23 year old Canadian Tara Whitten surprised many at the U-23 Championship last year, with a silver medal in the Sprint event. She is still not known to many here in the US. From the Canadian Team’s training camp in Canmore, Alberta, we were able to learn a few things about Tara.
Many of us were surprised to see your 2nd place result in the Sprint competition at last year's U-23. Have you always been a good sprinter?
I have always had more success in sprinting than in distance events, and I knew going into the U-23's that the sprint was my best chance for a good result. I knew that I could surprise people in that race, but I ended up surprising even myself!
After the great result at U-23, are you now specializing in Sprint? If so, what does that mean in terms of your training?
I’m not specializing in sprint racing, but at the same time I want to take advantage of my strength as a sprinter. This means that we have some intensity workouts designed with sprinting in mind, but sprinting is not the sole focus of my training plan. I want to have success in 5ks, 10ks and skiathlons as well.
What does it mean to have World Cup Red Group skiers, such as Beckie and Sara, on the team? How much are you training together with them? What have you learned from them?
Being on a team with Beckie and Sara is an incredible opportunity. I have been able to train with Sara throughout the summer, and with Beckie at our training camps on the Haig glacier and in Park City. The international success that they have achieved inspires me to dream the big dreams. I have learned from them that you have to believe in yourself, make the most of your strengths, and keep things in perspective.
How much are you training?
This year I am aiming for 600 hours of training. My biggest week has been about 23 hours and my biggest months were just over 60 hours.
Which races will you ski this year? Are you eligible for U-23 at Soldier Hollow this year? Will you ski World Cup?
I am no longer eligible for the U-23s this year. I will ski Continental Cups in Canada before Christmas, then the US Nationals in early January, followed by some more Continental Cups. In February I will race some of the OPA races in Europe, and I am hopeful that I will have the opportunity to start a couple of World Cups. We are finishing off the season with Canadian Nationals in late March.
Good luck from us here at Fasterskier.com