Aspen’s Hoffman to race in Norway this week
U.S. Ski Team
Name: Noah Hoffman
Sport: Cross country skiing
Recent competitions: None
Upcoming competitions: FIS races Nov. 22-23 in Beitostølen, Norway; World Cup opener Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Kuusamo, Finland
I am so excited for the start of another race season, especially this Olympic season.
Having recently arrived in Beitostølen, Norway, I am preparing with the U.S. Ski Team, and this weekend we have tune-up races before the kickoff of the World Cup season in Finland.
If all goes according to plan, I will race 30 times this winter: 5 FIS races, 1 national championship race, 20 World Cup races and 4 Olympic races.
It is fortunate that I am able to look beyond just making the U.S. team – my goal is to go to Sochi, Russia, (the Olympics) and earn a top-10 result.
Although it may seem odd to people at home, my goals for this Olympics are of equal importance to my goals for the upcoming World Cup season. My focus is on career goals, which, I admit, are very ambitious.
Eventually, I want to win an Olympic gold medal, be a world champion and win a World Cup crystal globe (the best skier for an entire season).
Although I do not anticipate achieving all of these goals this season, my team of supporters and coaches is vital in helping me strive for this success.
My hope is to be a serious medal contender by 2018 when the Olympics go to South Korea.
This year’s Olympics, which will be my first, are a stepping stone in my career. A top-10 result would be a step toward my longer-term goals.
Last season ended with a series of confidence-building races.
Three days after my last race, on March 28, I had surgery on my left shoulder to tighten it up after chronic dislocations. My recovery from surgery, with the help of the incredible sports medicine team at the U.S. Ski Team, went smoothly and quickly. As a result, I have come back stronger and more powerful in my upper body.
Since being medically cleared to return to snow in July, I have traveled all over the world to train and work on technique.
I have skied on the Eagle Glacier above Alyeska Resort in Alaska, at the Snow Farm Lodge near Wanaka, New Zealand, on the Stelvio Glacier in Italy, on Frozen Thunder (last year’s saved snow) in Canmore, Alberta, and most recently on natural snow on the Vail golf course.
The 47 days I spent on snow between July 28 and Nov. 8 allowed me to work on efficiency and technique; the gains I have made in these two areas will help me reach my goals this winter.
My teammates, who are like my family while we are on the road and who will spend the next four months living out of a suitcase with me, are very important to my success.
I thrive in a positive and relaxing team atmosphere, and I struggle in a tense and nervous group.
Last year, I put a huge emphasis on my personal relationships with my teammates, and these relationships will be important again this year.
My teammates’ success is highly motivating for me.
The U.S. has only won one Olympic medal ever in cross country skiing — Bill Koch finished second in the 1976 Olympic 30-kilometer classic race. I expect that to change in February.
Having won the last two women’s sprint crystal globes, Alaska’s Kikkan Randall is the favorite for the sprint race in Sochi. The women are also medal contenders in the team events: the 4x5K relay and the team sprint. I feel lucky to be able to watch them all season.
I am feeling good and ready to get the season under way.
I am here in large part because of the generous support I receive from people in the Roaring Fork Valley.
I am proud to represent Aspen and the valley as I compete on the world stage.
Website where people can follow you throughout the season: noahhoffman.com
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For Basalt, one of the preseason frontrunners in the Western Slope League, Friday’s loss puts its playoff hopes in jeopardy, while Aspen’s loss to the Bulldogs all but eliminates it from postseason contention.