To the People who Shared the Journey

The journey to the Olympics is one with a blurry start date and a definitive end date. Some might say my journey started when I put on my first pair of skis in my backyard at 3 years old, others might say it was when I represented the Yukon at my first Arctic Winter Games and caught the bug for international competition. Others still might argue that it was when at 15 years old I represented Canada for the first time at the World Junior Championships and skied to 25th place. Regardless of when you believe my Olympic journey truly began, it has been a long process. A process with many highs and even more lows, tears of joy and of disappointment. A journey that I have lived but not alone. A journey shared with so many people that when they finally officially announce the 2018 Canadian Olympic Cross Country Ski Team next Monday, January 29th, they will not just be nominating me to the team, they will be nominating the entire community of people who have shared my journey and have helped me get to where I am today. For that community behind me, I am eternally grateful.

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The closer we get to the Games the faster time seems to pass. It’s hard to believe that over a month has gone by since I was flying home from Zurich for Christmas break. Now I find myself back in the mountains of Italy with the rest of the Olympic team, doing our final preparations before flying east for my first Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

Since leaving Europe I have been to Whitehorse, Canmore, St-Ferréol-les-Neiges and back to Europe again. Spending a week at home in Whitehorse over Christmas was a perfect mental and physical break. The cold weather meant I couldn’t do any hard sessions which left lots of time for long skis with my friends and family and chatting with club members at the chalet and in the sauna while warming our toes after skiing. The support and excitement about the upcoming Games from the Whitehorse ski community was heart warming and motivating.

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Christmas skis with the best of friends.

Once my sister was back from University, we embarked on our annual Christmas tree hunt. I think it is safe to say our tree this year was another success! The week of Christmas passed all to quickly and it was time for me to travel to Canmore, to slightly warmer but still chilly winter temps, and get in some hard sessions.

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Family Christmas tree hunt!
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Christmas Tree 2017

 

The theme of the month was frigid, at least that’s what the weather app on my phone kept telling me everyday. After a few more cold sessions and the celebration of a new year which I slept through, I was on a plane again towards Quebec for the first races of 2018. Quebec was no different than the west. Once again we had temperatures below -20c that played havoc with the race schedule. By moving one race forward a day and pushing the other 3 races back, the organizers were able to get all four races in during the competition week. I was happy to be able to win both sprint races and finish third in the 15km skiathlon. I am a big fan of Mont-Sainte-Anne’s new sprint course and I had a lot of fun racing there. Racing in Canada, it was also nice to wear my favourite race suit and sport the Alberta World Cup Academy colours.

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Leading the Classic Sprint final
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Skate Sprint Podium at the MSA NorAM

For the past week we have been in Livigno, Italy doing an altitude training camp with the Olympic team. The camp has been going well for everyone and our biggest problem has been that it has been snowing too much. We are here for 3 more days before we travel to Seefeld, Austria for the final weekend of World Cup races before the Olympics. The weekend will include a skate sprint and a mass start skate race, with results and live timing on the FIS website.

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Cendrine and I training in Livigno, Italy.

We are now less than 3 weeks away from the Games and things are starting to feel real. I want to say a huge thank you once again to my sponsors, family, coaches, support staff, teammates, friends and to the communities I live in for your support! You have all played such an important role in helping me realize this dream. PyeongChang 2018 here we come!

I can’t wait to compete for all of you in red and white next month!

Thank you for believing in my dream!

Dahria

 

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