Geibel's DiBiase asserts himself on ski slopes
Not long after he could walk, Geibel junior Nelson DiBiase was on skis. Since that time, skiing has become a life-long passion for the 16-year-old.
“I like going at a fast speed, but having the ability to control it,” DiBiase said. “It's just like floating on snow.”
DiBiase enjoys the thrill of gliding down a snow-covered mountain, but he also loves competition. His strong dedication to the sport have garnered him accolades.
DiBiase, a Normalville resident, is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Race Club and has engaged in a number of competitions. In February, he scored his biggest victory by capturing the 2014 Pennsylvania Alpine Governor's Cup championship. DiBiase won the U18 division title and the overall championship.
“I was looking at winning the U18, but I wasn't really sure if I could win the overall Governor's Cup,” DiBiase said, noting that this was his first time competing in the Pennsylvania Alpine Governor's Cup. “I was pretty surprised when I looked up at the standings and saw what I had accomplished.”
The Pennsylvania Alpine Governor's Cup is a competition among the top under-21 skiers in Pennsylvania. The competition comprises eight events. Two events are held at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, DiBiase's home course. The other six events are split between Blue Mountain and Elk Mountain. Those events comprise slalom and giant slalom competitions.
The Pennsylvania Alpine Governor's Cup wrapped up its 2013-14 season in late February, and DiBiase finished first overall thanks to three victories as well as a second- and third-place finish.
DiBiase was presented with a large silver cup. This is a tradition that dates back to the 1950s. DiBiase was coached by Rick Cellich, a Geibel graduate who won the cup 1984-86.
“Nelson is obviously a special athlete, with extraordinary skill,” Cellich said, noting that DiBiase is supportive of his teammates on the Western Pennsylvania Race Club, which is based at Seven Springs. “When it comes time to focus on the run, that's where he separates himself from everybody else.”
DiBiase's strong performance in the Pennsylvania Alpine Governor's Cup earned him a spot in the Eastern Finals, which were Feb. 27 through March 2 at Gore Mountain Ski Resort in North Creek, N.Y. The top five competitors from several eastern states took part in the event. DiBiase finished eighth in the slalom.
His strong 2014 season was not his first taste of success. DiBiase was the fifth-place finisher for the Pennsylvania State Alpine Racing Team in 2012, and he took second in 2013. He also competed in the Easter Junior Olympics in Maine last year.
DiBiase spends a lot of time fine-tuning his skills on the slopes. He attends a race camp in Colorado each November. During ski season, he spends about 10 hours a week training at Seven Springs.
During the offseason, his routine consists of a lot of dry-land training, such as running and biking.
An honor roll student, he also plays soccer for Geibel and has twice been named an all-county player.
With so much success at a young age, DiBiase has high hopes, beginning with next season. He will try to successfully defend his Pennsylvania Alpine Governor's Cup title in 2015. He will again compete in U18.
“I was looking at racing in college, but I'm not looking too far ahead,” said DiBiase, noting that Penn State and the Colorado School of Mines are institutions that he has interest in. He plans to study engineering.
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.