While North Dakota might not be the number one state for ski racing, one local ski resort is trying to bring the sport to our region.
Huff Hills recently started a ski racing team only the second one in our region after Bottineau. They practice most Sunday’s during the month and have over 30 participants.
Ski racing teams are not something you see every day in North Dakota, and it’s a little different from your typical weekend bunny hill.
Huff Hills Ski Instructor Katelyn Keller says, “You just have to be a much more better skier–a more technical skier. And we work on that and bring on the gates, and once they get the gates running they bring on the speed and then we have a racer.”
Keller says other than Bottineau, there are no ski racing teams around unless you go to northern Minnesota or as far as Detriot, Michigan.
Ski racing member, Leif Lahtinen says, “It would be better if we had a bigger program because there are so many kids in it right now. So if we had more instructors that would be a lot better.”
They currently have kids ages 6 to 18, but say the ages will vary as they continue to grow. They teach them the fundamentals of ski racing, but most importantly give kids the opportunity to do something outdoors during the winter time.
“Ski racing is kind of a sport that you do as a team, but it’s all individually based, so anytime you can build that kids confidence and getting them having fun at the same time, and outside in the winter that’s a great thing,” says Keller.
Team member, Kobly Hollenback, says “I have met so many other kids and made so many more friends.”
“I just love everything about it…it’s just really fun,” adds Lahtinen.
Keller says she just hopes she can bring the same opportunities to her athletes that she had.
“My overall goal is just to do as much as I did when I was younger and to start traveling–traveling in a 4 or 5 state area and try to get races going.”
She says there has been a lot of natural ability here in North Dakota and can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Huff Hills Ski Racing team.
They are even considering adding an adult league. For more information about when they practice and the ski racing details, click here.