Ski races something to brag about
Cross-country Priddis area skier finishes in top 10 at Alberta Youth championships
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 06:00 am
Youths were hitting the trails in Bragg Creek earlier this month, but not many of them hit the cross-country ski runs harder than a 12-year-old from Priddis.
Sophie Greer, a student at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, finished in the top 10 at both the classic and skating race at the 2013 Alberta Youth Cross-country Championships at the West Bragg Creek Trails held March 2-3.
Classic skiing is the striding on cut trails, while skating has the skiers skidaddling around the course with their skis in a V-shape. Often the snow is pebbled to make for a quick track. Both races were 2.5km long.
“Generally, I prefer classic, but it all depends on conditions,” said Greer, who is a member of the Foothills Nordic Ski Club out of Calgary. “If it is snowing classic is better, especially if I have the right wax.”
Greer got her wish for snow in the classic race on March 3 as the Bragg Creek area was pelted with the snowstorm that hit southern Alberta.
She finished eighth in the classic race completing the 2.5 km course in 14:50.
“I was really tired because there are a lot of hills,” she said.
Greer was helped out by her mother, Nancy Richard, who was one of the parents who helped wax more than 30 sets of skis.
Greer finished seventh in the skating on March 2.
“It looks really hard, but once you get the hang of it is easy and a lot of fun,” Greer said.
She uses a skating ski which is shorter and a glide is used rather than a wax.
It was the second year for the youth championships at Bragg Creek. The races are a joint venture of the XCBragg Creek Club and the Canmore Nordic ski clubs.
“We had 148 kids that participated and this is the largest event of its kind in Alberta,” said organizer Ray Strum, a coach with the Canmore club who previously lived in Bragg Creek.
The skiers were born in the years between 1999-2002.
“The year older of this age group is when kids are eligible to go to national events,” Strum said. “We wanted to create a club-based event which is prior to the kids going to nationals.
“It’s kind of a stepping stone to nationals.”
The participants, like Greer, are some of the best young skiers Alberta has to offer.
“This event really does bring together the best skiers in Alberta,” said Strum.
The skiers traveling the farthest were from clubs in Regina and Yellowknife. There were also clubs from closer to home including Athabasca, Camrose and St. Albert.
Strum said there is a strong chance he will be adding another group of youths next year.
“I talked to the president of the Okotoks club (Crystal Ridge Nordic Ski Club), Richard Vervoort, and he told me he would be interested in having some of its kids in the race next year,” Strum said.
It’s also an event that helps establish friendships among the competitors.
“This happens over two days and the kids stay at Camp Kiwanis, so food and accommodations are all provided for,” Strum sad. “That makes it a really special event. “It is like a camp rather than just a race that is over a day. They are able to make friends with other clubs.”
For information about the Bragg Creek Ski Club go to www.xcbraggcreek.ca
For information about the Crystal Ridge Nordic Ski Club go to www.okotoksxc.wordpress.com.