Imagine the level of performance needed to compete at the international level in cross-country skiing and biathlon. Now imagine competing blind or with other physical disabilities. And now imagine how it will be when Prince George hosts the 2019 World Para Nordic Championships in one year from now.
To mark “one year out,” the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club is joining with Engage Sport North, Tourism Prince George, and the City of Prince George on Saturday, February 17, to present free events that will inspire all ages and foster participation.
Paralympian and MLA Michelle Stilwell will speak in the Otway Nordic Centre lodge at 11 a.m., recounting her experiences that led to becoming a quadriplegic at 17 before later winning six gold medals in three Paralympic Games.
Stilwell will then try sit-skiing for the first time. Sit-skiing is one of the Para Nordic events and features a sled attached to regular cross-country skis. Sit-skis are propelled only by the poling action of the skier.
As part of the one-year out event, sit-skis and instruction will be available at Otway. Starting at 11:45 a.m., former BC Para Nordic coach Tony Chin will be demonstrating sit-skiing for anyone who would like to try it.
Also at 11:45, representatives of Engage Sport North will be teaching the basics of cross-country skiing instruction at an introductory level. Registration is available online: http://engagesportnorth.com/register
“The idea of this one-year out event is to start exposing Prince George residents to the amazing people who will be coming here in 2019 for the first world championships in our city’s history,” says Kevin Pettersen, chair of the local organizing committee. “We’re going to do that by having a decorated Canadian Paralympian tell her story and by giving local residents – whether they currently ski or not – the chance to get acquainted with one of the Para Nordic events: sit-skiing. All of the events are free and we encourage everyone to come out to Otway and give these sports a try.”
The free events are expected to end at 2 p.m.
The Prince George Para Nordic World Championships will run from February 15-24, 2019. Approximately 140 athletes from 20 countries are expected to compete.