Meet the Athlete: Ski Sensation Nia Hamalainen
By Ty Tilden
A senior at Sandy High School with an imp ar-perfection in the sport. “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been skiing. It’s all about the fundamentals of the sport and there’s so much technical stuff that goes into everything when it comes to [things] like body positioning and all of the aspects that go into it, especially racing. That’s really cool.”
Hamalainen’s favorite event is giant slalom (GS), where she excels the most. Her love for the discipline stems largely from the mental challenges it poses. “It’s such a mental sport because you get two runs. You have to go really fast and you have to beat everyone else. But then you also have to beat yourself - you’re mostly just competing against yourself.” she said.
The path to success in ski racing, however, isn’t without hurdles. Hamalainen has ranked consistently among the top of her peers in the Mt. Hood Conference, though that coveted spot can slip away in an instant. “It’s all about consistency. Like you could be the best [ranked] in the league but if you’re not consistent enough and you don’t show up at races, you’re not going to win; you’re not the best,” she said. As she gears up for the current season, Hamalainen hopes for top placements in all events, striving to eventually place at the state championships.
Reflecting on her past attempts at State, Hamalainen admits to mixed success. While she missed the event her freshman year due to a ski vacation, subsequent years saw strong performances, but not without setbacks. Disqualifications in slalom events posed challenges, and Hamalainen is determined to overcome these hurdles in the upcoming competitions.
Though her athletic career certainly hasn’t been perfect, Hamalainen has persevered through thick and thin. Her confidence and passion for the sport her childhood self once hated is evident as she continues to strive for bigger and better things both competitively and personally.