SKIING IN NWT
The Northwest Territories has a proud tradition of participation in cross country skiing. Twin sisters, Sharon and Shirley Firth, became the most celebrated skiers in Canada’s cross country skiing history.
These athletes, along with their Mackenzie Delta team-mates, formed the nucleus of Canada’s national cross country ski team in the early 1970’s. Sharon and Shirley represented Canada in World Championships and Winter Olympic Games.
This inspiration percolated throughout the north and inspired ski club development in small settlements and larger communities alike. In the mid- 1970’s, Sport North established itself, providing support for various ski development programs.
Father Mouchet was an Oblate priest who came to Northern Canada in 1946, from his hometown of Malbuisson, France. He was initially posted in Telegraph Creek, BC, but then was posted to Old Crow, Inuvik, Whitehorse and Ross River.
While living in Inuvik, Father Mouchet founded the Territorial Experimental Ski Training (TEST) Program. This program was supported by the NWT Government to develop an outdoor education program in Inuvik. The TEST program grew to include many Northern communities, including the home base of the program in Old Crow, Yukon.
It was Father Mouchet’s hope that providing the community with competitive and recreational sports training it would serve in delivering “more self-esteem and confidence, motivation and a tool for the rest of their lives in a complex and complicated world”. The inspiration that cultivated from this program stimulated ski club development and cross country ski training programs in communities across the Northwest Territories.