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Avid Hunter and Olympian Todd Lodwick Explains the Sport and the Mental Aspects of Nordic Skiing and Hunting


Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak Pro Staffer Todd Lodwick of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, loves to hunt and also owns three world skiing titles in Nordic combined skiing. He won the silver medal in Nordic combined skiing in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, and is the only person to qualify six times for the U.S. Winter Olympic team. Lodwick’s passion for the outdoors also includes hunting.

Nordic skiing involves cross-country skiing, telemark skiing and ski jumping. My race is 10 kilometers, which is basically 6.2 miles. In our race, we do four laps of 2.5 kilometers, which makes this race very spectator friendly. In most races, there are usually 50 to 60 competitors. The two secrets to winning the race are jumping far and landing standing up. Nordic skiing is one of the few sports that combine two different sports: cross country skiing and ski jumping. We jump on two different hills – an HS100 and an HS140 – about the length of 1-1/2-football fields. The feeling is much like you’ll have if you jump out of a 60-story building, and your body is moving at 55 mph. Luckily, I have not had too many wrecks in my career. I plan to retire after this year’s Olympics. I feel that right now I can compete with the best skiers in the world. If I didn’t think I was competitive and had a chance to do well, I wouldn’t compete. 

Lodwick4_llHere’s the way the race is conducted. The ski jumping is first. The person who jumps the farthest gets to start first on the cross-country skiing. The race is an interval start. Depending on where you land during your ski jump, determines the order that you start. At the end of the race, the first person to cross the finish line wins the Winter Olympics gold medal in Nordic combined skiing. 

I think there are a lot of parallels in Nordic skiing and hunting. Both Nordic skiing and hunting are mental games. You have to believe in yourself, and you have to believe in your ability to find and take the animals you are hunting. In Nordic combined skiing, you also must believe in your skills. Nordic skiing keeps me in very good shape. I feel, because I train all year long for Nordic skiing, that I have an edge over other hunters who don’t stay in shape. They don’t push themselves to get to the altitude or terrain that they need to obtain to take the better animals. I train 6 days per week: lifting weights, doing endurance runs, hiking and riding a bicycle. I start off eating a highly-nutritious breakfast, push myself through an endurance session in the morning and refuel my body at lunch. After lunch, I do isometric training and/or weight training and mental training before eating dinner and going to bed. 

We have a sports psychologist who works with us and teaches us to believe that we can win. Too, we have sessions of meditation. If you are mentally and physically strong and believe you can achieve, then, you can make those dreams come true. Mental training doesn’t work without physical training. You have to have both to be successful at hunting and at Nordic combined skiing.

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