Labrador City cross-country skier sweeps gold at Canadian Masters championships
Just say the name Alf Parsons in Western Labrador and the first image that pops into most people’s heads is the svelte toned cross-country skier gliding effortlessly across the finish line.
Parsons has been skiing for decades, and actually started the sport later in his athletic career which also includes broomball, golf, running, cycling, and any combination of some the those sports and more. Many people who watch him at races find it hard to believe he is now skiing in Masters Competitions in the group aged 65 to 69.
In recent years, Parsons has performed extraordinarily well at provincial, national and international events with lots of podium appearances.
Now, this year is turning out to be another that will mean Parsons will have to look for more storage space for his medals.
In early February, Parsons took first place in both the 10k freestyle and classic races at the Provincial Masters at the Whalesback ski club in Stephenville. It was a good warm up for the next big event, the Canadian Masters championships held in Charlo, New Brunswick Feb. 12 to 18.
“It was a good competition for me,” says Parsons.
The week-long event meant four races for the Labrador City resident. Two in the classic division in which skiers use the traditional style skiing in set tracks. The other two are a 10km and a 20k.
Parsons skied to gold in the 20k in a time of one hour and 15 mins. Gold was also his in 35 minutes for the 10 k classic.
In the freestyle event, which many people know as the skating technique, it was double gold once again. Winning times of one hour and three minutes in the 20k freestyle and 33 minutes in the 10k.
“Racing on this level is a good way to stay competitive,” Parsons told TC Media.
As well, there are skiers as young as 30 in some of the races. Even though Parsons competes in Division 8, which is for racers 65-69, he is on the same course as the younger racers, “a great form of motivation, and incentive to ski harder,” he says. In fact, Parsons was third overall in the 10k race and sixth overall in the 20k, which can mean racing competitors half his age.
However, all that gold doesn’t mean it’s time to rest on his laurels. The day after returning from the Canadian Masters Parsons was back on the trails of the Menihek Nordic ski club in Labrador City, training for his next big event. The Worlds Masters championships will be held in Klosters, Switzerland from March 3 to 10. Three races, including a 30k freestyle, will test his technique and endurance, but this time unlike many previous world championships Parsons will not be there alone.
“I’m excited that this year I’ll be travelling with a group of 10 skiers, five from Menihek Nordic in Western Labrador, three from Stephenville, and another from the Ottawa area,” he said.
The skiers leave Feb. 27 to give them time to get over jet lag, and get acclimatized.
Parsons, who has no predictions for his performance, says no matter the results, the experience for all the skiers will be one of a lifetime.
Daily results will be posted at the website for the World masters championships.
Alf Parsons, middle, recently won four gold medals at the Canadian Masters cross-country skiing championships held in Charlo New Brunswick.
Alf Parsons is back training at the Menihek Nordic ski club in Labrador City just after sweeping the Canadian Masters cross-country skiing championships. Parsons is now training for the cross-country skiing Worlds Masters championships being held in Klosters, Switzerland March 3 to 10.