20-for-20 with Grace Gilliland

FasterSkierFebruary 26, 2017
Grace Gilliland (Alaska Biathlon Club/APU Junior Ski Team) on the range. (Photo: Claire Gilliland)

In another 20-something-question, fill-in-the-blanks series, we checked in with the world-class U.S. and Canadian biathletes that will be competing at 2017 International Biathlon Union (IBU) Youth & Junior World Championships Feb. 22-28 in Osrblie (also known as Brezno-Osrblie), Slovakia.

Here’s 16-year-old Grace Gilliland, of the Alaska Biathlon Club and Alaska Pacific University (APU) Junior Ski Team, who is representing the U.S. at her first Youth Worlds. She qualified for today’s youth women’s 7.5 k pursuit with a 46th place in Friday’s sprint, and earlier in the week, she finished 55th in the 10 k individual.


“My full name is Grace Gilliland, but you can call me just plain Grace. I was born and raised in Eagle River, Alaska, and one thing you should know about Eagle River is that we have brown bears that try to rip open building doors.

Grace Gilliland (Alaska Biathlon Club/APU Junior Ski Team) during a high-school race at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo: Pat Cooper)

I started cross-country skiing right after I learned how to walk (about two years old), and started biathlon when I was 11, thanks to my oldest brother Simon. I currently train in Anchorage with Alaska Biathlon Club and Alaska Pacific University Junior Ski team.

If I’m not skiing, you might find me camping, halibut fishing, fly fishing, or set netting. Periodically I am found in the garden planting flowers if it’s warm enough outside.

If I had to pick a favorite book, it would be the ‘The Wide, Wide World‘.

One of the things I’m most excited about for Youth/Junior World Championships in Brezno-Osrblie is going with my best friend Helen Wilson.

This will be my first Youth/Junior World Championships, and this year, I’m competing as a youth. One race I’m especially targeting there are ones with very windy conditions, that are hard to shoot in. Windy races are my kinda races😏

The best advice anyone ever gave me about skiing or racing was to always load your magazines with warm fingers so they feel better.

One of the best race memories I have is racing my best friend Helen Wilson at a Wednesday night club race in Alaska.

If I could meet one World Cup skier, it would be Susan Dunklee.

I’m missing 8263738591 days of school to be here, and my professors are probably thinking, ‘Woah there.’

You can follow me on Instagram @grace_eva99.”


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