Simi Hamilton grew up in Aspen, CO with skiing in his blood. Since before he can remember, he spent every non-school day during the winter either on the alpine hill or out on the cross country trails around Aspen. His dedication to the sport paid off in a huge way in 2010 as he marked not one, but two U.S. titles in Anchorage and earned a spot on the 2010 Olympic team. Read on to see what makes this Aspen, CO native tick.
Name: Simi Hamilton (Sim, Slim, Simster)
Sport: Cross country
Current location: Park City, UT, but born and raised in Aspen, CO
How/when did you decide you wanted to compete: Both of my parents were competitive runners when they were young and they got into cross country skiing after they were fed up with getting injured from running. Naturally, we ended up cross country skiing a lot together as a family when I was young. I have a very competitive personality, so cross country racing seemed like a great thing to start doing when I was about 12 or 13. That and my mom basically forced me to do it, which I'm glad she did. It's the best sport in the world, and I know I'll still be getting out on the cross country trails when I'm 90 years old.
What is your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Competing at and getting top-30 at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics for team USA is for sure the accomplishment I'm most proud of in my life. Just being able to be part of such an awesome team and take part in such a mind-boggling experience was absolutely incredible. I got enough Team USA clothing from Polo and Nike that I'll never have to buy Christmas presents ever again!
What are your goals for next season: Race in the Tour de Ski (a multi-stage cross country race in Europe in Dec. and Jan.). Improve my distance racing while still focusing on sprinting. Beat Andy Newell in a weighted pull-up competition.
What is your favorite snow destination: New Zealand is probably the coolest place I've trained, while the Holmenkollen venue in Oslo, Norway is by far the coolest place I've raced.
What is your favorite non-snow destination: Man, there are a bunch of these. Surfing and running on Kauai, mountain biking in Sun Valley, climbing in the City of Rocks, kayaking in Costa Rica, fall training in Lake Placid and the surrounding Adirondacks.
If you weren't a professional athlete what would you be: A pilot or backcountry ski/climbing guide.
What is the time you've been most scared in your life: I climbed Teewinot Peak in the Tetons one summer after work one day and a huge lightning storm suddenly rolled in when I was about 50 feet from the summit. There were about four or five lightning strikes within 30 feet of me as I launched myself down the east face. I was completely alone, which made it worse, and ended up sobbing and yelling at myself for about half an hour when I reached the safety of the trees. I had to get stitches in 4 places on my body from crashing down the rocks the whole way down.
What is your biggest vice: Coffee
What is your biggest pet peeve: People that talk on their phones on chair lifts and bad drivers. It's a tie.
What is your advice to others who want to follow in your footsteps: Find a way to make it fun every single day. If it isn't fun, it's lame, and you probably shouldn't be doing it.