Park City Ski & Snowboard / Women’s U.S. National Ski Jumping Team
Park City, UT
FEUD FORMED FRIENDSHIP
First time I met Annika Belshaw was at a small hills competition in Park City. It was my first ski jumping competition and the energy was high with all the Steamboat kids there as well. At that point I was just there for fun and wasn’t very competitive about it, but it was hard not to notice how much of a powerhouse Annika was.
As time went on and we both progressed to bigger hills, Annika and I were consistently going head to head. I remember one announcer called it a “dog fight out west”. Almost every time, I came up short in second place. It lit a competitive fire in me, and for a couple seasons it was my sole goal to beat Annika. (Now for any younger ski jumpers reading this, I don’t advise making goals to beat your teammates. It is more productive to make progress based goals). If I did well in a competition, but Annika wasn’t there, it didn’t count. Without knowing or trying she really pushed me to do better and give my all.
Shortly after making the national team (a year after Annika, much to my dismay) I started traveling with the team to international competitions. Being the youngest, Annika and I always got roomed together. And boy oh boy was it rough. Annika was messy, kept an odd sleep schedule, and barely spoke a word to me. I would complain about it to anyone and everyone. But slowly through a couple years of “forced togetherness”, as my Dad calls it, a friendship started to form.
Now Annika is one of my closest friends. We are still getting roomed together, but have since learned to live with each other. In fact, we’ve spent so many weekends in the same hotel room that I started referring to her as my “work-wife”, shortened to Wifey.
Our friendship has grown outside of ski jumping, and during the season she is one of my main sources of support. I like to think we lean on each other when the season feels long, and life gets hard. Last year we scored our first World Cup points together. After my good jumps, she’s my biggest cheerleader. After my bad jumps, she’ll sit with me and analyze my videos.
Even though we are no longer feuding, Annika is still pushing me to be better. Annika pushes the whole team, constantly giving this sport her all. Her passion is infectious and really brings out the best in us. I feel lucky to be her teammate, and even luckier to have her as a lifelong friend.