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Paranordic skier Tanya Quesnel is World Cup bound this week

By: Randy Pascal – Playback

 | Dec 09, 2013 - 1:05 PM |
Paranordic skier Tanya Quesnel (left) heads to Canmore, Alta., this week for her first World Cup event.

Paranordic skier Tanya Quesnel (left) heads to Canmore, Alta., this week for her first World Cup event.

Tanya Quesnel has worked hard for the success she has enjoyed. Preparing for her first appearance in a para-nordic World Cup event later this week in Alberta, the Grade 12 student at École secondaire Catholique du Sacré-Coeur has come a long way since first taking up the sport some five years ago.

Small wonder she has no objections to receiving a little help. The international event in Canmore will see Quesnel unveil a brand new sit-ski, one that was constructed courtesy of Skyline Helicopter Technologies in Lively.

Skyline president Joe Natale and his crew have equipped the 17-year-old with a first-rate product, built for speed.

"Sit-skis are custom-made for each individual, because we all have different needs," Quesnel explained. "Joe had a lot of aviation aluminum that he could use, which is very light compared to what I had before.

“I find with this sit-ski, I can lean in a lot more and get a better pull. There's a lot more speed and it's much more effortless."

Considering the stakes, that's a good thing. Last March, Quesnel earned a silver medal and three bronze at para-nordic nationals.

"My success from last season really motivated me to keep training, to improve for this season," she said. "Then when I heard that I might have the opportunity to go to the World Cup, I started training even harder."

An earlier snowfall this year at least means Quesnel goes into the competition with her new sit-ski training tested, if not race tested.

"Last year, the snow was really late," she said. "This year, I was counting on getting snow early because I wanted to get time in to train on the new chair."

Chatting just a day before heading to Alberta for a brief pre-race training camp, Quesnel is a mix of emotions.

"I feel lots of things," she said. "I feel excited, I feel nervous, I feel anxious, but mostly excited to see the talent that is out there. Now, I'm racing for Canada and I get to see people that race for Russia and Sweden and all over the world, and to learn from them."

Over and above the improved equipment, Quesnel has focussed in training on breathing properly in competition and working extensively on her core strength. Once again, she tapped into some community generosity as local kinesiologist, Denise Maki, volunteered her time to help Quesnel move forward.

While she is scheduled to compete in just one World Cup race this season, taking advantage of a Canadian venue on the circuit, Quesnel will be busy with three more Ontario Cup events as well as nationals in the new year.

Hoping to crack the Paralympic roster in the future, she plans to return to Sacré-Coeur for one more year before heading to Laurentian University and a future, she hopes, in social work.

"The program that I really wanted was in Ottawa,” Quesnel admitted with a smile. “I'm not ready to leave Sudbury for a lot of reasons, but (mostly) for my skiing."

Randy Pascal is the founder of SudburySports.com and a contributing sports writer for Northern Life.

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