MARTOCK - Ski racers from Hants and Kings counties are making their presence known on the slopes throughout Atlantic Canada.
Martock Ski Race Club athletes have podiumed at multiple events this season, and the latest contest in Crabbe Mountain, N.B. was no exception.
Six Martock athletes recently participated in the Crabbe Mountain Invitational event that included a four-day speed camp and three days of racing.
Shane Sommer clinched two gold medals in U14 events at Crabbe, Super G and a Giant Slalom Race. The 13-year-old is often counted among the top contenders in his competitive events.
“This year has definitely been a stronger year. I’ve concentrated a lot more on the sport itself. I’ve become stronger… and I’ve been on snow a lot more this season already,” he said, adding that biking in the summer months has helped with his overall fitness.
Shane enjoys the rush that comes with ski racing, and the social aspect of the sport. Ending a race day with a podium placement is, of course, an added bonus.
“It’s definitely a good feeling to know that your work has paid off. It’s a relief because you’ve worked really hard and it’s the final results when you see that it’s really paying off,” he said.
The Port Williams resident is looking forward to going head to head with some stiff competition at a Can-Am competition in Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine later this season.
“I really enjoy the speed and just getting to know people from other places.”
Fellow Martock racer Mitchell Larkin, 13, returned home from the recent event New Brunswick with a full set of medals. The Windsor resident won gold and silver in Giant Slalom, twice placing within the Top 15 racers in the U14-18 category, and bronze in Super G.
“The experience at Crabbe speed week every year is a gathering of all of the best racers and coaches in Atlantic Canada and some from beyond. It is the perfect place to spend the only week that we train Super G, and the mix of coaches from all the different hills provides a great amount of people to help you… progress in your skiing.”
Larkin is training with his sights set on with standing out at high-level competitions. He hopes to represent Nova Scotia in the Canada Games next year.
Thirteen-year-old Canning resident Carmen Oulton pushed hard to capture fourth and fifth place finishes in Super G competitions at Crabbe Mountain, and had two top ten Giant Slalom placings in U14 races.
“I really enjoyed speed camp and racing at Crabbe Mountain… lots of laughs with friends and we had some excellent course conditions and training,” she said.
Salena Macdonald faced her fears at the training camp in New Brunswick, and braved her first Super G event.
“I was quite afraid of it at the start and I didn’t do it last year… so this year… I wanted to conquer my fear of that,” she said, noting that she hopes to record some podium finishes this season.
She likes that racing gives her an opportunity to develop independently, and as part of a team.
“It’s a huge team event until you have that one minute of you going down the course.”
Lucy Goddard of Grand Pre secured a Top 15 placement in a U14 Super G event, and 17-year-old 2015 Canada Winter Games athlete Nelson Kruszewski attended the training sessions at Crabbe Mountain as the most experienced athlete from Martock.
Thom Oulton, a coach with the Martock Ski Race Club, is pleased with the continual progress he’s seeing from the young athletes.
“Martock has got a number of racers that are top in the Atlantic Cup division, some real standouts,” he said.
“It’s a real fun group. As a group of coaches we like try and raise good, young adults first and, if we happen to raise good racers, then that’s a bonus.”
None of it would be possible without Ski Martock, Oulton stressed.
“We get such great support from the owners of Martock, Jim and Heather Boylan. They provide a lot of lane space for free for our athletes to train and that’s really what you can build good racers from. It’s really appreciated.”