Surmounting the slopes

Jack Christianson balances school and skiing

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Surmounting the slopes

courtesy of Jack Christianson

courtesy of Jack Christianson

courtesy of Jack Christianson

Errol Sadca, staff reporter

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Last year, Jack Christianson, 12, missed almost a month of school in pursuit of his passion.

Christianson is part of the Mounds View Nordic ski team as well as a skiing club, and competitions with both have taken him out of school multiple times.

Skiing has not always been Christianson’s passion. When he was younger, it was only an infrequent activity.

“My mom occasionally took my brother and I out in the woods around our house on some old skis, but it was more shuffling around in the snow than skiing,” said Christianson. “I always enjoyed being on skis, so I thought I’d give it a try in [high school].”

Since joining the Mounds View Nordic team freshman year, Christianson has become more involved with the sport, training year-round with Endurance United, a St. Paul-based ski club.

“The off-season, roughly March-November, is when I do about 80 percent of my training,” said Christianson. “Over the course of a year [Endurance United] train[s] about 500 hours together, much of which consists of roller-skiing, running and biking.”

The extra training has paid off for Christianson, as he’s competed in many elite events, including State, Junior Nationals and Senior Nationals. Junior and Senior Nationals are where the top athletes from each region of the nation meet and compete.

“Some of my personal goals for high school racing are to take the individual Conference and Section titles, as well as finish in top three spots at the State Meet,” said Christianson. “As far as racing on the national circuit goes, I would like to finish this season ranked top 15 for skiers under the age of 20 in the US and have a few All-American [top ten] results.”

Although Christianson loves competing, missing school does have its downsides. He often has difficulties finding the time and energy to finish his homework.

“It’s hard to try to prioritize what needs to be done when, and then actually get it done while traveling,” he said.

Still, Christianson values the extra time spent skiing because it helps him gain recognition.

“Racing well at a higher level than high school skiing is what gets you recognized by collegiate coaches and sponsors,” he said.

While he isn’t entirely sure of his future plans, Christianson plans on skiing through college and would love to become a professional skier. “If, at some point in the next five to 10 years, I reach that level, I would absolutely love to ski professionally,” he said. “I think that would be about the most fun job I could have.”

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