Fuelled by the moose
Springvale’s Mark Arendz part of T-shirt campaign to raise funds for Olympic and Paralympic Games
Mark Arendz has had many teammates over his 11 years on the Canadian national paranordic skiing team, but they’ve always been human.
This year, however, the Hartsville native added a moose to the squad.
Arendz, 27, is part of a 16member group of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, coined the High-Performance Herd of 2018, who’ve joined with cartoonist Dave Elston and designed T-shirts all with a moose (not much is more Canadian, after all) depicting their sports. Each has a personal touch specific to the athletes.
It’s a fundraising campaign to help defray training costs leading into the Olympic Winter Games, Feb. 9-25, and the Paralympic Winter Games March 9-18, both in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Arendz, 27, is aiming to improve on his silver and bronze medal performance in biathlon at the 2014 Paralympics and has been training in New Zealand.
The Guardian caught up with Arendz to talk about the T-shirt campaign and his training with the Games about seven months away.
It will be his third time at the Games and, given his winning three medals at a test event last March at the skiing venue in Pyeongchang, he has a good chance to add to his trophy case.
The Guardian - How and why did you get involved with the moose T-shirt campaign?
Arendz - I was invited to join this fundraising campaign along with several other athletes from across Canada. The group teamed up with cartoonist Dave Elston. The goal was to create a collection of cartoons that were both fun and were very Canadian. It was decided to use the moose in all the cartoons. Continuing the moose theme, we called ourselves the High-Performance Herd. Dave drew the moose cartoons that will be printed on shirts that the athletes will then sell, receiving a portion of the proceeds from each sale. I decided to take part in this project as a fun way to promote the upcoming Games and to raise some extra funds to help with my training in this most important of seasons.
The Guardian - What does your shirt look like and did you work with the artist to come up with a design? And are you happy with the depiction?
Arendz - All the designs that Dave has done are amazing. Along with a few generic cartoons, Dave worked with each athlete to create a personalized cartoon. For my moose, part of the antler is missing, a play on the fact I’m missing an arm but also something that does occur naturally. Dave and I thought it was a clever way to incorporate that into the design. Besides my design of a moose missing part of its antler, I love the ‘Canadian Podium’ or the ‘Get the Antlers’ depictions.
The Guardian - When do you return to Alberta for training? What took you to New Zealand? Arendz - I’m currently in New Zealand for an on-snow training camp. With it being winter in the Southern Hemisphere, it provides me an incredible opportunity to train for three weeks in fantastic snow conditions. The quality of training here at the Snow Farm Lodge is second to none. It has been a staple of my training season for over a decade now, the gains I make year in, year out cannot be matched anywhere else. My focus will be on skiing technique on-snow and my approach to the range, setting up my shooting bouts. Though being at this camp means I miss most of the summer back in Canada. I return to Canmore (Alta.), where I now live and train most of the year, for the last week of August.
The Guardian - How has training gone so far and how have you altered it for the new season and the Paralympics?
Arendz - It helps to have the results I did last season. I began this season excited and eager to train, wanting to get that little bit more. By this, I started the new training season in great shape and just wanted to push that fitness to the next level. The idea is to change very little regarding my training this season. The past seasons were practice runs, if you will, to make sure whatever we did works the way we want it to. Trying to eliminate any surprises in this Paralympic year. There will be a little more focus on speed and intensity as we get into winter.
The T-shirts are $30 (plus GST and shipping in Canada) and can be purchased in men’s, women’s and youth sizes at https://highperforma.itemorder.com/sale. Athletes will sell the shirts through their social media channels and at community outreach events in the summer. Sales will continue through the winter season.
On the web at www.markarendz.com.
Mark Arendz after winning gold in the middle standing biathlon in February at the World Para-Nordic Skiing Championships in Finsterau, Germany.
Mark Arendz’s moose design for the High-Performance Herd of 2018 Tshirt fundraising campaign.