Interview with Natalie (Hamrick) Halt
Q: You are one of the greatest women's slalom skiers of all time can you give us some of your accomplishments/wins/greatest moments?
A: Aw, thanks, Matt! That feels like a lifetime ago at this point. But certainly they are some of my sweetest memories. Highlights are definitely running 39' in Italy after no one had done it behind Perfect Pass EVER, or in 10 years since Kristi! That was a massive deal for me, and you and I had been working together so much about getting my head in right space to know that I could do it even though no one else was at that time. World Cup wins were always big for me, too... Russia, Ireland, even China when the event got cancelled and a few of us went and played tourists in Shang Hai! All of the events in Lacanau, and I think one of my favorites to this day was the event at Eurolac where Fred and I won together!
Q: What do you miss the most about being on tour and competing for a living.
A: Traveling the world. With little kids it is so hard to get out and about these days. One of my "things" was, if I was going to a tournament in a place I had never been, I was going to check out the scene. There was no way that I was doing the fly-in, ski, fly- out deal. I was turning it into an adventure and exploring the heck out of as much as I could while I was there, usually with Jaki Hunter in tow. Maybe when my boys get older I can get back to that passion for travel. I am trying my hardest to create a space in the yoga world where I can possibly live that again, but we'll see...
Q: You have been doing Yoga long before it was trendy; tell us about your business and how you turned this into an “after sport” career?
A: I 'found yoga' the year that I graduated from college ('99) when my body felt like it was breaking in two with all of the hits I would take in the course. Yogani in Tampa, Florida, I will never forget it. The experience of getting away from the competitiveness and moving into a moment that linked breath with movement with intention... it was the most spiritual experience of my life up to that point. And it has never left me. Yoga is my sacred. The fact that I am turning this into my mission with my life now is simply testimony of how powerful it has been for me over the course of my life. Through birthing babies, having to let go of my passion for skiing, transplanting between countries, parenting, starting a business... it is my sanity. My sanctity. And my mission is to help others discover how transformative it can be on a physical, spiritual AND emotional level.
Q: Fred your husband still rips buoys like a machine! Tell us about him, your 2 sons and life as a mom?
A: Oh, my Fred. I could write a book on that guy, but he would never approve being as humble a guy as he is. Fred is like my favorite bourbon, just getting better with age. He blows me away with his ability that just keeps accelerating and improving as the years go by. The cool thing with him is that there is this undercurrent of confidence on the water that is now coupling with that ability that makes him, like you said, a machine. And yet, with us, we wouldn't even know that he is training for skiing, believe it or not. It is pretty miraculous how he subltly weaves his passion for skiing into his life and yet still shows up as a father and a husband 110%. I admire him so. And envy him, too! Wish my body held up the way his has!
My boys are my heart. Talk about life lessons, those two boys are my PhD! Never have I known sacrifice, love, hope, beauty, FATIGUE as I have being a mother these last six years. They are the fiber of my being, Matt, I swear. There isn't a thought I think or an action I take that doesn't somehow involve the two of them. Life is very full at the moment and I am so incredibly grateful.
Q: You were the 2nd women to ever run 39 off. There was a picture in the Waterski Magazine of you on your cell phone, soaking wet in your ski gear, calling me to tell me you ran 1/2@41. Can you remember that day and what was it like when you sank in the water to shorten the rope tom 41 for the first time?
A: As if it were tattooed on my brain, YES!! I had been running so many bouys with you leading up to us leaving for Europe that summer, I remember that. I would drive over from Tampa- and hour and half each direction- and you had me so keyed in to what it would take to dominate, that I clearly remember, too! Fred videoed it with Ralphie (Steve Cockeram) standing next to him , and it was just mayhem on all accounts. I screamed so load out the gates I strained my vocal cords, I can assure you of that. And dropping in after 6 bouys at 39,' I remember feeling as though my body wasn't attached to my brain anymore. It was just this automatic movable machine that would go through these incredible motions, and the high of that moment- probably TMI, but the only thing that has come anywhere close is natural, drug-free child birth. (Definitely TMI, sorry!)
Q: What are your favorite: Ski, Boat, Lake, Tournament, Yoga pose, Kids movie, City, Food, Activity with your boys.
A: Ski: Connelly (and I am loving seeing Fred shredding it on their latest.) Boat: I was, am, and always will be the Malibu girl, despite Regina 's efforts to prove otherwise:) Lake: Eurolac definitely has a hold on me after 8 years of living in Switzerland, but my time training with you on your old lake are some of my favorite memories, too. Tournament: Lacanau. Who doesn't love that lake? Not to mention, getting to hang with Gigi (Geraldine Jamin.) And drink French Bordeaux. And eat French food. I always looked forward to this event the most. It was never about the big ones for me- they were amazing, but the experience around the event was equally as significant. Yoga Pose: Handstand. Not that its really a traditional "yoga pose," but I LOVE handstanding! I finally mastered the free handstand and if I am ever in a bad mood or feeling groggy or tired or annoyed or whatever- a handstand makes it right. Turning my world upside down is a theme I still embrace like crazy. And there is always something to work on. Before 40, I will do a pike press up. Kids movie: Loved Big Hero 6. Although I am really looking forward to the new one coming out next weekend- Home. I am a total sucker for any kind of redemption stories. So in that vein, Boxtrolls was also a definite fave. City: New Orleans. I am half NOLA (Mom) and half Lowcountry (Dad), what can I say?- Charleston and New Orleans. I get to live in Charleston, so more nostaligic for New Orleans right about now. History, food, culture, family, music, water... I could go on and on. These are the two gems of the US. And I claim them both. Food: Sushi and fondue. In that order. Sushi I eat once a week, fondue once a year. Activity with my boys: We have this gorgeous park out on the marsh not far from our house here on the coast of South Carolina called Palmetto Islands County Park. They have these trails through the woods next to the marshes with views that are so picturesque of our region it can take your breath away. Anyway, Nash gets on his bike and Ford gets on his scooter, and (for now) I can keep up with them runing (I know it's only a matter of time!) Beneath blankies watching movies is a tie, though.