2017 will be Joey's second year as a Rundle Sport athlete. An Olympic hopeful for 2018, Joey is training as hard as ever and is a member of Team Hardwood Elite. He is a humble athlete with a long history of cross country racing and is well on his way to becoming one of Canada's top cross country skiers. We asked him some questions about his goals, racing, and how he spends his off-season.
Hometown: Midland, Ontario
Sponsors: Atomic, Rundle Sport, One-Way, Podium Wear, Rudy Project
Favorite race course: Sprint Course at the Canmore Nordic Center
Questions for Joey
Can you tell us about your skiing background?
I’ve been skiing since I was about 2 ½ years old. My parents both skied competitively and my mom actually competed in 4 Olympic Games for cross-country skiing. My parents also have a chalet at Mountainview Ski Hills, a cross country ski facility in my hometown of Midland, Ontario. I currently live at the chalet because it gives me access to 25km of cross country ski trails.
How would you describe your skiing style?
My skiing style is very strong and smooth with a lot of switches between big movements and fast movements. This year I’m trying to improve my efficiency so I’m able to race at a higher pace while using less energy.
What sports did you do before cross country skiing?
In elementary school I did every sport I could and in high school I focused more on skiing as well as volleyball and track and field.
You raced a World Cup for the first time this year. Can you tell us about your experience racing at the highest level of the sport?
Racing the world cup in Quebec was such a cool experience. Getting to race the top guys in the world was definitely the most fun I've ever had racing. There were 70,000 spectators over the three days of competition and it was a pretty unreal experience be a Canadian athlete at a Canadian World Cup. I was confident and in a good head-space but I didn't know what to expect so I just went out and tried as hard as I could. I listened to advice from the senior Canadian athletes and that helped a lot. The level at the World Cup was so high and it showed me what level I need to reach to be a World Cup athlete. It's nice that I can take that understanding into this training season.
What’s your favorite pastime in the off-season?
Hanging out with friends when it works out is always fun. I also like being in nature. Sometimes I’ll work on music too when I feel like it. My friends and I can play some instruments and we just kind of make whatever kind of music we feel like, nothing serious. I only know the basics on some instruments but some of my friends are pretty good.
Pre-race nutrition is obviously very important for racers. What works best for you? Have you tried anything that didn’t work well?
I usually have a breakfast that includes lots of easy carbs like cereal and some toast. Sometime I'll have a small snack within an hour and a half of when I start a race depending on how much energy I have. I haven't really tried any unorthodox nutrition before a race. One time I ate pizza about an hour before an intensity workout and almost threw up. That pizza taught me everything I needed to know about taking nutrition seriously.
What do you think makes a great race course?
I like balanced courses with nice flow. I also enjoy when there is a nice downhill or corner into a finishing straight because I have a good sprint for the end of races.
When you’re on the starting line right before a race, what is going through your mind?
I really try to get into a good zone during my warm up so when I’m on the start line I can stay in that zone and be focused, calm, and ready to go.
What are your goals for next year?
I like to keep my goals big so I’d have to say qualifying for the Olympics. I’ll also focus on increasing my fitness and efficiency.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping you with your racing?
Of course my parents and friends and for sure my coach, Ron Howden, as well as my Team Hardwood Elite teammates. Also, Lenny (national team skier) who always helps me out with learning to race at a higher level which I really appreciate.