Jakin Miller, Nordic Skiing

Photo courtesy of Noah Sandstrom

Sam Tucker-Smith, Staff Writer

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ECHO: So, let’s start at the very beginning: how long have you been skiing?

MILLER: Since I was six.

E: Wow! What convinced you to start skiing?

M: My dad, he just signed me up for it. I downhill skied for a couple years, so then I thought, “Oh! I’ll start cross country skiing.”

E: So what was it like skiing as a six-year-old?

MILLER: [laughs] We pretty much just slid around, had fun. Yeah. My siblings do it now.

E: So, over the years, how do you think you’ve developed as a skier?

MILLER: My form’s gotten a lot better, and my strength – strength is a big part, getting stronger. And I didn’t really start training for skiing until I was a sophomore. Until then I was just kind of doing it for fun. But now that I’m a high-level skier I train a lot more.

E: What would you say are some highlights from those past few years of skiing?

M: Hmm… I was sixth in New England, as a sophomore, for U-16s. That was… it was pretty big. The top six guys weren’t there, so I was really twelfth, but it was still a big result. I’ve been top ten in states the past few years, pretty good results.

E: How has this season been going so far for you? You seem to be doing really well.

M: Yeah. I’d like to be faster, but I’ve won a couple races. [laughs]

E: What are your predictions for this year?

M: I don’t know. I’m hoping to get top three at States, is my goal. And then the New England championships are in March, and I’m hoping to be in the top ten.

E: So what is the journey to States like? How does that happen?

M: Well, in the league we don’t have much competition at all, so that’s kind of really our only “team race”, where we have a chance of getting beat. This year, there’s a team from Eastern Mass that’s really good, so that’s kind of our whole team’s focus this whole year, just to get to States.

E: What are some of your favorite parts about skiing?

M: I really like training. I don’t know, I’d just be rather doing that than sitting inside, especially in the summer. When I can just go and train.

E: And it seems like you don’t have much snow at the moment…

M: Right, yeah. But I like skiing a lot, the culture of skiing is really fun. I like the people.

E: That’s wonderful. Were there any people that really furthered your skiing journey along the way? Any people that inspired you?

M: Matt Wiseman and Ian Culnane, a couple years ago, when I was a freshman. They were the seniors, they were the top guys, and just chasing them helped a lot. Also, I’ve gone to a couple of camps with really fast skiers, and that’s great just following people. I like that.

E: So what is it like, in States for instance, that environment, with all those skiers from across the state?

M: I know them pretty well from regular races, so it’s fun to race different people from our league, but I kind of know who’s the fast people, who I have to gun for, so it’s not super out of my depth.