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Logan Lariviere and Laydon Bursey: A P.E.I. para nordic partnership
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Laydon Bursey had better be ready to bust it into high gear this week in Prince Edward Island.

If not, he’s likely to hear an earful from Logan Lariviere.

The latter is a 16 year-old member of the Ontario team competing at the 2023 Canada Winter Games, his sport of choice being the para nordic discipline, an area in which Lariviere was named to the U23 national prospects team last fall.

A very solid nordic skier in his own right during his time at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Bursey will serve as the guide for the visually impaired grade 11 student at Lively District Secondary School, the pair working hand in hand in search of skiing excellence on the snow.

“In my races, especially with classic (style), I am standing right on my guide’s skis, right behind them,” explained Lariviere last week, just days before heading to his first CWG but already a veteran of several Ontario Winter Games much closer to home.

“I started working with Laydon in November. He sets the pace but I yell at him if I need to go faster. Or if he is going too fast (not nearly as likely), I will yell at him to slow down a bit.”

The youngest of two boys in the family, Lariviere only just returned to Sudbury in recent years after having spent a half decade or so attending W. Ross MacDonald School (for the Blind) in Brantford, the youngster dealing with the effects of albinism.

The move back to the north reunited the talented skier with coach Patti Kitler, the tandem having first connected when Lariviere was only slightly more than four years old. Years later, the young man who recently finished third in the Open category at the SDSSAA finals has developed a far greater appreciation for all of the intricacies of his sport.

“I have been working lots on technique and building up different speeds,” said Lariviere. “I like classsic (skiing) a lot, but skate ski even more, for sure. It’s more fun because you can go faster – but classic is more natural for me, more like running.”

Given the limited vision that he possesses, Lariviere will flip-flop in training and some races between being accompanied by a guide or not, with pros and cons on each side of this equation.

“I like to do 10 or 15 kilometres in training but Saturday, I did 25 km,” he explained. “That one, I used a guide but the 20 km the week before, I did just by myself. Having the guide makes me faster, partially because I am drafting off the guide.”

Often at his side as the cheering section in the crowd, his mother (Melissa) noticed another key advantage. “We see a difference; he doesn’t have to be as cautious when he has a guide,” she noted.

In so many ways, Lariviere is no different than the vast majority of the local nordic ski contingent – though perhaps his preference for training days that range around the minus 15 temperature range might be a tad chilly for most.

“She (his mom) doesn’t like it,” said Lariviere with a smile. “But the snow is as fast as it will be because it’s icing up a bit. In a classic race, your tracks are ice, your tracks are faster – same as skating. The colder the snow, the faster it is. The warmer the snow, the slower it is.”

In recent years, officials and coaches from Nordiq Canada took notice of the on-going progress demonstrated by Logan Lariviere. Earlier this winter, he attended his second training camp in Canmore (AB), the absolute mecca for the sport in this country.

“It’s just the look of everything out there, all of the mountains surrounding it – and the trails are long distance (his preference) with lots of up-hills,” said Lariviere. “And there’s all of the national coaches.”

“Even Laydon got exposed to that caliber of coaching,” added Melissa.

That’s a good thing, because if Laydon Bursey is not pulling his weight in PEI – as unlikely as that may be – he will be sure to hear about it courtesy of Logan Lariviere.

Also attending the Canada Winter Games this week is a local veteran of several para national events, Tanya Quesnel.

Palladino Subaru