Champion ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson rarely has time off from the grueling schedule of traveling and competing, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t live up every moment of free time. And what does she like to do with those precious days? Ski, of course.
“My coach is from Italy and for the last two years, we’ve gotten to ski in the Dolomites in northern Italy on our days off from jumping,” says Hendrickson. “Those mountains are breathtaking. It was endless trails, then go in for lunch and have amazing Italian food.”
Hendrickson stayed in Predazzo, the heart of the Val di Fiemme in northern Italy. Historic red-roofed homes carpet the bottom of the steep-walled valley, and the ski pistes of several resorts stretch up the slopes. But perhaps the best part of skiing in Italy is the Italians’ attitude about it, which is, shall we say, relaxed. After schussing down a mellow slope, stop in a hut for a glass of champagne and a bite to eat. No one will look twice if you put your ski-booted feet up, take in the view, and contemplate la bella vita.
Visit the Val di Fiemme’s official website for more information.
Ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson may be young—19—but she has no shortage of hardware. Already, the Park City-raised ripper has snagged 22 World Cup medals in ski jumping. Plus, she was the World Cup overall champion in 2012 and the World Championships gold medalist in 2013. Next, Hendrickson is vying for an even more historic distinction: the first Olympic gold medal ever awarded in women’s ski jumping, a new (and some might say long overdue) event at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.
Sarah Hendrickson's Gear Pick: Kellog's Special K Cereal Bars
What’s Hendrickson’s critical piece of gear? “My pillow. I’m gone from home anywhere from two weeks to two months, and you never know what kind of hotel you’re going to stay at.” You also don’t know what kind of food you’re going to get, says Hendrickson, which is why she keeps her sponsor’s Special K Cereal Bars in her bag for the post-workout munchies.