Questions Answered!

julia @ quechee headMy question and answer time ran long when we were at Stemwinders and i did not get to answer all of them.  Below are answers for the rest.  There are pictures at the bottom  Love it!!

Question from Marc –  What is your most vivid memory from the Olympics?

Almost every moment, from the Olympics, is permanently engraved into my memory. It still feels so fresh. I remember the horrible travel getting there, not getting my bags. I remember trying to soak up every bit of the Olympics. Watching the Men’s skier cross and goggling at the massive jumps. Watching the men’s Nordic combined, cheering on my friends I see everyday in the gym during the summer but never actually competing at their sport until the Olympics. Training sl in this terrible rain/slush weather but not caring at all. The feeling in the start- a calm excitement like before Christmas morning as a kid. Waving to my family and friends in the stands. Calling my dad and brother after the race. And hearing all the stories about how my friends and supporters were able to watch me back in the US, I will never forget.

Question from Mike- Tell us about race day of the Olympics.

It was a night slalom so I got to sleep in that morning. I love night slaloms because I like having my mornings to relax and get my mind situated, warm up properly, and having plenty of time to train before the race. I also love night slaloms because the dark of the night and the lights on the course makes everything more intense and I love that intensity. I think we left for the hill around noon. It was kind of raining but we weren’t concerned. There were two training courses setup. One on a flat surface but was set quick and the other was on a super steep pitch. The snow was springs conditions and bumpy, tough on the skis. I remember I walked out of my ski my first warm up run on the pitch. It was extremely fun to throw myself down these slalom courses. It’s different than any other event. Slalom is all about precision and sending it. From the warm up we went to inspect. It was only starting to get dark. The first run was still a bit light out but the second run was at 8 so it was very dark besides the actual race hill.

Question from Henry Roe – How fast is your top speed?

Probably 80 mph or 130 kmp!

Question from Brooke Bergendahl -How old were you when you started skiing?

I think I was 3. My siblings all skied already and my mom’s family were ski racers growing up so my parents had me on snow early.

Question from Maddie Peterson – Why did you choose to do racing?

I chose to race because the desire to improve and go faster became an addiction. It is such a challenging sport and I love the feeling when I make a good turn. There is nothing else like it. I love the outdoors and being surrounded by the mountains. No matter my race results, skiing has always made me happy.

Question from Riley Peters – How long did you ski at Okemo?

I skied at Okemo from when the time I was learning how to ski (like 3 years old) to my freshman year of high school. I went to Okemo Mountain School officially in seventh and eighth grade but I had been moving to Ludlow for the winters since I was in fourth grade. At that point my siblings were at OMS but I was attending Ludlow Elementary School because I was too young for OMS. In high school I went to Holderness Prep School in New Hampshire where we skied at Cannon Mountain. I still ski Okemo as often as I can though.

Question from Grace Rae –  After OMS, what was the process that led you to be an Olympian on the U.S. Ski Team?

After OMS, I went to high school at Holderness Prep School in Holderness, New Hampshire. It is a boarding school with an extremely good ski racing program. I chose Holderness because I wanted to continue to play soccer and lacrosse and wanted a more normal high school experience while I raced. I graduated from Holderness in 2008 and moved on to the U.S. Ski Team from there. I made the Development team my senior year and worked my way up from there. It wasn’t an easy journey though. I suffered from concussion problems, back problems, ankle injuries, and broken thumbs. I was able to persevere by focusing on getting better and constantly believing. The year before the Olympics, I was out for the season because of a concussion. I worked fiercely to return to come back for the Olympics and had just enough results to qualify. It wasn’t an easy journey but racing in the Olympics made it all worth it.

Question from Jessica Schlamkowitz – Did you ever try to do freestyle?

I never competed in freestyle. We use to fool around in the half-pipe and moguls. I enjoy hitting jumps but am not good at judging how much speed I need so I usually try to follow someone who knows what they are doing. I also use to snowboard once a year with my friends but racing was always my thing.

Question from Mackenzie Peters – What is your favorite trail at Okemo?

I love Wardance because that is where so many of my memories growing up racing took place. I also like Timberline because the terrain is fun. I like bombing Chief when no one else is on the trail. On a good day of skiing at Okemo, you can’t really go wrong though.

Question from George – What was the best moment of your Olympic experience?

Race day was the BEST! I loved every second of it. I was so excited. My spirits were soaring. The best part was being in the start and just being so jazzed. Also, I loved crossing the finish, having the crowd cheer, and seeing my mom and sister in the stands.

Question from Katie E. – Do you remember your first day at Okemo racing?

I don’t really remember my first day but I remember moments from when I was really young. For example, being in Hopefuls with my friends. Being so obvious to racing but just loving skiing with my friends. I remember moments from Devos and making Council Team. I remember becoming competitive and determined to improve my ski racing. I mainly remember the kids I skied with and the funny moments we had together while skiing and at our houses after.

Question from Quinn – Waffles or Pancakes?

Both.

Question from Katharine Graham- Where have you raced so far this year?

This year I had two Super G races at Copper Mtn. in November. In December, I spent two weeks racing in Lake Louise, Canada and then flew to Val D’Isere, France for another DH before Xmas.

Question from Jillian L. – How many times do you practice each week?

It depends on the week and the time of year. In the summer ‘prep’ season, when we are training for the winter, I will ski 4 days on and take a day to rest. This is because our volume of training is high. We will take anywhere from 5 to 14 runs a day on different length courses. In the winter we mainly race. For speed, we ski Wednesday to Sunday and usually take Monday off, Travel Tuesday, train Wednesday and then begin racing again. Before our days off, we lift weights to stay strong throughout the long season.

Meet & Greet at Stemwinder in Ludlow, VT

Last night was extremely special and incredibly humbling to see all my fans and friends in Ludlow, VT. Thank you to everyone who came out to meet me and hear my story. I truly believe that coming back to where I started skiing and interacting with all the young athletes invigorates me for the next phase of the season.

I will be answering the rest of the questions from the Question Box soon, so be sure to check back when you can!

Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VTOlympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VTOlympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT Olympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VTOlympic Skier Julia Ford at @ Stemwinder in VT

Home for the Holidays

I am home in New England for the Holidays and super stoked to be spending quality time with family and friends. Here are some images from  my last week…

My sister Mattie took me for a city workout today. We used the city as inspiration for our intervals. It was rainy but way more fun than a gym.
My sister Mattie took me for a city workout today. We used the city as inspiration for our intervals. It was rainy but way more fun than a gym.
It was a rainy day to do lunge intervals outside but it makes me feel like a total badass. Thanks to my sister Mattie for egging me on!
It was a rainy day to do lunge intervals outside but it makes me feel like a total badass. Thanks to my sister Mattie for egging me on!
Santa Claus Christmas 2014
28th year on Santa’s Lap. Who is the most photogenic Ford?
Christmas Day Family Selfie
Possibly the best Christmas Day Selfie ever taken at Bunker Hill Monument.
Santa was good to the Fords this year. NO coal in these stockings.
Santa was good to the Fords this year. NO coal in these stockings.
Sprint intervals. Burning the lungs and all the Christmas treats I've been eating.
Sprint intervals. Burning the lungs and all the Christmas treats I’ve been eating.
Workout at Holderness School -  post sprints
That feeling you get after a hard workout.

The whole family back together at Dan O'Neil's Wedding. Six Fords turned to seven this August. Welcome to the family Vin!
The whole family back together at Dan O’Neil’s Wedding. Six Fords turned to seven this August. Welcome to the family Vin!
Dan O'Neills Wedding
Congrats to our long time family friend Dan for getting married!


I am going to be skiing with local ski programs the next couple days. Please follow me on Instagram and Twitter to see where I will.

Instagram: @juliawford // https://twitter.com/Juliawford

Twitter: @juliawford // http://instagram.com/juliawford/

Facebook: Julia Ford

Little Victories Are Important Too!

I feel the excitement stirring in the depths of my stomach again. I haven’t felt it for a while, maybe years now. My vision was tunneled by one thing: win, win, win. With a singular focus I lost sight of why I was ski racing and where the joy actually lies. You may wonder, “Where is the joy, if it’s not in winning?”. Well, hang on to your hats ladies and gentlemen because I am about to blow your mind.

First things first. Something you should know is I am one of the most competitive people on the planet. Whether you know me Julia fun #1or not, believe me when I say, if someone says challenge or competition, my ears perk up like a hound who has caught the scent and I’m ready for the chase. It is a part of me. I have tried to tone it down but it is a monster that can’t be tamed, so now I openly embrace it. Actually, I have not so much embraced it as I have learned how to use it in a productive manner. And when I say I have learned, I mean I am learning. Everything is a process and some days are better than others which brings me back to my binoculars with ‘win’ written on the end.

In my competitive manner, I have had the outcome so pinpointed in my mind, I lost focus on the process. I wanted to be the fastest and the best right NOW! Which, ok, don’t we all? The problem with that is I didn’t buy into the process to get there. I would become so outraged, resentful, frustrated, or worse self pitying that my emotions controlled me. It took me away from what I could control like improving my skiing, staying focused on what I need to work on to get faster and NOT just going through the motions. So when things started to go array, which, it’s a long season, at some point they will, I couldn’t grasp how to make it stop. My mind was so weighted down by the fear of losing, of not qualifying, of failing, I couldn’t think clearly. I was Atlas holding the world on my shoulders. See what I mean…. the joy was gone.

Worse, I was gone. Not literally but in the sense where I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be. I am a happy person! I enjoy competition for the game, the challenge, the fun of showing what I got. I forgot about that uncontrolled, all consuming excitement that we have when we are kids playing games. And isn’t that what skiing is, just a game? Yes, it is my career and the stakes are higher, but if we look at the chalk board and erase the rest of the math, aren’t we are left with x? When we do the same with all the bullshit that surrounds ski racing, we are left with the same; the simple fact is that ski racing is a game to be enjoyed.

Julia fun #2So I come to this, if ski racing is not just about being focused on winning, then what it is the point? Winning is the goal but it is really just an outcome; a combination of one’s hard work, dedication, and defeating adversity. It is not the only thing we should strive for. What we should seek is improvement, overcoming obstacles, and putting your whole heart into something to see what you are truly capable of. I feel no greater joy than when I have fresh air in my face, and I make the perfect turn resulting in a a sudden rush of acceleration and adrenaline… Ah, it makes me giddy thinking about it! Those things are the markings of true success. The little victories need to be celebrated just as much because they are what help get you to the end goal.

Please, don’t be misunderstood, I want to win. My goal is to kick everyone’s ass. I am just saying that this year I am choosing to focus on a the little victories along the way. Mainly, the fight to improve, the people on my team who believe in me, and the reason I pursued skiing to begin with, the unadulterated bliss and fire it lights in me. When I am so willing to put (literally) my blood, sweat, and tears into being the best possible athlete and version of myself I can be, that is victory. When I stand at the end of my season, my career, my life, winning will be standing tall and being able to say ‘I gave it everything I had.’  And no matter what ‘everything I have’ entails I will have used all the talent and work ethic I possess and that is all I can do.

I remember my first trip to Chile with the World Cup team. My body felt as though it was carbonated. I sat on the plane and bubbled over with excitement. Somewhere along the way, through the roller coaster of success, failure, injury, and management, I lost sight of that kid who sat on that airplane so thrilled to ski with the best in the world, to learn, to go fast, and to just ski. I have said many times, ‘I just want to ski.’ And this year, that is what I will do. Win or lose, I am going to ski my heart out!