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?
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.