In the first race of the winter season, Anneliese Sonju ’21, four-year member of the Walker’s varsity ski program and captain of the 2020-2021 team, claimed first place overall in both of her slaloms. She finished first in all four of her runs.
Anneliese reflects on the changes she is seeing in her sport this winter which has been impacted by the implementation of COVID-19 protocols and precautions. “This past race was our first of the season and was limited to only 100 racers total, including both girls and guys. This caused there to be only 38 female racers and 48 male racers, whereas in past years we’ve had 100 plus for each gender. There were also two races in one day, including four race runs, and we usually only have one race with two race runs, which was pretty exhausting. I was not expecting to do well in this race at all and was extremely nervous.”
Anneliese adopted quickly to the change in competition and was excited to have the opportunity nonetheless. “I had been training so much, and knew what I needed to do in the course, so I was solely focusing on that on race day, and tried to tune everything else out. I feel I performed pretty well, better than I have in the past, and was quite surprised with the way I skied. The only thing I think I’d change from this experience is having more confidence, and trying to not work myself up so much.”
Walker’s ski team typically competes in the Brigham Ski League, but with an adjusted academic timeline of most schools, the season will focus on training with a limited window for competition. The team is always looking forward to racing and is hopeful for a snowy winter at Ski Sundown in New Hartford, Walker’s home mountain. “Racing over break has been a bit of an adjustment for me, as well as my teammates,” says Annaliese. “We are not able to use the lodges to get ready, or eat, so everything is done from our cars.”
Anneliese is a dual-sport varsity athlete at Walker’s, competing as a member of the varsity soccer team and a member of the Ethel Walker Athletic Council (EWAC).