From Ski Racing to Med School

FasterSkierAugust 31, 2007

FasterSkier: So Sarah, we’ve heard you spent the summer in Norway. Was this ski related? We thought you had gone back to school.

Sarah: Well quickly: yes, no, and yes! I just returned from Norway a week ago. I was in Tromso, in northern Norway, which is a beautiful city with midnight sun for most of my stay. But you’re right, I wasn’t there for skiing. I was on a school related exchange in surgery!

FasterSkier: A clinical exchange in surgery? It seems like you’re life has undergone a bit of a change of direction. Could you tell us a bit about that?

Sarah: After a number of awesome years racing on the North American and ski marathon circuit, I decided it was time to go back to school! It was a vague idea at first but soon became pretty concrete. I’ll be starting 2nd year medical school at the University of British Columbia in a few days.

FasterSkier: Was it a tough decision and how are you enjoying it?

Sarah: Yes, it was a tough decision. I adore ski racing, love the life of chasing dreams and pursuing excellence, but it was time to start pursuing other challenges. I needed to see where my other talents could take me and I needed to feel like I was giving back. Medicine seemed like the way to do both. I applied and here I am! Luckily, I really enjoy it. (I guess that sounds a little funny, but you never really know until you’re actually there!) But I really miss ski racing.

FasterSkier: Well, it seems like you haven’t totally given it up. We’ve seen your name in a few results lists! How are you finding time? I imagine school is pretty busy.

Sarah: Whew — yah, its busy! There is a lot to know. It sounds cliché to talk about learning a new vocabulary, but that is a huge part of it. And that’s before talking about how the body works, what happens when it’s not working properly, and how to treat it! It can be a bit intimidating…
That said, you do need balance and I don’t think I could do it if I wasn’t active. Training helps me maximize my study time and focus when I need to. Plus, it gets me outside and keeps me happy!

FasterSkier: What kind of training are you doing and how much are you able to do? Are you racing?

Sarah: Yes, I’m still racing but a wee bit more low key! I even diverged a little and tried some running and triathlon racing. I ran a trail and road marathon in the fall and then a half-marathon in the spring. The Royal Victoria Marathon even qualified me for the Boston, which I’ll run this coming spring! In the winter, I raced for the UBC varsity Nordic Team. We mainly followed the BC Cup circuit but I attended some NorAm/Canada Cups and Nationals.
Since school is in very un-snowy Victoria on Vancouver Island, I would “dry land” train during the week. This meant a couple of mornings of swimming, a few evening bike rides, two or three runs, and a couple of lunches at the gym. On weekends, I would either drive up Island to Mt. Washington to ski or be away racing. I think small (or busy) weeks were 6 to 9 hours, mid size were 10 to 12, and big weeks were 14 to 16 hours. Most sessions were shorter and faster due to time constraints. Oh, and December and May are pretty much right-off months due to exams!

FasterSkier: What’s up for this year?

Sarah: Looking forward to racing at the 2010 Olympic Venue, where we will have Nationals. I also hope to fit in a ski marathon or two — my favorite events! But, of course, becoming a good, no, an excellent doctor comes first!!

Related articles on FasterSkier:

City Of Lakes Winner Sarah Peters Is Enjoying Norway

Sarah Peters Wins Holmenkollen Ski Marathon


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