A Day in the Life of an APU Nordic Elite Athlete – Tyler Kornfield

A Day in the Life

APUNSC is checking in with Elite Team members of 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 Tyler Kornfield (29), a 2018 Olympian and 3x National Champion who was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and has been a part of the APU Nordic Ski Center for 7 years. 

Where are you right now? 

I am in Anchorage where I have been since the season abruptly ended in March. I feel fortunate to have moved into a spacious home last fall that has made spending more time at home more enjoyable, not to mention it’s very close to the trails! 

Enjoying the good ski conditions around Anchorage

How did your season end? What races were cancelled that you were planning to do? 

My season unknowingly ended after the American Birkebeiner in late February. I flew to Utah to train for the World Cups in Quebec, Minneapolis, and Canmore. My training went great and I flew to Quebec City feeling very prepared. Things started changing around the globe very quickly and I remained trying to prepare while also trying to gauge the situation. Ultimately, Quebec City and all the rest of the remaining World Cups were cancelled and I flew back to Anchorage. 

Despite a turbulent finish to the season, what is a highlight of last season? 

My highlight was racing the Obertsdorf World Cup sprint because World Championships is there next season. It was a great opportunity for me to race the course and really ingrain all the things I will need to work on over the course of the summer to be able to compete at the World Championships. It has subsequently kept me more motivated in these challenging times as I have a very clear goal and skills I need to build in mind from my experiences racing on that specific course. 

Racing in Obertsdorf

What does a typical day look like now? How have you planned around the shortened race season? 

Today was the first day of the training season for me so I have started getting back into a normal training routine. Fortunately, this isn’t impacted too heavily by the restrictions. I am able to get up early and go for a training session, which luckily was a crust ski today. The biggest difference in my day is that I do my part time engineering job from my house rather than the office. Then I will head out the door for a run this afternoon and then some home strength. Gyms have not opened up so we have been slowly trying to accumulate some at home gym equipment and get creative with what we can use. Today will be the first day trying to do a whole session so we will see how it goes. 

With so much good skiing in Anchorage, I decided to take advantage of spending more time on snow so I skied quite a bit until the trails melted and then took a small break before starting in on a new training season. 

Taking advantage of the ski training despite a short race season

There have been many ups and downs both from the shortened season, many life restrictions and the natural change of season, but exercise seemed to be my best coping method. 

What activities are you doing to keep yourself busy outside of training? 

My girlfriend and I have joined the growing trend of making sourdough bread. We were determined to make our own starter, which took some trials, but have now been cranking out some bread. I have also been planning our garden and trying to do some yard work to get outside. Lastly, we have also started making kombucha, although that takes some time so we don’t have a finish product yet… 

Learning to make sourdough bread

What did your workout look like today? 

I went on a crust ski with a few teammates. We are limited to a group size under 20 as of today and maintaining a 10ft distance from others while exercising. Crust skiing is an easy activity to do this as you can ski anywhere there is snow so we don’t have to follow one another in a long single file line! We went for a long one as the conditions were good and the sun felt nice. 

Do you have any indoor/at home workouts you are doing? 

I built a TRX in our garage to keep up on core. I will be trying to do a little core everyday and incorporate that into my daily routine. 

Has it been challenging to keep up motivation to train? Where are you getting that motivation? What motivates you to keep training? 

It has been challenging. It’s difficult when you don’t know what the race season is going to look like, but I have to go into things thinking my race season will be the same and focus on the goals 

I have set. I want to race at the World Championships in Obertsdorf and will be using that as motivation to get out the door. 

How are you keeping in touch with friends/family/teammates? 

We have been doing some zoom meetings with teammates and family about once a week. Spring is normally the time that we are able to let loose a bit and visit with friends outside of training so I have been really missing that aspect of spring. 

Staying in touch with family through ski Easter egg hunts

Do you have any helpful advice in dealing with the changing times? 

I have tried to minimize my time reading the news and focus on the things that I can control such as social distancing and finding a routine that most closely resembles what life used to look like while being safe.