Alannah MacLean is recent member of the Junior National Ski Team. She was born and raised in Labrador City until she moved with her family to Sudbury, Ontario. She now lives in Thunder Bay to attend Lakehead University and to ski for the National Development Centre for cross country skiing. Her grandparents, Ben and Stella James, still live in Labrador City.
She shares her thoughts on living in Labrador and skiing at Menihek:
As a child, I was constantly exposed to the outdoor lifestyle that Labrador City has to offer. I was involved in downhill skiing, figure skating, soccer, and swimming to name a few activities, but cross-country skiing dominated my youth. As an infant, my parents would take me out in the ski polk on the beautiful Menihek trails. I skied for the first time at the age of a year and a half, and I have been hooked ever since.
I have a lot of fond memories of the Menihek Ski Club and trails. I used to spend the majority of my weekends at the chalet while my parents, John and Linda MacLean, would go out for a ski. Some of the most distinct memories include: the moss from the black spruce littering the trails, purchasing my first Swix hat from the ski store, trying to climb the low sloping roof of the chalet, watching the older ski team race in their maroon suits, hunting for Easter eggs in the stadium, skiing the Great Labrador Loppet and grabbing handfuls of chocolate-covered maraschino cherries, skiing in late May on the day of my birthday, and trying to re-enact Darren’s Demise on that faithful tree. I also remember how I coveted getting up into the loft by access of the winding stairs—a place I was forbidden to go without my parents’ supervision. The first time my sister and I illicitly climbed the stairs, I felt like I was on top of the world.
One of my favourite recollections was skiing out to the waterfall. Whenever my parents asked me where I wanted to ski, I would always say, “The Waterfall” without fail. Although, I found the ski back to the chalet to be tortuous, mainly because I thought that the last hill up to the chalet was enormous. I remember one day my younger sister, Isabelle, skied the entire way back without a single stop or complaint. My competitive nature was well developed even as a young child. I had to prove that I could do the same time, so my complaining ceased quickly.
My experience at Menihek will always be a defining point of my ski career. I want to thank the ski club for providing an amazing facility for recreational use. My dream of being an elite skier started the day I saw the Menihek racing team and it was fostered on the ski trails. I was privileged enough to be a part of a wonderful ski community, and that is something I will remember for the rest of my life.