AUBURN, N.H. — Today, the Fischer Skis U.S. Nordic Division announced its Fischer Select Athlete of the Month for December. The series continues with 28-year-old Nicole DeYong, who grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and was an All-American at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. She raced for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Olympic Development Program, now known as the Gold Team, for five years.
Currently a member of the Fischer/Swix Marathon Team, Nicole has enjoyed a strong start to the season with several top five results in the early 2011/2012 Super Tour series. Her achievements on the race course coupled with her active participation in her local community are what make Nicole our select athlete this month.
Fischer caught up with Nicole after the Bozeman races to learn what she is planning for the coming season. Read on for more insights into Nicole’s training, lifestyle, inspiration and plans.
Fischer Skis Select Athlete of the Month, December 2011: Nicole DeYong
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Currently resides: Ketchum, Idaho
Team: Fischer/Swix Marathon Team
Club: Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation
Years skiing: 25
Years with Fischer: Seven
Q: How did you get started in the sport?
ND: I started skiing at the age of three. My parents introduced me to the sport with frequent family ski trips to Hatcher’s Pass. I began participating in the local ski club called Anchorage Junior Nordic League at the age of six and fell in love with skiing! During my junior high years, I wasn’t as fond of skiing but my parents encouraged me to stay with it. I joined the high school ski team without the intention of racing, but it wasn’t long before I found my competitive side and I started to race and enjoy it.
Q: What are your goals for the season?
ND: To have fun! I am taking a slightly different approach to ski racing this season and racing more of a marathon circuit. I am excited about this and changing it up from racing the usual Super Tour race series. My goals for this year are good performances in the Boulder Mountain Tour, the American Birkie, and most excitingly the Engadin Ski Marathon in Switzerland.
Q: What is the best workout you did to prepare for the season and why?
ND: I’m not sure I have a “best” workout that prepared me for the season. Instead, my new overall approach to training helped me. Every day I go out the door, it is because I want to. I traded my roller skis in for a new mountain bike and much of my summer training consisted of running and biking. I did what I loved and loved what I did!
Q: How are you involved with cross country skiing outside of racing?
ND: I am an assistant coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation competition and development teams when needed. I really enjoy getting to know the kids and working with them. I am also putting on a few local ski clinics. My next clinic is in preparation for the Boulder Mountain Tour. I am really excited about it; the BMT is a great event with a beautiful course. I am looking forward to getting new skiers excited and hooked on this event.
Q: What are your favorite conditions and technique to race in?
ND: In the past I have always favored the skate technique. My classic is coming around and now I have fairly equal results in both techniques. I tend to favor hilly, more difficult courses in both skate and classic. My favorite conditions to race in for classic are cold (0-10 degrees), firm conditions…it must be the Alaskan in me. My favorite conditions to race in for skate are fairly firm trails with temperatures in the mid-20s.
Q: Where is your favorite place to cross country ski and why?
ND: I really enjoy skiing in Silver Star, B.C. The conditions are always great and the racecourses are nice and tough. Many times the skiing is right out the back door and there are several kilometers of trail to train on, not to mention the atmosphere in Silver Star is pretty unique. Gotta love the festive multi-colored houses!
Q: What is the toughest part about being a cross country ski racer?
ND: The toughest part about ski racing is probably finding the funds and support to make it happen.
Q: Racing probably does not take up all of your time; what else are you doing besides racing?
ND: This past summer I started working part-time at Sawtooth Orthopedics. I was ready for new challenges, yet I am still very focused on training and skiing well in marathons this year. Because of my interest in the medical field, I accepted the job working as a medical assistant and a business patient associate. I also work as a part-time nanny and help coach the junior team. All of that plus training keeps me pretty busy!
Q: In ten years, what story will you be telling about your skiing history?
ND: Throughout my years of racing, I have learned two important lessons that can be passed on to younger skiers: it is the tough times that make you grow stronger in character, and you can only perform your best when your body, mind and spirit are in it. If you are missing any one of those components, you will not ski to your full potential.
Q: What do you like about Fischer and why?
ND: In my seven years of skiing for Fischer, they have provided me with great skis and now boots and poles. Fischer is reliable and you always know you will get a great pair of skis. Thanks Fischer!