By Andrew Mitchell
The cross-country Canadian Championships took place last weekend at Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, with the field including everyone from national team skiers to members of the Para-Nordic team, and junior provincial teams. Stiff winds and snow resulted in some mid-winter conditions for racers, but otherwise all of the events took place as scheduled.
Locally, Whistler was represented by Tyler Mosher, who skis for the Para-Nordic development team, and Pemberton’s Lindsay Los and Sydney Van Loon.
In the opening Team Sprint event, Lindsay Los and Monika Stoeger represented Carleton University to finish fifth.
In the women’s 5 km Free, Lindsay Los and Sydney Van Loon, representing Spud Valley Nordics and Whistler Nordics, were 24 th and 26 th respectively out of a field 30 racers.
In the Medium Distance races, Tyler Mosher was first in the ParaNord Stand Men’s 15 km Classic, edging out visually impaired skiers Jerry King and Alexei Novikov.
In the Junior A Women 10 km Classic, Lindsay Los was 29 th , while Sydney Van Loon was a DNF.
In the Sprint Finals on a 1.2 km course, Van Loon was 26 th and Los 29 th .
Mosher again placed first in a 0.8 km classic race.
In the long distance event, Lindsay Los was 23 rd in the 15 km Free, Mass Start race.
For Mosher, who was partially paralyzed below the waste in a snowboarding accident, his standings were less important than his time.
“For me, this means I had two great races,” he said. “It also says that I’m fast enough (for international competition), which is what they will be looking at for the development team.”
Mosher hopes to compete at home in the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, and has made a lot of progress in the last few years in international competition. Still, he is in a tough category given the nature of his disability, and knows he has a lot of work to do for the next three years.
This week he met with a nutritionist to discuss ways to lose weight and promote leaner muscle mass. Years of rugby and landscaping have left Mosher with a build more like a rugby player than a cross-country skier — good for adaptive snowboarding, Mosher’s other sport, but too slow for Nordic events like cross-country skiing and biathlon.
He’s also in the process of putting together an aggressive training program for the summer.
“Winter races are won by summer training,” he said. “Now we’re getting closer to 2010 it’s time to start training for it. There are goals on the way, and you know when the events are, but everything should be working up to 2010.”
As for adaptive snowboarding, it will not be included in the 2010 schedule but there’s still a chance it could be featured as a demonstration sport. The first ever adaptive NorAm snowboard race was held last spring, and the event is a growing part of the U.S. Snowboard Association championships, where Mosher is the reigning giant slalom, parallel giant slalom and snowboardcross champion.
If snowboarding isn’t adopted as a demonstration sport, Mosher hopes that it will be included in the Games in some way — possibly with snowboarders forerunning for alpine skiing events.
“It’s already part of the mandate of the CSF to include adaptive snowboarding and we’re making great progress there,” he said. “We’re showing that disabled snowboarding in Canada exists, and that it’s pretty awesome as far as I’m concerned.”
The national cross-country championships will take place in Whistler next winter, using the new Whistler Nordic Centre in the Callaghan Valley.