Hedda started skiing at age 3 and didn’t stay on the bunny slope for long. She loved the speed of skiing and most of all she treasured the friendships made within the ski community.
At the age of 12 Hedda was diagnosed with a brain tumor and while going through treatment she continued skiing. Hedda maintained a strong connection with the ski community that she was close to through her entire life. As the condition became more difficult and she could not ski, she continued to go to the races to be with her friends and cheer them on, nothing could stop her from being present and cheering on her friends and siblings.
Hedda made incredible bonds within the community and met many of the USA ski team athletes such as Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin. The connection with these skiers continued through Hedda’s disease and she received almost daily messages from the USA ski team during the Seoul Olympics. The connection made with the USA ski team was exceptional and close and the family received condolences and messages from many of the USA ski racers.
A few weeks prior to her death on March 2, 2018, at age 15, Hedda skied with friends and family at Pico Mountain with help from Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports.
With the help from the NJSRA ski community Hedda’s parents, Camilla and Per Sivertsson, organized the Hedda Memorial Race. The 2nd Annual Hedda Memorial Race was held at Mountain Creek South Jan 11.
New Jersey racers, boys and girls, ages 6 to 19 came out early morning, on a bright and sunny day fitting for Hedda, to celebrate her life and her dedication to the many good works she supported during her short 15 years of life. The ski team families volunteered, supported and cheered on their racers and made the day even more special. As this is now an annual event, preparations are underway for next year.
Giselle Smisko, from the Avian Wildlife Center in Wantage brought birds in her care to Mountain Creek so the racers could see them. The Avian Wildlife Center is a wildlife rehabilitation center for birds that is funded through private donations. The goal of the sanctuary is to eventually return the injured birds to the wild. Hedda truly cared for both animals and people and the idea of the birds originated from the Birds of Prey World Cup inauguration that Hedda visited in 2013. Hedda always had her dogs Bella and Julia by her side and at age 7, Hedda and Julia visited long term care facilities to offer comfort to the elderly residents.
“The Sivertsson family reached out to the Avian Wildlife Center because of Hedda's love of animals," Smisko said. "We thought it would be a great opportunity to reach out to people who enjoy an outdoor sport but might not be aware of the wildlife living alongside the ski slopes. We brought a variety of native raptors, one of which (a red-tailed hawk, the symbol of Mt Creek) was found injured not far from Mountain Creek. It was wonderful of the family to encourage participants to donate to the work of our nonprofit organization caring for wild birds. They have established a lasting legacy for their daughter.”
Herra visited the local ski store McAfee Ski & Snowboard many times to get ready for the ski season. The family became dear friends with the owners Gary and Tracey that donated gift cards to all race participants.
Two Teaspoons Bakery & Cake Studio located in Hamburg, NJ provided the decorated and sweet-tasting cookies to all racers. Two Teaspoons became one of Hedda’s favorite places and she formed a bond with the owners, with which Hedda shared a common interest in baking decorated cakes.
Maria and Brittany Frick, owners of Two Teaspoons Bakery & Cake Studio said later, they were glad to be part of the day, saying, “They (Sivertsson family) are very special to us.”
For this year’s race a Cup Trophy was awarded to the ski team with the combined best results from the race. This Cup Trophy is now called the “Hedda Birds of Prey Cup.”
Hedda’s sister Elva is racing for NJSRA and Mountain Creek and competed in the event and her brother William has moved on to college in California and he maintains a strong friendship with his and Hedda’s friends from the NJSRA ski community. Hedda’s parents both support the NJSRA ski community with Camilla as a coach and
From Jackie Tal of Mountain Creek Resort,
“Hedda was such a special person to so many within the Mountain Creek Ski Racing community," Mountain Creek's Jackie Tal said. "Being able to help her family host this event at Mountain Creek is something we look forward to every year. We love being able to bring the community together at our resort and celebrate such a special life.”.