,” Mary said.
Mick also worked to earn a degree in businsess from the University of Utah.
Skip said he and Mary are very proud of their son and his commitment and determination.
“He’s always liked competing,” Mary said. “He won Nationals in his first year competing at 13. He’s very dedicated, a very hard worker, just an amazing guy. What impresses me the most is he’s the most humble person.”
Mick headed to South Korea on Monday. The family will follow later this week.
“Skip and I are going, our daughter Molly and her fiancé Landon are coming,” Mary said. “He’s going to have a good 15 people there routing him on from home. It’s pretty exciting.”
In Monmouth and Independence, a lot more than that will be cheering Mick on.
“I don’t look at social media that often, but I’ve probably looked at Facebook in the last week more than I have in the last two years,” Skip said. “I’m amazed and grateful for all the well-wishes and compliments from friends and family and people that we knew growing up that are paying attention. I wouldn’t expect that type of reaction. I would like to convey my thanks to people for noticing and paying attention, and that they’re rooting for Mick.”
Root for Mick
Mick Dierdorff will compete in Snowboardcross on Feb. 15. Because of the time difference, fans in the United States can watch him on Feb. 14.
243 athletes are on Team USA. 26 are on the snowboarding team.
The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, begin on Thursday. The Opening Ceremony will be held on Friday at 8 p.m. local time — 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The ceremony will air again on Friday evening at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
For more on the televised schedule: nbcolympics.com.