The 30-year-old American has more than a decade’s tenure on the US Ski Team.
Elizabeth Stephen is one of the new faces in the 2017 Madshus line-up. The slight and springy racer from Vermont is known throughout the racing community as one of the best climbers in the world. She has been a part of the US Ski Team since 2007, and was a part of the 2010 and 2014 U.S. Olympic team, as well as the U.S. World Championship teams in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015.
Why do you ski?
It’s fun. I love my team and I love the community of people that make up the ski world. From the time I joined my first ski team until now, the people are what keep me involved in the sport. I am a people person and the friendships I have formed during the years in the cross-country community are some of the closest ones I have. Oh, and I am addicted to the endorphins I get from exercising, and as a skier, I get to feel them a lot!
What keeps you motivated to race at this level year after year?
Again, it’s fun. Sport is just a game. Yes, of course, it is a game I take very seriously and professionally, but in the end, it is just a game. Nobody dies when you have a bad race, but it is in the trying to achieve a personal best that the game becomes really worth pursuing for me. Our US team is made up of a group of incredible humans, and they keep me motivated to be the best I can be, even on the days/weeks/months/years when you are in a slump. My team keeps me searching and pushing for more, as we are all in this thing together.
What is your best racing memory? – And your worst?
Best: Being on the 4x5k relay team when we stood on our first ever WC podium in that event, and every time since then.
Worst: Racing the Holmenkollen in 2010 and being absolutely exhausted on the start line. Not a fun course to be tired for!
What is your ultimate goal?
Result wise, it would have to be to help our team win a medal at the 2018 Games in the 4x5k relay. My life goal is to live as many days as I possibly can where I make a positive difference in someone else’s life.
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How much do you typically train on an average week in November, just before the World Cup season opens?
About 18-20 hours
– And how are these hours divided among the usual elements (endurance/distance, intensity, speed, plyometrics/strength etc)?
1 structured speed session
2 strength sessions
2 intensity sessions
All of the rest are easy distance, with many of these sessions including some accelerations.
What is your favorite on-snow workout, and will you share that with the Madshus community?
I like pyramid intervals (1,2,3,4,3,2,1 or something similar) as I usually only do them when I am on snow and working on getting in shape. I assimilate peak fitness with these workouts so that makes them fun.
What is your best advice to young racers who aspire to go all the way to the World Cup?
Work your face off, and have fun doing it.
What is your favorite thing to do when you don’t ski or train?
Spending time outdoors with friends or family.
What is a fun fact about Liz – something most people don’t know about you?
Pigs are my favorite animals. They make me so happy when I see their little noses and curly tails and hear their snorts. I hope to own a farm someday.