CANMORE, ALTA.: Before the holidays, one Fall River cross country skier and a coach attended a development camp in western Canada.
Emma Archibald accepted an invitation to Nordiq Canada’s annual para-nordic development camp; held at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, in Canmore, Alberta, from Nov. 20-25. Skiers from across Canada were in attendance, including club and national team athletes.
Two days of time trials also included participation by national team athletes from Great Britain, United States, and Japan.
The camp offered athletes one-to-one coaching from provincial and national-level ski coaches. Nova Scotia provincial coach, Lila Roy from the Stewiacke area, also attended.
This was Archibald’s second year participating in the national camp.
“It was just an amazing start to the season, an amazing opportunity,” said Archibald. “The first couple of days it was the training camp. It was good to be back.”
The Lockview High alum said the first time she went she had been on skis, so she was just trying to stand up.
“This time, having a bit of background and being on the skis, I was able to take in more information and do more with it,” she said. “The last time I was just getting used to the skis, but this time I could make tweaks, which was really good.
“I also felt more prepared going into the time trial.”
She explained that Monday and Tuesday, Lilla and she did some long skis and explored.
“On Wednesday there was a classic time trial, 5 km. On Thursday, there was a skate time trial, which was 7.5 km. Those went really well,” said Archibald.
“It was just also so cool to see the national para-nordic skiers, like Natalie Wilkie and Mark Arendz. It was insane just watching them ski – inspiring seeing them and how fast they go; they are great athletes.”
There was also an athlete from Japan who is a World Champion, and he was a no pole skier.
“It was so cool seeing him on the course, seeing his technique and trying to mimic it. That was a really, really, cool experience,” said Archibald. “It was a great experience to compete, but I also loved just watching them and taking in their technique.”
“The program was mostly one-to-one with a couple of coaches, for half-an-hour to an hour. I was with the BC coach who would work with me on technique – we would go for little skis, maybe some sprints, but it wasn’t necessarily an assigned work-out. It was a lot of technique and video coaching.
“Graham and Kate Boyd [high performance director, para-nordic] would take videos, so that you’re able to see what you look like doing that technique. There was another coach trainer who had a lot of insight.
“Lilla provided consistent coaching throughout the camp, while the other coaches rotated among all the athletes. We also went on some easy skis with athletes from Ontario and BC, so that was fun.
“With COVID, it was pretty strict, so we couldn’t mingle too much afterwards, athletes were working mostly individually with the coaches.”
There wasn’t a ton of snow in Canmore, yet. They had a 2.5 km loop that had perfect conditions. There was a good diversity between uphill and downhill sections, added Archibald.
What does the future hold for Archibald, a University of Ottawa Gee Gee student, and Nordic Ski team member?
“I’m hoping to get out to some bigger races and keep improving. I’m definitely loving the sport.”
She has here eyes on the 2023 Canada Games and maybe the Paralympics in four years.
“Getting the base of loving the sport and loving the training [is very important], because when you get to higher levels that’s one of the most important things,” said Archibald. “This year I’m going to focus on getting some racing experience in and doing some of the bigger events.
“After this weekend at the camp, just seeing everyone, it’s motivation to keep moving forward. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes.”
She hopes to do many races this winter season.
“I’m also looking at possibly doing nationals at Whistler, but that would be if I could get internationally classified,” she said.
For the full story, please see it on the Cross Country N.S. website at: https://crosscountryns.ca/2021/12/17/nc-development-camp/