Red Deer cross-country skiing athlete Owen Pimm may not be going to the 2019 Canada Winter Games the way he wanted, but at least he’s going.
The 16-year-old found out in December he is the alternate for the Team Alberta cross-country skiing group competing in the national multi-sport event that kicks off Feb. 15th.
“It was really close in the points and I just happened to be the fifth fastest,” he said. “I gave it my all and at least I’m being recognized as the alternate.”
The final stage to qualify for the games took place in Vernon, B.C. at the 2018 Haywood NorAm/US Super Tour.
The Lindsay Thurber high school student finished 34th in the junior men’s 1200m sprint qualification race but placed second in the junior boys freestyle, finishing with a time of 13 minutes and eight seconds.
The qualifying races were tough, he said, because he was competing against older, more experienced athletes.
“I’ve been racing a lot in the under-20 category and definitely gained a lot of experience with the Canada Games Trials and also the Junior Trials,” he said. “I got a big chance to compete against the best junior teams in the country.”
He called the qualifying races good early season races, “It’s kind of a shame because you get that early season skiing in but you’re not completely at your best form.”
Pimm said placing 20th in the World Juniors Trials last February in Kelowna was a milestone and ‘eye-opening experience.’ He was able to see where he stands in terms of the competition.
“I’m not that far off,” he said. “I’m still far off from the best in the country but a lot less than I thought I would be.”
He feels like he has improved in the past year.
“Last year, some of the guys I would be competitive with, sometimes I beat them and sometimes they beat me,” he said. “Now, it’s more or less that I am going to beat them most of the time.”
He attributes that to training more over the summer than previous years after joining Foothills Nordic in Calgary, he said.
“They definitely have some of the best skiers in the country,” he said. “Being able to train with the best definitely helps to become the best.
“We did a lot of camps with long three-hour roller skis and really long bikes and long runs. A lot of long, hard work to really build up your base for the next season.”
Some goals include competing in the 2019 Canadian Ski Nationals in Ottawa in March and qualifying for the 2019 World Juniors, he said.