This was a fun week for the Birkie Countdown. I’m lucky enough to have Jessie Diggins as a team- and housemate, so interviewing her is getting a sneak peak into her “professional” self, not just her bubbly and goofy “normal” self (although there certainly is some overlap). This interview combined both Jessie’s professional and normal self. While answering questions about her motivations, inspirations, goals, and ski racing methodology, Jessie was busy making chocolate chip cookies. One answer, one tablespoon of baking powder. Could you repeat that? I was just making sure I didn’t put in too much brown sugar (as if such a thing existed). The cookies were delicious, and Jessie gave some great answers. So even though you can’t have some of her cookies, you can read her interview. Happy Wednesday!
Even though you’ve never skied a Birkie, what are the first words that come to mind?
The Great American Race
How have you pursued an active and healthy lifestyle, both through skiing and other outlets?
My family has always been really active. I spent a lot of time growing up outdoors camping, hiking, canoeing, and simply enjoying activities outside. My passion has always been doing things that get me outside and moving. Through skiing I train a lot, so I have a healthy and strong body that takes me everywhere I need to go, which is awesome, and one of the reasons skiing is so important to me. Skiing targets every part of your body–your balance, your coordination, your strength, your heart, your mind–I think that is a really unique thing and something that makes skiing really special. So…suck it up and ski the Birkie, it’s good for you!
You are such a happy person- How does skiing help you maintain balance and stay happy?
Skiing makes me really happy. It gives you a daily challenge through training, a yearly challenge with chasing big goals. It’s always giving you something to push and look forward towards. That is key to being happy- staying busy with something you are passionate about. I stay happy in other ways too. If I only judged myself on skiing, I would drive myself crazy. Racing has it’s ups and down, so I like to read, hangout with friends, and explore the town I’m in. We do a lot of traveling, and exploring is a really cool way to see the world.
How have you worked at giving back to the community?
I’m organizing a mentorship program that will hopefully lower trip costs to virtually zero for the top qualifying Midwest male and female junior for international trips. I do a lot of clinics, ski events, and school talks (around 20 per year), and I’m involved in Fast and Female. The ski community has supported me my whole life, and giving back is a way to ensure that I’m giving back to the people that supported me, and helping the next juniors who are following in our footsteps get to their dreams. And that’s why it is important.
What has been your biggest inspiration in skiing?
My biggest inspiration is everyone else on the teams that I’m on–both the US Ski Team and the Stratton Mountain School T2 Team. I think it is so cool that we are working towards these goals together. In the last 5 years we’ve started scoring World Cup points, winning races, basically really competing on a world level. US Nationals is so competitive, and it’s crazy cool that it is happening. That’s really inspiring, and it makes me want to be part of the team that is known for pushing skiing forward.
I just want to say that on behalf of not only myself but any skier coming from the Midwest, the amount of support, cheering, and encouragement we’ve received is doing a lot to keep us inspired, keeps us wanting to race hard and race fast.
Come back next week for an interview with Ernie St. Germaine- one of the Birkie founders!