2012 World Cup Sprint Champion Kikkan Randall, 29, the best sprint skier in the world has a lot of firsts under her skis.
Randall is the first American woman to win a gold medal in a World Cup race (2007); the first American woman to win world championship medal (2009); first American woman to place at the Olympics (eighth at the Vancouver games ’10); and this season she became the first American woman to win a World Cup season championship.
On Saturday Randall will add another first … she will cross country ski on Eaglecrest’s Nordic Trails.
“It has been a long time since I have been in Juneau,” Randall said. “I have alpine skied once at Eaglecrest but never cross-country skied. In junior high I did alpine racing so I came to Eaglecrest for a series of races one time, but I got into cross-country more after that. In alpine racing I was always kind of middle of the pack.”
Randall skied for the Anchorage Ski Club, East Anchorage High School and Alaska Pacific University. She still races for the APU Nordic Ski Team. APU has been the supportive team that Randall credits with helping to make the National and Olympic teams.
“I am looking forward to sharing my passion for cross country skiing,” Randall said. “And sharing some stories from being on the World Cup this winter and getting the chance to give out some technique advice.”
Born on New Years Eve in Salt Lake City, Randall put on her first pair of skis the day after her first birthday.
“My dad worked at an alpine rental shop,” Randall said. Her mother was attending law school. “He brought home the smallest boots and skis they had and had me out there before I could even walk. It was exciting. They were alpine skis. I started Nordic skiing at about age six.”
The Randall’s moved to Anchorage when Kikkan was three and she became a member of the Anchorage Junior Nordic Program.
“I remember I had to be coaxed into liking skiing at first,” Randall said. “I had to play games and go off jumps and have hot chocolate after the skiing. But I am so glad I had the opportunities when I was young because I fell in love with the sport.”
Randall wrapped up the world cup title in Sweden last month. She skied in Europe from mid-November until the end of March. Competitions were held in Scandinavia, Central Europe and Russia. A fun twist on some trips was the trucking of snow into the city streets and Randall raced on the streets of Düsseldorf, Milan, Moscow and Stockholm.
“In Stockholm we were racing on the steps of the Royal Palace,” Randall said. “We did some incredible stuff.”
One event in Oslo, Norway was put on by Red Bull and involved a mixture of a downhill on cross-country skis with Nordic Cross over jumps and skiers were clocked at over 45 miles per hour.
“In Norway cross country skiing is pretty much their national sport,” Randall said. “You see the skiers on the side of delivery trucks, on cereal boxes, and hundreds of thousands of people come out for the championships. That is definitely the Mecca of cross-country skiing for sure. It is fun to be racing some where that the skiers are the rock stars and everybody comes out to support them. Always fun to race in Norway.”
A three time Olympian and now a World Champion, Randall has tested the snow conditions in many countries.
“There are so many exciting race stories and moments in competition but I would have to say that one of my favorite times on skis is the Spring time,” Randall said. “When the sun is out and sometimes in the morning you get this condition where the snow forms a nice crust and you can float on top of it and kind of ski wherever you want. I love skiing in the Spring.”
Randall will be conducting a clinic at Eaglecrest and a meet-and-greet, as well as enjoying the ski community’s company in an All-Comers race.
“Come on, we live in Alaska where there are so many fun opportunities to get out and have fun on skis,” Randall said. “So go out and try as many as you can, do the alpine, do cross-country, try going off jumps… that comfort you get on skis will apply to so many different things in your life, whether it is skiing competitively later on or being agile on the soccer field, or even having the confidence in the class room. I think it applies to every part of your life.”
Said Randall, “For the kids the most important thing is just learning to be comfortable on your skis and having fun and for the adults they will be interested in a little more of the technical advice. Really I am just looking forward to meeting the Juneau ski community. I have heard there are Juneau skiers that come up to do the Tour of Anchorage and I just hear that you guys have a lot of fun down there. I know that always makes for fast skiers so I am just looking forward to meeting everyone.”
Randall also wants to share her message as a “Get Active”ist. The name comes from her involvement with the Healthy Futures Program. Randall recently helped kick off a new running program that’s part of Project ARISE, which stands for Anchorage Runners Inspired to Succeed and Excel, a partnership between Healthy Futures, the Anchorage School District and the state Department of Health and Social Services.
“Basically I love being healthy and active and I want everyone else to be healthy and active too,” Randall said. “That is kind of my second title beyond being just a skier. I want to get people to get out and get active and have fun.