Kristina Owen grew up skiing for her local club in Wenatchee, Washington, claiming to be “more into the M&Ms they had at the finish than the races themselves.” After coming in last in her first JO race, Owen came back to win the 10K classic the following year in Lake Placid.
Owen continued to develop as a skier at Michigan Tech, posting high finishes at NCAAs in 2005, 2006, and 2007, including an 8th place in the 15K Classic in 2007. Since graduating in the spring of 2007, Owen has been training with the CXC Elite Team in Hayward, Wisconsin, posting top-10 finishes at US Nationals and 8th in the 2008 US Birkiebiener.
Owen plans to continue racing for several more years, after which she hopes to coach at the collegiate level. When Owen is not skiing, she enjoys reading, sewing, knitting, and baking cookies. “I’d make the perfect 50s housewife,” she claims.
Hometown: Wenatchee, WA
Current Residence: Hayward, WI
Ski Club: CXC Elite
Best Results: 8th place 2008 American Birkiebiener, 5th place 30k Classic at 2008 US Nationals, 6th place 15k Pursuit 2008 US Nationals, 8th place 15k Classic 2007 NCAA, 7th place 5k classic 2006 NCAA
Sponsors: CXC Elite Team, Salomon, Toko, OneWay
When did you start ski racing, and what were some highlights of your young skiing career?
I started skiing as soon as I could walk, and racing when I was a J3-ish. My mom coached the local club, so skiing and races were always something I was around and familiar with. I wasn’t one of those junior phenoms though, that’s for sure. I was the kid who came to every race because my mom was there anyway, but was more into the M&M’s they had at the finish than the races themselves. Then from second year as a J1 on, I started slowly and steadily getting better. By my last year as a junior, I actually managed to win the 10K classic at JO’s in Lake Placid. Going from DFL my first year to that was pretty cool.
Who has been the most influential person for you, whether as a skier or a person?
My mom. And she’s a little crazy, so the fact that i’m slowly turning into her terrifies me.
Where is your favorite place to ski, where is your favorite place to race, what is your favorite part of the season, what are your favorite ski conditions?
Place: Tech Trails, Houghton MI
Race: Tech Trails, Houghton MI
Part: Right now
Conditions: 28 degrees, blue skies.
What drives you to succeed at the highest possible level, and what are your long-term goals as a skier?
Skiing makes me happy. I love racing, and I love training. I’ll might never be the best in the world, but I sure as heck want to see how good I can get.
What are your favorite race formats/distances, and do you try to specialize for these events?
I like ’em long. I don’t try to specialize, I’m actually really trying to get better at the shorter stuff. So far though…15k or longer seems to be my best.
What are your overall goals for this season?
1. Have consistent results through the season
2. Make the Canadian World Cup team
3. Be more pro, stay on top of all aspects of this job, racing and non.
4. Stay healthy
5. Top 5 at US Nationals
Do you have any consistent training partners? Do you prefer training alone or with others?
CXC has a pretty unique schedule, in that we rotate in and out of training camp every two weeks. So, during camp, I train with all the other CXC ladies. Out of camp, I generally train alone. This way, we don’t get too tired of each other!
What is your favorite on snow workout and favorite dryland workout?
I like super hard intervals, and long slow over-distance workouts.
What do you enjoy doing besides skiing?
Reading, sewing, knitting, baking cookies….I’d make the perfect 50’s housewife.
In terms of employment, are you a 100% full-time athlete, or do you have another job besides training/racing? If so, what do you do?
100% full-time athlete, baby.
How long do you think you will ski at the elite level? What do you see yourself doing after you finish your ski career?
Couple more years, at least. And then coach somewhere, hopefully at the collegiate level.
Do you or did you ever attend college? How did you make that decision?
I attended Michigan Tech and graduated in the spring of 2007. In high school I wasn’t a very fast, but I was real into my books. College was the logical next step, and gave me time to develop as a skier.
Do you enjoy racing/competing in other sports during the offseason? Did you play other sports as a kid? What are some of your favorite non-skiing competitions?
I love cross-country running. I raced from the fourth grade through college, but haven’t found many race opportunities that fit in our training plan now with CXC.
What do you do with any spare time at training camps or on race trips?
Mostly waste a lot of time on the internet. That, and knit.
What does your diet consist of? Do you have a favorite pre-race dinner and breakfast?
My diet is really basic. Go to the store, load up on fruits, veggies, a little meat, and giant bags of flour. Pretty much everything is from scratch. The fact that it’s healthier that was is really secondary to the fact that it’s also way cheaper, and pro skiers don’t make a lot of $$. Pre-race I like spaghetti for dinner and oatmeal for breakfast.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I hate going fast. Motor boats, fast cars, carnival rides…they terrify me. And yes, steep downhills sometimes challenge me. I work on getting over the fear constantly.
How do you spend your weeks off?
Eh? When’s that? Last year was my first year not as a 3 sport athlete…I spent April in Hayward. At first I slept a lot, and then I was just bored out of my mind, waiting to train again. I need to come up with something cool for this year so I don’t repeat that.
What is the best race or workout you have ever done?
30k Classic at last year’s Distance Nationals.
What race events are in your plan for this season, and which race are you are looking forward to the most?
West Yellowstone, Boseman, and Solider Hollow supertours, Whistler for the NorAm, Anchorage for Nationals, perhaps Whistler again for the World Cup, and then back to the midwest for the Supertours there. Then the Birkie and up to Alaska again for distance nationals! Most excited about both nationals, and the Birkie.
What else do you want to say?
I chronicle my training life at www.kristinaowen.com. It’s a fairly good waste of a few minutes if you’re bored.