While it’s not unusual to go skiing over spring break, Kalman Heims is taking it to a completely different level.
Heims, 17, is one of eight skiers who will be representing the United States in the Freestyle Junior World Championships in Duved, Sweden, where he will compete in the moguls events.
The Westborough High School senior qualified by finishing third in the NORAM (North American) Tour events for the season, which included competitions at Killington Mountain, Park City Utah as well as events in Calgary and Quebec in Canada.
“Each event had two races, moguls and dual moguls,” Heims said. “This is my second full year on the NORAM tour.”
In addition to qualifying for the Freestyle Junior World Championships, Heims placed eighth in Moguls at the 2018 US National Championships and sixth in the Dual Moguls, which were held at Waterville Valley in March. In the Dual Moguls, Heims was the only skier born in 2000 or later.
Heims said he started skiing when he was 3 years old, and discovered his love of moguls when his ski school instructors would take him on the terrain park during the lunch breaks.
“I was originally in the racing program, but I got in trouble because I wasn’t staying on the groomed trail and kept veering off into the woods,” he said.
Freestyle skiing is a broad category of ski events that includes aerials, moguls, cross, half-pipe and slopestyle events. And, while moguls is one of the disciplines of freestyle skiing, Heims divides his training between moguls technique and aerial training.
Heims’ training has taken him all over the world, including Tignes, France, Zermatt, Switzerland and Apex, British Columbia, as well as to Whistler, BC, where he trains on a glacier in the summer, Lake Placid, NY, where his training has been on water ramps.
“I ski down a ramp made of plastic material, hit a jump and land in a pool, all with ski equipment,” he said. “I have been lucky to train in some of the most amazing places alongside top world cup skiers and Olympians.
In order to train, Heims, who will turn 18 on the plane to Sweden, has worked out an arrangement with Westborough High School and the Killington Mountain School, where he is enrolled at WHS for the fall term, and then transfers to the Killington School for the ski season, before transferring back to WHS for the last quarter of the year.
“I’ve done it all four years of high school,” Heims said. “I keep up and communicate with my teachers using Google classroom.”
Heims said that he is very grateful to the staff and administration at the high school for their assistance in making the dual enrollment arrangement work.
“Mr. Lefebvre (assistant principal) and Mr. Callaghan (principal) have gone out of their way to help coordinate everything over the past four years,” Heims said. “Mr. Lefebvre has helped me take classes that would work best with both schools. My teachers also could not be more supportive and many of them email me during the season to check on my progress and results.”
When Heims returns to WHS at the end of the month, he will be helping out with the varsity lacrosse team as he prepares to graduate on June 2.
Following graduation, Heims, who has been accepted to several colleges and has his eye on the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, will take a gap year to further his training.