Cross-Country Skier Pat Pearce
Story by Dona Sturmanis
“I have a work ethic and I train hard.”
The winner of three gold medals at the 2014 World Masters Cross Country Ski Championships in Pillerseetal, Austria is Vernon’s 60-year-old Pat Pearce. The first gold was for a classic 10-km; the second a 15-km two days later, and the final, a 30-km in which Pat defeated the next finisher by almost a full 14 minutes.
“The Gold Medals in Pillerseetal, Austria felt like the icing on the cake,” says Pat. “My training had gone well for this event; I came to Europe feeling healthy with no injuries, and was supported by a team of Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre athletes and waxers. The situation was one that I planned for and then managed to execute which can be difficult to do. I probably enjoy the training journey as much as the racing but it feels good when a year long program comes together and delivers the results.”
The retired educator also happened to medal in all her races when the 2011 World Cup was held at Sovereign Lake—three golds and a silver in the team relay event. “This was particularly special because it was my first Masters event and I wasn’t sure how I would stack up against my competitors.”
It was Pat’s husband Dave who persuaded her to cross-country ski in Smithers over three decades ago. She’s been competing since her early 30s. “My husband and I raised our family in Smithers and we had local races and loppets every year that we participated in. We also skied the big Loppet at 100 Mile House many times throughout the 80s.”
Pat’s competed in the Edmonton 52 km cross-country “Birkie” and holds the record for the fastest female time carrying a five kilogram pack over the distance.
She has skied in many places in Canada and Europe, but her all-time favourite is Sovereign Lake. “The snow conditions are predictable which makes skiing more about technique and a skiers conditioning than about trying to find wax that will work.”
One of the characteristics Pat says that helps her be successful is her work ethic. “I train hard. I am motivated to put the time in and make sure workouts deliver the results I am after. I’m also quite a competitive person which helps me through the tough spots in a race situation.”