Name: Erika Flowers
Hometown: Bozeman, MT
Sport: Cross-Country Skiing
Years in the sport: 16
How did you get started in cross country skiing?
I moved from Missoula, MT to Bozeman, MT when I was 11 years old and my parents signed me up for the ski team, hoping it would be an easy way for me to make some new friends.
Goals for this year?
Show up to the start line in December and January stronger and more fit than I have ever been! Most of my results-based goals focus on qualifying for the Olympic team. My big reach goal? Win the first four skate races of the year.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
No idea haha likely involved in skiing in some way but perhaps working to promote more women in sports or working on the business side of athletics and the outdoor industry for women
I have a bunch! Mia Hamm (my first true sports idol), Kikkan Randall (first ski idol) and Serena Williams-one of the most amazing and strong athletes I have ever seen
What has been your biggest challenge as an athlete and how did you overcome it?
Believing in myself as an athlete – and I still work on this every day.
The best advice that you have been given?
Focus more on your strengths than your weaknesses. Turn them into super strengths. Also a happy skier is a fast skier – do what makes you truly happy.
If you were not an athlete, what would you be doing?
I have lots of ideas! Either an actress/singer (my dream until about age 13) or the CEO of a major women’s adventure magazine (business professional of some sort), or working for the U.N.
Kayaking, singing, cooking, making chocolate chip cookies, hiking, trying to learn to play the guitar and to surf, reading, adventuring, backcountry skiing
Country, Alternative and Pop, anything Taylor Swift, Nathaniel Ratliffe and the Nightsweats, Tom Petty, Lumineers, Van Morrison
I’m not sure I have an all-time favorite but I recently read Small Great Things and Hillbilly Elegy and loved both of them. I also always love Harry Potter and Modoc
What does a typical day of training look like?
6:30 Wake up-if I’m feeling ambitious or like I need it I will meditate for 10 minutes
7:00 AM Eat breakfast, usually oatmeal loaded with fruit, granola, peanut butter and yogurt and a few cups of coffee
8:00 AM Head to first training session-usually the morning session is longer; during the summer we might do 5-7X8min L3 (threshold) roller-ski intervals or 2.5 hour easy distance session
11:00 AM Snack, stretch, change clothes and shower, catch up on a few e-mails
12:30 PM: Lunch
1:30-3:30 PM: Computer work: I work part-time as an Associate at Carol Cone ON PURPOSE and write for a few different publications including Cross-Country Skier Magazine; I am in the process of getting ready to launch a women’s magazine with one of my former teammates so stay tuned for more details on that in the future! I also often have obligations for sponsors or the team and try to take care of most of this during the middle of the day; if I’m being a good athlete I will also make time for a nap!
Anything people be surprised to learn about you?
When I was growing up I was really into musical theatre and wanted to perform on Broadway; it wasn’t until high school that I started to really cultivate my love for skiing. Although I decided to focus more on skiing and racing I continued to sing and perform through high school and college and was a part of the Dodecaphonics a cappella group at Dartmouth College
What is the funniest thing has happened to you/others while training?
I really don’t like being left behind, especially in intervals, and I once managed to pee while skiing down hill during an interval session so that I wouldn’t lose the group. I’m actually pretty proud of that!
Any pre-competition rituals?
Big breakfast, lots of coffee and a dynamic warm-up. I also always lay out my clothes and race suit the night before the race so I don’t have to think about it the morning of.
Best movie and tv series?
I’m actually not very good at getting into TV shows but I do get completely sucked into The Bachelor (yes I know it’s terrible and yes I still love watching it) and Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna are my favourites! I’m also not sure I have a favourite movie but recently saw The Big Sick and really enjoyed it.
Favorite food while training?
Siggi’s yogurt with Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin Fig granola, bananas, nut butters; If I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life it would be yogurt and granola with peanut butter.
Results you’re most proud of?
Winning the Junior Olympics at Soldier Hollow, UT as a junior in high school It was the first time I had ever won a race and just a few months after my mother had passed away so that result carried a lot of emotional weight for me. I was also really proud of my 47th place at my first World Cup races last year. After many years of trying to earn World Cup start rights I was beyond thrilled to finally race in my first World Cups and I felt like I had won.
What inspires you?
Hard work, gritty performances and people who compete and play with passion
Do you have a saying or motto you live by?
It’s cheesy but I think I try to live every day to its fullest. Losing my mom made me realize that our time is limited but you can choose to make each day meaningful and fulfilling both for yourself and for others. I think I try to live with that mindset and I choose to celebrate each moment no matter how big or how small so that even if tomorrow was my last I can take comfort knowing I lived a full and joyous life!
What do you enjoy most about cross-country skiing?
The people (I met my best friends and my husband through skiing) and that my job is to spend every day playing and adventuring in the outdoors
Advise that you have for someone starting out?
Find what makes you most happy and do that with 100% all in. Set big goals and go after them, even if you never reach them the journey will be worth it. And my mom always said you can do anything you set your mind to…I still believe that.
What is the most crucial part of your training?
Rest! The intervals and strength and long distance sessions and speed work are all important but without rest your body can’t absorb any of that good training. Also you have to love to hurt.
Anyone you would like to thank?
Schnee’s in Bozeman – I tried for years to land a headgear sponsor and Schnee’s, a Bozeman-based company, has been a game changer for me. They took a leap in supporting me and I am extremely grateful for their backing and proud to be a part of team Schnee’s. I would also like to thank the Women’s Sports Foundation, the T2 Foundation, Stratton Mountain School and the Bridger Ski Foundation for their support as well as each of my coaches-Dragan Danevski, Cami Thompson, Patrick O’Brien, Gus Kaeding and Sverre Caldwell; Additional Sponsor Thank You’s: Salomon, Toko, Rudy Project, Swix, PodiumWear