Meet the Skimo Racer - Nina Silitch

Birthplace: Boston, MA

Current hometown and mountain range: Chamonix, France –The Alps

If you were not born in the mountains, what drew you to them or enabled you to move to there: I went to a great outdoorsy high school (Holderness) and college (Dartmouth) both in New Hampshire. I then began working full time with National Outdoor Leadership School in the West as a climbing and mountaineering instructor as my passion for the mountains grew and grew.

Age when you started skiing: Around 3 years old my parents had me on skis at Bromley Mountain in Vermont.

Number of years you have been skiing: Pretty much most of my life. I alpine skied when I was younger, did a few years of Alpine racing at CVA ski academy in Sugarloaf where I was living then switched over to x country ski competition in high school and college. I took up tele skiing for 12 years and then discovered skimo when I moved to Europe in 2001

How long have you been skimo racing: Since 2007. I really discovered it after my two boys were born in 2004 and 2006

How did you get into skimo racing: I worked at an international school in Switzerland heading up the girls outdoor program. It is a not uncommon to have uphill night races followed by a pasta or fondue party at the top. I encouraged some students and teachers to join me in some of these races as it was a great ambiance and a great way to let off some steam at the end of the day.

Was there a moment of realization that helped you step it up to the next level of competition: Once I started racing the World Cup circuit in Europe and saw that it was an amazing opportunity to really focus on something I loved, as well as experience international competition I started to step it up a notch.

What is your favorite thing about skimo racing: I love that it combines endurance on the uphills, grace in the technical sections and sprints and strength and speed on the downhills

What is your favorite skimo race: I would have to say the Pierra Menta in France.

What is your most memorable skimo moment: Crossing the finish line to win the World Cup sprint in Tromso, Norway last April.

What do you do to keep in shape for skimo racing in the off-season: I love to trail run and road bike in the summer. I try and do as many activities with my family as possible. In the fall I start to do some roller ski specific sessions as well. It is really important to take a complete break from skiing in the off season, as it is a very long competition season. Mid December to May.

What is your favorite non-skimo sport of hobby: I would have to say horse back riding. I grew up riding competitively in 3 day eventing. The same kind of adrenaline on the cross country phase of the course as in a skimo race. I also love water skiing!

Skimo race wins:

  • World Cup Sprint, Tromso, Norway April 2012
  • 1st place French national Championships Veteran Individual and sprint race=
  • 1st place Club Alpine Francais National Champs.

Skimo race you have not done that you would really like to do: Sella Ronda in Italy. It is a team race around the Sella Ronda range through 4 villages

Preference of skimo race format (technical vs. non-technical; in-bounds vs. backcountry; etc): Technical out of bounds and sprint

Preferred skimo gear (skis, bindings, skins, boots, pack, etc.):

  • Skis- Ski Trab
  • Bindings- Plum
  • Boots- Gignoux
  • Pack-Dynafit
  • Helmet- Crazy
  • Poles- Swix
  • Skins- Pomoca

Favorite piece of skimo gear: That is a tough one! I guess I would say my skis!

Best skimo training tip: Don’t start out too fast in a race

Best advice for beginner skimo racers: Practice kick turns and skiing in off piste terrain,

Skimo race nutrition preference: Hammer Nutrition

Favorite post race beverage: Recoverite- Hammer Nutrition

Personal website/blog: www.ninasilitch.com