Angela Cronhelm hopes she has her own provincial cross-country team ski suit sooner rather than later.
The 13-year-old nordic skier from St. Anthony, who has called the Aurora Nordic Ski Club a second home during the winter months, is one of the budding skiers from the province who earned a temporary spot on the Newfoundland and Labrador cross-country team for the 2014 Haywood Ski Nationals unfolding this week at Blow Me Down Trails in Corner Brook.
Cronhelm, who is competing in the juvenile girls division in her national nordic ski debut, decided to commit to a week in Corner Brook after being invited to spend it at the home of her skiing buddy and provincial team hopeful Jamie Silken Merrigan.
“They offered to take me in and when I got there they had a pair of provincial ski tights for me,” Cronhelm said of her arrival earlier this week.
All members of the provincial nordic ski club have been decked out in provincial team outfits for the national showcase of nordic skiing talent in Canada. It’s a big deal for Cronhelm to be hanging out with provincial ski team members and getting to know some of the different things other skiers do to get the upper hand on the trails.
Her goal is to earn a spot on the provincial team so she’s just going to enjoy the week of racing and give it her best shot.
“People who are on the team get them so ...they’re special to me because I’m not on the team yet, so I hope it means I’m getting on there soon,” she said.
Cronhelm spends every day she can perfecting her stride to be among the elite female skiers in her province. She earned a bronze medal in both the freestyle and classic races in the Midget girls division at the provincial championships in Plum Point a while back and also claimed gold as a member of the Western female relay team at the 2014 Winter Games in Clarenville where she had individual performances of fourth in classic and fifth in free technique in her age group.
Making the team is foremost on her mind so she’s hoping she turns the right heads this weekend in Corner Brook.
“I’d be pretty happy,” she said. “I usually do a ski mostly every day when I can.”
Already three races under her belt, Cronhelm has been somewhat overwhelmed with the challenge of competing against so many racers at one time, let alone against the best the country has to offer.
“I’m not really used to skiing with so many skiers so it’s been harder,” she said. “It’s been a different experience for me because usually when I go to races theres’ not as many people really in the lodge and in my ski category. I’m used to skiing with maybe six or seven people and now there’s about 60.”
It’s not like she was expected to pull off an upset or anything, but she takes pride in knowing she put it all on the line in her races.
“I feel happy with my races so far,” she said, quickly pointing out she’s learning lots from rubbing shoulders with so many great skiers hanging around the ski park all week.
Cronhelm will wrap up her first nationals with a 7.5-km juvenile girls classic race Saturday at Blow Me Down Trails. This race is the one she has looked forward to most because her parents Pamela and Anthony, as well as her brother Alex, will be there to watch her strut her stuff.
Yes it will be nice to have them here,” she said. “I’m lucky because some of the other people when they come here they go with the coaches and their parents aren’t always there to watch them. Most of the time they get to watch me race.”
This race may be a little more special for her family. According to the young woman, her family has always been supportive in her desire to be one of the best nordic skiers in her province.
It’s a safe bet Cronhelm will eventually reach her destination.