B.C.’s Tayla Koerber recently skied for Team Canada in the 29th Winter Universiade biathlon competition in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
She competed in the 15 km event, the 7.5 km Sprint event and the 10 km Pursuit event.
The Revelstoke Review caught up with Koerber via email.
How did you qualify for this event?
To be honest, the only criteria for this event was enrolment in a degree or diploma program and a full-time course load. There aren’t any schools in North America with a varsity biathlon team so Team Canada wasn’t even able to fill all the spots. Each team is allotted six places for males and six for females and we only took two males and four females.
What team do you ski with now?
I’m currently skiing with the Augustana Vikings out of Camrose, Alta., where I’ve been going to school for the past four years. I was strictly a nordic skier up until two years ago, when I got the guts to try out for biathlon. Although there’s obviously cross over between the sports, the learning curve was steep and it’s been a wild ride figuring out how to race with a rifle.
When did you learn to ski?
Like most Revelstoke kids I was on skis almost before I could walk. I started out in the Bunnies program and was a part of the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club all the way until I graduated high school.
Were you on Revelstoke’s race team?
I’ve been racing since I was about seven years old and was able to compete with the nordic ski club at two national championships and dozens of local, regional and provincial events. The race team was just starting out when I joined and over the past 10 years it’s really grown into something we can all be proud of.
Why do you nordic ski?
I’m sure any racer would tell you the same thing, it’s a love-hate relationship. I fell in love with the sport at a young age and it’s given me so much throughout my life. Being involved in competitive sport allowed me to find and push the limits of my body and taught me about what hard work and discipline can do. The nordic ski club community is a huge part of who I am, which is something I didn’t realize until I had left and moved to another team. I’ll always be grateful for that, and I’m looking forward to influencing other young skiers as a coach some day.
How is the experience abroad so far?
Skiing on an international platform has been incredible. Only in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get the chance to do so. Through a combination of opportunity and commitment have I been able to see that dream come true. The atmosphere of an international multi-sport event is so cool. Living, training and racing with athletes from around the globe is something I’ll never forget. It took a lot of people and a lot of training to get me here and I’m proud to be competing for Team Canada and representing Revelstoke for my parents, my family, my coaches and everyone who ever believed in me. Racing at this event is the greatest pay off for all the work that went into me as a skier.
Have you ever raced abroad before?
No, this is my first time racing overseas. I do not recommend trying to import a rifle into Russia.