Fourteen-year-old Magda Vandenberg is the third Vandenberg sibling to compete at the BC Winter Games – and with seven brothers and sisters, all cross-country skiers, it’s fairly likely she won’t be the last.
She started cross-country skiing at six, and has watched two of her older sisters get ready for the games – one of them competed when the games were in Terrace.
This year’s BC Winter Games, held Feb. 20 to 23, are in Mission, but the cross-country skiers are to be bussed to Whistler, where there’s more snow.
“I think it should be pretty good,” she said, of the ski conditions. “They’ve got quite a good base right now.”
Lack of snow has been an issue for cross-country skiers in Terrace this year, but a heavy snowfall last week meant Vandenberg was able to get in a few solid practise sessions.
“We’re trying to get out skiing a bit more now that we have snow,” she said last week, noting that she’s also been trying to mentally prepare herself and build her confidence for her biggest competition yet.
“I find that when I race if I feel confident I will do a lot better than if I don’t feel very good at all,” she said.
Her father is her main coach, but she says she’s had a lot of people coach and help her over the years.
“I’ve had help from a lot of people,” she said, noting she wanted to give special thanks to her coaches, the groomers at Onion Lake and the Snow Valley Nordic Rabbit program, which teaches ski skills and techniques to kids aged four to 12 – Vandenberg went through the program, and is now a coach for the younger athletes.
And she’s expecting the competition at the games to be “very strong”, but she’s hoping to “have a lot of fun” while she’s there – with her teammates and the people she’s bound to meet there.
“I was talking to a friend a couple of nights ago and we were thinking that we should go in at a different angle, cause going in there just to win isn’t quite the right way to do it,” she said.