She isn’t a household name yet, but she’s aiming to become one, and hopefully soon. Skier Yom Hirshfeld is currently in Italy, racing at the English championships, before heading off to ski in Serbia and the Balkans. Her goal? To represent Israel at the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
The current competitions are sponsored by the International Ski Federation, in which competitive skiers participate in order to gradually lower their ski times, racing against the current champions.
“I’m trying to score better points so I can get to the Olympics next year,” wrote Hirshfeld, who competes in the slalom and giant slalom, in an email. “The races I’m doing now are part of the ISF. When a skier starts participating in IFS, you have 999 ‘ISF points’ for the first race; the goal is to lower your points as much as possible, the lowest is 0 points. You do that by racing in ISF races and trying to be as close in timing as you can to the leader of the race.”
It isn’t Hirshfeld’s first time in the big leagues. She first competed in a “high level race” two years ago in the world championships in Garmisch, Germany, where she finished in 75th place, out of about 130 racers. Last week, she raced in the world championships in Schladming, Austria, finishing 72nd out of the 150 women racing.
“I was the best Israeli girl in those two races,” she said.
Besides the 21-year-old Hirshfeld, there are two other sabra ski competitors, Ronie Kiek and Gitit Buchler.
Hirshfeld, who grew up in Tiberias, skied for the first time when she was three, on a family trip to the Hermon. When they saw she liked it, the family began flying each year to ski in Europe, where instructors told her parents that Hirshfeld had talent.
She began alpine ski race training with the Israeli ski team when she was 12, and began racing internationally and professionally six years ago.
More on Hirshfeld later, when she returns to Israel in March.