This spring, Ian Torchia became the latest in a long line of Northern Michigan University skiers to snag a U.S. Ski Team nomination. That came thanks to two stellar years of World Junior Championships racing in a row: in 2015 he finished 11th in the skiathlon, then in 2016 15th in the 15 k skate.
Now a junior at the college, Torchia is a major contributor to the perennial midwest powerhouse; he finished second and fourth at NCAA Championships last season. But he’s headed into the U23 ranks internationally.
1. Biggest change in your life in the last five or so months since the ski season ended?
I attended two training camps with the US Ski Team, broke my wrist in late June during a mountain bike race and had to one pole rollerski for 2 months, learned how to surf, and started loving classes again since changing my major to Exercise Science.
2. Biggest change in your training?
Slight increase in yearly volume but not much change other than that with Sten [Fjeldheim]’s plan. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
3. Major areas of improvement you’ve seen so far?
Breaking my wrist was a blessing in disguise as my legs are stronger than ever.
4. Whom you’ve been working closest with this offseason (coaches or training partners)?
Learned a lot from the US guys at the training camps but the bulk of my time has been under Sten and assistant coach Shane MacDowell’s tutelage with the Marquette Training Group (MTG) men.
5. Best trip in the last five months (and why)?
Tossup between the two camps in Bend and Anchorage. I’ll give the nod to Bend for having 2 functioning wrists and an unreal Broken Top crust cruise but salmon fly fishing with Bjornsen in AK is a close second.
6. Favorite cross-training?
Mountain biking and surfing on Lake Superior.
7. Favorite non-athletic activity or pastime this summer?
I love a good game of Settlers of Catan.
8. Song that was your jam this summer?
My roommate Oscar Friedman produces music so definitely his song Shine (GWYLO remix). Check it out on Spotify!
9. All time favorite race moment?
Either getting 3 NCAA All Americans for NMU in the 10k freestyle with my teammates Adam Martin and Jake Brown or moving from 60th up to 11th at Junior Worlds in Kazakhstan in the skiathlon.
10. First thing you pack in your bag when you leave for Europe?
Buffalo Wild Wings BBQ hot sauce. Makes Romanian mystery meat taste great!
11. Venue/event you’re most excited to visit this season?
Soldier Hollow for U23’s. Time to defend our home turf from the Russians and Norwegians.
12. Who will win the World Cup title this year?
Sundby and Heidi Weng. Simi and Sophie for Sprint World Cup!
13. Biggest sacrifice you feel you’ve made choosing this career path?
There are some sacrifices but I mostly feel very blessed to be surrounded by great teammates and friends and live in a place like Marquette with so much to offer.
14. If you could change one thing about your sport, what would it be?
Stop NMU students from asking if we’re the alpine team. Bring back the daily Hoff blog. Give the Nordic Tribune a Pulitzer Prize.
15. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
An asiago bagel with jalepeno cream cheese, 2 eggs (hard), and quite a bit of yogurt. No coffee, just naps.
16. In 5 years, I’ll be ____?
Slowly chipping away at my Ph.D in Exercise Science and hopefully skiing on the World Cup.
17. In 50 years, I’ll be ____?
An old grey-haired retired professor trying to keep up with my kids skiing, surfing and mountain biking.
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