InterviewsNewsRock & Roll All Night and Ski Every Day

FasterSkier FasterSkierDecember 9, 2002

The rock group Kiss was invited to perform one of their trademark songs
at the 2002 Olympic closing ceremony. The chosen song was "Rock and
Roll All Night and Party Every Day". You cannot, of course, take
the Kiss lyrics seriously, but the song does reflect the public perception
of the lifestyle of musicians and especially the rock stars.

Two year
ago while in Norway on summer vacation I was given a chance to have a
late night chat/drink with Norwegian Rock "Sensation" Terje
Sending after one of his shows in my hometown, Langesund. I asked how
he liked what he was doing and he waved away the thick layer of smoke,
lit another Camel and pointed at the youthful but rustic and unsteady
looking crowd and a table full of complementary drinks from the fans and
said in Norwegian "you know it’s Rock & Roll and it’s
tough man"!

Jim
at "work"

Well, at
three in the morning it was tough for me too, but I didn’t have
to do a repeat performance four more days that week and keep going. It’s
not my job; and not my lifestyle. But it is for one American rocker, musician
and skier Jim DiDomenico from the rock and pop group Underwater People
(www.underwaterpeople.com).

I met Jim several years ago and realized quickly that he did not represent
the typical stereotype of rock and roll musician. Instead he is a non-smoking,
non-drinking, and very fit 38-year old who, along with his band members,
tells the party crowd "sorry we can’t go and party with you
after the concert – we are running a marathon/leaving for a XC ski
race in a few hours!"

Jim made
a huge step forward in this year's Birkie with an 81st overall finish.
He also skied great at Masters Nationals, and placed 223rd in the Engadin
Ski Marathon in Switzerland out of 11,000 skiers.

He recently showed up in Utah for the FasterSkier June training camp,
looking exceptionally fit. I was intrigued about his story and thought
our readers would enjoy a few details as well.

Jim
at this year's Birkie, finishing 81st.

Jim started
Underwater People ten years ago and it became a full time gig two years
later. The group is now one of the most popular party bands in the Chicago
area. Before that, Jim directed an outdoor adventure program for drug
addicts and alcoholics. He has a master degree in outdoor therapeutic
recreation.

His band members are all great musicians, great people and health oriented.
As an example, they were the band for post race party for the Shamrock
Shuffle 8K foot race in Chicago with 16,000 runners, and before they "rock
and rolled", they all ran the race. Jim and the band feel that it’s
a hugely rewarding job, and he mentions the fact that there are not many
jobs where you get positive reinforcement so often. The band sees it in
the form of smiling faces and cheering crowds during and after each song.
The largest crowds are usually at street fairs, and crowds of 10,000 or
more are not uncommon. Smaller gigs and private parties are also on the
menu.

Check them out if you are in Chicago!

Jim started ski racing in 1984. He is originally from the Chicago suburbs
but bought a place in Minocqua, Wisconsin seven years ago that he called
home for a while. These days, married life and playing jobs keep him at
his Chicago residence for extended periods at a time but he still find
lots of opportunities to travel to find good skiing.

Jim (center) and the band

Some
Questions for Jim.

Why are you ski racing?
I have always enjoyed competing in endurance sports where a lot of specific
physical preparation as well as a great deal of mental toughness are required
to do well. I have run competitively for over 20 years and have had some
stress/overuse injuries. When I discovered cross-country skiing, devoid
of all the pounding of running, I was pretty much hooked. Ski racing is
so appealing because it involves all of the same mental emotions as distance
running, yet to do well, you need to continually develop a very specific
technique, which incorporates coordination, strength and balance. On top
of that you need to have great understanding of your equipment and it’s
preparation. All the while you are experiencing some of the most beautiful
places, which many people will never see, in the middle of the winter.
Unlike most Americans, it gives us skiers a reason to celebrate the first
snowfall!!
What Is Your training philosophy?
In a word, specificity. I have made great improvements in ski racing in
the last few years. I attribute it to several factors, but the main one
has been my training and it’s focus on ski racing. Up until about
four years ago, I would train to race fast in both running and skiing.
My results were a little above average, but I never felt like I was improving.
It was then I decided to focus on ski racing and only use running races
as a means to the end and not and end unto themselves. Unlike some people,
Carl Swenson comes to mind, I feel that one peak season during the year
has worked great for me. My training, based on being very patient, is
basic periodization plan where I a) recover b) build up my base c) intensify
d) race. All the while, becoming more ski specific with each passing month
heading toward a peak at the end of February.

Thanks Jim!

At the band’s website www.underwaterpeople.com
you can check out the band, hear MP3 clips, book the band and order CD’s.
You can email Jim at nordicjim@hotmail.com.

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