The mere mention of extreme skiing brings shivers to most, but to Katie Leake, who just turned 14 on April 1, it’s just mind over matter.

The mere mention of extreme skiing brings shivers to most, but to Katie Leake, who just turned 14 on April 1, it’s just mind over matter.

Katie has been in training the last two years under the direction of Dan and John Egan, who operate an independent ski school — skiclinics.com — all over the world to teach athletes of all ages the new-wave sport.

She will attend the Holderness School in Plymouth, N.H., in the fall to stay close to the sport, as well as her coaches, Dean Decas, originally from Wareham, Mass., and Dan Egan.

The Egan brothers, who grew up in Milton, Mass., have been associated with Sugarbush in Vermont for 25 years, and according to Powder magazine, they are two of the most influential skiers in the last 35 years.

It’s not only about snow for this all-around athlete. She also plays lacrosse and soccer, and sails in the summer, but her passion rests in the mountains.

“Winter is definitely my favorite season. I love skiing and going to the extreme limits,” said Katie, who followed her brothers, Sean and Jamie, into the sport after their dad, Chris, a buyer for Ski Market, encouraged the family to take up skiing.

“I always looked up to my brothers. I liked watching them ski and snowboard, but when they attended Holderness, they gave up skiing. I love skiing and I want to keep doing it, because it’s so totally different than what everybody else is doing.

“The [extreme skiing] competitions are more showcase than racing, and I like that better, even though high schools are not offering it right now,” she said. “Extreme skiing on the East Coast is not as scary as the West Coast version, but I try and find the steepest runs at Sugarbush, and the icier the better.”

The training to become an extreme skier goes beyond the slopes with personal trainers, books to read and an intensive program that develops a mental approach to deal with treacherous courses.

“We work on the mental side of the sport. It’s just as important as the physical side, because my goal is always on the safety of the participants,” said Dan Egan, who was in the middle of the craze in the '80s as one of the pioneers of the sport.

“We worked one-on-one with Katie a few times a week for two months, but she also had to work on her own, which she did with a personal trainer [at Muscular Sports in Marblehead, Mass.] and reading some of our books. Taking everything into consideration, it helped her deal with the steep conditions in Colorado.”

Dan Egan simulated the steep Colorado conditions that Katie was going to encounter in her first-ever competition in February at the Subaru U.S. Extreme Junior Freeskiing Championships in Crested Butte.

“We’d teach her how to fall and stop herself in a fall,” Dan Egan said, “and to accomplish that we’d find the iciest slope and put her on the ground without skis and let her slide down the slope head first to learn how to stop. It’s called self-arrest.”

Dedication is a two-way street, and Katie's response to her coaches’ teaching methods comes across in a positive light.

“[Katie] has shown real interest to get better,” Dan Egan said. “She read my book, ‘All Terrain Skiing,’ and ‘Ski the Whole Mountain’ by Eric Deslauries, who’s one of my coaches, while also changing the way she eats and training more often. She’s a real student of the sport.”

It all paid off for Katie with a sixth overall finish out of 80 teenagers, all of them older, at the Subaru Championships.

“[Katie] was better than the kids we train in Colorado, who also participated in this competition,” Dan Egan said. “She was technically stronger than them.”

The first day of qualifying for the finals, Katie finished eighth, but just three-quarters of a point out of third. She was sixth the next day. The top four went on to the finals, and the Marblehead native came within just two to five points from reaching that lofty spot on her very first competition.

“As an athlete, [Katie] did everything we had hoped she would do,” Dan Egan said. “She skied technically strong, fast and safe. While others were falling down all around her, she did not. It was pretty exciting to see.”

And as a participant, it was pretty cool, too.

“It felt great to be the youngest skier in this competition, and doing as well as I did,” Katie said. “I just may have a future in it.”