Following her Olympic debut in Turin, Italy in 2006, Rebecca Dussault planned to take a break, to include the birth of her second child, before returning to racing. The short break lasted a year and a half longer than planned when her husband Sharbel contracted a serious auto-immune disease. The long delay meant that her points coming into the 2010 season were far less than optimal and despite numerous fantastic results and a SuperTour championship, she didn’t gather quite enough points due to her limited presence at other SuperTour races.
“What athlete doesn’t have Olympic dreams? That’s the pinnacle of our sport,” said Dussault in an interview with FasterSkier, addressing the timing of her full return to racing in 2010, just in time for the Vancouver Olympics. By points rankings, Dussault was the fastest American woman not to go to the Olympics this year, but her Olympic aspirations are certainly not at an end: “I hope to return. I love skiing. It’s something that I enjoy doing and it is a career that has benefited me and my family in many ways.”
For the moment, however, Dussault’s skiing career is taking a backseat to her family and to another passion. The Dussaults (Rebecca, Sharbel, two sons ages eight and three, and a third child due in January) have taken an internship position at an organic farm in Colorado.
Working on the farm takes the same hard work, motivation, and dedication that ski training does, but instead of biking, running, and rollerskiing, Dussault is currently spending her days running after pigs, milking cows and goats, collecting eggs, raising meat birds and building sheep fence. “I’m getting more strength training than ever,” she laughs, “and the animals never take an off-day like we do in skiing. You can’t tell a cow ‘I’ll milk you tomorrow.’ ”
Getting involved in sustainable organic farming movement is something that the Dussaults have been interested in for several years. Speaking to me from the milking parlor and wearing overalls and muck boots, Dussault explained the new Beyond Organic movement which is really a return to the past, differentiated from the industrial organic movement which has essentially sold out for profit and big corporations.
The Beyond Organic farmer is interested in sustaining local community, building the soil, producing healthy and naturally-raised animals, and ultimately providing their children and grandchildren with better soil and resources than they themselves have now. Dussault loves the organic farming lifestyle because in addition to being good for both body and earth, it keeps the family together, the father at home, and the children involved.
The family hopes to someday have a farm of their own. As Dussault astutely put it, “It was like, why not get involved? It’s not rocket science. It just takes passion. We need more ‘new farmers’ on the land!”
Maddy is on the Nordic ski team at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where her majors are psychology, political science, skiing, and being an awesome JA.