Hig Roberts won two national titles before coming out publicly as gay. | Kacey Cole

Hi Roberts, a two-time national ski champion, has come out as gay.

In interviews with Out magazine and The New York Times, Roberts talks about the fear of living in the closet as an elite athlete and the pride he now takes in being gay and being out.

“I had moments of standing on the podium with national titles and still feeling depressed,” Roberts told Out editor David Artavia. “I was almost in a daze because of the mental anguish I would feel. I had sleepless nights. I had anxiety attacks. I had big bouts of depression. I had to closet all of that from my teammates and my coaches.”

Roberts said he was afraid of potentially losing endorsement dollars that are critical to funding Olympic-sport athletes. It’s one of the reasons the success of out gay skier Gus Kenworthy has been so important. Kenworthy was one of the most (if not the most) endorsed athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. According to Out, Roberts was a first-alternate on Team USA for the 2018 Games.

Roberts competed for Middlebury College and has found success on the national and international competition scenes. He won titles at the US Championships in 2017 and 2018. He is now a recreational skier, according to the Times.

His coming out is an important step for gay athletes. There haven’t been many men coming out in any form of skiing, including Roberts’ alpine skiing, which he calls “a very masculine, aggressive, strength-based sport.” Some gay athletes to come out publicly across skiing disciplines include Kenworthy (slopestyle), Ryan Quinn (cross-country) and Liam Moya (alpine).

Roberts told Out he wants to help more people in his sport see the possibility of coming out, and his public step out of the closet is a step in that direction.

“I have a firm belief in the goodness of people,” he said. “You will be OK. Most importantly, you will be on the way to being a happy person and a better human being and I think that’s a beautiful thing.”

A perusal of social-media reactions to his coming out has reflected a very warm reception.

You can follow Hig Roberts on Instagram @HigRoberts, and on Twitter @Hig_Roberts.