Q & A with Reitler Hodgert
What is your year in school?
I’m a junior, although this was my last year of NCAA eligibility.
What do you hope to do after you graduate?
That is a great question! I spent my first two years out of high school trying to make it on the domestic racing circuit before coming to CSS. A large part of me wants to go after that dream again. So I’m guessing, hoping, that is where you’ll find me.
What is your dream job?
I want to be a ski coach. I have gained so much from my coaches, and the Nordic community as a whole, and not much of it was earned. I feel that it is my turn to give something back. There is also the selfish part of wanting to live that lifestyle and also not being able to give up skiing.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
Well, the way my dad tells the story, it all started when I was watching a family friend race in the Nagano Olympics on TV. My dad likes to tell a story about how I declared, then and there, that I was going to go to the Olympics. Maybe that got the ball rolling, but at the heart of it, I have always loved skiing and being outside. I think that this path was kind of inevitable for me.
How did you get into skiing? When did you first start skiing?
My dad put me on skis when I was two years old, so that’s where it all started. I used to have groomed ski trails right out our back door, and I used go out there to ski every chance I got for as long as I can remember. Following my parent’s divorce, I began to ski for a local club in Oregon. That is where I really started to develop as a skier and where I started to take ownership of myself as an athlete.
Where has your skiing career taken you as of today?
Geographically? Skiing has taken me all over the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. has a domestic circuit, called the Super Tour, that I raced on from 2011 to 2013 prior to coming to CSS. During those two years, I would be on the road for three or four weeks out of five. I absolutely loved it!
If we aren’t speaking geographically, my skiing has taken me to four high school state championships, a junior All-American title, three NCAA All-Region seasons, and twice to NCAA nationals.
What is your favorite trail to ski? Why?
It is VERY hard for me to pick a single trail, but if I had to pick one it would be “Oli’s Ally” at Mt. Bachelor, in Bend Oregon. Oli’s is a favorite because it has one of the craziest descents I have ever skied, and I grew up skiing it, so maybe a little sentimental. Oli’s is a 13 kilometer loop with the first 8 or 9km descending to the lowest point of Mt. Bachelor; it is immensely fun. Topping it off, it is all through old growth fir trees which are incredibly beautiful. The only downside is the inevitable climb back out.
What has been your most memorable ski moment?
You’d think you would remember your best races the most, but for me it has always been the hardest races. Hands down the most difficult race I have ever skied was a 30km skate race last year in Houghton, Michigan. About three days before the race I came down with food poisoning that laid me up for about 48 hours. Looking back I had been in really rough shape, which is why my coach came to me the day before the race and told me that if I couldn’t ski that day, he was going to pull my bib. So I dragged myself out of bed, skied around the course once, and claimed that I was completely ready to race. I started the race the following morning and the first half of the race went great! I felt good, my skis were fast, and I had been resting for like three days. Then everything started to go sideways. I don’t know if everyone knows the term “bonking,” but it’s when your body starts to run out of energy or water, so it starts to shut down. My body must have been starving! I hadn’t eaten much in a few days and I was definitely dehydrated. I was not in a place where you want to be entering an hour long event. In the end I was able to drag myself across the finish line, but it was hands down the most mentally challenging thing I have ever done.
Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself?
Not about myself, but I would really like to give credit to our coaching staff here at CSS. Many people don’t realize it, but our coaches work at least as hard as any of the athletes on race day. When it comes to a race day, the coaches are up long before dawn, testing wax, waxing skis, and taking care of us in general. What we do is impossible without them and they never get the recognition they deserve.