Balancing Medical School and Mountain Time

Written by Emma Renly


The busy schedule of a medical student doesn’t stop Maddy Grainger from getting out in the mountains. The skier is a total encompass of the phase: work hard, play hard.    


Name: Maddy Grainger

Home Mountain: Altabird, UT

Gear:  SOS 173 cm, Abyss 173 cm, La Nieve 173 cm

Instagram: @madsgrainger


The busy schedule of a full-time medical student doesn’t stop Maddy from getting out in the mountains. The skier is a total encompass of the phase: work hard, play hard. On top of university studies and skiing, she is able to find time to also work at Wasatch Adaptive Sports. Based in Salt Lake City with the Wasatch Range as her backyard, Maddy’s been able to kindle her passion for skiing and other outdoor activities through the encouragement of other women.


How have other women encouraged you?

I was a professional soccer player until two years ago then I started transitioning into a more lucrative career and in doing that, I had to phase out of soccer. I then found skiing, the next year biking and then this year climbing. I have found all of those things by being with women and women encouraging me. Men of varying friendship have come and gone and encouraged me (or been a negative influence) but the women come and stay.


The main reason why I got into touring was to tour with my mom and then over time I have found all there incredibly awesome women to take over that spot in my life. It’s really opening my eyes to the power that women have in outdoor sports. 


How has your experience been working at Wasatch Adaptive Sports?

It is by far the coolest, most rewarding and fulfilling job I could imagine. It combines all of my favorite things into one, which is just the luckiest thing ever.  


I had a student, for reasons of their own, didn’t want to be outside or doing anything physical. Things were physically painful, emotionally painful and frustrating for them to do anything outside of their comfort zone. They did not want to be anywhere near skis, the mountain, or their family. I had them for a two-hour lesson and by the end they were just beaming and laughing and clapping! Now they’re so happy and come back every week and are in love with skiing the same, if not more than I am.


Are you able to ski with other women often?

I have a pretty solid group of woman that I tour with in some combination at least weekly. We call it ‘Lady’s Sunday,’ and we set every Sunday aside from boyfriends or husbands or whoever else.


We realized that skiing and touring with women is so empowering because there's so much communication, it’s productive and puts everyone on a comfort level where they can be themselves and be heard. In touring it’s important because everyone’s voices are going to contribute to the group’s safety and their individual safety. When you feel like your input isn’t validated it kind of spirals on itself but with women everyone felt heard, appreciated and respected. It’s a validating and empowering feeling to know that you’re with a bunch of women who support you, want you to be successful and want you to have fun.