Me with longtime best ski friend Anna G-W
Alana Thomas
Birthday: May 1, 1988
Club: Nakkertok
Team Ninja
Honours B.A, Economics

 My Story:

I was born in Toronto and grew up mostly in Mississauaga, Ontario, an internationally known ski mecca (haha.. ok maybe not quite). I didn't really get into cross country skiing until middle school. I had tried it a few times before then but it was mostly an exercise of me lying in the snow crying and my mom and brother trekking ahead having more fun. Luckily for me, my parents let my brother and I try lots of different sports and so much of my time was filled practicing my two early loves of competitive swimming and mountain biking as well as lots of downhill skiing.

I clearly remember many days at the pool with friends swimming set after set with the hope of getting to practice dives or flip turns as a treat afterward. We were just as excited to hash out the lastest school news happenings after the practice was all done. We loved the swimming and we loved the social scene as much, maybe even more. Weekend meets were a great chance to set new PBs as well as get jell-o and rice krispy squares at the canteens! I enjoy many of these same simple pleasures as a senior skier to this day.

It was one of my swimming friends who finally convinced me that cross-country skiing was actually pretty cool. Her family was into skiing and friends with my family so invited us to join in on the fun on weekends. I got hooked quickly and was keen to trade in my crappy play-it-again sports classic skis for some sleeker, faster skate ski gear. I was after all, a mountain biker racer too and everybody knows cyclists really need to skate ski for good training!

I joined Racing Rabbits at Hardwood Ski and Bike the next winter and began to learn a bit more about ski technique. I also met a bunch of new ski friends, some of whom were fellow super-rad mounatin bikers. After 2 years in Racing Rabbits we moved up into Team Hardwood's Junior Development program (DEVO for short and coolness) where we would be coached by Jack Sasseville and get to travel around to Ontario Cup races!

Being a southern Ontario based team spread over a large geography, we only got to train together on weekends in the fall and winter. Having known nothing other than this as a skier it seemed pretty good. Training was outrageously fun and I remember coming home after long Saturday afternoons of training completely exhausted but already excited for the next Saturday with the team.

I kept training, racing and having a blast with Team Hardwood all through highschool. Somewhere along the way competitive swimming and mountain biking were set aside (but not forgotten) in order to put more time into skiing. When I graduated highschool in 2005 I wanted to start university but I also want to keep ski racing.

I decided to start school at the University of Toronto at Mississauga part time and continued to ski with Team Hardwood for 2 more years. I made some big breakthroughs during this time, winning my first individual medals at Canadian Nationals in 2007 and winning medals at the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, YK.

In September 2007 I moved to Ottawa. I wanted to be in a place where school and skiing could be done more easily together and I was ready for a new adventure too. I joined XC Ottawa and the Carleton Ski Team and later Nakkertok, meeting loads of new friends who also loved to ski. I continued to chip away training and at my economics degree and got my first taste of international competition at the 2009 World Univeristy Games in China. This was a key experience for me in my life as a skier, it really opened my eyes to the wonders of international skiing and totally renewed my interest in being a full-time athlete after graduation.

I finally finished my degree in December 2010 (I'm not convinced my parents believed I was actually finished until they saw me walk across the stage in my gown at graduation the follwoing June!) and since then I have been chasing my dreams of becoming a world class cross-country skier full time.

I've come a long way as a skier since my first outings in middle school and I've had a lot of help along the way. There's no way I would still be skiing or even enjoy skiing if it wasn't for the support of my parents, friendship from teammates and encouragement and patience from coaches. Thank you to all!


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