And that’s a wrap! It’s the new year for those whose world revolves around the sport of cross-country skiing- a time to reflect on the good, the bad, the past and the future. This ski season has been a rollercoaster of emotions- the craziest ride I have ever had the chance to embark on. The ups where enough to make me smile for days and the downs were heart wrenching. The amount of emotion I have felt is not surprising considering the hectic racing schedule of the season. I spent a total of 117 days on the road since I left for the early season NorAms at the end of November.

I am so lucky to have been provided with so many opportunities this season. I realize that in the past, getting World Cup starts has been extremely difficult and so I am grateful to have had the chance to race both the B tour and the Canada Ski Tour.  As I chased the infamous World Cup points (top 30), I tried to get the most out of each race and observe and learn from the best.  
Excited about racing a World Cup in Gatineau! Photo Creds: Evan Kealey

I have always been told that patience is a virtue. I am trying to be patient.  I want to take my development as a skier one step at a time. I think that too many people try and rush into racing at the top and end up getting discouraged, lose sight of the reason they ski in the first place, and eventually burn out. Here in Canada, we don’t have the depth of competition that they have in Europe so we can’t afford to lose anyone. I think it is important for people to know what is best for their development. World Cup starts are great but for someone like me I see as much, if not more value in racing Scandinavian Cups, OPA cups or even American Super Tours. Something I have learned this year is that self-confidence plays a huge role in my performance.  When I race at a level where I feel more competitive, I am more motivated, I gain more confidence and then I race faster. Simple enough!
Photo creds: Doug Ranahan

With all these racing and training opportunities came the chance to get to know many new people. All the great times we had together are a source of motivation for me.  I want to thank you all for the great memories, whether it was when we challenged each other to mini-put in Quebec, to all the rollerski intensities in the heat, to the many pizza making parties, to simply racing each other on the NorAm or on the World Cup, to guitar jamming sessions or to just celebrating our accomplishments together, these all contributed to a great season! I am proud of everything we have accomplished this year. Our women’s team has come a long way; we finally entered a woman’s relay team on the World Cup and two of our girls scored their first World Cup points! All I can say is that the best is yet to come!
I raced both the Club and University team sprints, Camille Hamm and I won gold for Lakeahead. Photo creds: Jenn Jackson
After finishing the 30km
With the Nakkertok ladies after the team sprints
The entire Canada Tour team
With the girls at B tour
Of all the places I skied and raced this past season, here are my top 4 :

1.       City sprinting on home soil in Gatineau. Most skiers can only dream of ever having the opportunity to race a World Cup at home. The cheering was absolutely insane. It was amazing and inspiring to see so many people, especially from Nakkertok come out and cheer me and the rest of Team Canada on.

Photo creds: Nicholas Place
The day before the sprint in Gatineau

2.       Racing in Montreal with sky scrapers as a backdrop.It was a unique experience. Mother nature threw us snow and wind and we dealt with it the best we could. Although there were some complaints, notably from World Cup skier Martin Sundby, I personally loved the challenge of the course.
Racing in Montreal

3.        Skiing in the European Dolomites Mountains. Although the body felt heavy and I did not race as well as I would have liked to during the European B tour, skiing in the beautiful Dolomites made up for that. The skiing in Toblach was mind blowing, especially considering the very limited amount of natural snow. They had more than 30km of groomed trail with man-made snow.

4.        Returning to the Yukon 6 years after my first Nationals. Last time I was in the Yukon I was experiencing my first ever high level of racing and I remember leaving so excited and motivated for the season to come. My experience this time was similar, after so many ups and downs it felt amazing to find my consistency again. It finished 3rd aggregate Open, 2nd aggregate U23 and 1st CCUNC (university).  Nakkertok also won the club banner for the 7th year in a row, yay! Take a look at this article in the Ottawa Citizen:
The banner signed and ready to go up in the Nakketok Club House!!

10km Skate Podium

I am now back to living the student life as I study for my exams. Already one down, 2 more to go! After my exams, I will be heading out West for a little vacation in Tofino and to spend some time with friends and my 3 siblings. Can’t wait! Thanks to everyone for the great season!

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