Under 23 Questions: Hailey Swirbul

FasterSkierJanuary 30, 2018
Hailey Swirbul (University of Alaska Anchorage) navigating a downhill while racing to second place in the women’s 5 k classic on Tuesday at 2018 Junior World Championships in Goms, Switzerland. (Photo: JWSC2018.ch)

In an effort to showcase the North Americans competing at this week’s International Ski Federation (FIS) 2018 Nordic Junior/U23 World Championships in Goms, Switzerland, we asked those qualifying athletes several questions about themselves — actually, we had them fill in the blanks. Here we have 19-year-old Hailey Swirbul, of the University of Alaska Anchorage Ski Team, who’s representing the U.S. at her third U23 Worlds.

A year after earning bronze with the women’s relay at 2017 Junior Worlds in Utah, Swirbul raced to an individual silver medal in the women’s 5 k classic on Tuesday.  


“My full name is Hailey Swirbul, but you can call me Hittle.

I was born and raised in El Jebel, Colorado, and I learned to ski at the mogul course at Aspen Highlands.

I spent the time between U.S. nationals and Junior/U23 Worlds in West Yellowstone at college races and at home in El Jebel.

The funnest workout I did in the last training year to prepare for this was playing water polo with the UAA alpine/nordic teams.

Hailey Swirbul (University of Alaska Anchorage) on a suspension bridge leading to the Goms cross-country venue on Jan. 24. (Photo: Hannah Rudd)

This is my first time in Switzerland and fifth time racing internationally, and so far it’s been amazing!

One difference I’ve noticed between Switzerland and the U.S. is that all the desserts are less sweet.

Skiing and racing in the Alps is distracting (the mountains are so impressive!). Usually racing at altitude is no different for me because I believe if you pace a race decently, you don’t have to suffer like the reputation altitude skiing has. There are giant mountains around where I live.

One of the things I’m most excited about for Junior/U23 Worlds in Goms is the abundance of snow!

One race I’m especially targeting there is the 10 k skiathlon.

I really hope I can chat/make friends with someone from Norway and ask them if they know Klaebo.

My favorite thing at the breakfast where we are staying is the kiwis and the precut cubes of butter in a tub of ice water.

Fondue is the same as Qdoba queso. The cheese here is strong. And the chocolate is no Hershey’s.

If I had a totally free day here and didn’t have to worry about race fitness or training, I’d spend it doing homework.

The best way to follow me on social media is Instagram @hai.swirl.”

The women’s 5 k classic podium at 2018 Junior World Championships in Goms, Switzerland, with American Hailey Swirbul (r) in second, Russia’s Polina Nekrasova (c) in first, and Finland’s Anita Korva (l) in third. (Photo: JWSC2018.ch)


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