Kikkan Randall skiing in 21k, skiing with kids and showing a movie with Living Journeys
By Than Acuff
Patience. That’s what Olympic and World Cup Nordic skiing champion Kikkan Randall preaches with young Nordic skiers.
“The goal is patience,” says Randall.
Randall has racked up an incredible amount of World Cup and Olympic racing medals and was the most decorated American Nordic ski racer, that is until Jessie Diggins just recently surpassed her.
A five-time Olympian, Randall was the first in a lot of things. First American woman to step on a World Cup podium. First American World Champion and she was part of the U.S. sprint team with Diggins to win an Olympic gold medal in Nordic skiing in 2018 at the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. It was the first-ever Olympic gold for the United States in cross-country skiing.
“It was fun to have a lot of firsts,” says Randall.
Randall has heard of the Alley Loop race here in Crested Butte but her frantic racing schedule and now life after racing with a full-time job and as a mom, never allowed her the opportunity to come to Crested Butte for the race.
“I’ve heard it’s a really fun race,” says Randall. “I tried to do it a couple of years ago once I stopped my World Cup career, but it never worked out.”
Randall is coming to Crested Butte for the Alley Loop race to debut her movie and to spend some time with the Crested Butte Nordic Team (CBNT) on the snow.
“It’s huge,” says CBNT head coach Ben Theyerl. “What I’m really excited about is that our kids will get to be around someone who has a deep love for skiing, whether she’s racing for Olympic gold or just out to have fun for an hour.”
Randall grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and comes from a skiing family, but admits Nordic skiing, and certainly racing, didn’t really take hold until she was in high school. It was more just something they did because winter is six months long.
“Early on I did not fall in love with the sport right away,” says Randall. “I was convinced I was going to do something way more cool.”
But one thing led to another and, sparked by a high school coach who saw something in Randall, she jumped in and by her senior year, she had qualified for the Junior World Championships in sprinting.
While her rise was meteoric, her patience and commitment ultimately made the difference and after four attempts at an Olympic medal, she earned gold in her fifth and final Olympics.
“It’s a sport of patience that builds over time,” says Randall. “It doesn’t come easy, it doesn’t come fast but when it does, it’s exciting and an incredible journey to be a part of. It’s an incredible lifestyle that has given me so many things.”
While Randall will be here to ski, she is also here for another reason. In May of 2018, three months after winning Olympic gold, Randall was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple positive breast cancer and underwent treatment. Randall will partner with local cancer support nonprofit Living Journeys for the debut of her movie Kikkan as part of her weekend in Crested Butte to share her love for skiing, share her story and support others. The movie showing will be at the Center for the Arts on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Tickets available at kikkan.com and crestedbuttearts.org.