5 months ago

OnTrak Spring 2018

Outdoors 24. Athlete |

Outdoors 24. Athlete | 26. Notes from the Adventure Bright Future The 2022 Winter Olympics may be this Washington native’s turn INTERVIEW BY SHEILA G. MILLER KATIE HENSIEN Age: 18 Hometown: Redmond, Washington Notable Achievements: 2015 U16 U.S. National slalom champion, nominated to the U.S. Ski Team in 2017 24 | SPRING 2018

WHEN KATIE HENSIEN was 3 years old, her parents took her to a ski school at Whistler on a family vacation. When they left, she was crying. When they came back, she was still crying— this time because the chairlifts had shut down for the day and she would have to wait until the next day to ski again. After that fateful vacation, Katie became a ski racer as a 6-year-old, competing with the Crystal Mountain Alpine Club in Washington before her family picked up and moved to Utah so she could attend Rowmark Ski Academy, a college-prep school that balances education and elite-level skiing. She earned a U16 national championship in slalom, was named to the U.S. Ski Team in 2017, and represented the United States at the 2018 World Junior Alpine Ski Championships, finishing fourth in the slalom. The future’s so bright, she’s gotta wear goggles. Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Seems like you’re knocking off goals left and right. What’s next for you? My biggest goal is to become a skier on the World Cup and in the Olympics. With every goal there is a lot of work, learning and progressing. My approach toward achieving my goals is straightforward—I try every day to learn, improve and ski the best I can in every competition. My dreams are what drives me to work every day in training to get better. I’m not top 30 in the world yet, but with my first two World Cup starts under my belt, it helps me see what I have to do to get there. Knowing I have the ability to ski at that level motivates me to put in the work needed to achieve that goal. Putting in the time and effort is what makes achieving each goal memorable and rewarding. How do you handle the mental side of the sport? This sport requires you to have a strong mental focus and outlook. Most important is to remember what you can control and what you can’t. I can control how I plan, prepare and decide to ski the course. I cannot control the weather, my start position, or the snow conditions. On race day here is what keeps me calm—first, as I ski down to the start from the chair, I usually do my three favorite drills. Then, when I am waiting for my turn, I take time to warm up with leg swings, sprints and scorpions (a back exercise). I also take time at the top to do one more visualization of the course. When I am in the gate, I stomp my feet, take three breaths, poles over the wand and push out as hard as I can. During competitions to help my nerves, I usually listen to music before my run. It blocks all the distractions in my head and I get to listen to my favorite songs—I usually listen to country or rap. When I’m having a bad day and because I’m a student athlete, I go do my homework. Maybe it’s because I go to a challenging school, but I’ve noticed that I don’t stay frustrated for as long. Lastly, it really helps that one of my Rowmark coaches has a degree in psychology, so I usually text her or one of my other coaches, and they usually know what to say to help me keep a positive and productive mindset. How much do you travel and how do you stay healthy when you’re on the road so much? This year has been especially challenging from a travel perspective. From November through April, I am on the road three out of four weeks a month. When you are gone that much, you have to make a plan to eat healthy and stay active. This past summer, I had the opportunity to work closely with the high-performance chef at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence in Park City. Megan Chacosky, MS, RD, really helped me learn about the food my body needs so I can make the right choices to ensure I’m ready for a day of gatetraining on the hill. She also encouraged me to design a game plan to ensure maximum energy to fuel success on race day. I will usually eat salads and lean protein for my meals and always try to have a snack in my coat pocket to keep me full while I am on the hill. SPRING 2018 | 25

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