Micheline Picard’s Interview

micheline picard

Where are you originally from? And how many children and grandchildren do you have?

Micheline with Sacha
Micheline with daughter Sacha

I was born in Hull (now called Gatineau), Québec. Once married, I moved around quite a bit: Québec to Ontario and then west to Edmonton in 1970 with four daughters under 6 years old. I added a 5th daughter in 1986 and my first grandson was born in 1989. In 1998, we moved to Halifax and six years later we headed to the Middle East. In the meantime, seven more grandchildren came along, with our latest granddaughter born this in July.

What brought you to Fernie?

After more than six years in Qatar it was time for us to retire. Our daughter Annie and her family were living in Fernie. Since all the children and grandchildren where mostly out West, we thought Fernie would be a nice place to live and visit all the family members. We also liked the ability to join the FNS family and help any way we could.

When did you start cross country skiing?

I did some cross-country skiing in Jasper, Banff and Kananaskis while living in Edmonton. When we moved to Fernie in 2011, Annie’s family was very involved in the Fernie Nordic Society. Our three grandchildren participated in the Skill Development Program, and later on were on the Race Team. Once we moved to Fernie, I took the beginner coaching courses (on-snow and the dry land) and did assist/sub for some ski lessons. We also participated in the Teck ski races throughout the Kootenays to help the Race Team and to earn points for the Kootenay Cup, which we won 4 times!

What do you love about cross country skiing?

I love the idea that cross-country skiing is the best exercise to keep you in shape. I love the peacefulness that comes with that and love that this is a family sport. This is something both my husband and I love to do together!

Do you prefer classic, skate or both styles of Nordic skiing and why?

Micheline on skate skis
on skate skis

I do enjoy both styles of skiing and I’m very grateful that we have the choice of a more demanding terrain as well as a flatter course. The golf course offers that last option for all of us older people who are trying to improve our skate ski skills. But don’t get me wrong, I love the challenge of the hills at the Elk Valley Nordic Centre. That’s where I practice my classic ski techniques or just go for a leisure ski.

Aside from Nordic skiing, what other hobbies/passions do you enjoy?

Up until now I have been an avid gardener (both vegetable and flower). However, now I want to be on the road with our new RV named “La Belle Carmen”! It allows me to wallow in my other passion: knitting! My husband enjoys driving “La Carmen” while I knit to my heart’s content! The RV gives us the freedom to visit our families down east and all the way to Vancouver Island. I also enjoy reading fiction, biographies, anything knitting and listening to knitting podcasts.

What drew you to becoming involved with the FNS as a Director?

I was involved with the membership, one way or another, since our move to Fernie. I helped Annie laminating the cards along with the distribution. When the club moved to plastic cards, I also helped to print them. Once Annie moved away, Sam Sedlowsky took over this responsibility, but I continued helping until Sam stepped down in 2019. At that time, I officially became a member of the board as I took on the director hat.

Now, I’m grateful for Laurie who came out and volunteered to take on this position. 

Who is your favourite Director? … Trick question 😉

Every member of the board is a special, hard-working person! Of course, I do have a penchant for our Treasurer/webmaster/helper wherever he is needed … who happens to be my dear husband.

What will you miss the most about your Membership Director role?

I will miss being on the board. I loved sharing all my ideas, meeting and greeting our members by their name. I also loved chatting with those who need help entering information in Zone4, especially when I recognized I could speak French with them! A definite bonus!

Even though I’m stepping away from my role of Director of Membership, I’m still involved with the newsletter. I do enjoy sharing my ideas with our newsletter volunteers and with the help of my subcommittee we are always on the lookout for new sponsors.

Although I started the 50+ Mellow Mountain Rangers group aimed at motivating our ageing population to stay active, I wouldn’t mind passing the baton to someone with ideas and energy to spare!

Interview by Alisha Rella

Edited by Susan Partridge

Wes Robinson-Shaw at the races

wes at whistler

During Spring Break, Wes Robinson-Shaw attended the National Cross-Country Ski Championships in Whistler BC. This event was from March 20th to 27th, 2022. Wes is one of the Fernie Nordic Racers team and he participated in five races and had three training days. Some of the best athletes in North America were there. The Canadian Olympic team was there, as well as a bunch of the American Olympic team. John Shaw said: ‘’Super high caliber racing on some pretty amazing trails.’’ These trails were designed for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Most of the races were on these trails.

On Sunday March 20th, Wes had a 10 km interval start skate race. He is only 16 years old and usually in the U18 category. The U18s the U20s raced together so there were probably about 320 people on the course, and he had to do two laps of a 5 km course, “It was very crowded, there was lots of passing and the conditions were pretty good.” said John Shaw.

On Monday March 21st, he had a 10 km interval start classic race on the same course, with the U20s and it was very crowded as well. The first 8.5 km went well, but the course was very slushy with very difficult skiing conditions. On the last 1.5 km, someone stepped on his pole, and Wes crashed and broke his pole. He still finished well.

Tuesday March 22nd and Wednesday March 23rd were training days, Wes trained easily for his sprint race the next day.

On Thursday March 24th, it was a classic sprint of 1 km, it was a big climb and a big descent, it was a sunny day therefore the conditions were firm and fast. Wes also had team skate sprints on Thursday. He was the only athlete from Fernie so he couldn’t do the sprints, but he was allowed to participate in the qualifier and get CPL (Canada Points List) points. He came about middle of the pack for his age group. After that Wes and John watched the elite men and women do the sprint race, which was super fun to watch, said John Shaw.

On Saturday March 26th, it was another training day.

On the last day, Sunday March 27th, Wes had a 15km mass start skate race. John Shaw said: ‘’It was the hardest conditions I have seen for racing; it was pouring rain and the slush was boot deep.’’ Wes raced in the afternoon, the course had been skied hundreds and hundreds of times as the other categories had to do four laps of the course, therefore the course was destroyed, which made this race very challenging. Wes said that it was the hardest ski race he’s ever done.

In conclusion, Wes and coach John lived an amazing experience. They said that they learned tons from the event, for waxing and for racing experience. Coach John said that he was excited for the next National Championships in BC, where he can bring more older athletes from the team. It was a great learning experience and Wes did great at all his races.

Article by Louison Dubief and Aurélie Smithson

Fernie Racers at the last Kootenay Cup race

kootenay cup nelson

A few photos from the race event in Nelson on February 5 & 6. The Fernie Nordic Racers and several parents joined the fun and earned more points toward the 2022 Teck Kootenay Cup. This was the last event of the season in this series.

Several Fernie racers ended with podium finishes and all had a good time. Well done!

The result of the races in Nelson are on the website of the Nelson Ski Club. The Fernie Nordic Racers finished in 4th place out of eight clubs in the Teck Kootenay Cup series – see the rankings at CrosscountryBC.

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