In today’s technology-forward and screen-heavy world, every parent has a different method for raising their children. Some may put parental controls on their children’s’ devices, others may limit their screen time to an hour per day. The Scholl’s decided they would raise their kids Wifi-free on a cattle ranch outside Kremmling, Colorado. And this decision led to a young man with a strong connection to nature, a great outlook on life, and the grit as a Nordic skier to win races.
Tyler Scholl is a 19-year-old living an unconventional life off the grid. Tyler is without cell phone service or Wifi but has tons to do from dawn to dusk. Tyler says there is never a dull moment in the place he calls home. So, what is it like being raised on a cattle farm? “It was exciting, and it still is every day,” smiles Tyler. “It creates a good work ethic. It’s fun and it keeps your active all the time.”
While most of us are constantly connected to the outside world via our phones and computers, Tyler has to head into town to the coffee shop his parents own when he wants to check email or reply to text messages. “We decided when we built our house about 20 years ago to go 100% off the grid. We live off of two solar panels.” And this lifestyle has created a strong bond within his family. “It’s nice to go home and disconnect, to be with the family and have that core value of being face-to-face, “says Tyler.
When he was three or four, Tyler’s cross-country ski training began in a rather unconventional way as well. Tyler said his parents would take an exercise bungee and attach it on one end to a water belt on his waist and on the other to his mom or dad’s waist. Then they would take off skiing. “On an uphill they would pull us up and on a downhill we would kind of draft behind them,” recalls Tyler.
Tyler talks about a time before they used the water belts and instead attached the bungee directly to his waist. He does not recommend this technique. “I got scared on a downhill and sat down and as I sat down the bungee stretched,” Tyler laughs, “Finally it unwrapped and hit my dad at probably 100 miles.” He said his dad still probably has a scar, hence the decision to start using the belts.
So, does this off-the-grid lifestyle pay off when it comes to cross-country skiing? Apparently! Tyler recently won first place in the Latigo Loppet 15k cross-country ski race. Tyler started racing with his mom, dad, and older sister as a child. “We’d always go out and race as a family, just about every weekend,” recalls Tyler. His parents liked to race and instead of leaving the kids with a babysitter they would just take them along.
Tyler has fond memories of racing as a kiddo, “For us racing wasn’t a nerve racking high intensity thing it was just a natural part of skiing.” And helping his parents from sun up to sun down on a ranch certainly helped Tyler gain the grit it takes to dedicate oneself to the sport.
Tyler's passion for racing remains strong, “Racing can be a really fun incentive to train for because it’s where you get to test where you are and see each week if you’re getting better and better.”
Tyler is also an avid runner. But his cross training activities don’t stop there. He loves mountain biking and Olympic weightlifting. And his dad was on the US Olympic rowing team from 2000 to 2004, so Tyler likes to row with him during the summer. All of this on top of still helping his family out on the Ranch and preparing to attend college in the fall “I do too much,” Tyler admits with a smile, “I feel like I’m eating all day long because I’m doing so much. I’m never sitting.”
According to research from RescueTime, one of several apps for iOS and Android created to monitor screen time, people generally spend an average of three hours and 15 minutes on their phones every day, with the top 20% of smartphone users spending upwards of four and a half hours. Tyler has channeled some of that into his time into Nordic skiing. Imagine what we could do if we spent a little less time on our phones! Could you raise your kids off the grid?