One-on-one with Oscar Friedman '16

by Vikram Bodas | 2/4/16 6:00pm

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Oscar Friedman ’16 looks to improve in his upcoming competitions and qualify for the NCAA Championships.

This week, The Dartmouth spoke with Nordic skier and team captain Oscar Friedman ’16. The Boulder, Colorado native recently earned a top ten finish in the 15-kilometer classic during the Colby Carnival and has his eyes set on a professional skiing career after graduation.

Can you give everyone a quick recap of the ski team’s season thus far?

OF: We started around Thanksgiving in Yellowstone, Montana where we had a couple of professional races that went quite well. Then we had training camp in British Columbia where we had another couple of Canadian professional races. Our college season officially started just about four weeks ago and we had strong depth the last couple of carnivals but we didn’t win until last week at the Colby Carnival. That victory was the first time we won that carnival in four years, which was very exciting for the program.

You had a top ten finish at the Colby Carnival in the 15K classic, what went right for you on that day?

OF: I would say in the distance race if you put in the training over the year you put yourself in a good position to compete at a high level. I just skied like I do in any other race, but because I had such strong training I was able to stick with the lead pack for pretty much the whole race. Although I was very happy with my eighth place finish, I am looking to improve on that this coming week during the Vermont Carnival.

Has the unusually warm weather affected the season thus far?

OF: It’s a bit rough to be honest. For the first half of the season we were going between Montana, British Columbia and Michigan where the snow was great, but coming back here has been tough. When you have limited snow you have to drive further to train and the races are on small loops. While it’s mentally tough, I think we are going to get through it just fine.

In the off-season, what do you guys do to get ready for the winter?

OF: With cross-country skiing it’s a lot like running, so the biggest training volumes are done in the summer. At that time we are mostly doing running and roller skiing, while also lifting weights three times a week. I would say the training in the summer is really tough — we routinely do about 20 hours a week. During the season, we cut that down to about ten hours a week so we can race hard. The wintertime is when you cash in on all the hard work you did in the off-season.

What are some goals that you have personally for the rest of the year?

OF: I am looking to finish top three in one of the carnivals. I’ve got five chances to do it so I think it’s definitely possible. I’m also aiming to try and qualify for the NCAA Championships in Colorado. I’m hoping that those results will be good enough to land me a contract to ski with a professional team next year.

Is skiing professionally something you are definitely going to try and pursue?

OF: If I can get the opportunity to do it, I for sure am going to take it. That said, I recognize how competitive it is and I know that it isn’t something that I can expect to happen. I am going to work hard and hope everything breaks my way.

As a senior now, how have you seen the program develop over your time here?

OF: Well, I would say that there has not been that much change ­­— which is a good thing in this case. Our coach has been here for about 25 years and the plan has never wavered. I’ve watched a lot of turnover in the team but I really like that the system is in place. For our sport especially, continuity in terms of training is something that is extremely vital.

What impact has head coach Ruff Patterson had on your career?

OF: I would say Ruff’s style is the most hands off style I’ve ever had in a coach. What that gives you is self-sufficiency. So, what I mean is that he has a general outline of the training plan, but I really fill in a lot of the blanks with my training. I make many of my own decisions on eating, sleeping and racing. I really appreciate that he has taught me to be a truly self-sufficient skier.