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.
A standout junior skier from Sun Valley, Idaho, Max Durtschi took a break from snow sports to focus on cycling – winning two national titles and competing on first a continental pro team and then, for two years, on Leopard-Trek’s European squad. But after retiring from bike racing in 2014, he came back to the snow. While working on a neuroscience degree at Dartmouth College, Durtschi decided to pick up biathlon.
He was identified as a potential major talent by the U.S. biathlon team in 2014. Now 26 years old, Durtschi is currently a member of USBA’s “X” team.
1. Biggest change in your life in the last five or so months since the ski season ended?
Would either be taking “Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology” this spring at school or dealing with a pretty nasty illness this summer.
2. Biggest change in your training?
We have done a good bit of plyometric work this summer, which is productive for a slow twitch guy like me.
3. Major areas of improvement you’ve seen so far?
I have seen a big jump up in my shooting and ski technique. Gaining upper body and core strength has helped a lot of technique work come together.
4. Whom you’ve been working closest with this offseason (coaches or training partners)?
Sean Doherty – that’s my guy. We have a great group here though, Tim Burke, Lowell Bailey, and Leif Nordgren are true professionals and great role models for us younger guys.
5. Best trip in the last five months (and why)?
I enjoy getting over to Burlington, VT in the summer. That is a neat place.
6. Favorite cross-training?
Ski erg. No, just kidding. I really like good hiking adventures in the Adirondacks.
7. Favorite non-athletic activity or pastime this summer?
Being on the lake – on a boat, paddle board, for a concert, grilling, etc .
8. Song that was your jam this summer?
Hmmm – I love a lot of different types of music. I will say this, setting “Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone as the morning alarm has been a theme during the harder weeks this summer. That will get you out of bed.
9. All time favorite race moment?
A lot of good memories both on skis and the bike. I would say last year’s IBU Cup in Nove Mesto was a cool biathlon experience – fog, rain, big stadium, and a lot of fans drinking heavily at 10 am.
10. First thing you pack in your bag when you leave for Europe?
Slippers help hotels feel like home. Also, don’t be forgetting the power adapter. Having access to electricity makes the trip go smoothly.
11. Venue/event you’re most excited to visit this season?
You know, I absolutely love traveling around Europe and seeing different venues. However, if I could get back to Sun Valley, Idaho (where I grew up) that would be pretty dang special.
12. Who will win the men’s and women’s World Cup titles this year?
Let’s go with the French double of Fourcade and Dorin-Habert.
13. Biggest sacrifice you feel you’ve made choosing this career path?
Starting in high school I don’t see home much. But after a bit, being away starts feeling like home…
14. If you could change one thing about your sport, what would it be?
Handling a firearm in the middle of winter can get really cold on the fingers, but then, my hands are always too hot anyway. Not sure if I would change much at all.
15. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Oatmeal with the fruits and nuts. Fiber makes the world go around.
16. In 5 years, I’ll be ____?
I had better have finished college by then…
17. In 50 years, I’ll be ____?
Probably hiking up some damn mountain.. But you know “outlive the bastards” as Edward Abbey once said.
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Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.