Morgan Arritola was born in Bend, OR in 1986 and began skiing at 16 for the Sun Valley Sports Education Foundation. Despite her late start, Arritola clinched four JO titles and has been a member of the World Juniors team and U23s for the last 4 years. Arritola credits her coach Rick Kapala from SVSEF for her success as well as her teammate and training partner Liz Stephen.
Arritola’s recent successes include a top 30 World Cup finish in 2007, 11th place in the U23 15K skate, and 2nd place at Nationals in 2008. When Arritola is not skiing, she enjoys playing soccer on her local team, waterskiing, and wakeboarding. Although Arritola believes she comes off as a “pretty quiet person,” she says that she has “one of the loudest laughs you’ll ever hear.”
She believes that anyone can achieve success at Nordic skiing if they love the training and don’t let others’ expectations override their own.
Hometown: Born in Bend, OR
Current Residence: Sun Valley, ID
Ski Club: Sun Valley Olympic Development Team
Status on U.S. Ski Team: Continental Cup Team
Best Results: Top 30 World Cup Finish last year, 11th U23 15K Skate, 2nd Place Nationals 2008
Sponsors: Fischer Skis, Alpina Boots, Swix Poles, Rudy Project eyewear
When did you start ski racing, and what were some highlights of your young skiing career?
I began skiing when I was 16 years old for SVSEF. I had 4 Junior national titles and was 3rd at nationals as a junior. I also was a member of World Juniors and U23s for the last 4 years.
Who has been the most influential person for you, whether as a skier or a person?
Rick Kapala is the reason I am still skiing. He is pretty amazing as a person and a coach and I owe a lot to him and his efforts.
I am also inspired by different professional athletes, team mates, and family.
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?
Sun Valley is a pretty amazing place to ski. The conditions can be amazing and beautiful but I also really love to ski in New Zealand too.
There are so many great places it is hard to pick one but I like racing in Canmore and I am hoping to see some new venues this year.
What drives you to succeed at the highest possible level, and what are your short term and long-term goals as a skier?
Potential. I really want to see how far I can go with my skiing.
Do you have any consistent training partners? Do you prefer training alone or with others?
I train with the SV ODT team when I am home but on the road I train with my team mates and friends like Liz Stephen. I really like to train alone at times but it can be really great to have a good group of girls training hard and pushing each other to be better every day.
What is your favorite on snow and dryland workout?
My favorite dryland workout would have to be a long run in the mountains and as for snow, I have really come to like long classic skis. But really I just like to ski so any workout is great.
What do you enjoy doing besides skiing?
In the summer I play soccer on a local team which is really fun. I also love to water ski and wake board in the summer and wish I could do that more. Hanging out with friends is always great too. Really I like to do a lot of things, I am no good at sitting still.
Have you always wanted to be a professional ski racer?
No, I wanted to play soccer professionally and then my family moved and I started skiing for fun and it progressed from there.
What is World Cup, or international racing in general, like? How was your experience last year at Canmore, where you finished as the first American woman in the pursuit race?
Canmore was really my first world cup experience and it was amazing. I am hoping to be able to better answer that question after the next couple of years as I begin to get more world cup starts. The pursuit was a lot of fun, the courses were really hard which suited me and I didn’t over think it. I just went out and raced.
If you weren’t ski racing, how would you be employed? Do you have any other means of employment to support your ski career?
If I weren’t racing I would be in College. That’s my first step. I work part time here and there but it is really hard to train well, travel, race, and find time to work.
How long do you think you will ski professionally? What do you see yourself doing after you finish your ski career?
I have no idea, I take it one day at a time but I hope to always love to cross country ski. After skiing I will most likely go to school.
How did you rise so quickly through the ranks of American skiers? Was there a specific turning point? Describe your training or other factors that have allowed you such success.
I am a pretty focused and driven person. Sure athleticism plays a role but I work hard and don’t give up. Training is not as difficult as some think, I am just motivated to get up every day and get out the door.
You ski in the incredibly powerful Sun Valley program. How has that club developed over the years, and how has it affected your skiing career?
It has made my skiing career hands down. SVSEF is such an amazing program with a lot of support from the program as well as the community. I owe so much to Rick Kapala and everyone involved in the program. Things like the ODT team are also helping skiers continue their racing opportunities after college which is so important in development.
Do you enjoy racing/competing in other sports during the offseason, or did you play other sports as a kid? What are some favorite non-skiing competitions?
When I was little I was really competitive in gymnastics and later on in soccer, but I have always been a very competitive person. I was the sweaty kid in PE that tried so hard weather it was volleyball or dodge ball. It’s just how I am. I also really like to run and do running races in the summer and I play on a co-ed soccer league.
How do you pass the time while traveling? Do you have an essential item that you bring with you everywhere?
I read, listen to music, draw, watch movies, and hang out with everyone on the team. We are pretty good at having fun and always find ways to entertain ourselves on the road.
What does your diet consist of? Do you have a favorite pre-race dinner and breakfast? Do you enjoy eating foreign food when you travel?
I have a hard time keeping weight on so I pretty much eat whatever whenever. I do try and eat a healthy diet with quality foods but I really like most things. Except for gummy candy, I hate fruity, gummy candy. Favorite pre-race meal, hard to say. Something good, but sometimes you can’t be too picky because you are not in charge of what’s for dinner. Breakfast: I usually eat granola and yogurt, toast with peanut butter, a banana, and some tea. Something a long those lines. Some food over seas is so good, nothing like you can get at home, and sometimes it is so bad. You just have to roll with it.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I come off as a pretty quiet person, I’m not really. I think I have one of the loudest laughs you will ever hear.
What, if anything, do you do besides ski? How do you spend your weeks
I am hoping to go to a warm beach this spring after the racing season is over but sometimes it is nice just to be home. It’s great to hang out with friends and family you never see in the winter and have a day not centered around training.
How has the transition to the U.S. Ski Team gone? Has there been a major
change in your life?
I have really improved as a skier and a person. I have learned a lot and there is nothing I would change about it. Good and bad it is all worth it.
Do you have a message for aspiring young skiers? How does a young skier
get to where you are now?
Have fun. Love what you do every day and don’t let others expectations for you over ride your own. You have to love what you do and do it for yourself!