What does it take to be named one of the greatest skiers of all time? For celebrated Olympic racer Ted Ligety, it must not have hurt that he was skiing as a 2-year-old and racing in competitions by age 10. The 39-year-old Park City native also credits the local community for being super supportive and encouraging to aspiring athletes. And while it’s true that Park City has fostered its fair share of homegrown heroes, there’s so much more to Ligety’s achievements than just geography
Unlike other racers of his day, he used his downtime to freeski, which helped him become a better allaround athlete and more adept at handling unforeseen obstacles. After graduating from high school at Park City’s Winter Sports School in 2002, Ligety earned a spot on the U.S. Development Team and won a silver medal at the Alpine Junior World Ski Championships in Slovenia. Then in 2005, he was named to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team, officially kicking off his professional racing career. That same year, he recorded a thirdplace podium spot at Beaver Creek, Colorado, with additional placements at subsequent races. A year later, at the age of 21, he became the youngest U.S. Alpine skier to win a gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Through the next 15 years, Ligety dominated the Alpine circuit with seven World Championship medals, including the first-ever men’s giant slalom gold medal for the United States. “I went into Sochi with such high expectations, so winning the gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics was probably the proudest moment of my entire career. It felt amazing to go home with my second gold medal,” he said.
With two Olympic golds, 24 World Cup wins and five World Championships to his name, Ligety is among the most successful giant slalom skiers of all time.
Of course, true greatness is more than just medals. With his popularity and charisma, Ligety is a natural emissary for winter sports. He is currently Deer Valley Resort’s global athlete ambassador, sharing his skiing proficiency and local knowledge with guests. He also serves as a board member of the Park City Ski & Snowboard Team, promoting programs, assisting with long-range planning, and representing the organization and the public’s needs. On top of that, he supports Youth Enrichment Services, a nonprofit group that introduces teenagers to the joys of winter sports.
Ligety’s determination extends to all aspects of his life — he knows what he wants and goes after it. This was evident when he met soccer-playing Californian Mia Pascoe. The two became inseparable, and soon she was traveling to Ligety’s competitions, cheering him on over finish lines and caring for him during his recovery times. In July 2015, they were married and were soon expecting their first child.
Unsurprisingly, Ligety realized he didn’t want to be away from home for extended periods of time. So in 2021, despite industry-wide disappointment, he hung up his competition skis. Today, Ligety and Pascoe are the proud parents of 6-year-old Jax and 3-year-old twins, Alec and Will. The kids already have their dad’s love of the outdoors, and on any given day, you’ll find the entire family out and about in the area. Ligety explained, “Park City has some of the best skiing and mountain biking anywhere on the planet, and we
love sharing it with our boys.”
In addition to family and philanthropic endeavors, Ligety has been busy with another one of his passions: Shred Optics. In 2006, he created the goggle, helmet and sunglass company alongside Italian skier and engineer Carlo Salmini. The products blend the racing and freestyle cultures and harken back to Ligety’s childhood, when he would “tinker with my ski equipment to make it more functional for me.” In fact, the name itself is a play on Ligety’s longtime nickname, “Ted Shred,” which reflects his all-or-nothing racing style.
Since its inception, Shred Optics has seen an impressive 25% yearly growth, likely due to the brand’s unique styles and state-of-the-art technology. “I see my future in Shred,” Ligety shared. “My hope is that it continues to grow.”
With all his achievements, it’s no wonder Ligety has become a household name in the ski world. Yet if you see him strolling down Park City’s Main Street, you will never guess he is a world famous athlete thanks to his disarmingly humble, boy-next-door quality. Of course, that’s exactly who Ted Ligety is — a Parkite born and bred.
TED LIGETY’S PARK CITY PICKS
Favorite Park City attribute: “P.C. is only 30 minutes from an international airport. We live in one of the few places on the planet that is so globally accessible. You can easily go anywhere in the world.”
Favorite way to spend a powder day: “Skiing on the mountain with the family. I love watching the boys pushing themselves on their skis and having fun.”
Favorite ski run to take out-of-towners: “The first place we go is Steins Way at Deer Valley. The sun just shines over the run, and you get spectacular views of the Jordanelle and the Timpanogos.”
Favorite non-skiing winter sport: “Taking the boys sledding around Round Valley.” He and Mia have an old-time toboggan that they pull the kids on.
Favorite date night restaurant: Yuki Yama on Main Street. “Mia and I love the Green Hornet Roll,” which features spicy tuna, shishito peppers, avocado and cilantro jalapeno aioli.
Favorite family night restaurant: Blind Dog when the patio is open. “The kids can play around the open space and the menu has great options for both adults and children.”