Canmore will send a gaggle of Olympians to the Winter Olympics, but three teenage skiers got a sneak peak at the ski venue thanks to an Alberta cultural exchange.
Canmore Nordic Ski Club athletes Maya Fish, Isobel Hendry and Sebastien Parent were among 10 nordic athletes selected to travel to Gangwon, South Korea as part of the Alberta Sport Connection Sport Exchange program.
For the past 10 days, Fish, Hendry and Parent have toured the country, and entered several provincial and national races. The highlight was racing at the Olympic venue, which will host the world’s best in February.
All three are accomplished ski racers, but before their flight, expressed excitement and apprehension about their first international ski tour.
“I’m pretty nervous about the racing over there, that’s for sure. Especially with the time changes and adjusting with the food and everything. But it will be a good experience,” Hendry said
After hearing stories of South Korea from biathlete Anna Sellers, Hendry decided to submit an application.
“Anna had done it and I thought it looked like a super cool opportunity. I thought I had no chance, but I applied anyway,” Hendry said.
Fish also said she didn’t expect to get selected for the program, but thought she had “nothing to lose.
“I think it’s awesome to race out of the country. I’ve never done that before. Especially right before the Olympics … It will be super cool to watch the Olympics on television and see where we raced,” Fish said.
The skiers were given lessons in South Korean etiquette and food in order to prepare them for the trip.
“The best part will be the culture. It’s so different. I’m excited to experience a new thing. Racing might be a bit hard with jet lag,” Parent said. “I am learning the customs and how to be polite.”
“When you shake someone’s hand, you have to grab a forearm, otherwise it doesn’t look official,” Hendry said.
The exchange concluded Tuesday (Dec. 19).