APU Nordic Ski Center is checking in with Elite Team members over the course of the next few months to get a glimpse into what life looks like for elite athletes as training starts up again during a global pandemic.
Today we check in with Hunter Wonders (21), a member of the 2018 silver medal winning 4x5km Junior World Championship Men’s Relay Team and 2020 US National Classic Sprint Champion. Hunter was born and raised in Anchorage and has been a member of APU since he joined the junior program as a kid. Hunter was just nominated for the U.S. Ski Team for the first time last week!
Where are you right now?
I’ve been living at the Ski House at APU since the season ended.
How did your season end? What races were cancelled that you were planning to do?
My season ended at the U23 World Championships in Oberwiesenthal, Germany with the U23 Relay. I was hoping to race the Quebec and Minneapolis World Cups and then on to World Cup Finals in Canmore. Those were going to by my first World Cups so it was hard to get so close and not be able to race.
Despite a turbulent finish to the season, what is a highlight of last season?
My highlight was getting top 10 at U23s in the 15km classic race.
What does a typical day look like now? How have you planned around the shortened race season? Did you start up training early or try to finish out the season from home?
After I got home, I needed to step back and did some backcountry ski adventures and took it chill for a couple weeks. Starting in mid-April, I started to get back into things and ramp up my hours. Now I am just building back into all training modes.
What activities are you doing to keep yourself busy outside of training?
I’ve been getting lots of firewood and backcountry skiing in. Now the trails are dry enough to get some mountain biking in.
What did your workout look like today?
Today we did a 40 minute warm up and then into running progression. We did 60, 45, 30 seconds at 3k pace to work on the elasticity in running.
Do you have any indoor/at home workouts you are doing?
I’ve just been doing my normal core routine. Chopping wood is a great workout to do at home.
Without know what the future has in store and having a shortened season with little to no closure, has it been challenging to keep up motivation to train? Where are you getting that motivation? What motivates you to keep training?
I just got named to the U.S National Ski D Team which has been a big goal of mine. I really want to keep going and progress and show that I deserve to be in that spot. That has provided good motivation during this time.
How are you keeping in touch with friends/family/teammates?
I had a couple friends that I was able to exercise with at a social distance, and after I did my two week isolation upon returning to the U.S. I joined my family here in Anchorage.
What has been your biggest challenge in relation to COVID-19 and how are you tackling it?
I’m definitely scared of getting it. So I haven’t been to a store in a couple weeks, and I work hard to keep social distancing to keep things more in my control.
What are your plans from here? What does the rehab road look like for you moving forward?
I’m just taking it day by day and week by week. Camps might get cancelled, but everyone is going to be in the same boat so we will just have to keep training and do what we can.
Do you have any helpful advice in dealing with the changing times?
Stay as flexible as possible. Don’t get too set on doing something because it might not happen in the end.