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Steamboat Magazine

Michael Ward

11/01/2013 11:39AM ● By Grant Johnson

Photo copyright Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team

Steamboat Springs, CO -

Q. Where is the coldest place you’ve ever skied?
A. Rovaniemi, Finland, last March. Rovaniemi is located right on the Arctic Circle and is home of the one and only Santa Claus. The coldest day reached a balmy -22 degrees.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A. “Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.” Originally this quote is from the movie “Point Break,” but my former jump coach, Chris Gilbertson, would always say it during training and competition. It helps me keep a calm mind and get pumped for training and competitions.

Q. How do you like to relax?
A. I like to watch TV, listen to music or sleep. Anything that will help me recover from training.

Q. What’s your favorite place to train (other than Steamboat)?
A. My favorite place to train is probably Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway. I have only been there two times, but both times were unforgettable. The reason this place is so amazing is because of the quality of the facilities and the Nordic atmosphere. Holmenkollen has two of the nicest jumps in the world and hundreds of kilometers of cross-country trails. Every year, the last Nordic Combined World Cup is held at the Norwegian venue and is considered the Super Bowl of all competitions. Being able to jump and ski at the same venue is such an honor.

Q. Is there anywhere you consider to be your second home?
A. Technically Steamboat is my second home. I was born and raised in Aspen. I lived in Aspen until my sophomore year of high school, when I moved to Steamboat to pursue Nordic Combined.

Q. Do you have any superstitions?
A. I guess I believe in karma.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional character?
A. Nightcrawler, from Marvel, because he can teleport. I really wish I could teleport because then I could beat Taylor Fletcher in a cross-country race.

Q. Were you always athletic? When did you start?
A. I started alpine skiing and cross-country skiing when I was two years old. Growing up, I played almost every sport from soccer and tennis, to kayaking. I love staying active and being outdoors. 

Q. What is your favorite quote?
A. One of my favorite quotes is, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” It is an excerpt from the poem “Invictus.”

Q. What’s your favorite fashion trend?
A. No preference. I just wake up in the morning and put on whatever clothes are in the dresser.

Q. Which three words describe you best?
A. Positive, laid back, determined.

Q. What is your favorite memory of Steamboat?
A. There are so many great memories I have in Steamboat. The one that stands out the most was competing in the Fourth of July downtown sprint and elimination jump two years ago. I placed third in the sprint and then third in the elimination jump. There was such a great atmosphere. It seemed like the whole town came out to watch the competitions. It was an honor to ski in front of my “second home town” crowd. Nordic Combined always has amazing support in Ski Town, U.S.A.