Annie Hart is a Minnesota native and skis professionally on the SMS T2 Elite Nordic Ski Team. In High School she skied at St. Paul Acedemy and continued her ski career into college, at Dartmouth College. I had the honor to ask Annie some questions and hear about her life a skier.
1. How did you get into skiing? (Tom/GW)
Annie: Like any good Minnesotan, my first experiences nordic skiing came with my mom trudging with my brother and I through the woods. I didn't get into competitive skiing, however, until ninth grade when my cross country running coach told me I had to find a way to stay in shape over the winter. My options were indoor track or basketball, and I have minimal hand eye coordination and don't love the idea of running around a 200 meter track inside, so I decided to give skiing a try- and I'm so happy I did!
2. Can you tell us your background as a Minnesota skiier?
Annie: My ninth grade year was definitely a series of learning experiences. Due to some latent fitness from running, I pretty much ran myself around ski courses. Every race I gained more and more confidence, and was thrilled to qualify for the state meet. I was devastated after the finish of the race (I had wanted to place much higher), but more motivated than ever to get better. I joined the Minneapolis Ski Club that summer, and began roller skiing and participating in some more ski specific workouts. I continued running both cross country and track through out high school, but started shifting my focus towards skiing more seriously after my sophomore year of high school. My sophomore year I placed 9th at the State Meet, won the race my junior year, and placed second to Jessie Diggins by less than a second my senior year. From there I went on to ski for Dartmouth College, and now I'm a member of the Stratton Mountain School T2 Elite Team.
3. Today, what inspires you as a skier?
Annie: I think the same thing inspires me today as has always inspired me- I love pushing my limits, re-imagining boundaries, and constantly proving to myself that with a lot of work and a little luck, nothing is impossible.
4. What goals do you have this winter?
Annie: My big goals this winter are to ski in my first World Cups, and qualify for the Canadian Tour in March 2016.
5. What are your long term goals in skiing?
Annie: My overarching results goal is to represent the USA at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, and a more general goal is to continue loving the sport and sharing my passion for skiing with as many people as possible. Also, I want to win the Birkie some day.
6. What is your favorite workout in the non-snow months?
Annie: That's a toss up between skate rollerski speed workouts and anything on a bike.
7. What is your favorite healthy food? Favorite "not so healthy" food?
Annie: My favorite healthy food would have to either be greek yogurt with homemade granola and blueberries or avocado toast. Not so healthy...Most definitely the triple chocolate cake from Cafe Latte on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.
8. Do you have any pre-race rituals?
Annie: I love dancing around with my headphones in before races. I usually take out my earbuds at the last possible minute, and I find that blocking all the other race noise out and just focusing on myself, my music, and the task at hand best prepares me for racing.
9. What is your most memorable ski race?
Annie: I have a couple of memorable ski races, but I think my senior year state race against Jessie has to be up there. I started the pursuit portion of the race 15 seconds behind her, and my coach told me to go out hard, but whatever happens not to let myself get into a double poling sprint with Jessie at the end (because she was, and continues to be, a simply outstanding double poler). We were racing on the Gold Course at Giant's Ridge, and for those of you who know the course I caught up to her at the very top of the last one kilometer downhill. We were both in a tuck, and for a good three minutes just tucking right next to each other, and I just remember thinking "Oh no oh no oh no, don't fall don't fall don't fall, save the arm muscles save the arm muscles!" We came ripping into the final stretch, and from watching the video there was so much noise, but I didn't hear anything and instead only focused on double poling for my life. She got me at the line, but I think that can be pinpointed as the race where I realized that maybe I could be a ski racer full time, at some point in my life. And as fate would have it, I'm now not only a full time ski racer, but also training and living with Jessie in Vermont!
10. What is an "ideal" winter day look like for you?
Annie: Like any good day, I start with a good breakfast- I'd have two good cups of coffee and buckwheat waffles with yogurt, berries, honey and bacon. Then I'd head out the door into perfect extra blue conditions and go for a long ski on gently rolling trails with pine trees that are frosted with last night's snowfall. After three or four hours of that, I'd come inside have a big bowl of soup and snuggle up with a book and some friends by a big fire. That, or any day I have a sprint race :)
Annie will be holding a Special Training Session and Fundraiser on September 27th at 2:00PM at The Power House in St. Paul, MN. The class fee is $25, further donations are also accepted. Please RSVP ahead of time HERE.
Please consider donating to support Annie in acheiving her goals. See her website HERE.
Read more from Annie on her Blog.
-Posted by Tom Carlson on Sep 3rd 2015