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Twardokens’ life races on

Dana Jo Turvey

Six-time national giant slalom champion. Two-time Ski Racing junior skier of the year. Bronze-medal winner at the ’85 World Championships in Bormio, Italy. 1996 world technical overall title. Two visits to the Olympics, five to the World Championships.

This is the resume of Eva Twardokens, who raced for the U.S. Ski Team 13 seasons and now calls Kirkwood her part-time home.

Twardokens, now 33, started skiing at age three and first competed in freestyle events before switching to race skis. She has taken one of the strongest skiing backgrounds possible and steadfastly turned it into a lifestyle.



Last season, she started traveling with ESPN as a commentator, visited Heavenly to give skiing clinics for ESQ-Ski With The Greats, raced in Return of the Champions at Beaver Creek, Colo., and taught women’s skill improvement clinics at Kirkwood throughout the year. This agenda was strictly meshed around classes at University of Santa Cruz, where the end result will be a degree in dental hygiene.

This year, the Reno native will travel just as often for ski events, competitions and clinics; continue with her demanding school schedule; spend one week as guest clinician in Banff, Canada, for an event benefiting the breast cancer foundation; plus offer an increased number of coed and women’s clinics for Kirkwood. These skill improvement seminars will run from December 12 through April 5. Currently, Twardokens is scheduling six different days for coed classes and 20 specifically for women.



Referring to her sixth year of clinics, the former racer says, “For teaching, I’ve picked out the things I felt were most important to me and I’m passing them on to my students. Over the years, I’ve had some great coaches. One of my favorites is Fritz Vallant, who is now head coach for the men’s Austrian team. He made me figure things out for myself – and that’s what really sticks, when you learn something yourself. Another coach, Max Volquist [now of Team Norway] always thought up creative ways to make training fun. I try to pass all this on to my students when I clinic.”

About her program, she says, “I wanted to help create a niche for women at Kirkwood. In my clinics, there is a progression to move skills up a level, but at the same time to keep things in a comfort zone. I also like to have my students do drills on simpler terrain. These create a challenge which can take you out of that comfort zone, but on easier turf. I’ve developed a lot of regulars in my program. Lately, some of the husbands have been coming to me and saying their wives are outskiing them – the men want clinics too, so I’ve added the coed classes to my schedule.”

Coaching, training and racing have always been – and remain – big factors in Twardokens’ busy life.

Her boyfriend, Eric Schlopy, has been the top-ranked American on the World Pro Ski Tour for the past three seasons. This fall, he left pro racing in an attempt to regain his amateur status in time for the 2002 Olympics. For the past few years, the two elite skiers have spent as much snow time together as possible: training, ski tuning and analyzing technique.

Recently, they jointly adopted a Jack Russell puppy, appropriately named “Hammer” in honor of the couple’s meeting at the Lillehammer Olympic Games in 1994.

Olympic racing, World Cup competition and national ski events – this exciting, demanding world of elite ski racing has prepared Twardokens well for her role as ski clinician. As she puts it, “I’m happiest when I’m teaching people. It’s what motivates me.”

Approachable and knowledgeable, Twardokens has earned the unfailing respect of many in the ski industry. Mike Frye, ski school director at Kirkwood, says, “Anybody getting the opportunity to ski with a person who has raced at a world class level and who has been coached for so long at that level is getting a rare opportunity in the realm of skiing.” For more information about Eva’s clinics, call Kirkwood at (209) 258-6000.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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