• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Western Para-Nordic training camp experience (by Emily Suchy)

      December 15, 2011

      Three weeks ago Debbie Koerber and I went to Canmore for the Western Para-Nordic training camp. We got to meet Robin McKeever, Head Coach of the Para-Nordic National Ski Team, six time Paralympian sit skier Colette Bourgonje, the BC Provincial Sport Advisor for Para-Nordic Tony Chin and a whole bunch of other really important people. It was so touching: all these people were interested in helping me and thought I have potential… a lot of pressure for success! I definitely learned a lot. 

      On the way to Canmore, Debbie and I were talking about how we have NO knowledge about sit skiing whatsoever. Questions like "What ski do we get?", "Are the techniques we are practicing good?","Are all the people going to be really experienced?", "How will I get up the hills?" and most of all "How do I get DOWN the hills without crashing?!" hovered in the air. But we returned with reassured, information-overflowing heads.

      The majority of the time was spent trying a variety of sit skis. I sat in one, went up and down the hill, and then did it again in a different ski. This time was well spent though… every ski is designed for a certain disability, and every disability is just a little different. Every day was filled with the best, and most up to date training information and techniques. And every day I left trying to remember everything I learned. The quote of the weekend would have to be something like "Well, Robin McKeever said…" or just all the little remarks like "Too bad you have feeling in your legs" or "Too bad your legs weigh so much… that adds an extra 30 pounds!" or "Well, you have abs so we might as well use them!"… Debbie and I laughed over those. But they weren't kidding… they were completely serious and strategic about it. One day we ran into a double leg amputee. The coaches got all excited, already trying to assess the percentage he would get off his time in a race.

      Just last weekend we went to Silver Star to do a qualifying time trial for the BC Winter Games. The time I had to beat was 18 minutes for a 3km course. I finished in 16:39 minutes so I'll be heading back at the end of February for the BC Winter Games! In the future I think it would be super cool to compete Nationally, but that's a lot of work away. I am so thankful for (and frankly- surprised by) all the interest and support people are showing. I think that's part of the reason why I'm even considering possibly competing Nationally in the future. Everyone that I've met in the sport so far has been really inspiring and helpful. It's such an amazing new opportunity for me.