For the first time in her career, Katherine Stewart-Jones, 27, will compete in a cross-country ski event modelled after the world-renown cycling event, the Tour de France.
During the 2022-23 Tour de Ski, competitors from around the world will travel to three different countries and race seven times within nine days. Stewart-Jones’ first race is scheduled in Val Müstair, Switzerland, on Dec. 31. A few days later, she will race again in Oberstdorf, Germany, and her final race location will be in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
The cross-country skier grew up in Chelsea. She said her love for the sport grew as she glided through Gatineau Hills trails starting at the age of two. By the age of 14, Stewart-Jones began taking the sport more seriously and skied competitively.
Thirteen years later, she now lives in Canmoore, Alta., where she trains with Canada’s national cross-country ski team.
“I love the variety of training that I have to do for this sport. I get to run, rollerski, and bike. The sport also takes me to a lot of fun places,” she told the Low Down.
After Christmas, she will represent Canada in Europe during the Tour de Ski competition.
Events include sprints and long-distance circuits. Stewart-Jones said her goal is to place in the top 15.
Those who place in the top 20 during the Tour de Ski are also rewarded with cash prizes. In 2021, the first place winner won $7,747 CAD. However, the organization has yet to release this year’s list of cash prizes.
The skier also said she hopes that her results from the Tour de Ski will increase her chances of qualifying for the 43rd Nordic World Ski Championships in Slovenia, an event that runs from Feb. 21 to March 5, 2023.
Stewart-Jones said her secret to reaching personal bests is mental toughness.
“In cross-country skiing, there’s just a lot of pain. If you push to your absolute limits, then it’s going to be painful. So you just have to get into the zone and focus on each step in the race and not get distracted by what’s around you,” she explained.