Saanich cross-country skier to compete as Team Canada’s first Islander

Saanich cross-country skier to compete as Team Canada’s first Islander

Cross-country skier Amelia Wells from Saanich has done it, Canada is assembling an experienced group of 24 athletes to represent the nation at the 2023 FIS Nordic Junior/U23 World Ski Championships.

Wells, who graduated from Reynolds Secondary School and the Canadian Sports School, is the first Vancouver Island athlete to ever qualify for the competition, which runs from this Friday, January 27 through February 5 in the Whistler Olympic Park takes place.

The international event will welcome more than 530 athletes from over 38 countries to compete in three different events ranging from cross country to nordic combined and ski jumping.

“This is so amazing,” said Andrea Stapff, head coach at Strathcona Nordic Ski Club, who coached Wells for 11 years. “She worked so very hard; I’m happy for you.”

Based in Mount Washington, Strathcona Nordic Ski Club is the only cross country ski club on Vancouver Island with members from all parts of the island.

Last week, the country’s top cross-country skiers competed in three races at the 2023 Nordiq Canada Selection Trials in Prince George in hopes of representing Canada at the championships. Nordiq Canada selected six women and six men to compete in the Junior World Championships, while six women and six men were selected for the U23 events.

“This is a young group with an exciting mix of athletes with international experience and novices who are charged with tremendous potential and drive,” said Chris Jeffries, Nordiq Canada High Performance Director. “This group of athletes represents the future of our sport and has a common goal to achieve their performance goals at this pivotal event on the racing calendar.”

Gabe Gledhill, a 20-year-old Nordic skier from the Comox Valley who also trained with Strathcona Nordic Ski Club but now lives in Norway and skis for the British Nordic Ski Team, will also compete in the 2023 Junior/U23 World Ski Championships.

It will be the first major international event at Whistler Olympic Park since the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The races will be streamed live each day via CBC Sports and CBC Gem.

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Cross-country skiingJunior SportsSaanich

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