Pearce golden gal in World Masters
Pat Pearce married the man who convinced her to try cross country skiing in Smithers.
Some 35 years later and she is still skiing with her hubby, Dave, and ruling the world in competition.
Pearce, a 60-year-old former educator, claimed three gold medals at the recent World Masters Cross Country Ski Championships in Pillerseetal, Austria.
The World Masters have brought mixed results to Pearce, who medalled in all three of her races at the 2011 World Cup at Sovereign Lake. Good fortune refused to follow Pearce to Asiago, Italy for the 2013 World Masters. She was injured two weeks prior to the event but she still competed after changing all of her races from classic to free technique (skating) and managed to win one medal.
Pat and Dave were joined in Austria by several other skiers from Sovereign Lake: Ron Metza, Mike Bell, Garry Mitchell, John DaVina, George Borchert, Lori Borchert, Richard Sherwin, and Maureen Clement.
Wax technicians were Bill Mahoney and Arne Hetherington
“We had so much fun as a large group in Austria,” said Pat, a mother of two who has her first grandchild on the way.
“We felt like a group of elite skiers with our our waxers.”
Conditions proved to be a major challenge and ski waxing was a nightmare. A midweek snowfall changed what had been a trail of ice to a slurry of wet snow.
Her first race and a chance to test the competitors was a 10-km classic. Pearce finished in 31:55, a full 1:37 ahead of the second skier, for her first gold medal.
Two days later and Pearce skied a faster pace in the 15-km, posting 43:58, well ahead of the silver medalist.
The final race, a 30-km, was the crowning glory for Pearce. She skied the distance in one hour and 57 minutes, defeating the next finisher by almost a full 14 minutes.
A former high school phys-ed teacher, Pat had to push hard when she first started nordic skiing.
“My husband got me moving in that direction. There were no trails (in Smithers) so we skied on ski-doo tracks.”
The Pearces left the Ashcroft area, where Pat was superitendent of schools for the Gold Trail district, in 2009 for Vernon.
“I was with the Ministry of Education (rural education) so I could live anywhere and we wanted to move to Vernon because of the cross country skiing.”
Pat is chairman of the Sovereign club, where she and Dave ski loppets galore in the masters program.
They are still enjoying the loads of snow still on the Sovereign trails, but will switch gears at the end of April for a few months of cycling and hiking in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.