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Lauren Bouchard earns the chance to ski on Sugarloaf
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One of several Adanac Ski Club racers to achieve success over the final few months of the 2023-2024 season, Lauren Bouchard was nicely rewarded this past weekend.

The 14 year-old grade eight student at St Benedict CSS was one of 16 athletes selected in her age group, from Ontario, asked to participate in the Can-Am Series meet hosted at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine from March 29th to the 31st.

"I was really, really excited to hear (that she had been selected)," said the teenager who splits her time between her alpine ski commitments and her Sudbury Lady Wolves hockey team.

Though she strapped on her first pair of skis at the age of just two, it was only three years ago that Bouchard made the jump to ski racing.

"My dad (Ryan) was a ski racer and he kind of just asked (if I wanted to try) - and I said sure," noted the local who was joined at the Can Am event by Maelee Lesnick (Searchmont Ski Runners - Sault Ste Marie), also representing the Northern Alpine Ski District.

"There was a lot of stuff that I did not expect," Bouchard continued. "I didn't know that there was a specific way to turn. I didn't know that there were different combinations on the course. I didn't know anything."

"It was completely different than what I thought."

But progress came quickly, local coaches accessing the natural athleticism that lie within.

"I've noticed that I am more structurally sound and more stable on my skis, with much better balance," explained Bouchard. And for as much as she may not yet have decided which of her primary sports will come out ahead, in the long run, Bouchard admitted that doing both, for now, is hardly the worse things in the world.

"I found that hockey is one of the main reasons why I am successful in skiing," she noted. "The hockey helps with my stamina. When everyone is getting tired at the bottom of a long course, I can just keep going and be stronger on my edges."

"I have quick feet."

Even within the local club, Bouchard is something of an anomaly, a talented young racer who did not benefit from family trips to some of the top resorts in North America.

"This year, at the beginning of the year, I went to Mont Tremblant (Quebec) for a week," she said. "It's pretty much the same height as Sugarloaf."

Outside of that, it's been Adanac on a local basis, supplemented with jaunts to Searchmont and other venues around the province.

"I find that (at Adanac), I can get a lot of runs in and a lot of training in a short amount of time," said Bouchard.

Hard to deny the results to date.

Bouchard also raced in March at the Slalom Slam hosted at Mont St Louis - Moonstone, finishing first while teammate Bradley Laurin earned a second place finish

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