Tahoe Mountain Sports caught up with three-time Olympian Katerina Nash as she was preparing to teach a Nordic clinic at Royal Gorge
TRUCKEE — If the prospect of taking a ski lesson with an Olympian is a little intimidating, Katerina Nash says to have no fear.
Tahoe Mountain Sports recently caught up with Nash, a three-time Olympian, as she was preparing for one of her frequent trips between Truckee and the Bay Area. She was headed to the first of her two intermediate skate ski clinics she’s leading at Royal Gorge, with clinic two set for Feb. 27.
In addition to being a three-time Olympian for the Czech Republic — Nordic skiing at Nagano in 1988 and Salt Lake City in 2002 — and mountain biking at the 2012 London games, Nash notched three NCAA Nordic championships during her years at the University of Nevada, Reno and Colorado.
Closer to home, Nash is a two-time winner of the Great Ski Race between Tahoe City and Truckee. Along with her upcoming ski plans (including the Great Race on March 6), we wanted to know what 2016 has in store on the bike for her and the LUNA Pro Team.
TMS: You’ll be leading the second of your two intermediate skate ski clinics Feb. 27 at Royal Gorge: After competing in two winter Olympics, what motivates you to go out and teach a class to folks who may not have huge — or any — competitive aspirations or who are just trying to sort out their V1 and V2 technique?
KN: Technique is a major part of cross-country skiing and even the racers are always working on it. It feels good to share some of my knowledge and it’s always good to have an excuse to go skiing for the weekend!
TMS: Considering your Olympic résumé and your continuing career as a professional cyclist, do some people come into your clinics a little intimidated? What can people expect from a clinic?
KN: I hope not. I think once they meet me they are fine. Expect a lot of technique and some drills and hopefully some skiing at the end. Mainly we just chat and ski a little and share a few tips on how to become a more efficient skier.
TMS: What are your fondest memories from your competitive skiing years — Olympics, World Championships, World Cups?
KN: I really liked Nagano Olympics, a couple of Junior World Champs and also college skiing. It was all fun and now I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on it. I really appreciate the time I spent ski racing. I still love to ski and hope to do lot more of it once done racing bikes. I like all kinds of skiing, but backcountry is probably my favorite.
TMS: How did skiing set up your professional cycling career?
KN: From overall strength and toughness to really good endurance and speed. It gave me a unique set of skills that have helped to be successful in multiple cycling disciplines.
TMS: Speaking of cycling, what are your plans for the 2016 season? Any surprises on tap like the Enduro World Series or Red Bull Rampage!?
KN: Cross-country mountain bike World Cup, cross-country World Championships and more cyclocross, but not until the fall of 2016. I’d like to continue to explore more variety of mountain bike racing, but this year is looking pretty cross-country oriented for the LUNA Pro Team, and therefore for me as well. I’m very sure to confirm that I’ll never do Rampage!
TMS: LUNA Pro Team General Manager Dave McLaughin won the men’s Great Ski Race a couple of times and you’ve won it too. Head-to-head this March, who would cross the line first?
KN: Me! Dave may have 100 more days of skiing but I have the racing fitness. I sort of hope to jump into it this year again after years of not having the Great Ski race. Maybe you should talk Dave into it and then we would really see who can take it.