Photo credit: Doug Stephen
Three of our cross country athletes represented Canada at the World Junior Championships held in Lahti, Finland from January 19 to 27. Anna Pryce, Tom Stephen and Xavier McKeever, the youngest member on the 18 member squad, share their reflections on their experience. Bravo Anna, Tom and Xavier! You’ve made us very proud.
From Anna Pryce:
The three weeks we got to experience in Europe racing, training and getting to know our fellow Team Canada teammates were incredible. It started with a training camp in Sjusjøen, Norway. From our little Norwegian cabins, we could see every sunset and sunrise which was beautiful. We were able to basically ski from our door which was also awesome. The ski trails were groomed every day and there were endless kilometres to ski on. Here, we trained in different ways ranging from long easy skis to time trials in Lillehammer. After eating lots of potatoes in Sjusjøen, we headed to Lahti. A week of racing with Team Canada at a world class facility was definitely a life changing experience, especially for my skiing career. Racing against some of the world’s best was a big learning experience and one that I will never forget. I’m very thankful for this experience.
From Tom Stephen:
World Juniors was an exciting experience for me. It changes my perspective on racing and training. During the pre-camp in Sjusjøen, I learned about different types of training methods and things that other teams do that our team does not. Learning these little things from other people will allow me to further my training and enhance my training quality. Having people like Devon Kershaw on the trip also helped. He shared some of his experience with us and this helped in the pre-camp and in Lahti. The racing in Lahti showed me the other countries and how tough the competition is on an international field. I will keep this experience in my mind through the rest of the racing season and through the training season to push myself to improve my results and skiing ability.
From Xavier McKeever:
The World Juniors trip started off well with a 10 day long pre-camp in Sjusjøen. Sjusjøen is a fantastic place to ski and if you ever get the chance, you should go. Along with us at the pre-camp was Devon Kershaw. Devon gave us a ton of good advice and was really great to have on the trip. After the 10 days in Norway, we travelled to Finland where we raced at the World Junior Championships. The atmosphere was great with a decent amount of spectators and lots of athletes, coaches, team staff, and volunteers doing their own respective jobs. The stadium in Lahti is amazing and has a very large seating area and ski jumps on one of the ends. In my opinion, this is one of the coolest stadiums that I have visited in my life. The courses in Lahti were quite hilly which suited a person like myself who trains in Canmore. The hilly courses made for a really interesting race and were a good test for all the athletes. Overall, the trip to Europe was great and we got to race on some really cool courses which are used in World Cups. I had a lot of fun exploring and seeing what its like in Scandinavia. I hope to be able to return again there soon.
Anna, Xavier, Tom – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Would be great if you could speak some more (live) to younger (and older) athletes about your experience and what you have learn… Haig camp, earluy season lake Louise ski camp…. I’m sure they’d benefit from your experience and would be extremely motivating to hear from you !!!