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14 The Alpine Club of Canada Gazette spring 2017 only been able to bear any weight on my right leg for a couple months prior to doing the race. In some ways, I think getting terribly out of shape during my injury provided me with the incentive I needed to start training seriously again. I didn't do particularly well in the race but I enjoyed it and felt as though I was reasonably well‑suited to the sport. What keeps you interested and motivated to continue skimo racing? Being a skimo racer in Canada is incredibly inconvenient and expensive, especially living on the West Coast. However, it is also a very exciting and rewarding sport and the fitness and technique that you gain from training and racing makes it possible to cover a lot of ground efficiently in the mountains. Do you have any specific goals as a Canadian Team member? is year my biggest competitive goals are the World Championships [in Italy in March] and the Pierra Menta [a four‑day race in France covering 10,000 metres elevation]. With any luck I can improve on my previous results at these races. What attracts you to big moun- tain marathons? I ran some cross‑country and track in high school and at university. After I graduated I really focused my energy on climbing for a number of years. Around the same time I started skimo racing, I started running again, partly as a way to get back in shape and partly because I found it was a really enjoyable way to enjoy skiing powder. e thing I really like about skiing is that it allows me to continue to travel efficiently in the mountains throughout the winter. I love being able to ski off the summit of a peak and be back at the trailhead in a matter of minutes when the same terrain would take hours to descend in the summer. Do you have any ski mentors who inspire you? Not particularly. I started ski moun‑ taineering racing at around the same time as my friend Eric Carter and we continue to train together and push each other. When I was starting to race, there were some strong Canadians including Melanie Bernier, Andrew McNab and Reiner oni who were definitely an inspiration. ese days, I suppose I try to emulate the top Europeans. How did you first learn about skimo? I've vaguely known about ski mountaineering racing for many years. I remember seeing people on skimo race gear in Chamonix during my first climb‑ ing trip there in 2007. I still have a copy of a French magazine I bought during that trip that has an article about the Pierra Menta. When I bought my first skimo race skis four years later, I intended to use them for alpine climbing but didn't initially have any intention to race. Where and when was your first race? My first race was the Dogtooth Dash in Golden, B.C. in 2012. e pre‑ vious fall I'd broken my heel bouldering and spent three months on crutches. I'd Was skiing part of your life growing up? I grew up in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. I was fortunate my parents introduced me to skiing at a very young age and I cross‑country skied competitively until I graduated from high school. During that time I also played around on old tele gear my parents had lying around and did some mellow back‑ country touring. What aspect of skiing really grabbed you? Because I've been skiing for pretty much as long as I can remember, I suppose I take it for granted in some respects. It goes without saying that I Profile: Nick Elson by lynn Martel A second‑year law student at the University of British Columbia, Squamish, B.C. resident Nick Elson works part‑time in the warranty and returns department at MEC's Vancouver head office. At 32 he's a keen rock climber and mountaineer, but his mountain running and skimo racing accom‑ plishments are gaining him attention across North America. He's the current Canadian National Mountain Running Champion, and Canadian Ski Mountaineering Champion. Last summer he set a new speed record on Wyoming's Grand Teton Traverse, and he has the fastest times on B.C.'s Spearhead Traverse (3:10), Tantalus Traverse (11:20), Stawamus Chief (17 minutes 35 seconds to the south summit), among others, which earned him Canadian Running's Golden Shoe Award for 2016. Nick Elson tears up the course at the 2015 Dogtooth Dash Canadian Ski Mountaineering Championships at Golden, B.C.'s Kicking Horse Resort. photo: MattheW hall Nick Elson tops out on the 4,199-metre summit of the Grand Teton on his record-setting Grand Traverse in Wyoming's Teton Range. photo: eric carter

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