Hard work and determination have paid off for ski mountaineer Peter Nowicki.

The St. Timothy High School alumnus has been named to Canada's Skimo team and will be competing at the 2023 world championship in Boí Taüll in the Pyrenees of Spain next month.

Nowicki, 27, set the goal of making the team and improving his times in every race this season.

"Last year was my first full competitive season, and I did well enough that they asked me to join the team for this season."

He qualified for the world championships at the Castle Ski Mountaineering Races in Beaver Mines, AB, held Jan. 6 to 8.

For Canada, he will be competing in the individual (main event), vertical, and team championship races. That's plenty to pack into one week of competition.

"It will be an intense tiring week because all three races that I'm doing are within the span of a week."

In a typical individual skimo race, you face an elevation change of 1,300 to 1,600m. While the length of the course may vary slightly, it typically takes 90 minutes to two hours to complete.

Skiing from as far back as he remembers, Nowicki got his first taste of skimo in 2019 at an event organized by a friend in Whistler, B.C.

"It seemed like a cool thing to try out and I had a lot of fun, so that was my first experience. The following season, I signed up for another couple more serious skimo races and I've been doing it more and more ever since."

He also did a couple of seasons of Haute ski touring.

The sport originated in Europe as a military exercise to travel through the Alps and the mountain ranges of the continent. 

The skis used for skimo are somewhat similar to back-country skis but are designed to be as lightweight as possible. A standard men's ski is a mere 65mm wide for the foot and 160cm long. They're built for going uphill as quickly as possible and he says they are surprisingly stable when skiing downhill if you're fast. If you ski slower, he says they can feel a little noodly. 

"You almost have to relearn skiing when you get these skis because they're so different than standard downhill and cross-country skis."

Team members prepare on an individual basis but do some group training. Nowicki completes most of his training in North Vancouver, where he has resided for about seven years, typically on Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymor. In the off-season, he trail runs,

The international championship is held every other year, and he hopes to continue to earn the right to represent Canada.

skimoCompetitors doing a boot-pack up on a skimo course. (Photo/Maur Mere)