20-for-20 with Helen Wilson

FasterSkierFebruary 28, 2018
Alaska's Helen Wilson on the shooting range. (Photo: Jim Pasek)
Alaska’s Helen Wilson on the shooting range. (Photo: Jim Pasek)

In an effort to showcase the North Americans competing at this week’s International Biathlon Union (IBU) 2018 Youth and Junior World Championships in Otepää, Estonia, we asked those qualifying athletes several questions about themselves — actually, we had them fill in the blanks. Here we have 16-year-old Helen Wilson, who is representing the United States at her second Youth World Championships.

On Monday, Wilson finished 74th in the 10 k individual, and she placed 18th with the U.S. youth women’s relay team in Wednesday’s 3 x 6 k.


“My full name is Helen Wilson but you can call me lawyer.

I was born and raised in Eagle River, Alaska, and I learned to ski at Junior Nordic.

I spent the time between World Youth/Junior trials and Worlds adjusting to reasonable temperatures, aka not Minnesota, only to arrive here in Otepää to experience those atrocious temperatures again.

The most frightening workout I did in the last training year to prepare for this was classic skiing away from a momma moose.

Helen Wilson racing in the 10 k freestyle at U.S. National Championships in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo: Pat Cooper)

One thing I’m working on this season to improve my biathlon skills is learning how to shoot with numb digits.

This is my first time in Estonia and sixth time racing internationally, and so far it’s been way better than staying at home.

One difference I’ve noticed between Estonia and the United States is the people here speak Estonian.

One of the things I’m most excited about for World Youth/Junior Championships in Otepää is getting to glide on Susan Dunklee’s old boards.

One race I’m especially targeting there is the warm up. The winner of the warmup is clearly the fastest skier.

Watching the Olympics in the leadup to my own races was exhausting because they starred in the wee hours of the morning. One of my most shocking moments of the Games was when Martin Fourcade didn’t land on the podium in the sprint. I want to be like Martin Sundby because having his beard would have kept me warm at trials in Minnesota.

At Worlds, I really hope I can chat/make friends with someone from Norway and ask if they want to trade race suits.

My favorite thing at the breakfast where we are staying is the warm milk, that is half a degree away from curdling.

Before this trip, if you said “Estonia”, the first thing I’d think of would have been Africa.

Now that I’m here, I’m pretty sure something I’ll always remember will be how I sat on my friends lap in a snowbank in between the merging of two roads because I was afraid there was dog pee under the snow while a car drove by.

If I had a totally free day here and didn’t have to worry about race fitness or training, I’d spend it watching people suffer going up the “wall”. Good times, good times…

The best way to follow me on social media is on snapchat @biathlete.”


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