Q&A with Nessa Dziemian
U.S. skier Nessa Dziemian is one of several women vying for a spot on the U.S. Olympic moguls team for 2018. She finished the 2016/17 World Cup season ranked 20th in the world.
Earlier this year, we sent Dziemian a list of questions. Here's what she had to say.
What's your earliest memory of freestyle skiing?
I have ADD/ADHD and it's extremely tough for me to stay focused or even sit still. What was so nice about freestyle is that it was spontaneous, fast, fun, and some of the other skiers had ADD/ADHD too! It was an awesome community for me. I remember following the older kids in the trees and off of side-booters down to the next chairlift.
Did you ever imagine yourself competing at the Olympics someday?
To be honest, I always wanted to be in the Olympics, but I never thought it would actually come true. I'm always just taking one day at a time. I'm just trying to work on one skill and then the next. But, with my competitive drive and consistent hard work, I am here, writing a questionnaire for the Olympics. I never watched the Olympics since I can't sit down and watch TV. But, I have watched highlights, and it's always impressive to see the other athletes in other sports.
How influential were your parents in your athletic career?
My dad was an elite athlete for swimming in Canada when he was growing up. He almost made it to the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal; however, he was unable to qualify. Growing up, my dad pushed my brother and I to jump off cliffs and do flips into the pool and on the trampoline. My mom and dad also made my brother and I ski every single weekend at Loon Mountain. When I joined Loon Freestyle at the age of 7, I grew a passion quickly. I even told my coaches I wanted to become an Olympic skier when I grew up. Thankfully, my dad knew how much hard work it took to be at that level, and he continued to push me with my jumps. At the age of 8, I was throwing 360s before any other girl my age. Without my dad pushing me to do flips in a pool or 360s at an early age, I don't think I would have ever done it or I would be where I am today.
As for my mom, she played an important role as well. Whether she was filming all of our competition runs or wiping away my tears when I fell, she helped me more on the emotional side of things.
Are you a first-generation American?
Yes. I am the only one in my whole family born from the United States of America. The rest of my family live up in Canada!
What would people be surprised to learn about training for the Olympics?
Most pro skiers can apres-ski better than actually ski.
What’s the most grueling workout you’ve ever done?
Hill sprints will always be the death of me.
What’s something about mogul skiing that people don’t normally see?
Mogul skiers are probably the best skiers of the mountain. We ski large or tight or small (sometimes icy) snowy bumps. And we do it fast. We jump and do cool tricks and land back in the moguls. We can ski anything. From big mountain to the parks, we know how to jump well and to ski.
Within your sport, who has been your greatest influence?
My brother. I thought it was so fun skiing, jumping, and traveling everywhere with him. He honestly has taught me to enjoy mogul skiing when I was in some rough places. He is for sure my No. 1 greatest influence.
What athlete, in any sport, has been your greatest source of inspiration?
I really looked up to Sarah Burke. She was one of the few chicks in freestyle movies growing up. She also was kind of like this "If the boys can do it, I can do it too" kind of chick. I was like that too. She helped me realize that it was okay to follow the boys and to do your own thing. Rest in peace, Sarah.
Who are your Olympic role models?
Hannah Kearney. Ronda Roussey. Maddie Bowman.
Any pre-competition rituals?
I try to dance to relax myself. Good vibes only.
Who do you socialize with most within your sport?
Andi Naude - Canadian Ski Team. She is a great jumper, and we have similar personalities.
Have you ever been seriously injured?
Actually, I'm recovering right now from a torn ACL injury back in February. I tore it on Feb. 4, the day before the Super Bowl. As a Patriots fan, I just kept telling myself that I just hope the Pats win. After a stressful game and coming back from the largest deficit ever, the Patriots won. I was inspired. If they could do it, I could do it too. The greatest comeback ever.
Do you have another job aside from skiing?
I do have a job: I work for my dad. He is an energy broker. I do customer service, and I can work from whenever and wherever. I do it to pay for my ski career. I usually work after training is over. I can't sit still easily, but I understand rest as an athlete is extremely important. Signing in to work for my dad allows me to rest and to be productive all at the same time.
When you have time off, what would constitute a perfect day for you?
Freeskiing with my friends in some powder!
Do you play any other sports?
I absolutely love soccer and volleyball against my teammates.
Tell us about one of your favorite places from your hometown (East Hampstead, New Hampshire).
On June 30th, 2013, I became the first female to finish the "Ice Cream Bowl" challenge at Bre's Ice Cream. It took me two hours, and it was miserable. I also made a bet with my best friend, Clara, that I wouldn't eat ice cream again until I made the Olympics. I haven't eaten ice cream for five years, and I'm hoping to change that in 2018.
Favorite perk of being an elite Olympic athlete?
Work out and ski every day. Also, the beach bod is great and not feeling guilty about eating desserts!
Do you like to travel?
Yes. Zermatt has been the coolest. The Matterhorn is beautiful and constantly reminds me how lucky I am to be what I am doing.
Rollerblading and drawing cartoon animals! I draw every day, and I rollerblade in the summer when I'm not injured. I like to rollerblade and draw with friends, but I'll also do it alone. Blade or die.
Can you tell us something quirky about yourself?
I can lick my right elbow!