East skier inherits talent
Maybe it's his genes, or his talent or his hard work, but whatever it is Jason Kask is one of the best high school Nordic skiers in Minnesota. Jason comes from a family of skiers. His parents, Bonnie and Dave, both former Junior Olympic skiers, f...
Maybe it's his genes, or his talent or his hard work, but whatever it is Jason Kask is one of the best high school Nordic skiers in Minnesota.
Jason comes from a family of skiers. His parents, Bonnie and Dave, both former Junior Olympic skiers, first took Jason skiing when he was two years old. He started his racing career a short time later, competing in local races.
His parents are even the coaches of his high school ski team. Jason finds having his parents as his coaches a positive and a negative. "I like knowing that I can trust the training plan. I know that they know what they are doing, but it gets kind of old having your parents there all the time," said Jason.
His parents try their best to treat Jason the same as the rest of the kids on the team. One year a foreign exchange student was unaware that the coach was Jason's mom until he told him. The fact that skiing is an individual sport also helps the situation.
Jason has already achieved a lot of success in high school skiing. He was an alternate for the state team in seventh and eighth grade. His freshmen and sophomore years he was a member of the team that placed third. Last year as a junior, the team was state champs.
The last three years he has also been a member of the Junior Olympic ski team. He also qualified for the team this year. To qualify for the team, Jason must ski a series of races and the best finishers from these races make a team comprised of skiers from the Midwest. "I get to race some kids that I don't normally get to race against," said Jason on racing other kids in three disciplines, freestyle, classical and sprints.
This team then travels to the national meet to take on teams from other parts of the country. This year's event will take place March 6-12 in Truckee, Calif. Jason's sister Bria, a freshman on the Duluth East ski team, also qualified for the Junior Olympics.
Jason has many strengths as a skier. He is an excellent classical skier. "My parents did not allow me to skate ski until I was in sixth grade. This really helped me develop my classical technique," said Jason.
Jason also excels at the longer distances due to his aerobic capacity. He cross trains throughout the year to stay in shape. He is a member of the Duluth Rowing Club, and he also swims to stay in shape. He also follows a skiing specific strength-training program. In the fall he participates on the cross country team and in the spring he runs track. Skiing still remains his true love. "I like being outside. It's fun to push yourself. I like the technique aspect as well."
Jason has had to face some injuries as well. During his freshman year, he fell going down a hill and tore a ligament in his thumb. He also suffered some tendonitis in his Achilles tendon last spring during track season.
Skiing is not the only thing in Jason's life. He is an excellent student as well. He has a 3.8 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. He also teaches swimming lessons at the YMCA and likes to sail and water ski at his cabin.
He is still undecided on where he wants to attend college but he knows he wants to ski. "My goal is to ski in college and make the national meet."
He has narrowed his choices down to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of New Hampshire, University of Vermont, St. John's University and Northern Michigan University. He plans to major in biology.