Spanish alpine skier Carolina Ruiz Castillo after the second Downhill training in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria on January 7, 2011 Christian Jansky/Wikimedia Commons

Time to gather your ski boots, helmet, goggles, and skis. We’re hitting the slopes with Latina Carolina Ruiz Castillo.

Destined to be a skier, she was born on October 14, 1981, in Osorno, Chile. At three weeks old, Castillo’s family moved to Spain.

It was her father, Isidor Castillo, who began teaching her how to ski at the age of four in the Sierra Nevada. Her love of skiing continued when, at the age of 11, she trained with the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation in France.

Castillo’s sports career includes representing Spain in four Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Turin, Vancouver, and Sochi. During the Salt Lake City games in 2002, Castillo competed in the Slalom W at position 26, Super-G W at position 15, and Giant slalom W, which she did not finish.

In the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Castillo competed in the Alpine combined W Downhill W, Giant slalom W, and Super-G W, ending in positions 25, 30, 20, and 30. The Vancouver games in 2010 proved to be slightly better for Castillo ending in 15, 34, and 18th position in the Downhill W, Giant slalom W, and Super-G W events.

Fast forward to the Méribel Ski Resort Women’s World Cup race on February 23, 2013. This was the day Castillo’s professional sports career changed. Before Castillo turned 32 she became the first Spaniard to win a Downhill World Cup.

During the Sochi 2014 games, competitions were a little rough as Castillo did not finish either of her competitions, Downhill W and Super-G W. It was, however, a historical time for Russia. It was the first time the country hosted the Winter Games.

Castillo also represented Spain in eight World Championships, as well as competed in the European Cup, and the junior world championships, where she won two medals, to highlight some of her successes. For much of her career, Castillo continuously ranked in the top 10 Latin female professional skiers.

Castillo retired two years after her big win in 2013. Today, Castillo is enjoying a life of travel, photography, and blogging about her experiences. She’s also the founder of the Ruiz Ski Academy located in Spain and continues to ski.

Regardless of whether or not Castillo ever believed she would end up competing in the Olympic Games and other skiing competitions, one thing is for certain. Her passion for the snow shines through every moment she’s in her skis dancing with the snow and mountains.

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