Calgary, Alberta (March 17, 2011) – This past Sunday, Fast and Female hosted its sixth Annual X-Country SkiFest in Canada at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Alberta. Held under clear skies, spring-like temperatures, and highlighted by the impressive Rocky Mountains in the backdrop, the event saw 165 young female X-Country skiers between the ages of 9 to 19 take part in a full day of inspiration both on and off snow. They were joined by 15 elite ambassadors, 40 adult seminar attendants and supported by 20 generous volunteers.
“We had such a wonderful time!” said Amanda Knowles, mother of two first-time Fast and Female event participants – Grace (age 13) and Beth (age 10).
“My girls had a great day and were inspired by the encouragement and friendliness from all of the amazing athletes milling about,” added the Calgary mom. “It was fantastic that all ambassadors were so down to earth and approachable. We look forward to attending again next year!”
The youth segment of the 2011 Fast and Female 2011 Annual X-Country SkiFest kicked off with a group warm up titled “Girls Got Game”. The unique warm up routine was developed by Canmore-based Active Motion Physiotherapy Clinic and features the most up-to-date exercises for preventing injury and enhancing performance amongst female athletes.
The warm up was followed by almost two hours of X-Country ski stations led by Fast and Female ambassadors including Sara Renner – silver medalist with Beckie Scott in the team sprint at the 2006 Winter Olympics and bronze medal winner at the 2005 Championships in the individual sprint.
“My own daughter (Aria) took part in her first Fast and Female event on Saturday night and I saw firsthand how quickly she improved just because she was surrounded by other female skiers,” said Renner who retired from competitive racing after the 2010 Olympics. “I do hope some of the girls participating in the Fast and Female event will be inspired to follow in my footsteps and maybe become champions too,” added Renner who recently gave birth to her second daughter – Gabriella.
While the girls worked on various technical ski exercises throughout the morning, parents and coaches attended three seminars on topics of particular importance to female athletes. Jan Derpak from Alpine Counselling spoke on sports psychology, Samantha Perris from Nu-Roots spoke on nutrition and Erin Sturch from Active Motion Physiotherapy concluded the seminar by highlighting the importance of warming up prior to exercising.
All youth and adult event participants convened for lunch to attend a keynote presentation by Ellie Greenwood, winner of the 2010 Ultramarathon World Championships (100km). As a Banff resident, Greenwood recalled various memories from her winning race – emphasizing the importance of perseverance and positive thinking.
In the afternoon, girls took part in a yoga session offered by the staff of Ivivva Athletica and attended a high energy Zumba class. Parents took advantage of the warm afternoon weather to hit the ski trails with two Fast and Female ambassadors.
“We purposefully jam pack the day for both youth and adult participants so that they can maximize their time with the ambassadors in a variety of settings – may it be on or off snow,” explained Marie-Hélène Thibeault, Executive Director for Fast and Female. “This year’s X-Country SkiFest was a huge success not only because we hosted a record number of participants but primarily because we really felt the build up in positive energy as the day progressed. Girls and adults left with huge smiles on their faces, ready to charge ahead on their athletic and personal goals. This is very powerful! All our event ambassadors, sponsors and volunteers played a big role in making this possible.”
The highly anticipated event took place in conjunction with the 2011 National Cross-Country Ski Championships – which is running until March 19 at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
The 2011 Fast and Female X-Country SkiFest presented by Best Buy was made possible thanks to the generous financial and in-kind contributions of sponsors including Best Buy Canada, Lululemon Athletica, Buff Multifunctional Headwear, Cold-FX, Clarins Canada, Cross-Country Canada, Sport Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the In Motion Network (Go Girl program), and the Canmore Nordic Centre. For a complete list of Fast and Female national program supporters and sponsors, please visit: /default.asp?lang=&mode=webpage&id=89
To watch a video of the 2011 Fast and Female X-Country SkiFest presented by Best Buy, please visit:http://www.youtube.com/user/FastandFemale1#p/a/u/0/U1Ste1LTZdc
Event pictures are also available at:
The next Fast and Female event will take place in Charlo, NB for a morning of Biathlon activities with Canada’s leading female biathletes. The event is set for March 26, 2011. To register, visit: http://ffmarch25charlo.eventbrite.com/
Fast and Female’s next event in Alberta will be held on March 31, 2011 in Calgary at Canada Olympic Park with Olympic and World Champion Ski Cross athletes Ashleigh McIvor, Kelsey Serwa, and Julia Murray. To register, visit:http://ffmarch31calgary.eventbrite.com/
Source: Fast and Female
Ben Theyerl was born into a family now three-generations into nordic ski racing in the US. He grew up skiing for Chippewa Valley Nordic in his native Eau Claire, Wisconsin, before spending four years racing for Colby College in Maine. He currently mixes writing, politics, and skiing (not necessarily all related) while based out of Crested Butte, CO, where he coaches the best group of high schoolers one could hope to find.