In an effort to showcase the North Americans competing at this week’s International Ski Federation (FIS) 2017 USANA Nordic Junior World Championships and U23 Cross Country World Championships at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah, we asked those qualifying athletes several questions about themselves — actually, we had them fill in the blanks. Here we have 19-year-old Claire Grall-Johnson, of the Nakkertok Junior Development Team, who’s representing Canada at her first Junior Worlds.
“My full name is Claire Grall-Johnson but you can call me Clairebear. I was born in Montreal, Quebec, raised in Ottawa, Ontario, and one thing you should know about my hometown is everyone is pretty bilingual and if ever you’re there you should hit up a sweet doughnut shop called ‘SuzyQ’.
I started cross-country skiing when I was four, thanks to my parents (who had to drag my brother and I out the door). I currently train in Ottawa with the Nakkertok Junior Development Team.
If I’m not skiing, you might find me working on some homework or hopefully eating something delicious. If I had to pick a favourite book, it would be ‘Harry Potter’ (duh) or ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr.
One of the things I’m most excited about for Junior Worlds at Soldier Hollow is that it’s a beautiful venue with some tough courses. One race I’m especially targeting there is the classic sprint.
The best advice anyone ever gave me about skiing or racing was to appreciate the lifestyle I get to live as a student-athlete. One of the best race memories I have is the final day at Canadian Nationals in Whistler in 2013 when all the girls on our team had a super good day.
If I could meet one World Cup skier, it would be Krista Pärmäkoski.
If I don’t end up being a professional skier, I’ll probably be up to something science related.
I’m missing around 20 days of school to be here, and my teachers are probably thinking, ‘Good luck catching up!‘
You can follow me on Instagram @clairegrall.”