LYNDEBOROUGH: RJ and Ashley Humphreys are a brother and sister skiing duo reaching new heights on the slopes
In sport, sibling success is always unique, and when more than one athlete in a family excels, it becomes even more noteworthy. RJ and Ashley Humphreys are an example of a dominant brother and sister duo.
This winter RJ, 15, of Lyndeborough, placed 10th in the U16 division at the New Hampshire Alpine Racing Association State championships while skiing for Franconia Ski Club. RJ earned 10th overall by finishing 7th in the giant slalom qualifier at Waterville Valley and 6th in the slalom qualifier held at Proctor Ski Area. RJ’s 10th place finish earned him a spot on the NHARA State Team.
Ashley, 14, who also skis for Franconia Ski Club, finished 9th in the state for the U14 division, earning a spot on the NHARA team. Ashley earned 9th overall by placing 7th twice in the slalom event at the state championships held at Dartmouth Skiway on Mar. 9th-10th.
To qualify for the state meet, Ashley placed 3rd at the giant slalom qualifier held at Loon Mountain and 4th at the slalom qualifier at Cannon Mountain in February. “Getting 3rd in the GS qualifier at Loon was the proudest moment of my season,” she said.
RJ did not stop at the state level. He qualified for the United States Ski Association Eastern Regional Championships, competing against elite ski racers from all over the east coast.
RJ’s U16 Eastern Regional Championships were a five-day event held from March 5 to March 10 in Whiteface, N.Y., near Lake Placid. The championships consisted of two runs of Super G, 2 runs of giant slalom and 2 runs of slalom. RJ took 38th overall in the slalom, 2nd in the Super G, and 28th in the giant slalom, good for 51st overall.
RJ’s best season yet can be attributed to his hard work during the offseason when he put in time improving his strength and conditioning.
The siblings are used to dedicating lots of time to their craft. The Franconia Ski Club is a two hour drive one way from their home in Lyndeborough. They have both been skiing for the club for three years, practicing 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. every weekend, and sometimes on Fridays.
All of the traveling has led to the duo sometimes missing school during the winter months, “The school is very supportive of them,” said their mom, Kathleen, in a recent interview.
RJ is a freshman and Ashley is an eighth grader at Wilton Lyndeborough Cooperative School. Both have maintained good grades despite their missed classes, according to Kathleen.
RJ and Ashley began competitive skiing in 2004 at ages 5 and 6 at Crotched Mountain. They were members of the first racing team that Crotched had after they reopened the year before.
“Ashley was the youngest racer on that team for a few seasons so she really had to work hard to chase her big brother and the older girls but they all had a lot of fun with the team,” recalled Kathleen.
Skiing has always been a family past time for the Humphreys. Their father Ray is a U14 coach at Franconia Ski Club and used to be a coach at Crotched Mountain. He coached RJ for one season and has been one of Ashley’s coaches since she began to race competitively.
RJ enjoys having his sister share his love for ski racing, saying, “It’s nice to see her succeed.” Ashley enjoys getting support from RJ, “He gives me good tips and helps me tune my skis.”
Although they both love to ski and enjoy being competitive, when it comes to pre-race rituals, Ashley and RJ could not be more different. “The night before a race I listen to ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry,” said Ashley. While Ashley is jamming out to her favorite song, RJ is focused on “Staying hydrated and eating well.”
When not skiing, RJ enjoys playing baseball and soccer, while Ashley likes to draw, read, and play with rainbow looms.