Barriere is the home town of an up and coming Nordic (cross country) skier.
Alex McDonald is 17 years old and attends school at Barriere Secondary school. Alex started cross country skiing when he was only four years old, getting his start to skiing in Barrriere with the North Thompson Recreation Society. From 2001 to 2006 Alex worked his way through Cross Country B.C.’s Skills Development Program at the Barriere ski club. Alex 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.
Alex trains year round to stay in shape for his cross country ski racing. In the spring and summer he keeps in shape by running, hiking, biking and roller skiing as well as doing core exercises and sprint with coaches in Kamloops. In the winter month Alex trains with his coaches at the Stake Lake and Sun Peaks ski trails twice a week, and also travel 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° degree freezing conditions at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre near Vernon. After one of the races was cancelled due to the frigid conditions, the next day Alex made the competition stand up and take notice by bringing in an amazing early season result of fourth place.. He followed that performance right after the Christmas break, 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 honours 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 where he says 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 of junior boys from the western provinces, where he placed fourth in the classic 10km race, a mere 10 seconds off the podium. Alex then went on to win a bronze medal in an exciting photo finish in the sprint races.
On Feb. 23, Alex competed in the Sun Peaks Holy Cow Loppet (a 24 km long classic race), where he took second place by competing in a category with 18-30 year olds .
This weekend, Feb 28-March 2, Alex is competing at the BC Championships in West Kelowna at the Telemark Nordic Club, it is a fun event that wraps up the provincial series.
Alex also has his level one 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, and now regularly helps out with the grade 8 ski lessons put on by the NTRS and Barriere Secondary School.
Alex is now busy preparing for the Nationals in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, (only a few weeks away) where he will be training and racing 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 this national level is a huge expense.
The NTRS are supporting Alex and his family for the big race in Newfoundland by making a donation to a fund for Alex, and we are hoping others in the community will get behind Alex’s commitment and support this promising young skier.
Research shows that the encouragement and support of friends, family, coach and community is a key factor in building confidence in an athlete, and it is this confidence that can lead to success in a high-pressure sporting event. We are very proud of Alex’s accomplishments and will continue to watch and support him as he takes on this next amazing challenge. Small towns can produce great athletes!
Donations of any amount can be made at Interior Savings in Barriere, to the chequing account of the North Thompson Recreation Society. If you wish, donation amounts of $20 or more can be issued a receipt …please state this on your deposit, along with your name and mailing address and our club treasurer will mail one to you.
We sincerely thank you for your support.
North Thompson Recreation Society Directors