Nordic Skiing News

Murray skiing in a hurry

Written by Allie Moore

Kendra Murray

We were able to sit down with Murray before she left for Italy, and discussed skiing, school, and representing Canada.

Kendra Murray, Nordic Skier
Hometown: Whitehorse, Yukon | Major: 3rd Year Law

How did you get started with Nordic skiing?

I started at a local club that my mom and one of my friend’s dads ran, and then when I got into grade 8 or 9 there are some programs in Whitehorse, cross country ski club programs and you ski until the end of high school with a club team.

Why did you choose to come to Carleton?

Mostly for the ski team. I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to do after high school, but I knew that I didn’t really want to take a year off or anything. I knew people on the Carleton team, there’s actually quite a large Yukon contingent on the team. I talked to them at races, and heard they had a good program. It’s actually one of the most well-funded programs in Canada, which is nice.

How long is the season?

With Carleton, we ski in the OUA circuit; really there are no races until January because there’s usually not snow here ‘til then. OUA championships are in mid-February, and nationals are mid to end of March. There are usually a few invitationals, then finals. There’s quite a bit of competition in Ontario – our main rivals are Lakehead, there’s actually a national training centre in Thunder Bay so they’re always really strong. There are quite a few schools that have Nordic programs – Queens, U of T, Waterloo, Guelph. Most of them are student-funded and run by the students, I think.

What’s a typical day like for you when you’re training?

I train between 8 to 18 hours a week, depending on whether it’s a rest week or a high-volume week. The high volume weeks tend to be during the summers, with the cross training like running, hiking, and roller skiing. When we’re here at school in the fall, we train at Mooney’s Bay. I’m taking a full course load, so then I go to class for a while…then it’s pretty much a normal day after that. Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings are all training. Pretty much every other day we’re training, we try to train in groups so we’re not working out alone – it makes it a bit easier.

What are you most looking forward to about going to the Universiade?

I think it’ll just be a super cool experience. I’ve been to other international competitions, not skiing though, so I think it’d be cool to see what the skiing atmosphere is like. This will be cool because it’s a multi-sport event; there will be a lot more people.

What kind of competition are you expecting?

It will be really interesting to see, it’ll be a really broad range of people. Some countries send their best junior teams, some countries do it on a person-by-person basis, and in some countries like the US they’ll just choose one university’s team to represent them. I know who everyone on the Canadian ski team is, and I know a couple of them really well just from skiing and racing in Canada. It’s a fairly small community, so I know them but I haven’t necessarily raced against them often except in the OUA races my past two years.

What kind of result are you hoping for at the games?

I actually have no idea. I’ve never really skied internationally; I have no idea where I’ll stack up against other countries. What I’m hoping is to place myself against the Canadians, and be close to top Canadian. But there are so many variables; it’s really hard to tell. After the first race, you’ll kind of get a feeling.

There’s six races in total, but there’s a team sprint and a relay – so you can race anywhere from four to six races. I’m hoping I’ll get to do five, the relay is really fun. Six people race the relay, three girls and three guys, it would be really fun. It’s usually based on the top three times, based on the results during the week.

Have you represented Canada at an international competition before?

I represented Canada at the junior world orienteering championships – that’s what I do during the summer. There are four individual races and a relay, as well – kind of like the skiing. It’s a smaller sport. I’ve never represented Canada at a multi-sport event. It’s pretty cool. We got our clothing last week, so I’m really excited! There’s something about it that’s really cool, you feel like you’re part of something bigger.

What are your plans for after the games, with both skiing and school?

After the games, I’ll ski until I’m done school, so another year. And actually, the winter games were supposed to be this past February or March, but the location had to be changed (from Slovenia to Italy). But that means that there’s actually another Games in early 2015, my last semester. So it would be neat to go to that, it would give me something to aim for. I definitely want to keep skiing, there’s the possibility of taking a year off and trying to get to the U23 championships. There are 4 training centres in Canada (Whistler, Thunder Bay, Quebec, and Canmore), so I’ve thought about going to one of those. It depends on how the next year and a half goes. But I definitely want to ski, it’s a lifetime thing.

What’s your favourite thing about Nordic skiing?

That’s really hard. Everything! I’d say, part of it, it’s an individual sport, and just getting outside and going for a ski, not necessarily racing, is so relaxing, it’s just amazing. Being on a team, too, it’s an individual sport, but it’s so nice to have like-minded people. It’s actually crazy how similar cross county skiers are, no matter where you go – they’re all the same!

Finally, what’s your favourite thing about going to Carleton and being a Raven?

It’s kind of funny, because no one knows we have a ski team – we don’t necessarily feel the “Raven love”. My favourite thing is just having a team to train with, and the atmosphere here. But to make it possible to have a team, the financial support, the facilities…that wouldn’t be possible without the support from the athletics department.