A Cross Coun­try Ski Story

The Most Ex­ten­sive Book on the Sport

SkiTrax - - News -

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

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