Up-and-coming Nordic (cross country) skier Alex McDonald attends Barriere Secondary.
The 17-year-old started cross country skiing when he was only four years old, getting his start in Barriere with the North Thompson Recreation Society.
From 2001 to 2006 he worked his way through Cross Country B.C.’s Skills Development Program at Barriere Ski Club. He then went on to pursue cross-country ski racing with the Kamloops Overlander Club at Stake Lake, and now competes in races across the province.
McDonald trains year round to stay in shape. In the spring and summer he runs, hikes, bikes and roller-skis, as well as doing core exercises and sprints with coaches in Kamloops. In the winter, he trains at the Stake Lake and Sun Peaks ski trails twice a week, and also travels to races on the weekends.
Alex’s commitment, determination and hard work is paying off this year, with many personal best and podium finishes in races throughout B.C. and Alberta.
He started the ski season off at the NorAms races in minus -20° conditions at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre near Vernon. Alex made the competition stand up and take notice by bringing in an amazing early season result of fourth place.
Right after the Christmas break he followed that performance with a third place finish in a classic race at the BC Cup in Prince George.
Traveling for the first time to Rossland was worth the trip when this young athlete took first place at the Kootenay Cup.
A weeklong trip to Canmore, Alberta, in January for the World Junior U23 trials, and the final Olympic Winter Game trials (for the older athletes) gave Alex an incredible experience. He learned a great deal about the strategy of sprint racing on the World Cup course at Canmore Nordic Centre. After laying down the second best qualifying time in a classic sprint, he then went on to win the quarter final, came third in the tough semi -final, and ended up seventh overall,.
At the Western Canadian Championships in Prince George, Alex proved that he can indeed compete in a very strong field. He placed fourth in the classic 10 km race, a mere 10 seconds off the podium. Alex then won bronze in an exciting photo finish in the sprint races.
On Feb. 23, Alex competed in the Sun Peaks Holy Cow Loppet (a 24 km classic race), where he took second place in a category of 18-30 year olds.
This past weekend, Feb 28-March 2, Alex competed at the BC Championships in West Kelowna at the Telemark Nordic Club.
Alex also has his Level 1 ski coaching certification and when he isn’t away racing he loves to go out to the Barriere Forks Trails, where he got his start. He regularly helps out with the Grade 8 ski lessons put on by NTRS and Barriere Secondary School.
McDonald is now busy preparing for the Nationals in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, (only a few weeks away) where he will train and race over a two-week period.
Up to this point, Alex’s biggest sponsors have been his mom and dad, and as you can imagine, racing at the national level is a huge expense.
NTRS is supporting Alex and his family for the big race in Newfoundland. Club members hope others in the community will get behind this promising young skier.
Donations of any amount can be made at Interior Savings in Barriere, to the chequing account of the North Thompson Recreation Society. Donations of $20 or more can be issued a receipt (please ask on your deposit, along with your name and mailing address).