For anyone that has followed the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club’s race team the past few years, the names Brittany and Megan Evans will be familiar. The two sisters are fixtures at the top of the podium in B.C. races and this week they will be travelling to Quebec City to compete in the Canadian Cross Country Skiing Championships from Mar. 17-24.
For Brittany, the rise towards to the top almost didn’t happen – a few years she almost quit cross country skiing.
“I used to really not enjoy it at all,” she said. Towards the end of one season, she thought about leaving racing but her parents convinced her to keep with it. The next year she planned on skiing recreationally but she wound up racing again, and winning this time.
“I started doing better in the sport and then it made it a lot more fun for me,” she said. “I started making friends with other skiers too.”
Last year Brittany attended the national championships in Canmore and served notice by finishing second in the Junior Girl’s classic race.
Following that result she was named to the National Talent Squad – the first Revelstoke Nordic skier to do so.
“It was surprising,” she said. “I didn’t expect it but it’s really cool to be able to have something like that to your name.”
Her sister Megan, 15, also had a strong showing in Canmore – finishing fifth in the Juvenile Girls classic race. It was her second trip to the Nationals – the previous year she travelled to Whitehorse to race there and finished third overall in her age group.
“It was really cool, it was scary,” she said of her first national championship. “I didn’t even know what nationals was. I was in grade eight and I wasn’t expecting to be invited to go.”
Brittany and Megan Evans both started skiing at four or five. They were introduced to the sport by their parents Rob and Kathy and took lessons with the Nordic club’s Jackrabbit Ski program.
They started racing and, while Brittany didn’t always enjoy it, Megan said she always liked doing it.
“I used to get really scared and I would cry before I raced but after I really liked it and started liking it more and more,” said Megan.
I asked what they liked about the sport – Megan said it was because it was individual sport and that you could do as well as you wanted without being bound by a team. “It feels good when you finish,” she added. “I love exercising.”
Brittany said she loved the feeling it gave her. “It gives you an awesome feeling of where you should be.”
This year has been another strong season for the girls so far. At the Western Canadian championships in Canmore in January, they both posted victories in their respective classic and free technique races. At the B.C. Nordic Championships in February they again stood on top of the podium.
Evans will be graduating from Revelstoke Secondary School this summer and said she plans on either moving to Rossland, where she can train with Dave Wood, the former national team coach; or to one of the four Nordic training centres in Canada. In either case, she will take courses part-time while training.
For both sisters, the goal is to make the national team. The Olympics are a distant dream.
“That would be the ultimate achievement for me,” said Megan.
Said Brittany: “I think about it but its a big goal. I’m not focused on it because I feel if you get too focused on something that’s that far away, you can just stop seeing what’s now. Just focus on all the steps to get there.”