This ‘Pros of Tomorrow’ series, brought to you by the generous support of Fischer Sports, aims to highlight some of the most notable up-and-coming athletes around the world, not necessarily Fischer-sponsored skiers. If you have an idea for a top-notch skier you’d like to read more about, please email email@example.com with the subject line: Pros of Tomorrow. We’re also looking for stories about intriguing juniors, collegiate skiers, or lesser-known athletes; please email us with names — subject line: From the Pack.
The first time Miles Havlick ran the Baldy Hill Climb was seven years ago. He was visiting his older brother, Ian, who was training with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, and decided to jump into the race.
That same day Havlick heard the race’s history, but little did he know that years later he would become a part of it.
In 1989 Michael Tobin set the course record of the Sun Valley, Idaho climb. With his time of 35:11, Tobin created a standard that many thought would never be broken on the 1.86-mile course featuring 3,140 feet of elevation gain.
Over the years several came close, with Rob Whitney earning a time of 35:52 in 1999 and Miles Fink Debray crossing the line at 35:33 in 2006.
Havlick, who was born the year that Tobin’s record was set, went into the 2014 climb with one desire – he wanted to win.
Conditions were on his side – it had rained the previous night, bringing a firm track and cool weather.
As he crested the top Baldy through a cloud of thick mist, he had no idea that he was on track to beat the 25-year-old record.
“I didn’t even know I was close to the record until I crossed the finish line and Colin [Rodgers] was there screaming and super excited,” Havlick said in a phone interview.
Havlick finished the hill climb with a time of 35:04, besting what was once thought to be an unbeatable record by seven seconds.
Havlick is no stranger to success. The Boulder, Colo. native had an accomplished junior career, which translated into continued success in college.
In a circuit often dominated by Europeans, Havlick won back-to-back NCAA 20 k mass start titles in 2012 and 2014 with the University of Utah.
Having graduated in 2013, Havlick joined the Sun Valley Gold Team for the 2013/2014 season.
He explained that while the transition from school to professional skiing was tough, he believed he adjusted to the changes well.
“I moved to a new place. I didn’t have school going on and I switched to a new coaching system that I wasn’t entirely used to,” he said. “There was a lot of change, but overall I did a good job of adjusting.”
Despite his ability to adapt, Havlick said that he didn’t have the season he wanted.
“I had a disappointing nationals. It wasn’t too bad, but I definitely was missing my top gear,” he said.
However, Havlick explained that there were also many positives in his first season as a professional skier. While his races weren’t on par with his expectations, he skied well enough to qualify for OPA Cup racing in Europe.
“It was a great experience to ski over in Europe with a lot of my teammates and a lot of Americans who were in the same boat. We had a lot of fun and it definitely opened my eyes to European racing, which is really cool,” he said.
Havlick said that there are several takeaways from his seasons as a college and professional skier.
“I think on any given day – when I am mentally competent, carrying confidence from previous races, focused, and my wax is good – I can be the best skier out there. The college skiing is when I was really able to prove that to myself. Last year was kind of tough because I felt like I was spinning my wheels by the end, but I think I’ve made some adjustments this year that can fix that,” he said.
As demonstrated by his result at the Baldy Hill Climb, it appears that Havlick is on the right track to have a strong season with the Sun Valley Gold Team.
As if one time-trial win wasn’t enough, he won SVSEF’s Harper’s Time Trial earlier this fall and recently placed first in the US Ski Team rollerski time-trial at Soldier Hollow, Utah.
This winter Havlick said that he’s looking to perform well in the early-season SuperTours in West Yellowstone and Bozeman, Mont. and at the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Houghton, Mich. in an attempt to make the 2015 World Championship Team. If he doesn’t make the cut, Havlick said that he wants to win the Overall SuperTour title in order to earn a World Cup starting position next winter.
He’s off to a good start, as Havlick feels he’s going into the 2014/2015 season more ambitious, fit and prepared than ever before.
“I think a big part of it is being happy and going into the season wanting it more than anyone else. Physically, I’ve prepared better than I ever have before. The time trail results from this fall reflect that and I just have to work on the mental aspect and dial in the skis once I get on snow and hopefully everything will all come together,” he said.