Imagine participating in a sport that lasts only 30 seconds. That's exactly what Roz Groenewoud does, except she's managed to master the sport of professional freeskiing. Last year Groenewoud won the X Games both in the U.S. and Europe and this year, she's excited to not only try to hang on to her spot on the podium, but also to gear up for the debut of freeskiing at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. As Target's newest Elite Athlete (joining the ranks of snowboarder Shaun White) we got the chance to chat with Groenewoud on how she's getting ready for the qualifying trials and why being nervous before a run is a good thing!
How do you train for freeskiing?
The half pipe takes about 30 seconds to get down, so I do lots of plyometics and biking, things that work on bursts of speed. Right now I'm training at home (in Squamish, BC) and I'm not doing anything on the snow. I'm just working on getting stronger. In the summer strength training is lots of lower body reps like squats and dead lifts with less weight and then when the winter season gets closer it changes to less reps with more weight. I do a ton of trampoline training too, especially practicing how to fall safely.
What are some tips for when you fall so that you don't get injured?
First, you have to protect your head. I wear bump pads, a back protector and a mouth guard all the time but it's important to keep your limbs in. If not, your ski could snag something and that's how you can get really hurt.
Do you ever get nervous before a run?
All the time, that's the fun part of it! A lot of my trampoline training is also fear training. I've learned to channel my nerves into focused energy, and I love the thrill of accomplishing a trick, especially during competition. In my free time, I do cliff jumping and it's a similar thrill for me.
Do freestyle skiers have to follow any diet restrictions?
I don't really need to follow a super strict regime, but I do need to remember to eat! I am a person who gets "hangry" if I go too long without eating. So I always make sure to have snacks in my bag and I stop skiing when I'm hungry, because if not my skiing suffers. I travel a lot with two of my teammates and we take turns cooking for each other. Right now I'm on a big homemade oatmeal kick!
What are your plans for the winter season?
In December I'll compete in the qualifying trials for the Olympic Games and that will be great to be able to travel to Sochi, Russia and see what the half pipe there is like. Then I'll compete in the X Games, this will be my sixth time at the U.S. Games and fourth for Europe.
What are you most excited about when you think about the 2014 Olympics?
Obviously I'm excited to get the chance to represent my country, but I'm also excited to be a part of my sport making its debut appearance at the Olympics. Half pipe snowboarding has been around for quite some time, so I'm excited skiing is getting a spot now too.
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