With the guidance of his brothers, Eli VanSkiver finds himself


Freshman Eli VanSkiver, member of the cross country and ski team.

While skiing downhill with his twin brother, freshman Eli VanSkiver suddenly found himself making head-on contact with a tree. 

“I hit a tree skiing,” Eli said. “It wasn’t really that fast, but I couldn’t stop. I would’ve had to move really fast around it, and so I just hit it. [My brother] was behind me, and he was like, ‘Oh no!’ That’s how [my family] normally reacts when someone gets hurt.”

Despite his unfortunate collision, Eli is a seasoned skier and loves spending time on the slopes with his entire family. As an activity that the whole family enjoys, they’ve taken it on the road and traveled all across Michigan finding the best areas to ski. 

“[We go] everywhere in Michigan [to ski],” Eli said. “I want to go out of Michigan to somewhere like Colorado, but we go to Boyne [Mountain] usually. Normally, when we all ski together, we split off, and then we’ll all come back together again. It’s really fun.”

Along with recreationally skiing with his family, Eli is also a part of the FHC Ski Team. Although being a freshman means that this is his first year being on the team and he hasn’t experienced the season in full swing, he has really appreciated the experience so far.

With skiing being an activity Eli enjoys so much, the ski team would be a natural step for him to take. However, Eli wouldn’t have considered joining the team as much as he did if it wasn’t for the influence and guidance from his older brother, junior Trevor VanSkiver.

“I decided to try [ski team] because my brother did it, but I feel very welcomed [by the team],” Eli said. “They are all very nice, and I like everyone.”

Through every stride of life, Eli has had a brother to guide him. Whether it’s been a decision about the ski team, other sports to take part in, or any other advice for the customary trials of life, he always has a sibling who’s there to make decisions seem straightforward.

Along with being a skier, Eli has taken part in cross country since he was in fourth grade. Despite his personally developed appreciation for the sport, the reason he began running in the first place was, again, because of the inspiration and impact of Trevor.  

“What really got me into cross country was going to [Trevor’s] meet when I was younger,” Eli said. “I probably wouldn’t be doing [cross country] if it wasn’t for him.”

As Eli has continued his running journey, however, the sport has become his own. Although his older brother continues to motivate him to remain with the sport, he hasn’t been the sole factor keeping Eli bounding through the challenges that cross country can provide.

As most of us are, Eli is incredibly passionate about having fun with his friends, and he is also always at his happiest, surrounded by the people closest to him. 

“I do it to stay in shape, but the people [on my team] have also really kept me in cross country,” Eli said. “They all encourage me to keep going whenever I start to walk, and they are very supportive and friendly.” 

I do it to stay in shape, but the people [on my team] have also really kept me in cross country.”

— Eli VanSkiver

However, Eli’s older brother isn’t the only sibling of his that has such a large impact on his life. His twin brother, freshman Jonah VanSkiver, is Eli’s built-in best friend. Whether they’re skiing together or playing video games, they always find something fun to do.

However, despite the normal notion about the similarities of twins, Eli and his brother both agree that they couldn’t be more different from each other. 

“People will say, ‘You’re basically the same person,’” Eli said, “but everything about us is different. If you just saw us, you’d be able to tell how different we are.” 

No matter how distinctive Eli and Jonah may be from one another, they still have a severely important bond that many individuals will never be able to understand. 

“[Jonah and I] are really close,” Eli said. “Jonah cares about others a lot, and sometimes, we may get in fights, but we’ll recover really quickly.” 

Overall, Eli’s brothers play a huge part in him becoming himself, and although he has found many passions and hobbies outside of the influences his brothers have provided, their support has played a key role in making Eli who he is. 

“My brothers have impacted my life by always being there for me and letting me tell them anything,” Eli said.