It’s BACK! FasterSkier is excited to relaunch its ‘Pros of Tomorrow’ series, which highlights some of the most notable up-and-coming athletes around the world. Have an idea for a skier you’re itching to read more about? Email email@example.com with the subject line: Pros of Tomorrow.
Four years is nothing in the cross-country ski world – a couple good winters, some not-so-snowy ones, and for elite racers, tons of competitions and countless training sessions in between.
But four years ago, Cendrine Browne was just starting out.
“I skied when I was young, like in the forest with my family,” the 19-year-old said on the phone from her home in Saint-Jérôme, Québec. “I had no technique and I had no good skis; it was just for fun. I started doing competitions when I was 15 years old.”
At the same time, Browne was also dabbling in triathlons and excelling at the Québec Cup level.
“I really liked that sport and I still do, but I prefer skiing,” she said. “If I wasn’t cross-country skiing, yes, I would probably still be doing triathlons. But I don’t think I would be as far in triathlons as I am today in skiing.”
A fast-rising star within the Fondeurs Laurentides ski club, Browne earned a spot on the Pierre-Harvey National Training Centre (CNEPH) in Québec. She joined the ranks of the National Ski Team (NST) Junior Development squad, and at her first Junior World Ski Championships last season, Browne notched Canada’s best individual performance in Liberec, Czech Republic: 15th in the 5-kilometer freestyle individual start.
It was a result that not only instilled confidence; it essentially bumped her up to Canada’s Senior Development Team. Last month, a Cross Country Canada announcement confirmed Browne was nominated to the NST senior team, an achievement that comes with prestige, more training support and a financial boost from Canada’s Athlete Assistance Program.
“There’s also another training camp that I’m going to do with the senior team,” she said. “We have more health services provided (physio, etc.) … and we get fun stuff like more clothes and a paid cellphone. So let’s say this is all pretty exciting!”
“It wasn’t expected,” she added. “I didn’t know I needed a top 15 [at Junior Worlds] to be on the senior team, but it wasn’t really an objective for me. … It’s kind of a surprise.”
In fact, what she needed was a top 20. Now the only one under 20 on Canada’s 11-person senior team, Browne’s focused on making the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“I might have some chances to qualify for the Olympics next year, so if I qualify, I’m certainly not going to stop,” she said. “I’m going to ski longer and try to qualify for the next Olympics in 2018.”
As for the events she’s focused on, Browne said 5 and 10 k skate races are usually her best. She spent most of the spring studying human sciences at a university in Saint-Jérôme and is almost done. Next, she’ll pursue a degree in kinesiology.
But first, she’ll reunite with her CNEPH teammates in June, driving three and a half hours to train near Québec City for the rest of the summer.
“It’s going to be even more motivating training with these girls,” Browne said of her teammates, including top juniors like Anne-Marie Comeau, Frédérique Vézina and now Maya MacIsaac-Jones.
“We’re so close to each other, like when we do intensity and stuff, so it really pushes us to train harder and faster.”
Another reason for sticking with CNEPH: having Dasha Gaiazova as a teammate. This summer, Browne will again try to keep up with the World Cup team skier and 2010 Olympian.
“I’m really happy when I’m able to follow her,” Browne said. “It’s really motivating for me.”
Note: Cendrine Browne joins the ranks of several FS ‘Pros of Tomorrow,’ including Canadian World Cup skier Lenny Valjas, U.S. Ski Team member Ida Sargent, British World Cup skier Andrew Musgrave, and U.S. Biathlon’s Leif Nordgren.
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.