Fusing Passion with Education

Photo of Jessica Argyle
Author: Jessica Argyle
Published: February 2, 2018

In January 1983, Lynne Wieland, bought a one-way ticket from New York to California to pursue a career in skiing.

“I don’t even know how my parents let me go,” she said. “When I look back, I think how scary and hard it must have been, but I did it because I knew that’s what I wanted to do, and I knew that was the right place for me.”

Attending college for a short time following graduation from high school, Wieland said she quickly realized it was not for her.

“I didn’t care. It wasn’t my thing. It was a struggle… the studies were difficult, and I didn’t want to be there,” she recalled. “All I wanted to do was ski.”

Wieland grew up skiing in her home state of Vermont and pursued a skiing career throughout her 20s. As a freestyle skier, she spent her amateur career competing all over the world winning numerous national and international titles. Her face made the cover of magazines, she was in local publications, highlighted on billboards and banners, and starred in Warren Miller and Greg Stump movies. Remembered most for her role in the ski movie, Hot Dog, Wieland said was making $1,000 a week as a 19-year-old.

“I worked hard at it. There was some natural talent, and I had some good opportunities,” she said. The 80s were kind of my time.”

In 1992, in her 30s and burnt out on skiing, Wieland said she found a desk job, started racing mountain bikes, and eventually landed herself in Boise, Idaho, raising a family.

During this time, the older of her two children, a son, was diagnosed at age three with Fragile X Syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation. At seven, he was diagnosed with Leukemia. His diagnosis resulted in Wieland’s involvement, and ultimate employment, with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She spent six years engaging in fundraising campaigns and events for the non-profit organization, during which she found passion and great success. In 2012, the program was unfortunately discontinued and Wieland was let go.

 “I was devastated. I LOVED that job,” she said. “I still didn’t have my degree – that was always sort of out there. I figured if I was going to go back to school, now would be the time to do it.”

Following what she calls a “30-year break” between her freshman and sophomore year of college, Wieland said, “Somehow, some way, my butt landed in the right seat, in the right class.”

That class was a communication class at College of Western Idaho (CWI) taught by Michelle Bennett.

“Bennett just has this way about her. She believes in you… so much I started to believe in myself,” she said. “She cares about her students so deeply.”

Accrediting her success to support and understanding she received from instructors, like Bennett, Wieland said, “I learned what I needed to learn, and just kept moving forward celebrating little victories along the way.”

She spent two and a half years at CWI, graduating in 2014, and transferred to Boise State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Communication.

“I went to school a year before I figured out I wanted to major in Communication,” she said. “Once I had a goal it became real, and there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”

During her final semester at Boise State, in January 2016, Wieland’s passion for skiing found a way to fuse with her newly acquired education when she was asked to do some modeling for Bogus Basin Ski Resort. While heading up the ski hill on a chair lift for her photo shoot, Wieland ended up sitting next to Bogus Basin Manager, Brad Wilson, who immediately recognized her from the 80s.

“I asked him who writes content for their website,” she said. “THAT was the question that changed EVERYTHING!”

Wilson discussed his desire with Wieland to create a new position within the resort’s marketing department to handle social media, website, photography, media relations, and the daily snow report.

“I looked to my left and kind of raised my hand and said, ‘I think I want that job!’” she said. “The rest of the winter, I made it a point to showcase Bogus Basin on social media every time I went up skiing to show them what I could do.”

Bogus Basin experienced its best ski season in years during the winter of 2016. Wieland, a proud new graduate from Boise State and the resort’s new Marketing Assistant, got to be right in the middle of the action.

“Going back to school was scary and the journey was sometimes hard – just like jumping on a plane to pursue a skiing career at 19 was,” she said, “but I saw what I wanted, and I did what I had to do to make it happen. I earned my degree and paired it with experience and passion. Nothing can stop me now!”

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