Southern Ontario District

SOD Welcomes Finn Dodgson as the new SOD Team Coach!

We are thrilled to announce that Finn Dodgson will be the SOD Team coach for the 2021-22 season!

Finn replaces outgoing coach Madison Fraser who we would again like to thank for her dedication and commitment to our district skiers.

Finn is currently a student at the University of Waterloo studying physics. He has been a member of the UW ski team for 4 years and is a former member of the OST (Ontario Ski Team)  and Junior NST (National Ski Team).

When he’s not training or studying, he likes to go camping and to read.



Southern Ontario District

2021-22 SOD Team Nominations now posted!

We were pleased to accept the applications from the following athletes and we welcome them to the SOD team for 2021 / 2022.

Congratulations!  What an amazing group of skiers.  We don’t know what the future will bring – but there is hope that we can get together as a team very soon to train and have some fun.

Please complete the nomination documents found HERE,  including the contract, code of conduct, photo release form and jacket order form by JUNE 13th.   Please note, XXS is not available.
XCSO logo

Northern ON District Development Coordinator Contract Position

While we continue to navigate the pandemic that in turn has changed our usual provincial programming, XCSO invites applications for a contract position – Northern ON District Development CoordinatorThe NOD Development Coordinator will work with a strong team of professionals who are committed to developing a cohesive and collaborative approach to athlete development in the province. The Development Coordinator’s position is collaborative in nature and working with club coaches will be an integral part of the role.  More details here.

Southern Ontario District

SOD is Hiring- Team Coach & Coordinator

SOD is seeking a new Coach and a new Coordinator for the SOD Race Team. We thank outgoing SOD Team Coach Madison Fraser for her enthusiastic work and wish her the best as she returns to school. We also thank Team Coordinator Scott Dowling for his support and organization of logistics/communication for the team.

About the SOD Team

The team is named to recognize and support the development of athletes racing the SOD races. The goal of the SOD Team is to support these athletes to begin to race competitively on the Ontario Cup circuit and to prepare to qualify for the Ontario Ski Team. The SOD Team targets athletes aged 13 through 16.  The SOD executive believes that promotion of an active ski racing circuit within SOD will strengthen the ski community by providing opportunities for skiers to come together as a community in fun and friendly competition.

SOD Team Coordinator

The SOD Team Coordinator is responsible for the administration of the team, including team selection, clothing, athlete communication, assisting the coach with planning team training camps, and promoting the SOD Paraffin Race Series.  The SOD Team Coordinator will be an ex-officio (non-voting) member of the board.

SOD Team Coach

The SOD Team Coach is to plan and deliver training camps for members of the SOD Team, with support from the coordinator as needed.  The SOD Team Coach must have, at a minimum, NCCP certification level of L2T-trained.

Full job descriptions and compensation details for both positions are available here: SOD Team Job Descriptions

To apply for either position, please send resume and cover letter to: [email protected]

Application deadline is May 28, 2021.

NOTE: The SOD Coach will adapt program offerings to follow current COVID guidance as recommended by Cross Country Ski Ontario in their “Return to Training” and “Return to Competition” documents.

XCSO logo

District Development Coordinators Job Posting

While we continue to navigate the pandemic that in turn has changed our usual provincial programming, XCSO invites applications for 4 contract positions of District Development Coordinator, one in each of the 4 XCSO districtsThe Development Coordinators will work with a strong team of professionals who are committed to developing a cohesive and collaborative approach to athlete development in the province. The Development Coordinators’ positions are collaborative in nature and working with club coaches will be an integral part of the role.  More details here.

Episode 3 of our Inspirational Interview Series!

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Stories of Everyday Covid Champions

A series of lively interviews of skiers from across Southern Ontario District to engage, inspire and tell the story of Nordic skiing during a global pandemic.

In our third episode we speak to 12-year old Team Hardwood veteran and self-described “social butterfly”, Anna Vurma.  You can find several online articles about Anna’s quest of Strava’s (QOM) Queen of the Mountain titles but her Covid story is really one of resilience. Grief and resilience live together. Anna, like many of our young racers misses her friends from other clubs.  What interested me the most about Anna is her grit. Grit refers to a person’s ability to persist after setbacks….., You got it, like a global pandemic!

Anna took a break one evening from her lasagna diner to answer a few questions. Thanks Anna!

Hey Anna!  You have become a bit of a media sensation right now. Thanks for making time in your busy schedule to share your COVID story with us. How are things at Team Hardwood this season? What is Ninja Camp and Pajama Day all about?

Things this season at Team Hardwood are very different.  We are definitely missing the races but we are having fun with mini time trials.  I miss skiing with my friends and playing games.  We have tried to make the best of the situation. A lot of us have improved in our technique. Ninja Camp is traditionally an overnight training camp where we work on agility, balance, strength and conditioning. We go for a pole walk, roller ski and play games (sometimes in the dark too!) Ninja Camp looked different this year but we still had fun. The fun doesn’t stop there! We also have fun days like pajama day and or plaid day along with crazy hat day where we change up our skiing style and have some fun!! This year I wore a plaid onesie on pajama or plaid day so that I could wear both. Then on crazy hat day, I wore a visor that had big eyes on it with a headband that had crazy string hair on top. 


Classic or Freestyle?  What is your signature “just add ski wax” move?

If I had to pick between Classic and Freestyle I think that Classic would be first but Freestyle definitely takes a close second. My signature “just add ski wax” would either be my hair flying out the back of my head and sometimes I might put some puke in it or that I always have snacks!! Usually, it will be Cheerios or Marshmallows.


Photo Credit: Peter Istvan Photography

You have been very successful in your pursuit of Strava segments this winter. In fact, you hold several Queen of the Mountain titles. Have you considered broadening your efforts to Queen of Grill and Chill, Dairy Queen? If you were an ice cream flavour, which flavour would you be and why?

If I were an ice cream flavour I think that I would be the famous Moose Tracks because it is one of my favourites. It also has a nice blend of everything between the chocolate, the peanut butter and the vanilla. I like that and I think that it has a good mix.

Note: For those new to Starva lingo, a Queen of the Mountain is “bestowed” for achieving the top performance, or fastest time, when skiing, cycling or running a specific segment of a trail or route. Anna currently has 6 QOM titles.

Using only emojis, how would you describe a typical pandemic day?  Should every day end with jazz hands?



A report this week from Canadian Women in Sport cites that 1 in 3 girls will drop out of sports by their late teens.  It also states that 62% of young girls never play sports at all. Why do you think sport is so important for girls? 

I think that sport is so important for girls (and guys). It’s the lessons taught and the things we learn. For girls in particular it’s self-confidence I think that girls gain a level of self-confidence that is used the rest of our lives. Sport also increases our awareness of healthy eating and proper eating. It’s important to fuel your body properly and eat food that is healthy and nutritious. For all kids, sport teaches time management which is helpful in school. It also helps us be comfortable not being OK and working and focusing in stressful as well as difficult situations. I also think that you create friendships that last your life which I think is so important and absolutely amazing!

Weird outfits, high fashion and an incredible voice – these are some of the ingredients Lady Gaga used to take over the world. Did you know Lady Gaga calls her fans “Little Monsters”?  Are you a “Little Monster”? 

I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard Lady Gaga fan but I do enjoy listening to her music (sometimes while skiing). Maybe I’m a little “Little Monster”!

One of your coaches, Jack Sasseville, uses the expression “If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re 10 minutes late!” When you travel to a ski race, when do you pack your gear? Early, Late, or Whew! Just made it!

When I’m going to a ski race a pack my gear early! If I need to have my gear ready for the morning I pack it the night before so I can sleep more!

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself from the pandemic? How will you apply this learning to other situations in your life?

The pandemic really showed me just how much I love being active with my friends. Especially outside! Now, that could be biking, skiing running or swimming, I just love it! Moving forward I will remember this and always make an effort to do something with my friends and make sure that I’m getting active outside every day!


Episode 2 of our Inspirational Interview Series!

You’re on Mute!

Stories of Everyday Covid Champions

A series of lively interviews of skiers from across Southern Ontario District to engage, inspire and tell the story of Nordic skiing during a global pandemic.

In this episode, we look for a coaches perspective.  Time to check in with Georgian Nordic’s Peter Wiltmann.  Peter has been volunteer coaching for more than 20 years.  He is a Heinz Neiderhauser Outstanding Coaching Award recipient, a trusted friend, and a relentless optimist.  We caught up with Peter in Dillon, Ontario, in the heart of the 30,000 Islands region, in the world’s largest freshwater archipelago.

Peter, I am so stoked for this interview!  You have been a huge inspiration and positive force for so many athletes and coaches alike.  What have you been up to this season? 

Skiing a lot, wherever there is snow or not.

What can you tell us about coaching Georgian Nordic in pandemic times? What has it been like? Can you share with us some of the highs and lows?

We had a great start in May, with a new coach running with all, communicating with the local high school team coach, we were making progress and looking forward to work through this time of distancing. So far all that is going well, the good winter conditions surely help. University skiers were showing up over the summer and are still in touch with some team members. This helps the social aspect greatly, even if we do not have team sessions. All of this can only last so long, so we shall see what the next season brings, we are hopeful.

Peter and Dorte Wiltmann

A mutual friend of ours, Katja Mathys, sent a picture of what looked to be the whole town of Parry Sound taking to the ice of Georgian Bay for a skate.  Did you get out the old blades and get in on the action?  Are you concerned that Parry Sounder’s may have found something more enjoyable than Nordic skiing?

No, I  should have though. Parry Sounders always prefer skating on ice and playing some shinny, the ski club was abandoned for most of it, lol, Peter is always last to figure out that everyone was on the ice.  It was blue ice, it looked amazing.  It sure drew the crowds, unlike in Dillon where we had no crowds and a bit of snow on the ice. Kept skiing on a  thin snow cover for two weeks, crust type skiing was quite unusual by itself in early February.

I can’t help but notice that when it comes to practical and creative solutions, nobody can match your ingenuity.  What exactly does MID mean? What is the strangest thing in your wax shed?

MID stands for Made in Dillon. It was a lot of fun over the years to build such practical things like wax benches, forms, klister warmers, waxing machine,  flex tester, and mid groomers 4′ wide up to 12′ wide. We actually would have had money to buy some of these things, but I rather bought more racing skis for the team fleet instead, one pair at a time.  MID groomers were more appreciated outside our area, since they did not know where these rather simplistic but well working implements were made.  What others may perceive as strange may be all the fishing rods and wooden dowels I keep to fix ski poles with, there is always a diameter I might need. Some repaired rock skis stick around until needed. They end up with initials from former glory days, signatures of our skiers past and present who have donated them to be used for someone else. So really, none of this is strange to me at all.

What advice do you have for other coaches out there that may be struggling with the changes the pandemic has brought to our routines?

Trust what you do, follow your process, and pay attention to what your athletes need in times when they will make more independent decisions.   The pandemic has allowed us to focus more on training, and making it the most important aspect. They will love the sport for life if you are doing a good job.

You’re known for your prolific use of social media. There aren’t too many days I don’t see an Instagram post from you. What impact has this had on your relationship with the athletes you work with? Should we be preparing for your debut on Tik Tok?

Great question, and I am not sure. The impact of social media is a mystery I find worthwhile exploring further. In hopes that it may bring kids together, as a local team but also interact with same age skiers from other towns, skiers they met at races and camps. Trying to show movements that look fun, motivate them to go beyond what they are used to. I will continue to think of this as “social video analysis” without the technical pressure of a camera presence having an influence on their technique. It may not replace the technical work, but it seems to not bother them too much when Peter starts taking shots. Sure I get the odd rolling eye, so I hit delete, no question. It may just help them communicate to me how they feel about a certain exercise, or a certain move.  I hope video gives them the connection to sport they would otherwise not have.  Developing athletes need to know what they do is appreciated and is not being used in comparison to elite athletes’ movements.

No on Tiktok, I have not even looked at how to get on that.

I happen to know your son’s Victor and Konrad well.  Is Konrad still your favorite?

I love both of them equally, with all their differences they have, of course. Both are still skiing, I am grateful they are both healthy and doing ok.

How do I rate as an interviewer? I have no idea what I am doing.

When the kids tell me a session was ok, it was probably just ok.  If they use the word fun with a smile, ya that response keeps me in the game. So you as an interviewer ? You rate as fun, Bryan, I am smiling. Thank you for the questions.





Episode 1 of our Inspirational Interview Series!

You’re on Mute!

Stories of Everyday Covid Champions

A series of lively interviews of skiers from across Southern Ontario District to engage, inspire and tell the story of Nordic skiing during a global pandemic.

For our first interview, we caught up with Andrew Howlett of Owen Sound’s Bruce Ski Club to ask him a few questions about his skiing this year during the Covid Pandemic.  Andrew is a club executive member who is usually found organizing races and crunching numbers. This year we noticed Andrew putting is some BIG distances out there on the trails.

First of all Andrew, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself. What is your role here at Bruce Ski Club? How long have you been a Nordic skier?

I started skiing in 1978. I lived in Hamilton, I would make my own tracks at the park or a local golf course. When I moved to Owen Sound a friend introduced me to groomed trails at Bruce Ski Club. What a great idea! I volunteered with the club and have done lots of jobs. This year I am the club treasurer and I clean the porta-potties.

We notice that you wear earphones while you are skiing.  What is your jam? Black Sabbath or Miley Cyrus?

I listen to a mix of 80s music, orchestral stuff like Mozart and Beethoven, and movie soundtracks. My playlist has about two hundred tracks and is maybe twenty hours long. I can put it on shuffle and don’t get many repeats.

Most people have opted for sweat pants and Netflix. At the time of this interview you have logged an impressive 1435km, including 6 days over 80km.  What is motivating you this season?

I wanted to do the Canadian Ski Marathon (CSM) this year. The CSM is 80km two days in a row. I started training at the beginning of December. I did my two 80s on January 23rd and 24th. I will do the CSM virtual event in February but the virtual event is shorter: it only requires two 50km tracks.

Membership numbers at Bruce Ski Club have surged, a trend we have seen across the district. Do you think this trend will continue after the pandemic is over?

I think some people will be back next year. Many of the new members are snowshoers and they really like our snowshoe trails. I see many new families out skiing together, which is encouraging.

What do you think of garden gnomes?

Not sure where this question is going …. haven’t noticed any gnomes on our trail. If they were there I think I would have seen them because I’m always looking for rabbits. Rabbits are active early in the morning between 6am and 7am. It’s that weird time in the morning when I can turn off my headlamp but everything is black and white, no colours. I spotted one in January but only because it ran. A still rabbit is very hard to spot in the winter. I will be on the lookout for gnomes from now on.

This year we have lost our in-person racing and training. What advice do you have for younger skiers looking to stay positive and motivated during these challenging times?

Try to turn every setback into an opportunity. This is a great time to try something new. Experiment with your training program. Set a goal that wouldn’t fit with your normal activities.

We hear you may have Domino’s Pizza on speed dial. What are your favorite recovery foods?

After a long ski (more than 30km) I make a stir fry with lots of veggies and three scrambled eggs. After a short ski I eat a couple bowls of Vector cereal.

Nothing beats skiing in circles for hours upon hours but we are talking about a lot of exercise. The Germans have a word “Muskelkater”, which translates to Muscle Cat. It is a word to describe muscle fatigue and muscle hangover. How is your body holding up? Are you feeling Muscle Catish?

Yes, definitely. I get that feeling a lot. I think the point of doing 80km twice in a row is to get used to it and move past the fatigue. I don’t take days off, at least not on purpose. I try to ski at least 20km every day. So I’m always in the fatigue zone.

Spending full days on the trails is hard to manage for some. You must have the world’s best boss and supportive family?  Are you a paid professional skier?

Ha ha almost. I’m retired. I’m married to my best friend and she is very supportive. She baked me a 1000km cake.


Southern Ontario District

2021-22 SOD Team Selection Criteria

Selection criteria for the 2021-22 SOD Team is now available HERE

Southern Ontario District

Paraffin Series Update

It is with great disappointment that we announce the cancellation of the 2020-21 Paraffin Series.

In consultation with multiple local Public Health Units it has become untenable to consider asking our community to travel or plan for events with such uncertainty.  The SOD Board of Directors would like encourage all clubs to consider hosting local racing and creative alternatives within current public health guidelines.

Our SOD Team will continue to offer opportunities for current athletes and we will be taking the next steps towards communicating selection criteria/procedures for the the 2021-22 team.

Racing is a fun, challenging and fulfilling part of our sport but it isn’t the only reason we ski.  We encourage our membership young and old to continue to get outdoors and find alternative ways to enjoy our beloved sport.

Our series will return when we can safely gather, travel, and enjoy each other in the spirit of healthy competition.