Athlete Spotlight: Noah Hoffman | AspenTimes.com

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Athlete Spotlight: Noah Hoffman

Name: Noah Hoffman

Sport: Cross Country

Recent competitions and results: FIS “tune-up” races in Muonio, Finland: 10-kilometer individual start classic, 30th place, 15-kilometer individual start skate, 13th.

Upcoming competitions: The World Cup season starts Saturday in Gällivare, Sweden, with a 15-kilometer skate race and a relay. From Gällivare, we go to Kuusamo, Finland. I get to come home to Aspen for a week in early December before the World Cup heads to Canmore, Alberta.

Story about a recent race or trip: I am so excited to have the 2012-13 season under way! First and foremost, thank you so much for the incredible support from the Aspen community leading up to the season. I am in northern Scandinavia (north of the Arctic Circle). It is cold and dark, and when I am not achieving my goals, it can feel very lonely. Knowing that I have so much support at home can make all the difference in the world.

My training since last spring was different from the past. I spent more time training on snow. (I was on snow every month of the year.) Since May, I have skied in Bend, Ore., Sognefjell, Norway, Ramsau, Austria, Oberhof, Germany, Snow Farm, New Zealand, and Canmore, Alberta. All of the time on snow allowed me to work hard on improving my technique. However, there was a lot of additional travel I had to accommodate while training hard.

The first races of the year were this past weekend in Finland. They gave me a hint about how my training went all summer and fall, but I still have lots of questions. In Saturday’s race, a 10-kilometer classic, I felt good but finished in a disappointing 30th place. However, I have traditionally not performed at my best in the first race of the season. I came closer to accomplishing my goals in Sunday’s 15-kilometer skate. I finished 13th, and I was happy with the way I handled conditions that have been a huge challenge for me in the past – warm, wet and greasy snow that is hard to stand on.

However, this past weekend’s results don’t mean anything. They were only “tune-up” races for the World Cup, which starts this weekend in Gällivare, Sweden. The World Cup is the highest level of racing in the world. It is a series of races that continue all winter. Every weekend, we compete in a different country. My goals this season are lofty: I want to end the year ranked in the top 30 on the World Cup distance list. Last season, I finished 78th.

This season, I am looking forward to racing in my first Tour de Ski in early January. The Tour is the biggest event on the World Cup. It includes seven races in nine days in three different countries. It presents a huge challenge for me because of the diversity of the races (from a 1,500-meter sprint to a 35-kilometer point-to-point skate race). I am also looking forward to the world championships in the Dolomites in Italy in late February. Although the biennial world championships are not a huge event in America, they are almost as big as the Olympics in the rest of the world. It is going to be a really fun season with a ton of huge opportunities for me.

Thank you again, Aspen, for the incredible support.

Follow Noah on the Web: http://www.noahhoffman.com