By Tess Wortley
Fast and Female, Thunder Bay, Haywood Ski Nationals 2015! This was going to be my first ever Nationals and I was so excited for the opportunity to also attend my first Fast and Female event, with the rest of my awesome team! Finally the day of the event arrived, and a keen group of young female athletes were greeted by a friendly looking group of mentor athletes. After being split into two groups according to age, the older group had the opportunity to listen, talk, and ask questions to a panel of experienced mentor skiers. Mainly, the athletes talked to us about skiing and school, and how it is totally doable for us to continue, and excel at both. I am a firm believer that this is such an important message for young female athletes to hear. It was so empowering to hear all about these amazing mentors’s success stories about juggling skiing and school. We also had the opportunity to ask questions about their journey’s and the bumps in the road they have faced, what it has been like to continue skiing and school, and how the people around them have supported them. The panel was also very diverse in the specific paths the athletes had chosen to take, and yet they all had managed to keep on skiing after high school! I found it very inspiring how all the athletes were so committed to choosing their own path, whether they were skiing with universities, or skiing at National Development Centres and taking courses online or at a nearby university or college. This event was a real learning experience for me, especially as an athlete who is very new to skiing. I think opportunities like these are so important for female youth, to see how possible it is to continue doing everything that they love, and learn from older athletes who had accomplished exactly that!
My name is Tess Wortley, I am fourteen years old, and I am a Nordic skier. There are so many things I love about being an athlete, and just being athletic and active in general. I love to participate in sports recreationally and dance as well, so it has been a part of my lifestyle and the environment that I live in for my whole life.