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Goal Setters

March 01 2022 – Sauce Info

 

Welcome back to the Sauce Blog’s short feature series on elite nordic ski teams! Our last blog, Life Lessons Learned on Skis, featured BSF Pro team member and graduate from Bates College, Graham Houtsma and how he overcomes adversity. This go-around, we focus our attention on the Alpine Insurance Alberta World Cup Academy, based in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.  

The team has a combination of nordic skiing and biathlon athletes and also offers a post secondary option for racers who want to attend school in Calgary, Alberta while still racing in the winters. The Academy has a large number of athletes this season under the coaching leadership of Chris Jeffries, Julia Mehre Ystgaard, and Tormod Vatten. 

We were able to catch up with Academy team member Benita Peiffer, who is also a member of the Canadian Biathlon Sr Development National team, to ask her some questions about goal setting. Benita is originally from Whistler, British Columbia, and has been training with the Academy for three years. This season she qualified for her very first round of World Cups as well as World Juniors and has been crushing it in Europe and in the US so far this season.

How important do you think goal setting is to your performance in xc skiing?

I think goal setting is one of the most important aspects of development. Visualizing and vocalizing personal goals allows me to bring my goals to life and creates a good amount of pressure to pursue those goals. 

When did you learn how to set goals for yourself?

I learned at a very young age in cross country skiing to set goals and write them down. Creating a plan of my goals allowed me to have long-term and short-term goals. With exceptions that things don’t always go to plan it motivated me to achieve benchmarks within my ski career. 

What is the difference between short term and long term goals?

Short term goals are goals that I set for myself week by week, month to month or within a season of racing. My short-term goals are small benchmarks that set me on track to achieve my long term goals. A long-term goal to me is ultimately a big dream goal 4-5 years down the road. 

What are some of your personal short/long term goals?

My long term goal is to be competing on the biathlon world cup performing consistently in the top 10. My short term goal is to qualify for the IBU Cup this season and following that I would like to place in the top 10 and Biathlon World Juniors. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to younger athletes about goal setting?

One piece of advice I would give younger athletes about goal setting is to always be vocal about your goals and set goals that intimidate you. Additionally, I think it is very important to revisit goals. Life doesn’t always go to plan, therefore changing goals and being aware that there isn’t just one pathway to achieve those goals is important to keep in mind. 

Good luck to Benita for working towards her goals this season! Follow her on social media @benitapeiffer!


We were also able to talk to Tom Stephen about why goal setting is important to him. Tom grew up in Calgary, Alberta, racing for Foothills Nordic. This is Tom’s very first year at the Academy and he has had multiple podium performances so far this season in the Alberta and Canada Cups as well as a recent top 10 at World Juniors in Norway!!

How important do you think goal setting is to your performance in xc skiing?

I think it is very important because it gives you drive and motivation to chase those goals. It also makes it more satisfying And rewarding when you achieve them.

When did you learn how to set goals for yourself?

I have always been setting them for myself, just not the same way as I do now; I formally learned how to set goals for myself about 3 years ago.

What is the difference between short term and long term goals?

Long term goals are goals that you want to happen in the future - for example, winning the Olympics. But short term goals are goals you set to help you get to the long term goals you set for yourself. 

What are some of your personal short/long term goals?

Some short term goals for me this year are to medal at World Juniors as well as possibly qualify for the Olympics. But long term goals include winning a World Cup and being competitive consistently for podiums in the World Cup. 

What is one piece of advice you would give to younger athletes about goal setting?

Set goals that are achievable, that you will be proud of yourself for accomplishing, and that will help you get to the big, long term goal that you want to achieve down the road.

Good luck to Tom for the remainder of his season! Follow Tom on social media @xctom to see how his season is going!  


Photo credits to Doug Stephens and Anna Sellers