JC Schoonmaker is a cross-country skier from Tahoe City, CA. They specialize in sprint, 15km, and team sprint events. They attended North Tahoe High School and graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2022. JC competed in the 2022 Winter Olympics, achieving 15th in the sprint freestyle, 66th in the 15km classic, and 9th in the team sprint classic. Other notable achievements include gold in the sprint freestyle at the 2022 U.S. Championships, 7th in the sprint classic and 9th in the sprint freestyle at the 2021 World Cup, 13th in the sprint classic at the 2020 World Junior Championships, and 14th in the sprint classic at the 2019 U.S. Championships.
I handle pain during a race by embracing it and focusing on technique. This helps me to stay focused on the race, while also helping to take my mind off the pain. Transcript: "How do you handle being in so much pain during a race for me? I like to handle pain by just embracing it because I know that that pain is not going to go away. So once you accept that it's there and it's going to be with you for the rest of that race. I think you're going to do a lot better if you can just embrace it and really fight through the race with the pain. Another great way is to make sure that you're also focusing on technique during the race. So I like to have certain specific. Cues during a race that all kind of think of over and over in my head and it's kind of helps take your mind off the pain a little bit, but I think it also is ensuring that you're still racing to the best of your ability. Even though you're going through pain and at the end of the day if you can embrace the pain and ski with good technique, I think that's going to set you up for success."
The biggest strategy for sprint racing is to be confident and aggressive. Stick to your game plan, and give it everything you have from the last hill until the finish line. Transcript: "For Young Racers wanting to get better at Sprint racing. What are some Sprint race strategies that I would suggest? So the biggest strategy that I would suggest is just being confident and being aggressive. I think that if you can go into a Sprint race especially Sprint Keats and try to not give an inch to any one of your competitors and really hold your own ground and be aggressive with what you're doing. I think that that will give you a lot of success. And I also think that you have to Be able to stick to your your game plan. So, for example, if your strategy is to go on the last Hill and try to break the rest of the pack, you have to go and you have to be 100% confident in that decision. Because if there's any hesitation or you kind of go and you have to go half, look back at the rest of the pack. I don't think it'll work so you really just have to go on that last Hill and give it everything. You got from there to the finish and just fully commit"
My favorite athlete that I competed against was a Swedish skier named Marcus grata. We had some fun times racing together and even crashed in the final corner of one race. We both moved on from the quarterfinal together, but I didn't make it to the semi-final. It was great racing with him because we knew what each other was going to do and raced well as a group. Transcript: "My favorite athlete that I competed against is probably a Swedish skier named Marcus grata and had a lot of fun racing against him last year because in our first race of the season in Ruka, me and him were in a semifinal together and I actually kind of caused him to crash in the final corner right before the Finish Line. I wasn't really sure if it's my fault or whose fault it was but he crashed and we kind of talked about it after I apologized. And then the next weekend, We were both in a quarterfinal to get together again and that time we both moved on and then raised in the semi-final later that day together he moved on I didn't but it was just fun racing against him and racing with him because we both had some races where we did well raising with each other and kind of not really using teamwork at your tactics, but just kind of like knowing what each other was going to do. And, and kind of raising well as a group because of that."
In the summer, Nordic skiers typically cross-train by roller skiing, running and strength training. Other activities include swimming and mountain biking. Playing hockey is another great option for cross-training that can be done year round. Transcript: "What kind of sports do you do to cross-train in the summer? So most Nordic skiers in the summer, we'll do a lot of roller skiing running and strength training and I would say those are kind of the basics for every cross-country skier. I know a lot of people also like to swim. I love to do a lot of mountain biking in the summer, but I would actually say one of my favorite sports to do for cross-training, which isn't in the summer, is playing hockey and living in Alaska. They have a lot of Great Outdoor rinks there. And I'll go with my I team and we'll just get some pickup games going. I think it's a great workout. It's great to just work on your athleticism and it's also super fun."
I was aiming to train 820 hours this year, but due to a sprained ankle, I'm down to around 800. Last year I trained 700 and the year before that I trained 730, so the jump of 120 is pretty big, but I'm handling it well. Transcript: "The question is, how many hours do you train a year? So this year, I was aiming to train 820 hours, definitely. A little bit behind that goal because I sprained my ankle, this fall and missed out on a couple weeks of training just didn't quite get the volume I needed. So, I'm around probably going to get her down to 800 this year. If everything goes, well, I'm not trying to make up those missed hours or anything but that's a pretty big jump. For me last year. I trained 700 in the Air before that I trained 730. So 120 was a pretty big jump, but so far I'm handling it pretty well. And that's kind of the most important part because at the end of the day, the hours that you trained aren't necessarily going to make you a better skier, it's actually just getting faster and making sure that you're handling those hours. Well,"
Today I'm doing better at staying positive and keeping a better outlook on things than yesterday. Transcript: "What's one thing you did better today than yesterday? This one's kind of easy today. I'm doing a lot better at staying positive and kind of keeping a better outlook on things than yesterday because I'm actually sick right now. I got sick at the end of our Lillehammer trip. While we were traveling to buy the stolen. So I'm not training right now and I'm quarantine kind of away from the rest of the team and a hotel. And today, I actually woke up feeling a little bit better, and just kind of my mental state has been a little bit better. Yesterday, I was feeling sorry for myself and just angry that I was sick, but I'm realizing that that doesn't really help anything. And today, I'm just kind of feeling a little bit more upbeat and it definitely helps to have this view from the hotel. But that's something I'm doing better today. And hopefully I can carry this through the next time I get sick because it's a lot more fun than if you're just feeling sad and sorry for yourself so yeah."