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Hoffman ready to shoulder Olympic load

Noah Hoffman — no surprise here — really loves cross country skiing.

Still.

The Nordic ski racer from Aspen, who competed all across Europe last season with the U.S. Ski Team, can’t wait to get back to his race schedule.



Thirteen weeks after shoulder surgery, Hoffman skill loves skiing. And he’s even more excited about next season.

“I’m really happy with the way everything has gone,” Hoffman said in a telephone interview from the U.S. Ski Team headquarters in Park City, Utah. “With the U.S. Ski Team, we have world-class physical therapy.”



He said the troublesome shoulder dogged him last season when he was racing in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, et al.

“I’m looking forward to not having to deal with dislocations during the season,” Hoffman said. “The shoulder should be tight and strong next year.”

While Hoffman continues his rehab from shoulder surgery, the Aspen native is prepping for a busy schedule.

There are preseason training camps starting now.

After a quick trip home to Aspen, Hoffman will be off to Vermont for a technique camp.

Then, he’ll be skiing on a glacier in Alaska.

Next, he’s off to New Zealand for more on-snow training.

“I’ve got some very ambitious goals,” Hoffman said with visions of Olympic rings dancing in his head. “I intend to be at the Winter Olympic Games (this winter in Sochi, Russia). But my real goal is the 2018 Olympics. I want to use next year as a bulding block for 2018.”

He said he will continue to build on his strength and fitness platform while piling up international racing experience.

“Experience is totally essential,” he said, “along with mental preparation.”

He said he envisions advances in his performance.

“My biggest weakness is technique,” Hoffman said. “Aerobic capacity, fitness have been my strength. I have huge gains to make in technique.”

That, he said, could translate into World Cup podium finishes and Olympic dreams.

“I think I’m in a great position,” said Hoffman, who wrote a regular blog last season for The Aspen Times.

“And I still enjoy it immensely,” he said. “The lifestyle is really abnormal. But you meet amazing people,and you get to work with a group of dedicated athletes. Who doesn’t want to do this?”

Hoffman said he’s excited about some training while he’s in Aspen next month with longtime friend Zeke Tiernan, a decorated mountain trail runner and former All-American at the University of Colorado. Tiernan also was a state champion in track and cross country while a student at Aspen High School.

“I’m going to do a long mountain trail run with Zeke … from Independence to Ashcroft,” Hoffman said. “I want to get out in the backcountry while I’m in Aspen.”

That’s where he’ll refine his Olympic dreams.

dstrode@aspentimes.com


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