Nordic Ski Racing: It's THRILLING!

Author: Katie Spurrell

Thump-thump-thump.  Your heart is pounding and you can hear the sound of every breath you take.  You see the other racers lined up next to you. 

It’s race day! You are at the start line, and you’re feeling both nervous and excited. You’re waiting for the start buzzer; the timer starts counting down– Beep! And you are off; all your nervousness is gone.

Katie on the start line at the 2019 NL Cup 4 races in Gander at Airport Nordic.

You start the race by heading out of the stadium and into the trail; you hear your family, friends, and coaches cheering you on!  You see your teammates and friends beside you. You’re both tired, but tell each other you’re doing great! With every stride your muscles yell for you to stop . . . but you keep going.

Katie racing for the finish line in the stadium at the 2019 NL Cup 4 races in Gander at Airport Nordic.

You tuck on the down hills, going as fast as you can. You lose your balance around a turn but manage to stay upright. You are skiing as fast as you can.  You’re now nearing the end of the race. You start to hear the cheering of the crowd as you enter the stadium. They’re screaming for you to ski hard to the finish line, you don’t leave any energy as you sprint to the finish. You cross the line and fall to the ground from tiredness, but with a big smile on your face. Your family and friends come to take off your poles and skis and get you some oranges and warm Gatorade.  You feel awesome!  

This is what it feels like to do a cross country ski race. I’ve been racing since I was six and have loved every single one. Nothing is better than the sound of the crowd cheering, the wind in your face and the feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finish line!  It’s invigorating.

Katie is also a Jackrabbit assistant. She loves sharing her passion for skiing with young skiers. Here she is giving out a medal at the annual Cookie Medal Race at Clarenville Nordic in 2019.

There are many amazing things about racing like meeting new friends, visiting different places and ski clubs, staying in hotels with your teammates, and testing the race trails the day before the race! 

Race day is very important and challenging but all the hard work happens long before the competition!  Every Friday and Saturday our team gets together to train. We learn better technique, do speed work, turning drills, and intervals. After lots of intense practice we go back to the chalet and have some tasty food!  Race team practice is always very fun! We do lots of cool things like playing ski games, having boil ups at the huts, skiing in the dark with headlamps, and so much more! Being part of the race team is extremely fun and I definitely encourage any young skier to join!

Katie and her 2020 Clarenville Nordic Ski Team
(with parents of ski team members who are also trying racing in 2020).
L-R: Jocelyn Coates, Jillian Coates, Katie Spurrell, Leah Dalton, Hannah Dalton, Rachel Dalton, Mark Spurrell, Isaiah Dalton, and her dad Michael Spurrell. Missing from Team Photo: Madelyn Munroe, Charlie Cote, and Coach Trevor Coates.

If you are interested in racing but have been too nervous to try, I would definitely encourage you to do it.  Regardless of your skill level or age you will be sure to have a great time. So go wax your skis and sign up!

By: Katie Spurrell (Grade 7 @ Clarenville Middle School)

Clarenville Nordic Ski Club Race Team Member

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