A Cross Country Ski Story
The Most Extensive Book on the Sport
Legendary pioneer Bjorger V. Pettersen’s new book A Cross Country
Ski Story is an amazing firsthand, indepth account that chronicles the development of the sport of crosscountry skiing in Canada, the U.S.A. and around the world.
If you didn’t know that Alex Harvey’s dad used to race, that Canada has hosted World Cups in Whitehorse and Labrador City, that the world’s best skiers used to flock to Inuvik, N.W.T. for the Top of the World Championships each spring and that Thunder Bay, Ont. hosted the Nordic World Championships, then this new book is a must-read.
From humble roots that began in Prince George, B.C. to the top of the world with Olympic gold medals by Beckie Scott and Chandra Crawford, Pettersen charts the history of the sport, including more than 300 photos that capture the essence of an amazing journey.
“Welcome to my mountains, to my trails through Canada’s terrain of rolling hills and prairies – to my world of cross-country skiing,” says Pettersen, who is recognized as the first full-time cross-countryski coach in Canada. “We had a very humble start and struggled against the odds, but with fierce pride, we took on the world in our Canadian way.”
Told from his personal recollections, Pettersen first coached skiers from the Hickory Wing Ski Club in Prince George, and went on to launch the Territorial Experimental Ski Training (TEST) Program at Inuvik, which drew worldwide attention when twin sisters Sharon and Shirley Firth, only 14 years old, became North American champions after only five months of skiing. The duo went on to defend their titles for the next three years.
There are detailed chapters on the travels and results of Canadian racers throughout Europe and North America in the 1960s and ’70s. It highlights the achievements and contributions of such racers as Fred “The Express” Kelly, Malcolm Hunter, the Firth Twins and Burt Bullock, as well as sport builders such as Father Mouchet.
The 435-page book is complemented by sections from notable contributors to the sport such as Roger Allen, Marty Hall, Jack Sasseville, Anton Scheier, Dave Wood and Louis Bouchard that demonstrate the strategic plan in Canada to develop strong coaches and teams year to year.
Petterson was also a longtime Canadian FIS representative, an innovator in ski-course design as developer and Olympic venue manager at the Canmore Nordic Centre as well as the founder of Vikski Canada.
“The 1988 Games left a large footprint for Canadians and really entrenched our place in the sport on the world stage,” explains Pettersen. “I believe this 435-page publication is the most extensive ever written on our sport.
“Whether you’re a racer, a recreational skier, a backcountry skier or simply someone who enjoys the sport, there is something for everyone in this book,” added Pettersen. “I have a great love and dedication for my sport, my family and Canada.”
A Cross Country Ski Story is a great read and makes a wonderful gift for the avid cross-country skier, and can be purchased online at www.acrosscountryskistory.com.– Jack Perry
TEST Team with Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Legendary Shirley and Sharon Firth