17 Questions for 2017: Julia Kern

BrainspiralOctober 30, 2016
Julia Kern biking up New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway at a recent training camp. (Courtesy photo)
Julia Kern biking up New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway at a recent training camp. (Courtesy photo)

Welcome to “17 Questions for 2017″, where we are catching up with American and Canadian national-team members before the beginning of the winter season. 


19-year-old Julia Kern had quite a diverse year last season, her first on the U.S. Ski Team: a SuperTour podium, a trip to World Juniors, two individual podiums in the junior races at OPA Cup finals in Italy, and two podiums in the junior races at U.S. National Championships (long and short distance).

Having joined the Stratton Mountain School SMST2 Elite Team this year as well as enrolling at Dartmouth College, Kern has made some changes and is looking forward to another big year.

1. Biggest change in your life in the last five or so months since the ski season ended?

My biggest change in the past 5 months has been starting college at Dartmouth. The day after the season ended, I headed straight to Dartmouth to start my first term in the spring and I am currently half way through my second term this fall.

2. Biggest change in your training?

I have finally been able to train without modifying my plan due to injuries and illness so I would say my biggest change is that I am back to a normal training plan! Wahoo!

3. Major areas of improvement you’ve seen so far?

I think there isn’t one specific area where I have seen improvement over the past few months, but actually in every area. I feel like I have generally improved in all areas.

4. Whom you’ve been working closest with this offseason (coaches or training partners)?

Julia Kern happily healthy and rollerskiing. (Courtesy photo)
Julia Kern happily healthy and rollerskiing. (Courtesy photo)

Since I have joined the SMS Elite team this year, Pat O’Brien became my coach so I have been working closely with him in conjunction with Cami at Dartmouth. In the spring and fall, I have been trained with Dartmouth Ski Team and in the summer I trained with the SMS Elite team. It is fun to mix up training partners!

5. Best trip in the last five months (and why)?

I have only traveled once in the past five months. I went to Park City, UT for a training camp to kick off the summer and it was one of the most effective camps I have been to. I always love coming back to Park City because it is starting to feel like another home to me and the area is just so incredible!

6. Favorite cross-training?

This is a hard one! I really enjoy playing basketball in my free time, but if we are considering cross cross training to be a little more ski specific, I would have to say swimming.

7. Favorite non-athletic activity or pastime this summer?

Camping and hanging out on the beach may be considered an athletic activity with my family, but I was always enjoy my family’s annual vacation camping on Cape Cod every summer.

8. Song that was your jam this summer?

I would say my go-to jam this summer was “Good Day” by Nappy Roots. Definitely not a new song, but it is a good way to start a good day!

9. All time favorite race moment?

American Julia Kern (SMS/USST) racing to a career-best 16th in the 2016 Junior World Championships freestyle sprint  in Rasnov, Romania. (Photo: Pete Leonard)
American Julia Kern (SMS/USST) racing to a career-best 16th in the 2016 Junior World Championships freestyle sprint in Rasnov, Romania. (Photo: Pete Leonard)

My all time favorite race moment was definitely this past winter during my last race at OPA Cup finals. It was a pursuit start and the girl who started in front of me and behind and I all caught up to one another and skied most of the race together. My tactics worked out really well and I finally nailed the “shake and bake” tactic right in the end to beat out the two girls I was racing head to head with.

10. First thing you pack in your bag when you leave for Europe?

Underwear…but that is a given essential. I pack my camera because I love taking photos and videos on the road, capturing the different cultures and landscapes around.

11. Venue/event you’re most excited to visit this season?

I am most excited for Soldier Hollow! I think it will be an incredible opportunity to have our qualification for World Juniors at the same venue and on the same race courses as World Juniors.

12. Who will win the World Cup title this year?

For the men, Petter Northug. For women, Marit Bjoergen.

13. Biggest sacrifice you feel you’ve made choosing this career path?

The biggest sacrifice I think so far has been giving up on a normal social life. I have found it is hard to maintain a close friend group outside of the ski community when I hardly stay in the same place longer than a month at a time. I am very fortunate to have my closest friends be in the skiing community though, and probably for a good reason!

14. If you could change one thing about your sport, what would it be?

I wish we had some world cups in the U.S. Having World Juniors in Utah this year is going to be really incredible and I wish that people in the U.S. got more exposure to what cross country skiing is and make it easier for athletes’ families come and watch.

15. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

I had two slices of fresh sourdough dough bread with avocado, topped with one over-easy egg on each. Yumm 🙂

16. In 5 years, I’ll be ____?

I will hopefully be racing on the World Cup circuit.

17. In 50 years, I’ll be ____?

I’ll be like my grandmother; active, happy, and a life filled with wonderful grandchildren.


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