Summer…..What do YOU…. DO….? Share the nitty gritty.

by Jennie

In case you don’t read the whole post (“Ick! Words!”), I challenge you, elite Nordic athletes, to write just one blog about the “reality” part of your life. If you don’t know what I mean by that, no need to read anymore.

This is about the real life chapter, from which we can escape during the race season, until it comes to say “hello” during the spring, summer and fall. You don’t need to divulge all of your secrets; many things are better left unknown. If anything, it’s to clarify to younger upcoming athletes how to make life work as a professional skier. If you don’t want to share with the world, you can send it to me at ( and I will take the random anonymous facts (your work, housing situation, school or no school progress, vehicle type if it represents you, whatever you want to say about your financial situation, etc) to compile a report for Faster Skier. Do you live easily or do you struggle daily? It is an unspoken fact that a large percentage of us have parental financial support.  Either way, I would really love to hear what you all have to say.

Reality Blog Jennie Bender: Work

Nordic skiers. We’re weird. Ok, I’ll speak for myself. We have already started training for when next winter comes, and it’s not even summer yet. It boggles the minds of non-athletes. Non athletes who I  depend on to employ me when I am on my “off/training season”.  It’s very sad. Why can’t the meaning of professional skier mean the same as professional basketball, hockey, golfer, baseball or football player, where the term “professional” means a hearty income? Oh that’s right, it’s because we live in America. One of the fattest countries in the world, where our hypothetical fans would much rather sit on a couch at home and watch their sport on tv than go outdoors. Hey I won’t judge, that sounds great, but unfortunately we don’t get Nordic skiing televised in the US unless you know the secret channels/websites/day of year/password/or pay for it.

I work when needed at The Fix Studio (an endurance performance center in Minneapolis). They have been very nice to help teach me what college lacked; how to actually USE my major, Exercise Movement Science, in an occupation. This however, is sporadic work, so I have applied to many jobs since end of Spring  Series. I am drawn to waitressing, because I like the blocks of time, and how my desire to please turns into good tips.  (Insert joke here.) Although they may not call you back, restaurants are always willing to take your application. Thus far, this has been my luck, so I have been hitting up Craigslist, where I find myself questioning my moral values more than I would like to.

All of the above, so far, is not making me very much dough. In the winter I gave some ski lessons, so I have been promoting rollerski lessons for anyone interested during the summer. I just moved somewhere in the Midwest that is surrounded by lakes, and more boats than you can imagine. With the experience of Lee, who  worked many years at a marina back in the East, and my ability to clean, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make a mobile boat detailing business. Why not! Check us out – (sweet name huh?)! Come hell or high water, this will work! I have been going around the area marketing to businesses who do not already offer boat detailing, and trying to figure out how else I can get the name out. After turning down an extremely dubious customer phone call (“Hey, I found you on facebook, you’re pretty good lookin…”) I landed my first legit cleaning  job. Eight hours of scrubbing work, and two boats later, I had finished my first business deal. I learned not to hand scrub with certain chemicals (it will turn your skin white), that bending over for eight hours in the sun equals painful sunburn tramp-stamp, jamming your fingertips into dirty boat crevices makes them extremely sore, and always to keep a cautious eye on that one garage worker staring at you when he thinks you won’t notice. It was tank top weather, but with all my bending over I decided to go long-sleeved pull-over that would, *cough*, cover more up.

Entrepreneurship – I’m into it. Hopefully, there is more business to come.

Reality Blog Jennie Bender: Car

Everyone, and I mean everyone, I talk to who finds out I am from Vermont, asks the same question.  “Uhhh, why the heck did you move out HERE?!” “Isn’t there snow in Vermont, and like, hills?”  After stumbling over the question, and trying not to get into my life story with dozens of strangers who aren’t looking for a long answer, I finally came up with “Well, you live out here don’t you?” which usually ends it. Most importantly, I tell people, “You never know where life will take you.” Which is A) is true, and B) usually gets a slow nod and thoughtful furrowed-brow gaze from the questioner.

All throughout high school and college I drove my signature 1992 Toyota Corolla. It was deemed unsafe to drive out of the State with its rusting floor and sides, broken inside door locks, crank windows, lack of airbag, occasionally activating seatbelts and purple UV tinted rear window stick-ons. It gave me freedom; therefore, it was my first love. Before heading to the Midwest, I inherited a 1996 Toyota Camry. It used to be my grandmother’s, and luckily the only dent in its side panel is from her (wow, that sounds bad, I mean she put it there while driving).

Why am I telling you all this? Because I have come across too many people in just one year who think they have me all figured out once they hear “professional skier” or “travel”. You don’t want to know how many times I have washed my laundry in the shower with me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just trying to make my point.

More to come, and please feel free to join me on this skier blog quest about life during the warm six months.

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