Episode 3 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 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!