Steamboat's Nordic combined tradition
The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team has been on a historic run, but it wasn’t always like this. Thee Steamboat Pilot & Today takes a look at the past decade and the day a Steamboat boy drastically changed the course for the team and the sport.
Hilary Spillane doesn’t have time to be stressed out.
Considering what it’s like being the wife of an Olympic medalist and world champion Nordic combined skier, it would be easy for her to dwell on how crazy life can get.
“Oh no, I’m not stressed,” she said earlier this month. “It’s because I just don’t have a lot of time for myself.”
There’s nothing easy about the training and travel it takes to be a world-class Nordic combined skier. It’s certainly not easy being married to one, either.
Hilary and Johnny Spillane have two daughters, 2-year-old Hadley and 8-month-old Genevieve. And with Johnny gone for weeks at a time competing across the globe and Hilary running her own business, Spillane Creative, there often just isn’t enough time in a day to get everything done.
Genevieve wakes her up at 4 a.m. Hadley wakes up at about 7:30 a.m., and that’s when Hilary’s day really begins in earnest.
She cleans and tidies the house while the children take their afternoon naps. After dinner and baths, the kids usually are in bed by 8 p.m.
That’s when Hilary tackles her professional work. She edits photos and other assignments for Spillane Creative, sometimes into the early hours of the next day.
“By then, I’m exhausted,” she said.
So goes the life of a wife of a professional athlete. Hilary and Johnny acknowledge how tough it can be.
Even when Johnny returns from competing — usually exhausted and jet-lagged — there’s rarely any downtime.
“It’s hard to be gone and hard to miss important milestones,” Johnny said. “It’s more stressful now when you have two kids to provide for. In this job, there is no guarantee of making any money. But when I get home, I’m tired, but it’s fun. I get to play with my girls. That’s the best part.”
Hilary traveled with Johnny to last week’s World Cup in Austria. Although Johnny was working, it served as the couple’s first vacation alone in more than two years.
They relished the time together, but the activities were similar to most parents on vacation.
“We’ve slept a lot,” Hilary said from Austria. “We took a nap this afternoon. It was wonderful.”