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In part I of FasterSkier’s interview with Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, we caught up with the former U.S. Olympian and heard updates on her personal life. Today, we hear her views on the current crop of Stifel U.S. Ski Team members, and what she sees in her own future.
As autumn approaches, the impending snowfall still beckons Maubet Bjornsen. “I love the fall, which is weird in Alaska,” she said. “It’s all associated with it’s time to go ski race.” Even though she’s no longer regularly racing, the thrill of impending ski season is still there. “I still have all those happy vibes associated with it [skiing].” Though, she readily admits to missing racing. “The thing I miss most is the confidence associated with it. When you’re at the top of your field … it’s different than leaving sport and being new in a field [like I am now], it was so fun being so good at something, being a newbie in the next part of life is really different.” But she realizes that will also change. “There’s an element of performance in everything.”
One thing she doesn’t miss is being away from home every day. “I love coming home and seeing my husband every day, but the further I am away from being a professional athlete, the more I miss the fitness. While I miss [that], I love the options I have now, you can do just anything. I don’t miss being away, but I do miss traveling and being all over the world.”
Maubet Bjornsen still stays on top of U.S. ski team activity. “I can’t wait for the weekend because I watch the World Cups. When I watched the Olympics, I was more nervous watching than I was when I participated.” She is duly impressed by the young skiers. “The younger athletes are going to be crushing our records. One of the reasons I watch ski racing is because of those young boys, Ben Ogden, this guy is fearless. He does all these wild things in the race … not because it follows the normal trajectory. He does these things like dropping people by 15 seconds off the front in a sprint … I thought of doing that, but I never had the guts to do it. Ben is making his own route. I’m convinced he’s on the path to being the best. It’s really neat to see the boys with their own methods.” She appreciates the approach being taken by the younger team members. “It’s easy to get in the spot where you’re so focused that you forget to have fun, and they have fun on the forefront … I love to see that.”
Maubet Bjornsen does have advice for younger racers, which many seem to already be following. “Keep the balance, and fun, and doing it your way,” she advised, a lesson she learned the hard way through the multiple injuries in her career, that there is always a different path to take. “It wasn’t until later in my career that I recognized it might actually be to my advantage to be doing things differently.” She would remind people that “listening to your mind and listening to your own voice is your own path to success.”
She also has advice for being on the road so much. “Finding ways to have something else meaningful is important … if you sit on the track the whole time … only thinking about the next race can get really exhausting.” She credits having other things to think about as helpful with dealing with being on the road. “It’s hard to find your own system when you’re always around other people in the traditional system,” she said. “Really pay attention to what makes you happy.”
After she settles into her career and motherhood, Maubet Bjornsen would like to find time to give back more to the sport. “I would really love to go to coach at some point,” she said. “I benefitted so much from Erik Flora’s message of happiness first. I would love to be able to pass on some of things that he taught me.”
Making a difference in other lives is what motivates her. “That’s why I love financial planning,” she said. “It’s so fun to support somebody else, mentally or financially.” She would also like to share her financial knowledge with athletes. “I want to figure out a way to get athletes to have retirement funds. Your accumulating years, when you’re young, are the most meaningful. You shouldn’t be starting your very first retirement fund when you retire from skiing. I would love to figure out how to not have an athlete come out of sport having never started a retirement fund.”
Given all of the obstacles Maubet Bjornsen overcame in her athletic career, it would be a sound investment to bet that she’ll find a way to use her new skills to help young athletes’ financial future.