Racing the clock
Two Martock racers advancing to U14 Can-Ams in Maine
Two ski racers training out of Hants County are about to find out how they stack up against the best of the best in their class within the eastern divisions of Canada and the United States.
Martock Ski Race Club racers Mitchell Larkin and Shane Sommer will advance to U14 Eastern Can-Am Championships at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine from March 29 to April 1 after recording solid seasons in the Atlantic circuit.
Larkin was thrilled to receive word that he’d be representing Atlantic Canada at the high- level event. “It’s been what I was pushing for all season,” the 14-year-old Lower Vaughan resident said in a recent interview.
“It was very exciting.”
The King’s-Edgehill School student is out on the snow every day of the week whenever possible. He started the season off with a decision put more emphasis on having fun with every race, rather than fixating on perfect technical runs.
“It’s about the experiences,” he said.
Larkin is no stranger to the podium. He counts a first-place finish in a giant slalom event hosted during a speed camp at Crabbe Mountain, N.B. among the highlights of his latest ski season.
Overcoming nerves in order to focus in a high-pressure race is all part of the rush, Larkin said.
“You’re actually trying to channel out a lot of the other stuff that’s going on in your life… it’s just you against the clock and you’re not really thinking about anything else.”
Larkin suspects the competitors hailing from areas with bigger mountains closer to home might have more experience on the larger slopes under their belts going into Can-Ams, but he expects Martock’s racers will be able to gain some ground on the flats.
Regardless of the outcome, Larkin is confident the experience will prove beneficial as he works toward continually evolving as a competitive ski racer.
“We get to experience better racing, better snow, a better hill, better pitch,” he said, noting that his coaches with the Martock program have provided helpful pointers to aid in his development every stretch of the way.
“It’s great to have some connec- tions from people who have been racing a long time,” he said.
Second time at Can-Ams
Sommer, a racer hailing from Port Williams, will be attending Can-Ams for a second time.
“You’re exposed to racing against guys that are better and guys that are stronger and dif-
ferent… there is always sort of an unknown element to it,” he said, noting that they are not as familiar with the competition at the larger events as they are during an Atlantic competition.
“It’s a lot different than our circuit here. The athletes here don’t interact as much.”
The 13-year-old has dedicated countless hours to dryland and onsnow training, and he’s happy with the results he’s earned this winter.
“This season I’ve been really lucky and I’ve just had a lot of good finishes,” he said.
Sommer is going into the big competition in Maine knowing that he’s gained some solid skills throughout the latest racing series.
“I just try and take it as easy as possible and not really overthink it, just treat it as I would any other event,” he said of Can-Ams.
Thom Oulton, a parent-coach with the Martock Ski Race Club, praises Larkin and Sommer as hard-working athletes with exceptional attitudes.
“They encourage each other to do better than where they’re at, and it’s fun to watch,” he said.
“It’s be continuous, steady improvement.”
Oulton is excited both racers have an opportunity to face come new competition at Sugarloaf.
“They should be in for a pretty good competition,” he said.
“The pool of athletes there is really the top athletes for their age group in Eastern Canada and the (Eastern) United States.”
Oulton said he’s thoroughly enjoyed working with such dedicated racers.
“It’s really a pleasure. They are real keeners. They come to the hill ready to go at whatever the task is that you have laid out for them - and it really shows.”
Martock Ski Race Club athletes Mitchell Larkin, left, and Shane Sommer, right, will soon cap off a strong season with a Can-Am competition at Maine’s Sugarloaf Mountain.
Mitchell Larkin of Lower Vaughan will represent the Martock Ski Race Club will soon make his Can-Am debut.
Shane Sommer of Port Williams is preparing for his return to the U14 Eastern Can-Am Championships.