Action County: Jana Hlavaty |

Action County: Jana Hlavaty

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Summit Daily/Mark Fox

KEYSTONE”Jana Hlavaty was first introduced to cross-country skiing as a young girl in Czechoslovakia through a professor’s husband, who was a world-class skier.

“I was very lucky,” Hlavaty said. “I just liked it and I stuck with it.”

Hlavaty not only skied on the Czechoslovakian national team, but after relocating to the United State, she made the U.S. Ski Team and qualified for the 1976 Olympics.

“It was the year when the Olympics were supposed to be in Colorado, but the Coloradoans didn’t want them, so they were in Innsbruck,” Hlavaty said.

The sport of cross country skiing brought Hlavaty to Summit County 30 years ago. Here, she has turned her passion for skiing into a career, working as the director of the Keystone Nordic Center.

“I have done this job for many years and I still enjoy it,” said Hlavaty.

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Hlavaty is now doing more teaching than racing. She teaches classic and skate skiing for a women’s clinic at the Keystone Nordic center called Mountain Women and instructs children’s cross country clinics.

“We recently had 40 kids here for an after-school program; it’s a lot of work but it’s such a rewarding thing,” said Hlavaty.

When Hlavaty raced on the U.S. National Team, skate skiing was not yet an Olympic event. Since then, she has mastered both skate skiing and classic cross country.

“If you are a skier by heart, like I am, you do classic skiing, you do ski skating and you are basically a cross country junkie,” Hlavaty said. “The kick and glide is still the most beautiful technique there is. Sometimes on cold days your better off to do the classic skiing, sometimes better off to do the ski skating”it depends on the snow.”

Hlavaty says the reason she has loved this sport for so many years is the great work out you get from it.

“You put your skis on and you go and an hour later you get your workout. It’s a quick way to get a workout and it can be a very powerful workout,” Hlavaty said.

She still goes back to Czechoslovakia on occasion to visit her mother, but now calls Summit County home.

“This is where my heart is and this is where I make my home,” Hlavaty said.