Interview by Megan Irwin, Jr. Reporter
I had a fun time interviewing Heidi Widmer because I found out that we have a lot in common. My family went to Silver Star where she skied last year. Like me, her dream was always to go to the Olympics when she was a kid.
Last year my family and me went to Mount Assiniboine, when we got back I really wanted to work there, I found out that Heidi worked at the Lodge and is one of her favorite places to trail run.
My first race was the Lake Louise Loppet when I was 5 years old. It was so much fun. After talking with Heidi I discovered it was one of her first races too.
I’m happy to share with you some of the other things I discovered about Heidi.
Megan: What sports did you play when you were a child?
Heidi: I grew up in Banff, playing sports and being outdoors, I did downhill skiing, lots of hiking. In high school I was on the cross-country running team, I also did volleyball. When I was a teenager I worked at Assiniboine Lodge I was one of the housekeepers there. My favorite thing to do in the mountains is trail running.
Megan: What was your favorite sport growing up?
Heidi: My favorite sport when I was a kid was probably cross-country skiing, I really enjoyed the combined skiing because you got to do it with your friends in the woods.
Megan: Did you have any other family members that did the same sports as you?
Heidi: My whole family, we were always active. My oldest brother Phil is 31 he was on the national team, he was also an Olympian from 2006 he just retired this spring. We had been skiing together and training together since I ended high school. We had been following the same cross-country skiing path.
Megan: Did you go to any competitive races when you were a child?
Heidi: I did some local races when I was a kid, I only did one alpine race. When I was little I would do the Lake Louise Loppet with my family. I think I started that race when I was 6 or 7. When I was 9 and 10 I did regional races, by the time I was 12 and 13 I started going to nationals all for cross-country skiing.
Megan: How many medals and trophy’s do you have?
Heidi: I liked putting my medals hanging on my wall the trophy’s are on shelf’s when I was a kid. When you get higher and higher into the sport the medals and trophy’s are quite hard to earn. I think I have over 23 national championship medals.
Megan: What was your dream growing up?
Heidi: I had lots of different dreams, well I wanted to go to the Olympics for a very long time, I probably had that dream from 8 or 9 years old.
Megan: Did you overcome anything you didn’t think you were going to overcome?
Heidi: I had walls in my training when you don’t really know what’s going on. 4 years ago I had a really bad roller skiing crash. I had a pretty severe concussion. My family is always super helpful all the time.
Megan: Who is your best friend from skiing?
Heidi: There are so many! I have been on a team with Emily Nishikawa, Emily and I have been through lots of hard work together. She is probably one of my closest ski friends. She is from the Yukon area.
Megan: How much Olympics have you been to?
Heidi: The first Olympics was Sochi in Russia, it was a big event a big eye opener, and it was extremely overwhelming at times and incredibly exciting. It will keep me motivated till the next Olympics, which is scheduled to be in South Korea. It is a long ways away.
Megan: Who inspired you to start racing?
Heidi: Well my brother encouraged me to start racing, the Lake Louis Loppet that was a really fun experience when I was a kid. It was something I was good, at something that I enjoyed, something that challenged me and being able to watch my brother racing was fun. To see where he was going to take cross-country skiing and what races he was going to and kind of what being a racer entails. He was really inspiring.
Megan: Did you go to any special occasions because of skiing?
Heidi: I’ve travelled to lots of special places, they have kept me motivated, I love seeing new places, new people, which is really important to me. My first trip was to the world juniors, in Italy, it is really beautiful out on the snow there.
Megan: What ski races, etc. have you been to last winter?
Heidi: Last winter I started the season in British Columbia, we were in Silver Star then we were in Rossland, then we went back to Canmore and I went to the Olympic tryouts which is part of the NorAm circuit where I earned my spot to go to Sochi. Then I went to the World Cup in Italy then following those I went to the Olympics in Sochi.
Megan: Are you the oldest/youngest in your family?
Heidi: I am the youngest in my family, I have 3 older siblings.
Megan: Where do you like to ski most often?
Heidi: I love to ski in Canmore, mostly because I live there and it is close by with beautiful views and great ski trails. My favorite place that I don’t get much time going to is in Italy and Switzerland it is so beautiful!!!
Megan: What are your plans for the future as an athlete?
Heidi: As an athlete I would love to be more involved in fast and female, volunteer and be a role model, that is a lot of fun for me to do. I have a lot of ski goals and I am working hard to qualify for the World Cup team and make Olympic Podium.