OTTAWA, ONT.: It was a successful season on the ski trails to remember for Fall River’s Emma Archibald.
Archibald capped off her 2023 cross country skiing season capturing three gold medals and an aggregate award (which also came with another gold medal) at the recently completed Nordiq Canada Ski Nationals in Thunder Bay, Ont.
The Lockview High alum, who is a member of the uOttawa Nordiq Ski team, won top honours in para distance; sprint freestyle; classic distance, and aggregate award in the Female Para Category which also came with a gold medal along with a Leader Bib customized for the Thunder Bay Nationals.
The Laker News spoke with Archibald from Ottawa on her golden performance and season last week.
“My proudest performance was my Skate sprint final,” said Archibald. “I was able to push hard on the course during my qualifier, then even harder in my final, shaving seven seconds off of my qualifier time.”
Archibald said her favourite race was the relay race.
“I was able to pair up with one of my competitors on Team Ontario, Maddie Mullins, as part of the exhibition relay race,” she said.
Mullins and Archibald were good sports and pushed each other hard at the 2023 Canada Games in PEI as well in events that The Laker News covered at Brookvale Nordic course.
When asked what it meant to win these golds at the national championship, Archibald said it made her happy to see the progress she’s made over the past couple of years.
“I’m excited going into this next summer training block in hopes of continuing to improve my fitness and technique for the upcoming season,” she said.
She prepared for the busy season of competition with OUA races; the Canada Games; and other para nordic ski competitions, such as the Nordiq Ski Nationals, with lots of year-round training.
“We’ve been training year-round for the winter racing season with big volume days and a variety of strength and intensity workouts,” said Archibald. “I felt prepared coming into this heavy three week block knowing the work had been done.”
Archibald, who’s home club is Scotia XC, said taking advantage of recovery days were key and making sure she kept up with proper food and liquid intakes.
“Canada Games was busier than most race weeks with all the extra excitement so it was nice to be back in Ottawa focusing on recovery and school before heading to Thunder Bay for Nationals,” she said.
She spoke about what it was like to have family and friends be able to watch from the sidelines and cheer her on, savouring in the two gold and one silver moments at the 2023 Canada Games.
“Canada Games was the first time some of my family in N.S. were able to watch me race and experience the sport I have grown to love,’ said Archibald. “It made the games even more special.”
While the season may be over, Archibald is already eager to get started on training for the 2024 season.
“Although I’m ready for some rest time, I’m even more eager to start my spring and summer training to help prepare a good base for the next season,” she said with a smile. “I still have a few more light and fun race weekends while the snow is still here.
“April should be a relaxed month before my training starts back up in May and it will allow me to focus on my final exams.”
With all the racing and competitions she has this past season, how was she able to balance the school work at the University of Ottawa where she’s studying Nursing and racing? It’s been a competition of another sort to do this.
“I definitely have a lot of lectures to get caught up in but as for assignments, papers, and quizzes, I was able to set time aside to complete them,” she explained. “I knew I would have a busy racing season so I was able to lighten my winter course load by taking electives that would be easy to keep up with while traveling.
“It was definitely a challenge at times, but I’m confident that I have enough time to get caught up with finals around the corner with the help of study groups and with less training on the go.”