Young skier going somewhere

by Clint Peters
Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba


In the town of Winkler, Manitoba, one does not hear much about cross-country skiing, but one does hear about Joel Vanden Berg. Joel is a hard-working cross-country skier and many people believe some day he will make it to the Olympics.

Now a student in Grade 12 at Garden Valley Collegiate, Joel started cross-country skiing about ten years ago. Since then, he has been doing really well for himself in Winkler and across the country.

Vanden Berg started as a recreational skier, but for the last five years he has been active in competitive racing. He has competed in out-of-province events for the past three winters and has been to Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland. This year, Joel will compete in British Columbia, Alberta and in Newfoundland.

Joel has been on the Manitoba ski team for three-and-a-half years, coached by Ihor Barwinsky (his provincial coach) and Dan Reimer (his personal coach). Joel trains very hard during the year, logging as many as 440 hours in a season. His efforts have made him the number one cross-country skier in Manitoba and one of the top ten skiers in Canada for the Junior Boys age group.

Vanden Berg skis in five, ten, and fifteen kilometer races. This includes both skate and classic skiing, with the skate-skiing being his stronger technique.

The 36 skiing medals that Joel has already won may help him achieve his goal of competing on the Junior National Cross Country Ski team and, he hopes, of competing in the world Olympics in the year 2006.


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