Assineau cross-country skiers Carlee Dick and Zaphira Ey competed at an Alberta Cup meet in Canmore on the Dec. 5 and 6 weekend. This is part of what the girls need to do to qualify for Team Alberta North for the Arctic Winter Games next March in Greenland. According to their coach Wendy Ey it was an even bigger event than they’d imagined.
“Wow, what an incredible experience!” says Ey. “To our overwhelming surprise, the (Canmore event) was not merely at the level of a provincial competition, but rather a national-caliber event. Our two Slave Lake athletes, who had never before entered any level of Nordic Ski Racing, were competing with Team NWT, Team Yukon, Team Quebec, Team Ontario, Team Manitoba, PEI, Saskatchewan, Revelstoke, Vernon, Thunder Bay, the very strong Canmore Nordic, and so on. The event itself was held to the same standards and race specifications as a World Cup!”
The girls skied well, but have one more such event (in Edmonton, Dec. 19 and 20) before they find out if they’ve achieved their goal.
Ey says the girls have received help from the Grande Prairie Wapiti Nordic club, as well as from various people at Canmore at a training camp early last month. With very little in the way of local training facilities (snow would help!) the two girls have been working hard and hope it pays off in a spot on Team Alberta North.
Ey is also hoping that news of their efforts and success will spark interest locally in the sport.