Another Cranbrook athlete is heading to the Youth Olympic Games in Norway.
Following in the footsteps of India Sherret, a local ski cross racer who went to the same event a few years ago, Zoe Chore recently notched the same achievement, qualifying for the latest edition of the same event in February.
Hosted at the former Olympic site in Lillehammer, Chore will be there with fellow Olympic hopefuls from around the world to compete in ski-cross and get a taste of the Olympic experience.
“I think it’s really cool and it’s great to see what the big stage looks like and what it’s like to experience the Olympics in a smaller forum. Also the pressure, just to get used to it more,” Chore said.
In addition to young athletes, there will Olympic ambassadors—either current or former Olympic athletes—mixing it up with the youth. In particular, Chore is looking forward to the opportunity to possibly meet or hear from Lindsay Vonn, a former downhill Olympic gold medallist and world champion ski racer.
Chore qualified for the YOG after dominating an event at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops a week ago, competing alongside fellow Cranbrookian Katie Clark.
“The original plan was to do three heats,” said Chore. “There were nine of us and within three heats you’re going to race almost everyone; mix it up to see everyone. After that, the top four would go into a final, and the winner of the final was going to go to Lillehammer.”
However, there was some interference from snow fall and delays from a few injuries, which translated into only two heats that Chore won. Based on that race data, Chore was chosen by Alpine Canada.
“I won both of the qualifying heats—the timed heats,” Chore said. “I was feeling pretty good, but at the same time, in a ski-cross race, anything can happen, so I was still nervous that someone could make the pass.”
At the top of the ski cross course, Chore and fellow athletes were joined by a legendary personality in Canadian ski racing, as Nancy Greene-Raine was present to encourage the athletes and give some pointers.
“She had some really cool tricks of staying warm on the hill, which is always good to have, and another thing she said that was really cool was what makes a good racer,” Chore said.
“She said fitness was really high up there and very important to be strong so you can save yourself.”
While Chore was competing alongside Clark, her coach, John Blair was also present, who—in addition to teaching the technical side of the sport—has helped Chore with the more intangible aspects.
“He’s more of an alpine coach, which correlates a lot with ski-cross, but he has so much passion for the sport and so much passion for skiing and so much enthusiasm and love for the sport, it just helps drive my passion,” Chore said.
Joining Chore as the ski-cross athlete representing Canada is Reece Howden, who hails for Chilliwack.
“We had 15 athletes trying out in Sun Peaks, BC for the two Canadian spots for athletes competing in ski cross at the YOG,” said Willy Raine, the Ski Cross Athletic Director of the selection process. “The skill level these two athletes demonstrated was very strong and Canada will be very well represented with Reece and Zoe.”