Since 2018, Sudbury’s Kivi Park has been the home for Para-Nordic cross country ski athletes in Northern Ontario.
The team started with three athletes but now has more than ten, all varying from Paralympic athletes to recreational skiers who want to have fun and meet new people.
Head coach Patti Kitler, started coaching in 2006, and told CTV News she does it so that people with disabilities can challenge them selves, and enjoy winter the way everyone else does.
“Working with people who are open to ideas, who want to challenge them selves, which people with disabilities can do,” said Kitler.
“When they figure it out, they have a blast, and as a coach that’s all I can ask for.”
Kitler said Kivi Park is the perfect place for her athletes to train. The trails are wide, and level, but challenging at the same time.
“Kivi is an amazing place for para athletes. We have different terrain, we, have safe terrain, it’s level and flat. The trail system they have build is wide, the athletes challenge themselves.”
“They can go up the hills, or stay on flats. They can do whatever they want, and it’s safe.”
Amanda Provan, 26, is visually impaired and has only been skiing since December, 2020.
She has big dreams and said she has her sights set on the Paralympics.
“The ultimate goal would be the Paralympics,” said Provan.
“I want to feel comfortable, I want to get fast, I want to be a good skier more then anything, just enjoy it and have a good time.”
Provan also likes being around people, who face the same challenges as her and enjoy learning new things.
“I love just being active, being outside, and being around people who are like minded, and also enjoy the same things,” she added.
Depending on skill level and their future plans, some athletes train 40 hours a week, while others only come out for an hour or two.
A typical season runs until the end of March, weather permitting, and then the athletes start dry-land training in May.