As the Winter Olympics in South Korea are getting underway, I have to admit my loyalties are divided. I’ll of course be cheering on our American athletes – especially those with a Waterville Valley connection. I am also going to be rooting for a Waterville Valley skier who is representing her home country of Iceland.
In the mid-80s my husband and I traveled to Europe. We had a snowy layover in Iceland and immediately became enamored with the country and its people. Fast forward to 2018, an Olympics year, and lo and behold an Icelandic native is attending Plymouth State University and training right here in Waterville Valley.
Highly decorated PSU student athlete Freydis Einarsdottir, a 23-year-old junior, was named to Iceland’s Olympic team. She is the only female athlete on the Alpine ski team and will compete in the Women’s Giant Slalom on Monday and the Women’s Slalom on Wednesday.
There’s a great story about Freydis in the Concord Monitor. Read it here.
Einarsdottir, like many serious competitive skiers from Iceland, left her home country for college in the United States in search of better conditions to train. She said Iceland’s volatile winters make life difficult for Alpine skiers.
“I found out about Plymouth through a friend that I had from Denmark and after contacting the school and the coach, I just realized that it was centrally located in a lot of good ski areas,” Einarsdottir said. “I knew the conditions would be better and more constant over the season than at home where we have unpredictable weather and rough conditions a lot of the time.”
There were times growing up when Einarsdottir would drive hours just to find decent conditions to train in Iceland, a far cry from the short trek she makes to Waterville Valley most days now.
“It’s so convenient for us to train there,” she said. “We can just drive there in the morning, take 20 minutes and ski. You can get so many runs in, drive back and then go to school in the afternoon. It couldn’t be easier.”
WMUR filmed an interview with Freydis at Waterville Valley. Watch it here.