Joy Fera went to Stoneham, Que., for the Canadian Alpine Masters Championships earlier this month not entirely knowing what to expect.
From that, though, she emerged with two super-G bronze medals, a giant slalom silver and a slalom gold.
"I was just getting warmed up," Fera said of her gradually inclining results.
For her strong showing, Fera also took the combined title for the 65 to 69 age category as well as the women's Champion of Champions award with all age divisions considered.
"I just wanted to do my best against the clock. I really didn't know the competitors in my group," she said. "I really wanted to support the national championships in case they're discontinued some year."
Fera got revved up for nationals by competing in the Kokanee Valley Race Series, where she finished second overall in the women's 60 to 69 age division after the final race on March 23.
"It makes me get out to ski and make the effort to go through some gates," she said.
It's been quite a varied athletic road for Fera, who has competed at a high level in both summer and winter sports.
Fera raced as a teen growing up in Kimberley before giving it up to focus on high-school sports, eventually spending five years with the national rowing team and representing Canada at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, and would have been on track to attend in 1980 if Canada had not boycotted those Games after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
"Then along came two kids and my husband coached our daughters in ice hockey," noted Fera, who followed suit with the pucks, representing B.C. at the national championships in Edmonton in 1984.
After the birth of her second daughter in 1986, Fera saw an opportunity to pick up the poles after a decade and a half away, taking full advantage of it.
"My sister was instructing in Vernon at the time and she heard of a team looking for a woman for their Over the Hill Downhill race. I ended up taking my 15-year-old skis to a sport shop to see if they could look them over and they said 'Lady, we won't touch these skis,'" she recalled.
Fera then got back into skiing, expressing her gratitude to Dave Murray and others for helping to establish the masters level of ski racing in the late 1980s.
After years of team sports, Fera appreciated the return to individual events, especially one in a fairly different venue.
"Gravity might pull you down the hill a little — there's not a lot of gravity to pull you forward in rowing — but you might not be happy with your time down the ski hill even if gravity does help," she said. "It was really fun to get back at it."
In the Kokanee Valley Race Series, the division champions were: males Luca Mai (19 to 29); Corey Boux (30 to 39); John Rutledge (40 to 49); John Muzzillo (50 to 59); Paul Psutka (60 to 69); Butch White (70 to 79); Dave Trussler (80 to 89); Raymond Bryant (snowboard); and Hugh Berwick (telemark); as well as women Hannah McIntyre (19 to 29); Lenka Vancurova (30 to 39); Corinne Stoltz (40 to 49); Sanae Tanaka (50 to 59); Janine Linder-Joris (60 to 69) and Grace Oaks (70-plus).