Profile: Skiing During a Pandemic
During a recent cross country ski race, Britta Arvold, a sophomore at Hanover High School, was confused when she sped up hills and she would watch her competitors fly past her on the downhills. “Turns out I had eight layers of wax on!” chuckled Britta as she described one of her recent cross country ski races. Both Britta and her father had put wax on her skis, but Britta didn’t know, and when she arrived at the race Britta put on more coats just to make sure she had enough. Most of the other skiers at the race had on about two to four layers. Nevertheless, she was successful and placed 7 of 60 for High School Girls. In her previous races she has scored many second and a few third places.
Britta has significantly improved this year, skiing faster times and placing higher. Last year she placed in the teens and now she is on the podium. She thinks this is due to her rigorous training schedule this year. Her training consists of running, roller skiing, strength training, and hiking for at least an hour every day. She also took part in a summer program where she went running and roller skiing with people from the Hanover High ski team. In the fall, she trained with another team roller skiing and strength training. This was particularly challenging because she wasn’t allowed to practice in New Hampshire due to Vermont’s Covid-19 restrictions, so the program split into two groups – people from Vermont and people from New Hampshire.
This year she has had to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic in other ways as well. There have been fewer races compared with last year and skiers have to race against their own teams. All of the teams separately race on the same course and compare their times. Skiing has been an excellent opportunity for her to see her friends outside during the pandemic. She is elated that skiing could still happen this year.
Britta stated that she’s slightly stressed before races because there is pressure for her to do well, but once the race starts she forgets it all. “During the race there is a lot of adrenaline,” she pointed out. “It is harder to breathe, but the stress goes away during the race because I am only thinking about finishing the race, not how well I do. I am going as fast as I can and giving it my all. Once I am finished I have a big feeling of accomplishment.”
Surprisingly, Birtta did not start skiing competitively until eighth grade. Before then, it had just been a hobby of hers. Before she started skiing, she played basketball and was adept at that too. When she is not skiing, you can find her at the dog park walking her dog, Dempsey. She also enjoys baking. She has become interested in baking different types of cakes and has baked vanilla, chocolate, and lemon cakes recently. A photography class she took at Hanover High School this year sparked her interest in taking photos. Most of her photographs are of nature and her dog. She takes part in community activities and has participated in Green Up Day, collecting trash in the town. She worked this summer with the Upper Valley Trails Alliance clearing and building trails in the Upper Valley. She really enjoyed the hard work and even made some new friends. “I have tried a lot of sports, and skiing is my favorite. Although I really enjoy it and spend lots of time skiing, I enjoy trying new things and meeting new friends outside my ski group.”