BY Morgan Buckert
Ages: 10 and 12
School: Kaia is in 6th grade at the Wood River Middle School. Anja is in 5th at Hailey Elementary.
Pets: A Labrador named Toffee and two fish, a betta named Dragon and a goldfish named Moustache.
Sport: Mountain Biking
Kaia and Anja Jensen, mountain biking machines and sisters from Hailey, have a full schedule maximizing their fun in the Wood River Valley. Between ski team practices, ballet and soccer practice and experimenting in the kitchen, these girls are shredding on local trails with their parents and in races. So watch out—they may pass you at any moment.
How long have you been mountain biking?
We both started riding seven years ago with our parents, when we were three and five and we usually ride with our family.
Where and what do you usually ride?
We usually ride out Croy Canyon (west of Hailey). Kaia rides a blue Stumpjumper and Anja rides their mom’s old Specialized S-Works.
What is your favorite ride?
For Kaia it’s Fisher Creek (in the Stanley Basin) and Punchline (at Croy Canyon). For Anja, it’s Forbidden Fruit (at Adams Gulch).
What are the keys to being a good mountain biker?
“Practice riding, have fun and have good snacks like granola bars and Stingers,” Kaia advised. “Good balance and good people to ride with like family and friends,” recommended Anaj. What are your greatest achievements so far? For Kaia it was taking 3rd in the Wood River Cup. For Anja it was finishing the Galena Grinder and taking 4th Place at Nationals in 2012.
Why is the Wood River Valley a good place for your skills and passions?
Kaia said, “It’s never really hot and there are lots of cool places to ride.” Anja said, “There are lots of cool places to ride.” They both said, “We have learned a lot at the Powerhouse Kids Mountain Biking Summer Camp.”
Any tips to for people new to your sport?
Kaia recommends, “Starting without much uphill and taking short, fun rides.” Anja advises to, “Start with lots of downhill! Maximum downhill for minimum uphill is the best.”
What is your favorite ride?
For Kaia it’s Fisher Creek (in the Stanley Basin) and Punchline (at Croy Canyon). For Anja, it’s Forbidden Fruit (at Adam’s Gulch).
Who are your biggest influences?
Anja said her biggest influences are Anja Pearson (alpine skier) and Luma Randolph (mountain biker).
What’s your favorite flavor ice cream?
Kaia said it’s her sister Anja’s “cardamom ice cream. She makes lots of great ice cream.” Anja said it’s “Eggnog!” but “the weirdest ice cream I’ve made was green tea. It wasn’t a good idea.”
What’s your favorite “kids” meal?
Kaia prefers “salmon or any seafood, really,” while Anja likes ribs and steak.
Do you participate in any other sports?
Kaia participates in ballet, soccer and on the swim team. She’s also a member of the alpine team for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF). Anja is a member of SVSEF’s Nordic and Alpine programs, and also plays soccer and is a member of the swim team.
Both Kaia and Anja are fans of the Harry Potter series.
For Kaia it’s the Inheritance series by Nancy Varian Berberick and J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Ana is a fan of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Kaia likes The Lumineers. “My ski team teammates sing a lot, too,” she said. Anja is a fan of Michael Franti.
Place you’d most like to visit?
For Kaia it’s “France because I’m taking French.” And for Anja it’s “Anywhere I’m surrounded by water.”