Dear Telemark board members and club members
Thank you so much for this opportunity, it was absolutely an amazing experience and I had so much fun! It was really cool to meet many of the athletes from different countries. I even made some new friends from pin trading. At first I thought that I wouldn’t be doing much of the pin trading at all during the trip, but then I really started to get into it and I got lots of cool pins. The highlight of this trip for me was the opening ceremonies; this was my favourite because they were so welcoming and excited to see us. The organizers made it seem so exciting and it really was. I can’t thank you guys enough for having this opportunity for my teammates and me. My races went very well, particularly the classic event. The skate sprint was challenging with a very competitive field of athletes. The relay was super fun because I was teamed up with an athlete from Iceland. This made the international feel for the games very real for me. Participating at the international children’s games really inspired me too keep going with my skiing and motivated me a lot more. So again, thank you so much!
Going to the International Children’s Winter Games in Lake Placid, was an amazing experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. From the moment i walked into the opening ceremony I was filled with awe at how amazing I felt. It was like the opening ceremonies at the Olympics.
It filled me with joy and I felt extremely lucky to be able to participate in such an amazing international event. While competing I met many interesting people from all around the world with whom i have remained in contact with. For example, I met two extremely nice girls from Frisco, Colorado and have chatted with them weekly on Snapchat. I also met a boy from Darmstadt, Germany and I am in contact with him as well. It surprised me that there is no snow where he lives and that he must rollerski most of the time for training. It made me feel extremely privileged to live in Kelowna where we have such ideal conditions. While meeting so many different people I learned so much more about their cultures and way of life. I also enjoyed the racing aspect. The course was very challenging, filled with steep uphills and technical descents. Racing against so many different competitors helped me see how far I’ve come in cross country skiing and made me want to continue racing in hope that there will be other amazing opportunities like this one. The mixed relay gave me the opportunity to work together with a boy from Ohio and it helped me learn how to work together with others that I don’t know that well.. Together we persevered and came 2nd out of many teams in the event. Going to the International Children’s Winter Games helped me to foster many new friendships and created many different learning opportunities. I am very grateful for the amazing opportunity that was given to me and am very thankful to my coaches, my parents, and Telemark Ski Club for their tremendous support.
International Children’s Winter Games (ICWG)
Lake Placid New York
Coaches Report – David Urness
It was a pleasure to accompany 5 youth from Telemark Nordic Club to attend the 2019 ICWG in Lake Placid New York. Three of our kids, Sophie Steinruck, Kaelin Urness and Nathan Achtem participated in the cross-country skiing events. This included a distance race of 3.5 km in the classic technique, Freestyle Sprint event (1.0 km) and a 1.75 km pairs relay to finish the competition. 2 members of our Biathlon team, Enzo Fershau and Timor McNern, also joined us and competed in the Biathlon competitions.
Lake placid is a special place in the sporting world, having hosted 2 Olympic games 1932 and again in 1980. The presence of sport and international competition are evident the moment you arrive, being surrounded by the well kept and utilized sport venues. In the town this included the outdoor Olympic speed skating oval, the place where Erik Heiden collected 5 gold medals. He broke all the previous world records there as well! An unprecedented feat and all outdoors unlike the modern venues in climate controlled arenas. The ice arenas are also nearby, and of course you can’t get far without hearing, seeing and feeling the lore surrounding the “miracle on ice” (USA team victory over Russia). Figure skating memories include Robin Cousins and Anett Potzsch for those so inclined! Further abroad is Whiteface mtn where skiing events were held and of course “the Pod” (Steve Podborski) took bronze in the downhill. I can’t move on without mentioning Ingmar Stenmark! Those were the days. On to the cross-country ski trails at Mount VanHoevenburg, the prominent ski jumping towers giving a definite Olympic feel. In the day, these events were dominated by Scandinavian countries, and particularly Russia and East Germany.
This brings me to our own Telemark kids and the cross-country/ biathlon venue prepared at the Olympic jumping complex. The start and finish zones as well a wax testing used the run outs for the massive ski jumps above while the demanding course wove up and around the complex. Inspiring to say the least. We started our training on the Monday at 8-10 degrees below zero conditions only to be met that evening with torrential rain followed by freeze thaw temperatures for race day. So training was on blue/green hardwax and competition abruptly shifted to klister. Skis proved to be good as Sophie Steinruck scored a bronze medal and Kaelin Urness took 8thplace in a field of 26 girls. Nathan Achtem placed 7thin his race only 34 seconds off the winning pace. The sprints the next day proved more challenging with a strong contingent of USA, Estonian, Slovenian and Swiss skiers. Sophie and Kaelin did OK with 9thand 12thplace finishes respectively. Nathan Achtem was poised for a result in the B final but had a tough fall near the start giving him an 8thplace ranking. The relays finished off the competition well with a more social and international feel. Kaelin and Nathan were paired with athletes from Iceland while Sophie teamed up with a Cleveland Ohio athlete and were able to take a silver podium spot! On the biathlon side Timor McNern put on an inspiring performance with Silver in the distance race, Bronze in the sprint competition and Gold in the relay. Enzo his teammate, placed 8th, 5thand 6threspectively.
I would like to thank Lorraine Freisen and Heather Schneider members of the Kelowna ICWG for their hard work making our attendance possible. I would also like to thank Ben Achtem for his help with transportation, waxing, coaching and overall partnership in the event. He is a marvelous ping pong player so watch out if he challenges you to a game! I thank John McNern and Rob Fershau of Telemark Biathlon for their support and camaraderie. Thanks also to the members and coaches of the hockey team that travelled and competed along side us. Lastly the support of the Telemark Nordic Club members and the board as well as the race team coaches and parents is, as always so much appreciated.