By Grant Johnson
Photo by Riley Steinmetz/USSA
Steamboat Springs, CO-
the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A. This might sound corny, but I can vividly remember being a little boy and my mom telling me that I could be anything I wanted to be, so long as I set my mind to it. This support and encouragement from my parents has been a huge player in all of my success, and I can attribute most of the rest to hard work. Basically, I learned at a young age that if I’m committed and willing to put in the work, I can accomplish almost anything.
do you like to relax?
A. I’ve always been an avid reader, so whether I’m traveling or at home I always find time to read. Reading a good book is the best way for me to relax and let the time of long flights or van rides fly by.
your favorite place to train (other than Steamboat)?
A. Courchevel, France, is one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever trained. The K120 is an awesome hill for training – especially because we don’t spend that much time jumping a big hill at sea level in the summer. We brought our bikes over this summer and did some Tour de France watching and route riding. The mountains and roads are all the best ones that they show on TV during the Tour. They’re pretty unreal.
there anywhere you consider to be your second home?
A. I grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but at this point both Park City and Steamboat feel like second homes to me. I started going out to Steamboat for summer training when I was 14, and after high school I lived there for a solid two years. Now, when I go back to Steamboat, I enjoy seeing the friends and families that I got to know in my time there, and am always treated like a local. At this rate, Eau Claire might be more of a second home than real home.
on your warm-up playlist?
A. Anything upbeat, but nothing too intense. The Black Keys, Jack White, Florence and the Machine and Ben Howard are always up there.
your favorite career moment so far?
A. To date, I’m most proud of one weekend in Erzurum, Turkey, during the 2012 Continental Cup season. I was fifth the first day and eleventh the next. This tied my best result from Park City in a COC, and doing it out of the country made it even more important to me. Plus, Erzurum is so foreign and unique from anywhere else I’ve been.
does a typical day of training look like for you?
A. One sweet thing about Nordic Combined is that we keep our training fresh and don’t get too repetitive. However, I would describe a typical day as starting with a jumping session in the morning. Although we might only take five or six jumps, with the warm-up and time for ski preparation, a session will usually take most of the morning. By the time jumping is finished, we might have time for a quick relaxation exercise before lunch. After lunch, we usually spend some time looking at jump videos and resting, then it’s on to the afternoon session, which might be a cross-country session, such as a three-hour distance workout (skiing, running or biking) or an interval workout on skis or rollerskis. When we finish the second session, we spend some time actively recovering and working on mobility. Then it’s time to fuel up and rest up to do it again tomorrow.
book are you reading right now?
A. I’m in the middle of two books, one on my Kindle, “The Grapes of Wrath,” and I’m listening to the audio book of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
is your favorite vacation destination?
A. My grandparents have a cabin on a small island in Canada, just over the border from Minnesota. It’s very small and rustic, and I don’t get home enough to get up there often, but it’s been one of my favorite places to get away throughout my childhood.
do you think is the most beautiful/scenic spot in Steamboat?
A. The Zirkels.
you had a superpower, what would it be?
A. I wish I had the ability to learn languages in a matter of minutes. With the way we travel, that would be incredible. Then again, speaking of travel, it would be sweet to be able to teleport.