When you Google the Cayman Islands, you typically find images of sandy beaches, clear water, and all types of aquatic life–not snow-covered mountains. With a story that slightly resembles that of Cool Runnings, Dow Travers ’12 is skiing in his second Winter Olympics for the Cayman Islands. Dow has skied for his home country in races throughout the world, and he will be competing this year in Sochi. On top of being an Olympic athlete, he also played Rugby while at Brown, and is a member of the Cayman Islands squad in that sport as well. If that isn’t impressive enough, Dow has started his own company called Island Biodiesel that hopes to make the Cayman Islands more fuel independent while simultaneously reducing the territory’s carbon footprint. Despite being busy preparing for the games, Dow was gracious enough to answer our questions about skiing, his life at Brown, and just what exactly happens in the Olympic Village.
BlogDailyHerald: What was it like growing up in the Cayman Islands?
Dow Travers ’12: Cayman’s a wonderful place to grow up. Everyone is very friendly and the sun is always shinning.
BlogDH: How did you first get involved in skiing?
Dow: I started skiing when I was fairly young on family vacations in Colorado but I didn’t start racing until I went to a ski camp in France when I was about 14. Ever since then it was a hunt for snow. However, I only managed to ski about two weeks a year while I was in high school which did not allow me to be very competitive, but once I graduated when I was 19 I was able to spend some more time on the slopes. So really I was a very late starter.
BlogDH: What was your experience like with skiing while at Brown?
Dow: The Brown Ski Team is a great experience, (in fact the BMST would say it’s Legendary). I got to race every weekend all over the northeast.
BlogDH: How did playing for the rugby team shape your experiences as a skier and/or student?
Dow: It was fairly hectic at times, because the rugby season and ski season have a short overlapping period, so I would train with the Rugby Club in the week and ski with the Ski Team on the weekends. However, the two sports are more similar in terms of training than you might initially think. Both are strength-based sports with cardio, so I could actually use my rugby training to get ready for ski season.
BlogDH: What did you concentrate in?
BlogDH: Are people surprised when they hear about a skier from the Cayman Islands?
Dow: You certainly get a double take when people see “Cayman Islands” on your jacket, but the camaraderie in the village is wonderful, and I think it’s great that there are varied nations competing. We actually received a letter from the International Ski Federation congratulating my brother (Dean Travers) on being ranked number 1 in the world for his age (‘96 birth), and added that it was better for the global promotion and interest of skiing for different nations to appear at the top of the ranking lists and standings.
BlogDH: What is the craziest thing that happened in the Olympic village?
Dow: I’m not telling you that story.
BlogDH: What was your experience like during the 2010 Olympics?
Dow: Honestly, it was mostly over my head, I didn’t realize what I was doing until afterwards.
BlogDH: If you weren’t skiing, what would you be doing?
Dow: I’m already doing it: working on my start-up and playing rugby for Cayman. I have co-founded a company in Cayman called Island Biodiesel, with fellow graduates from Brown. Our aim is to provide Cayman with renewable energy, and reduce Cayman’s dependence on imported fuel by recycling waste cooking oils and creating Biodiesel.
Dow will compete in the Giant Slalom ski event next Wednesday, February 19th. The first run takes place live at 2 a.m. EST, with the second medal run occurring at 5:30 a.m. Live replays will be available here and most likely in NBC’s primetime coverage. BlogDH wishes Dow the best of luck.